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Human Genetic Engineering Denies Children’s Autonomy

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Question:

Human Genetic Engineering Denies How Children’s Autonomy?

 

Ansswer:

Introduction

Genetic engineering normally refers to the various genetic modifications made in order for the manipulation of an organism’s genome directly through the use of biotechnology. Genetic engineering is the set of all technologies methods and approaches that are used in the process of changing the genetic makeup of different cells. The genetic engineering includes the transfer of various genes within and even across different species boundaries to come up with improved and novel organisms[1]. The DNA is inserted into the host genome by isolating and copying the genetic materials of interest by using molecular cloning methods to come up with a DNA sequence or through synthesizing the DNA and inserting its content into the host organism. Human genetic engineering has been widely developed in the recent past in which the human is the host and receives modified and improved DNA.  Therefore, human genetic engineering is aimed at eliminating and reduction of unwanted human traits and replacing them with improved, better characteristics through modification of human genome by altering the DNA of human embryos.The germline gene therapy generates wide-ranging ethical issues.

Human Genetic engineering has been employed in the betterment of medicine hence leading to improved patient outcomes. The application of this knowledge in medical technology, human genetic engineering has resulted in improved treatment and eradication of some genetic medical conditions including cancer, cystic fibrosis, and Parkinson’s disease. The dark side of the gene therapy is the altering human genetic composition beyond the proper scope of medicine. If this technology is used for example in altering the gene for the human growth hormone, just to allow a child to be taller than his peers brings out a new spectrum of issues.

Although the human genetic engineering has some advantages on the improvement, it has very many adverse effects on people. There are various arguments against human genetic engineering which include; the human genetic engineering limits the children’s autonomy to create and shape their destinies, there is the fear that the human genetic engineering may lead to eugenics[2], we are playing God, human genetic engineering process is not safe and that human genetic engineering may lead to vast social inequalities. Therefore, human genetic engineering should be discouraged and if possible abolished.

Human Genetic Engineering denies Children’s Autonomy

There is an argument that the human genetic engineering usually and extensively limits the children’s freedom to shape their destinies[3]. If the parents are capable of remaking their child’s genetic makeup, they are writing the genetic instructions that will shape the child’s entire future. If the parents gave the child blue eyes instead of brown ones, if they make him tall instead of short or medium height, if they choose for the child a passive over an aggressive personality, these choices by the parents would have a direct and lifelong effect on the child[4]. Augustine argues that people are naturally imperfect and that what is expected. Since the days in the Garden of Eden, man has remained to be imperfect and passes this to the successive generations and not be altered since it makes who we are. Augustine argues that all the human characteristics whether negative or positive are important because that is our nature. Augustine says that even laziness and negligence to do certain things are natural and essential vices since labor itself is a punishment. Therefore, people should be allowed to choose their autonomy[5].

Human Genetic Engineering can lead Eugenics

There are researches aimed at using the cutting-edge science to eliminate the condition of autism. The method is not designed to reduce autism or making life better for the many autistic persons but tries to eliminate autism by eliminating autistic people[6]. This can be compared to when the Nazis were creating a master race[7]. This argument explains that human genetic engineering enhancement usually leads to discrimination against the disabled in the society as well as genetically unfit. Augustine states that there should be no discrimination not even because of a disease or disorder since the different cultures are not as important as we think but there are on lay two kinds of society that can be referred to as two cities hence discrimination of persons or trying to eliminate them because of their disorders or inequality is unfair.

 

Human Genetic Engineering may lead to Social Inequalities

There is an argument that the human genetic engineering will eventually result in social inequalities. This inequality is brought about by the fact that the rich usually enjoys genetic enhancements through high intelligence, perfect eyesight, improved heights that the poor cannot afford. Therefore, the critics are right that the world with human genetic engineering will contain inequalities[8].

Safety in Human Genetic Engineering

Both the somatic gene therapy and the germline gene therapy procedures are not entirely safe. The way and the process in which the corrected DNA is inserted into the human genome is not entirely safe. These methods make use of viral vectors and such viral factors sometimes triggers massive and widespread systemic immune responses. The altered genes that are inserted into the genome can disrupt functional genes hence causing mutations[9].

