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Issue #2- Genetic Modification

It can remove undesirable traits. It can remove genetic diseases. It can even allow your parents to decide your hair color. What is it? Genetic
Modification.

A few months ago, I was flipping through channels and stumbled upon John Stossel's special, "Tampering with Nature." Watching it, I began to learn just how far technology is going. Afterwards, I couldn't help but wonder about it. Should there be limits? Is this right or wrong?

Let's take a look at what they can do with this. Genetic modification can do many things, from giving tomato plants the gene to fight off pests, to deciding what you will look like. In this issue, I'd like to take a look at the genetic modification of humans.

First off, we are talking about genetically modifying embryos. In other
words, we can't do any of the following to ourselves; it's too late for that. Also, keep in mind that we have the technology to do this, but it hasn't been perfected.

Using genetic modification, we can:
-remove genetic defects
-remove genetic diseases
-remove undesirable traits
-make cosmetic changes
-add desirable traits

Removal of defects and diseases speak for themselves. Undesirable traits include anything from alcoholism to diabetes. Cosmetic modification can change your hair style, color, and growth, eye color, skin color, and build. By adding desirable traits, we can promote health, and, possibly, decide our child's IQ

So, where do we draw the line? We can't just say there are no limits. If we don't draw the line somewhere, we're going to have Einsteins walking around. Everyone will be the practically the same. If you've ever read "The Giver," you know what I mean. No one will be very unique.

I, personally, am fine with removing undesirable traits, genetic diseases,
and genetic defects. I know I'd be much happier if I had been born with
straight teeth, for one. By removing these types of things, people will be
healthier and our lifespan can be increased.

Where do I draw the line? I would definitely have to draw the line at
cosmetic modification and the addition of desirable traits. We shouldn't be able to do these things. It'd be like ordering your child from a catalog. "I'll take the skinny one with the blonde hair and blue eyes. It has to be a girl. Oh, and make her a genius will you?"

Actually, when you think about it, we really shouldn't be fixing anything in the first place. Maybe humans really are taking it to far. While tampering with nature can bring good, it comes at a price. I'm all for improving human health and feeding the starving children in Africa, but maybe we need to rethink all this.

Perhaps the line should really be drawn according to this question: "Does
this help mankind?" Golden rice will feed starving people all over the world, but giving you child green eyes does nothing but show how vain we all are. Think about it.

-Jen (August 3, 2001)

(I could possibly do an article entirely on the genetic modification of food. Cloning, however, is definitely a future topic.)

Updating: I bring out a new issue every other week.


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Comments

The following comments are for "Jen-i-Vision Issue #2"
by PolkaDot*

~~##~~
How very true, just one thing,

The problem with using genetic modifications, even if only to remove unwanted health conditions is that it ultimately leads to discrimination against those who are born unmodified. In the film "gattaca", they refferred to it as genoism.

Then there's the absolute opposite problem where the religious fanatics proclaim that because their DNA was tamperred with, that they are not actually human in the eyes of god, then they become discriminated and biased against much in the same way that the test tube babies were.

On the subject of genetictly modified foods, I'm all for that. Nowadays, you need to buy special kinds of soaps to clean pesticides off your produce, and genetic engineering our food is "unnatural"? shyah right!

( Posted by: eleventeen [Member] On: August 5, 2001 )

dam- I meen Darn your good! lol :)
I have nothing to say that was so good! I'm at a lose for words! That's a first, lol! :) Your a great writer Jen keep it up and you've got a GREAT job!
toodles,

Rachel* ::AKA:: Dreamweaver*

( Posted by: Rachel* [Member] On: August 6, 2001 )

Scary Thought...
This doesn't even begin to touch on the really sick side of things. Imagine those people out there who hate their own children (probably all people) and abuse them. Imagine that abuse can begin at the embryo level. Let say the beast that went in to have a child left in all the defects, then to tweak things a a bit, gave the child big ears, a big nose, bug eyes, bad skin, bald traits, one arm shorter than the other etc. Then when the child is born, they guy names him Suzie (I said him).

This kid is going to get it all day at school, then come home to the monster that created him.

There needs to be lines, but I'm not going to volunteer to draw those lines. I know I'm taking this to the extreme and humerous level, but think about it ;)

--Crowe

( Posted by: Chrispian [Admin] On: August 6, 2001 )





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