Genetic Engineering: Should we or shouldnt we? Essay

This essay has a total of 1079 words and 5 pages.

Genetic Engineering: Should we or shouldnt we?

Genetic Engineering: Should we or Shouldn't we?

Genetic engineering is a process in which scientists transfer genes from one species to
another totally unrelated species. Usually this is done in order to get one organism to
produce proteins, which it would not naturally produce. The genes taken from one species,
which code for a particular protein, are put into cells of another species, using a
vector. This can result in the cells producing the desired protein. It is used for
producing proteins which can be used by humans, such as insulin for diabetics and is also
used to make organisms better at surviving, for example genetically modifying a plant so
that it can survive in acidic soil.

There is debate about whether genetic engineering should be used or not, and to what
degree. There are many problems that can occur from the process and many of these cannot
be avoided currently. There are known problems and there is also the fact that the whole
process is unpredictable and unforeseen problems could crop up. A good example of this was
the influence of a genetically engineered organism on a food chain, which sometimes
damaged the local ecology. The new organism could now compete successfully against other
species, causing unforeseen changes in the environment. This could then have a knock-on
effect that could lead to the destruction of whole species.

Due to the quite random nature of genetic engineering, there is a risk that it may disrupt
the functioning of other genes in an organism. This could mean that the organisms do not
survive at all, or become some sort of mutated freak, which is completely different and
maybe even more dangerous. Genetic engineers also intend to profit by patenting
genetically engineered seeds. This means that, when a farmer plants these genetically
engineered seeds, all the seeds have an identical genetic structure. As a result, if a
fungus, a virus, or a pest develops which can attack this particular crop, they might all
be at risk, resulting in widespread crop failure. Insects, birds, and the wind can carry
genetically altered seeds, which can cross-pollinate with genetically natural crops and
wild relatives. All crops, organic and non-organic, are vulnerable to contamination from
cross-pollinatation, meaning that problems in the original genetically modified organisms
can be spread and can now affect other plants that have not been genetically modified.

Genetic engineering in food now uses material from organisms that have never been part of
the human food supply, and so could have unforeseen consequences for the humans who eat
them, as our bodies have not had to deal with these substances before. Genetically
engineered bacteria have also been known to kill. 37 people died, 1500 were partially
paralysed and 5000 temporarily disabled from a syndrome that was finally linked to a
substance made by genetically engineered bacteria. Genetic engineers use
antibiotic-resistance genes to mark genetically engineered cells. This means that
genetically engineered crops sometimes contain genes, which confer resistance to
antibiotics. Bacteria that may infect us could pick up these genes and would be much
harder to treat with their immunity to some antibiotics. Genetic engineering can produce
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