Informative Essay: Gene Therapy
risks in the hope of improved health ... And, as
long as gene therapists confine their genetic mani-
pulation to somatic cells ... the argument is hard
That gene therapy is performed only on somatic cells is very important, as implied in the definition of germ-line therapy. While not trying to make light of any error that may occur during somatic gene therapy, it should be understood that any errors occuring during germ-line therapy pose far more serious a problem than during somatic gene therapy. As mentioned above, somatic cells are bound by limits of a human life and germ-line are not. Any mistake made on a germ-line cell would have indeterminate repercussions on generations in the future.
Genetic manipulation ... has the potential to multi-
ply medical errors exponentially -- sending ripples
that radiate far beyond the finite lifetimes of gene
therapist or consenting patient.
To tamper with the future in that manner is extremely dangerous and unethical by many standards. Nevertheless, germ-line therapy has supporters. At the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) International Bioethics Committee's (IBC) meeting in Paris last year, they argued in favor of germ-line therapy in most situations stating, "If it is morally acceptable to cure a condition by somatic gene therapy, then why not to eliminate it by the