Gene Therapy Cons

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6,000: The estimated number of genetic diseases that are effortlessly passed through generations that can debilitate a life, or can cause pre-mature death ("Hope Through Knowledge"). Imagine if these 6,000 diseases could simply be avoided before birth or perhaps even before conception. In the world of medicine today, this is nearly achievable. As the human genome has been decoded, it is human nature to attempt to repair genetic errors. Through genetic engineering and gene therapy, genetic diseases can be reversed and avoided. Gene therapy is the "manipulation of someone 's genetic material to prevent or treat disease". This is possible by replacing an absent or mutated gene with a working gene, by repairing a mutated gene, or by activating …show more content…
Walters and Palmer believe that genetic treatment may be the only way to avoid many genetic disorders for some people. When an embryo undergoes germ-line therapy early enough, the embryo has a great potential to prevent irreparable damage to the developing embryo and thus be disease free. However, it then causes all cells of the embryo to be genetically modified. Germ-line therapy, as previously stated, prevents the transmission of genetic diseases through the generations, unlike somatic cell therapy. It is then more efficient to undergo germ-line therapy than somatic cell therapy. Germ-line therapy theoretically only needs to be undergone once to prevent future generations of developing such disorders. This is different from somatic cell therapy which would have to be repetitively done generation after generation. For this reason, germ-line therapy could have a profound effect on the gene pool of the human population and lessen the frequency of disease. The downside is that germ-line therapy could have overwhelming and unintended effects on not only the embryo but future generations. Once a mistake is made in germ-line therapy, it is permanent and has the potential to be passed on to future offspring. It is also an expensive treatment which will not be available to most couples. Much like Glannon, Walters and Palmer argue that germ-line therapy has the potential to lead to genetic enhancement which would not be beneficial for society as a whole. It could also then allow few individuals, such as scientists and doctors, power and control over future generations and the evolving human race. However, Walters and Palmer do believe that it is far more advantageous to risk such arguments against germ-line therapy to improve upon and avoid genetic diseases (Walters and Palmer

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