Genetic Engineering

This essay has a total of 1474 words and 5 pages.

Genetic Engineering

At the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, Dr. Keith Campbell, director of embryology
at PPL therapeutics in Roslin, and his colleague Dr. Ian Wilmut worked together on a
project to clone a sheep, Dolly, from adult cells. On February 22, 1997, they finally
succeeded. Dolly was the only lamb born from 277 fusions of oocytes with udder cells.
Wilmut says there were so many failures because it is difficult to ensure that the empty
oocytes and the donor cell are at the same stage of the cell division cycle.To clone
Dolly, basically scientists took an unfertilized egg cell, removed the nucleus, replaced
it with cells taken from the organism to be cloned, put it into an empty egg cell which
begins to develop as an embryo, and implanted this embryo into a mother, from which the
clone was born.The fact that only 1 out of 277 attempts succeeded is a little scary when
applied to human beings. If an attempt to clone a human led to that high of a death toll,
then there would not be many supporters. According to Rifkin, in an extensive survey of
all 106 clinical trials of experimental gene therapies conducted over the past five years
involving more than 597 patients, a panel of experts convened by the NIG reported that
"Clinical efficacy has not been definitively demonstrated at this time in any gene therapy
protocol, despite anecdotal claims of successful therapy." (545). These results are also
happening with people who are trying to get gene therapy. With these facts on the table,
it would not be ideal to try to clone humans if cloning an animal took several hundred
attempts and human gene therapy has had hundreds of failures as well.Humans are going way
beyond their limits in the field of biotechnology in the world today. Until recently,
these ideas were unheard of. Now with new technology, scientists are capable of changing
an organism's genetic make-up. We are very eager to learn new things, however, this
eagerness gets in the way of common sense all too often. As stated in Starr and Taggart's
article, "we do not have the wisdom to bring about beneficial changes without causing
great harm to ourselves or to the environment." (514). However, the naive public may want
to jump right into things, and scientists will not disagree.Scientists are messing with
things that they should not be messing with. Once again, they are overstepping their
boundaries. They have barely taken the time or consideration to notice the moral and
ethical dilemmas of cloning, let alone to know exactly what they are getting themselves
into. The problem with the world today, is that everyone wants all these exciting things
to happen without considering the consequences. New knowledge and technology is not used
responsibly. It must be realized that cloning is disastrous and scientists should not do
it.Another example of scientists jumping into things too fast is nuclear fusion. When
scientists first discovered the process of fusion, they did not hesitate to apply it to a
destructive use. They immediately created the uncontrollable atomic bomb and some of these
were actually used (World War 2). The Manhattan Project was designed to figure out how to
use atomic power to kill enemies. The group of scientists was so confident in their bomb,
they did not even test it; its first use was in military action when the United States
bombed Hiroshima (Japan) in 1945. Soon after, the Hydrogen bomb was also created. These
are a thousand times more powerful than atomic bombs.It wasn't until much later (1954)
that the world discovered the implications of these dangerous bombs. Since the first test
millions of people have wondered whether nuclear weapons will spell the end of life on our
planet. As far as genetic engineering goes, it has been a part of life ever since life has
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