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Biotechnology

Essay by   •  November 20, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,193 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,108 Views

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As time progresses, science is improving technology. There is no doubt that more knowledge exists. Killer viruses spread disease through the population, yet no cures have been discovered for many illnesses. AIDS and cancer plague nations. But these are only a few of many diseases. Asthma and scurvy are among the various less severe diseases. These are only considered to be of less harm to people because science has found ways cure them or deal with their symptoms. To die from scurvy is unheard of in the United States today, even though it killed many in past generations. But it is still common to hear of people dying from cancer or AIDS. It is evident that treatment for these diseases is in need of improvement. Imagine if science could deal with AIDS as easily as a case of scurvy.

Children are born with defects on a daily basis. Cerebral palsy and Down's syndrome are common congenital diseases that parents see in their children. These are defects that may only be eliminated at very early stages in the development of the baby. Genetic enhancements might be used with an attempt to eliminate congenital problems. These enhancements would most likely be preformed in vitro. In vitro fertilization is a new biotechnology. Infertility problems may be solved with this technology. But there are uncertain dangers involved in applying these types of new ideas. Lewis Thomas stated that, "You either have science or you don't, and if you have it you are obligated to accept the surprising and disturbing pieces of information, even the overwhelming and upheaving ones, along with the neat and promptly useful bits. It is like that." (Thomas) Since it is unlikely that society will abandon science, technology should not be limited in research, but its application should be aimed only to help humanity.

Technology poses dangers to society as it develops. When it is applied, there are risks involved. Researchers of new technology must be extremely cautious before deciding to apply their discoveries to individuals. One must analyze the risks involved. Ruth Hubbard points out the inability of "anticipating the problems that can arise from technological interventions in complicated biological systems." She illustrates, "A concrete exampled of misjudgment with an unfortunate outcome that could not be predicted was the administration of the chemical thalidomide, a 'harmless tranquilizer' touted as a godsend and prescribed to pregnant woman, which resulted in the births of thousands of armless and legless babies. Yet there the damage was visible at birth and the practice could be stopped, though not until after it had caused great misery. But take the case of the hormone DES (diethyl strilbesterol), which was prescribed for pregnant miscarriages. Some 15 years passed before many of the daughters of these women developed an unusual form of vaginal cancer. Both these chemicals produced otherwise rare diseases, so the damage was easy to detect and its cause could be sought. Had the chemicals produced more common symptoms, it would have been much more difficult to detect the damage and to pinpoint which drugs were harmful." (Hubbard)

Genetically enhancing our babies to eliminate deformities might seem like a brilliant idea, but the science is complicated beyond our understanding. We do not know a lot about how babies are developed. Trying to control something that we vaguely understand is moronic and dangerous. We would not know what damage was caused to the "enhanced individuals" until there lives were lived out. The procedure could also vary in individuals as everyone does not have the same genes. It would be amazingly complicated. Then there is the fact that the performing doctors would not be identical in their practices and the issue of human error arises. If a mistake is made, then an individual could have to live their life with problems.

The human population is growing. We are not having difficulties procreating. In some areas the population has overgrown the natural resources available to them, creating poverty. Yet there are still people looking to use in vitro fertilization as it could solve there personal infertility issues. In vitro fertilization would not only be expensive, but

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