Genetic engineering is one of the most important scientific advances of the 21st century; it provides us with almost godlike powers and enables us to tinker around with the various building blocks of life. Genetic engineering got its nascent start at the end of last century, but since then we have been able to study the DNA of human beings, of various species and even make sense of the various DNA markets. In fact, by taking a closer look at our own DNA, we can now look into our distant past and even work out which parts of the world our ancestors originated from. These markers are present in everyone’s DNA and essentially once we Identity a particular marker, which means that person’s distant ancestor, can be fixed to one geographic location. But apart from this the prospects for genetic engineering is vast as there are numerous applications that this can be utilized to good effect. But it should also be pointed out that like everything else, even genetic engineering comes with its own negative impact, which is why we need to take a closer look at it.
Positive Impact of Genetic Engineering
- Hunger: It is a fact that our population is growing at an exponential pace and soon it would not be possible to feed everyone. Given this, it was only to be expected that a few scientists may use genetic engineering and true to norm, they did so and soon made it possible to grow robust food crops, all year around, within a short amount of time. Moreover, these crops are designed to combat most of the diseases, such as blight and others thereby making it possible for farmers to produce essential food crops, on demand. These crops are designed to provide individuals with maximum nutrition and would just be what we need, to combat hunger
- Biotechnology: Many a patient, who are critically ill wait years on an organ transplant list. But thanks to the various advances made in the field of genetic engineering, it is now possible to transplant heart and lungs of similar size from other species including pigs without the resulting rejection. Additionally, some f the scientists have refined their methods to be able to grow certain small organs; this will indeed have a far reaching impact on all of us in the long run.
- Eradicate diseases: Genetic engineering can be used to combat various forms of hereditary diseases, such as Diabetes, Myopia, Blood Pressure and more. Genetic anomalies often cause various diseases – the scientists can introduce a mutation that will prevent the disease from being transmitted to the next generation. Additionally, those who have contracted a disease can be treated for the same effectively thanks to genetic engineering.
Negative Impacts of Genetic Engineering
- Biological warfare: As hard as it may be to believe, it seems that several companies are intent on using the latest advances in genetic engineering to design and develop a deadly pathogen which can then be utilized by the armed forces. Biological warfare is never a good thing and thanks to genetic engineering, various pathogens which can debilitate a person, cause them to experience extreme pain has been discovered. It is hard to correlate this with the concept that genetic engineering is supposed to help all of mankind.
- Cloning: The temptation to play god hits everyone but the issue is that a few scientists have taken it to a whole new level by literally trying to play god and clone a human being in a Petri dish. There are umpteen laws that are framed now as a result of the actions of one group of scientists. In fact human cloning is against the law and unethical to say the least. But the one thing that we can depend on is that none of us have heard the last of human cloning, not for a while yet anyways.
These are some of the positive and negative impacts of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is still a nascent field in many a respect and the temptation to play god may seem overwhelming. So while genetic engineering is indeed good for mankind as a whole, the fact remains that we need to understand it more comprehensively so that we can ascertain whether it is good or not.