We are playing God

This argument is similar to the one that proposes that we should not interfere with nature because that how God created it to be[10]. Human genetic engineering is aimed at improving human life or creating new genes that replace the natural genes that we are born with. Therefore, the use of this technology is an abomination to many religious diehards. Most people believe that we are beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God and we should be happy with ourselves and not try to change who we are.

Conclusion

Human genetic engineering is currently being applied in various medical practices which include treatment and eradication of some genetic medical conditions including cancer, cystic fibrosis, and Parkinson’s disease[11]. However, human genetic engineering has also been used for non-medical purposes to get rid of unwanted genes or modify genes to get the desired traits. These non-medical uses have created a widespread debate based on the ethical and medical basis. Some are for a while others are against human genetic engineering. Those against human genetic engineering claim that; human genetic engineering limits the children’s autonomy to create and shape their destinies, there is the fear that the human genetic engineering may lead to eugenics, we are playing God, human genetic engineering process is not safe and that human genetic engineering may lead to vast social inequalities. Therefore, human genetic engineering is harmful to the society if used for other non-medical practices and should be discouraged.

 

References

Erlich, Henry. PCR technology: principles and applications for DNA amplification. Springer, 2015.

Garner, Stephen. "Christian Theology and Transhumanism: The “Created Co-creator” and Bioethical Principles." Religion and Transhumanism: The Unknown Future of Human Enhancement: The Unknown Future of Human Enhancement (2014): 229.

Giubilini, Alberto, and Sagar Sanyal. "The ethics of human enhancement." Philosophy Compass 10, no. 4 (2015): 233-243.

Husted, Jørgen. "2 Autonomy and a right not to know." The Right to Know and the Right Not to Know: Genetic Privacy and Responsibility (2014): 24.

Lanphier, Edward, and Fyodor Urnov. "Don't edit the human germ line." Nature 519, no. 7544 (2015): 410.

Laws, Terri, W. Duncan Wadsworth, and Michael O. Emerson. "‘Making Babiess: Religion and Moral Diversity in Views on Abortion and Human Genetic Engineering." (2013).

Paul, Diane B. "What Was Wrong with Eugenics? Conflicting Narratives and Disputed Interpretations." Science & Education 23, no. 2 (2014): 259-271.

Sandel, Michael J. "The case against perfection: what's wrong with designer children, bionic athletes, and genetic engineering." Arguing About Bioethics (2012).

Sandel, Michael. "The case against perfection." The Atlantic Monthly 293, no. 3 (2004): 51-62.

Sharon, Tamar. "The Human Enhancement Debate: For, Against and from Human Nature." In Human Nature in an Age of Biotechnology, pp. 57-78. Springer Netherlands, 2014.

[1] Erlich, Henry. PCR technology: principles and applications for DNA amplification. Springer, 2015

[2] Sharon, Tamar. "The Human Enhancement Debate: For, Against and from Human Nature." In Human Nature in an Age of Biotechnology, pp. 57-78. Springer Netherlands, 2014.

[3] Laws, Terri, W. Duncan Wadsworth, and Michael O. Emerson. "‘Making Babiess: Religion and Moral Diversity in Views on Abortion and Human Genetic Engineering." (2013).

[4] Sandel, Michael. "The case against perfection." The Atlantic Monthly 293, no. 3 (2004): 51-62.

 [5] Husted, Jørgen. "2 Autonomy and a right not to know." The Right to Know and the Right Not to Know: Genetic Privacy and Responsibility (2014): 24.

 [6] Sandel, Michael J. "The case against perfection: what's wrong with designer children, bionic athletes, and genetic engineering." Arguing About Bioethics (2012).

 [7] Paul, Diane B. "What Was Wrong with Eugenics? Conflicting Narratives and Disputed Interpretations." Science & Education 23, no. 2 (2014): 259-271.

 [8] Giubilini, Alberto, and Sagar Sanyal. "The ethics of human enhancement." Philosophy Compass 10, no. 4 (2015): 233-243.

[9] Lanphier, Edward, and Fyodor Urnov. "Don't edit the human germ line." Nature 519, no. 7544 (2015): 410.

[10] Garner, Stephen. "Christian Theology and Transhumanism: The “Created Co-creator” and Bioethical Principles." Religion and Transhumanism: The Unknown Future of Human Enhancement: The Unknown Future of Human Enhancement (2014): 229.

[11] Erlich, Henry. PCR technology: principles and applications for DNA amplification. Springer, 2015.

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