Ethical Dilemmas Of Genetic Testing: The Ethics Of Prenatal Testing

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Today in the field of genetics, professionals and civilians are faced with a wide spectrum of ethical dilemmas pertaining to the field of genetics. Genetics is the scientific study of how genes control the characteristics of plants and animals (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). The field of Genetics is growing rapidly with new discoveries everyday leading to many controversial topics pertaining to recent discoveries in the field.
The nature of the information gained from genetic testing, raises more ethical issues compared to other health information. Genetic information in particular is a controversial topic for many reasons, including these three examples. Prenatal testing and the decisions of birth based on the results of the test. The potential
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This type of procedure was quickly rejected because it was unsuccessful due to unknown failures (Samdani). The most common transplanted organs are the kidneys, then the liver, heart and lungs. In 1954, the kidney was the first organ to be successfully allotransplanted (Tena). Allotransplantation is the transplantation of organs between members of the same species, in this case, human to human transplantation. Once transplants became more common, xenotransplantation reemerged during the 1960’s once scientists learned that previous attempts of xenotransplantation were unsuccessful because of immune responses. Many advances in the study of immunology were happening at this time, which helped doctors to perform the first successful baboon to human kidney transplant in 1963. These transplants were successful but they failed to keep patients alive for very long. On average the first kidney and liver xenotransplants would keep patients alive for a couple weeks, whereas the heart transplants failed rapidly. In 1984, Baby Fae, a newborn infant with hypoplastic left heart syndrome received a baboon heart and lived for 20 days after the surgery. This was a milestone in the history of xenotransplantation, as the most successful heart xenograft of its time. Baby Fae successes caused more attention to be placed on xenotransplantation, leading to porcine cells to be injected into patients with type 1 diabetes, porcine …show more content…
If scientists could eliminate pig proteins that humans don’t need while introducing necessary human proteins to pig organs, then the chances of organ rejection could be minimized via genetic engineering. If scientists could pull this off, it would mean an end to organ unavailability for patients. Xenotransplantation is now using transgenic pigs to prevent immediate rejection from the recipient. Pigs containing human genes have helped pig immune cells successfully interact with human immune cells, and their organs have been tested in non-human primates. Non-human primate recipients have pig kidneys lasting for months and hearts for years. Nevertheless, immunosuppressive medications are still required to control immune rejection in primate recipients. Other xenotransplantation strategies include the tolerance approach. The tolerance approach tricks the immune system of the recipient into recognizing pig molecules as self, by injecting the recipient with pig bone marrow prior to the organ transplant. Even with the successes in xenotransplantation, significant scientific barriers must be overcome for successful xenotransplantation (Tena).
There is currently a lot of research in xenotransplantation, with the end goal to save human lives. A company involved in xenotransplantation research, UnitedTherapeutics, has claimed

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