The Ethical Dilemmas Of Gene Therapy

1287 Words 6 Pages
Gene therapy is an extensive topic, one that raises countless ethical issues. Given the fact that biological changes are being made to the human genome, people argue that scientists are “playing God.” Two types of gene therapies that raise the most ethical arguments are somatic cell therapy and germ line therapy. To understand eugenics, a term devised by Sir Francis Galton, you must first understand the two types, negative eugenics, organized abolition of biologically unwanted qualities and positive eugenics, genetic treatment of physiognomy of creatures or species. Somatic gene therapy is one where only the somatic cells are disturbed. This type of eugenics would be chosen so that only the person in whom the cells were harvested is affected …show more content…
As gene therapy becomes more common, the ethical debate will be whether or not parents should correct certain defects in their unborn child. As scientists are more familiar with the therapies, would parents then be able to choose the qualities to give their fetus, hair or eye color, maybe even making them smarter or more attractive. Rifkin thinks all this research is great, but instead of designing upcoming generations, all this genome knowledge could be utilized to better understand the relationships between illnesses and ecological …show more content…
He claims that germ line therapy could prove great risks and abundant detriment for future generations. Germ line therapy is permanent during the lifetime of the affected individual, but also this new “transgene” becomes heritable and is transferred to the other members of upcoming generations. Gert also uses statistics from The Human Genome project, which includes mapping the complete genome. This shows where each gene is located, ie: which chromosome it’s on, but where on that chromosome we should find it. This should help hone in on such diseases such as cystic fibrosis, as well as conditions like cancer and heart disease. Knowing where to find such illnesses on the chromosomes would enable scientists to circumvent and remedy these disorders. Germ line therapy has been used in mammals for greater than fifteen years and human trials will be in the near future. Scientists were warned to stop giving false hope after a study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH), surveyed 106 different clinical therapy trials within a five year period, using over 590 patients, stating there is no clinical evidence proving efficacy of any gene therapy treatments

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