Genetic engineering, recombinant DNA technology, and biotechnology are a set of techniques used to accomplish one or more of three goals: to reveal the complex processes of how genes are inherited and expressed, to provide a better understanding and effective treatment for various diseases (especially genetic disorders), and to generate economic benefits such as improved plants and animals. The properties of genetic engineering hold enormous promise while also posing a significant threat to humanity. To claim that genetic engineering will alter medicine and agriculture in the twenty-first century is an understatement.
In the 1970s, the phrase “genetic engineering” was coined to describe the growing field of recombinant DNA technology and some of the developments that were taking place. Recombinant DNA technology began with the cloning of very little amounts of DNA and growing them in bacteria, and has since grown into a vast area in which entire genomes may be cloned and transported from cell to cell using a variety of approaches. Genetic engineering cuts across a wide number of organisms ranging from bacterial cells to yeast cells, to plants and animals.
In 1972, the first synthetic DNA molecule was created by splicing the DNA segments of two unrelated animals together. Recombinant DNA molecules, genetically engineered bacteria, viruses, fungi, plants, and animals quickly followed. The debate over the topic of “Playing God” heated up, and there was a widespread public protest against genetic engineering. The birth of “Dolly,” the world’s first animal cloned from an adult body cell, has heightened the discussion about biological research’s consequences.
Additionally, since 1996, a variety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been commercially marketed. Today, it is estimated that more than 70% of US food varieties contain GMOs. Be that as it may, in the cause of this article, we will focus on genetic engineering in humans. Genetic engineering has brought about the improvement of several drugs and chemicals for medical use. Gene splicing, for instance, was first utilized in pharmaceuticals to make massive amounts of insulin using E. coli bacteria cells. Interferon, which is utilized to viruses and cancer cells, as well as tissue plasminogen activator and urokinase, which are utilized to break down blood clusters, are generally results of genetic engineering. Another result is a type of human growth hormone that is made by genetically modified bacteria and yeasts and is used to treat dwarfism. Gene therapy is a rapidly developing field that incorporates changing human genes to treat or cure innate ailments.
PROS OF GENETIC MODIFICATION
1. Disease and Genetic Disorder Treatment
Genetic engineering could be used to cure symptoms or genetic problems directly in several different ways, such as the development of prospective AIDS vaccinations, cancer treatment, biopharmaceutical synthesis for a variety of metabolic, growth, and development diseases, and so on.
In general, biosynthesis is the process of isolating a gene coding for a certain product, cloning it into another organism (usually bacteria), and then expressing it in that organism (host). Large numbers of gene products can be gathered and purified by cultivating the host organism. Insulin and human growth hormone, are some examples.
2. Agriculture, Forensics, And Environmental Science All Benefit From Genetic Engineering.
At least three other uses are worth mentioning: forensic, environmental, and agricultural. These three domains, while not directly related to medicine, have a significant impact on human well-being. Genetic engineering can be used to help agricultural and food production in a variety of ways. For example, since the late 1980s, genetically modified bovine growth hormone has been utilized to increase cow milk production. After this gene was inserted, a mutant variant of the myostatin gene known as the “Schwarzenegger gene” was discovered to cause significant muscling.
3. Genetic Engineering Is Projected To Drastically Modify Traditional Breeding Methods For Producing New Crop Strains.
The technology allows for the transfer of genes for nitrogen fixation, photosynthesis (and thus yield), pest, disease, and herbicide resistance, and frost, drought, and higher salinity tolerance, as well as improved nutritional value and consumer appeal.
4. Eliminating Illnesses In Both Born And Unborn Children
We can discover a variety of issues even before children are born. Doctors can predict if your kid will develop sickle cell anaemia or Down’s syndrome while still in the pregnancy. We would no longer have to be concerned thanks to genetic engineering. One of the most significant advantages of genetic engineering is that it can aid in the treatment of diseases and illnesses in unborn infants. All children would be able to be born healthy and robust, free of any diseases or illnesses. People who are at risk of passing on devastating degenerative disorders to their offspring can benefit from genetic engineering.
CONS OF GENETIC ENGINEERING
1. It Has The Potential To Cause Genetic Defects.
One of the issues with genetic engineering is the question of how safe it is to make cellular alterations. Scientists don’t yet know everything there is to know about how the human body works, so how can they possibly comprehend the consequences of minor modifications made at the atomic level? After all, the success rate of genetic experimentation isn’t exactly stellar. Scientists must be able to forecast the results of their activities since the human body is so complex, and they simply cannot account for everything that could go wrong.
2. It Would Revolutionize The Way We Think About Population Control.
The disease is one of the most effective ways to keep the human population under control. If we employ genetic engineering to lengthen everyone’s longevity, this will have a profound impact on our global culture. It isn’t always practical to live a longer life. We may increase the economic costs of each family unit by allowing more children to be born, requiring higher levels of medical care for longer periods, and allowing more children to be born.
3. It Would Harm The World’s Genetic Diversity.
If we begin to eradicate the possible diseases and disorders that are already part of our genome, the human race’s genetic diversity would gradually dwindle. Human genetic editing could assist to reduce, but not eliminate, the fading that would inevitably occur with time. After a few generations of using this technology, the human DNA may degrade to the point that it will be nearly impossible to produce offspring unless a parent who lacks this evolutionary feature chooses to have children with a spouse who shares the same viewpoint.
4. This Method Could Be Used To Develop New Weapons Technology.
One of the most terrifying fears about human genetic engineering is that it may be used to generate biological weapons by military forces, terrorists, and others. Weapons could be developed that target specific genetic profiles while leaving the rest of the population unaffected. As each country seeks to preserve its interests, this disadvantage could lead to an increase in unhealthy nationalism, healthcare expense, and global death. It’s also possible that organisms created through human genetic tinkering will reproduce considerably more quickly than normal, triggering a new arms race.
Human genetic engineering’s benefits and drawbacks allow us to investigate the prospect of improving our species without waiting for evolution to do it for us. As a result, the prospective outcomes are quite appealing. With this technology, we could deliver various benefits to future generations that are not available now. The drawbacks might be downright frightening. That is why, if we ever get to the point where human genetic alterations are possible, we must proceed with caution to avoid any problems that may arise as a result of this technology.
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