Dangers Of Genetic Engineering

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Discoveries in the field of genetics have given the world hope for a brighter future. With promises of disease eradication, increased intelligence, and longer lifespans, it is no wonder that people believe that this altering our genetic code is the solution to all of our problems. However, with all of these potential benefits, there come potential dangers. A new scientific breakthrough has come our way. Referred to as CRISPR, this new technology is the easiest, cheapest, and most reliable way of modifying the human genome to date (Caplan et al., pars. 1-3). This breakthrough provides humans with the power to master the genetic code, but are we capable of making the right decisions while in possession of such power? In April 2015, a group of …show more content…
Caplan et al. discuss the consequences of “gene drives.” A mosquito called the Aedes aegypti is responsible for carrying and transmitting dengue fever. Genetic engineering has given scientists the ability to genetically modify the mosquitos and as a result, reduce the spread of the fever. They are looking into modifications that can change the mosquitoes so that they are incapable of carrying the disease, and modifications that will enable them to sterilize the mosquitoes so that they will not reproduce, and they are also exploring ways they can engineer the mosquitoes so that if they do give birth, their descendants will not live long enough to reproduce. The genetic modification of organisms in this way and for these purposes is called a gene drive. With gene drives, there comes a significant possibility of causing a harmful disruption to other species and the environment by killing off a species and therefore reducing food sources for others or promoting the growth of populations of other undesirable species (Caplan et al. 1422). Nobody knows for sure what will happen if these consequences occur, and they have the potential to cause more harm than good. Before gene drives become widely used, there needs to be more research conducted on the potential negative effects, and there should be safety features that allow for the cessation of the gene-drive programs if they prove to

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