Genetic Engineering by Jessica Pham

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THE GREAT DEBATE
What is it?
Genetic engineering is the study of gene manipulation through DNA. Often, it is accomplished by a process called recombination and transformation. Recombination is the process in which a segment of DNA is placed into another strand of DNA. On the other hand, transformation is when those cells with newly implanted DNA are able to replicate successfully. Through these processes, genetic engineering can occur. And, according to scientists, if these processes work on every single organism, then, no creature would have to suffer from abnormalities again.

What is the purpose?
Scientists are trying to use genetic engineering for many purposes. These purposes include clones, perfect humans, and cures for genetic diseases. They also believe that is can be used to create plants that will have no diseases and will not be infected by things like insecticides or viruses. One way to think about it is the creation of a perfect world.

What has been done?
So far, scientists have been able to genetically engineer plants so that they are able to grow faster and more efficiently. They are also able to be cultivated in land that was not farmable before. Also, scientists have been able to use genetic engineering for medicinal studies, especially in the area of recombination and transformation.

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PROS VS. CONS

Pros
Genetic engineering allows for scientists to make further improvements in medicinal activities. For the first time, scientists have hope that hereditary diseases can finally be cured. Also, genetic engineering also has the capabilities to end world hunger. Plants can be genetically edited to grow easier or to need less water. Another gain that derives from genetic engineering is the screening or babies while they are still in their mother’s womb. This will help parents decide to let the baby live or let the baby die, especially if the baby will only be able to live a miserable life when it grows up.

Cons
Genetic engineering might be the key to end world starvation but it might also increase the rate of starvation. Because genetic engineered plants are basically all the same, a virus can quickly jump from one plant to another, killing off plants at a rapid pace. Genetic engineering can also cause mutations in plants which can lead to increases in toxins. Another downside to genetic engineering is that it can cause a decrease in nutritional value of everyday crops. For example, a tomato can still seem absolutely fresh even when it has been in the market for weeks. 

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RELATION TO LITERATURE
Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus
The famous story of Frankenstein tells of a mad scientist who brings the dead back to life in the form of his hideous monster. Here, Frankenstein uses what he knows about science to piece together his monster. In a way, he is creating his own monster with its own genetic code. He was able to manipulate the human genetic code to make his monster.

Island of Dr. Moreau
Dr. Moreau derives his scientific knowledge from performing vivisection of poor, innocent animals. He plays with the genetic information in an animal’s body to be able to manipulate who they are. His goal is to create an animal that can mimic humans. To do this, he must manipulate an animal’s genetic code.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Dr. Jekyll, in trying to explore both sides of human nature, accidentally changed his DNA from stable to unstable. His DNA now contains the DNA for two people, him and Mr. Hyde. Whenever, Jekyll drinks his potion, his DNA will become unstable and switch to Hyde’s DNA. Eventually, his DNA becomes so unstable that he is able to transform even without his potion.

The House of the Scorpion
El Patron’s life revolves around clones. At first, he was desperately trying to duplicate his DNA using genetic engineering so that he could live one more life time. However, as time progressed, he created more and more clones to give him more and more lives. He and some of his wealthy friends depend on genetic engineering to give them an extended life that would never come otherwise.



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BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • “What is Genetic Engineering?” Mothers for Natural Law. n.p. Web. 25 May 2010.  <http://www.safe-food.org/-issue/ge.html>
  • “What are the Dangers?” Mothers for Natural Law. n.p. Web. 25 May 2010. <http://www.safe-food.org/-issue/dangers.html>
  • “Benefits of Genetic Engineering.” Buzzle.com. 2008-2009, 2010:n.p. Web. 25 May 2010. <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/benefits-of-genetic-engineering.html>
  • “Human’s Playground: Genetic Engineering.” Oracle: Education Foundation. 15 August 2008:n.p. Web. 25 May 2010. <http://library.thinkquest.org/04apr/00774/>


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