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GENETIC MANIPULATION and its ethical implications in modern science THE AGENDA FOR TODAY • Current practices • Main arguments covered in the article • The main issues in DNA manipulation • Conclusion and summary • Our take CURRENT EVENTS IN GENETIC MANIPULATION • Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded for gene research in 2007 • Effects on the Olympic Games and other international professional sports competition CURRENT PRACTICES IN GENETIC MANIPULATION • PLANTS - genetic enhancement as continuous product improvement • ANIMALS - Dolly and similar genetic experimentation • HUMANS - The scientific community’s current focus and our focal point for the continued discussion THE CASE AGAINST PERFECTION Michael J Sandel • The FIRST couple - lesbian, deaf couple seeking genetic enhancement to increase similarity to themselves • “deafness is a cultural identity, not a disability to be cured” • The SECOND couple - Infertile aspiring parents placing an advertisement in Ivy League student newspaper • Specified the genes of the mother as “Tall, athletic, high SAT, absence of medical problems • The cloning of PETS - already a reality for cats and dogs allowing pet owners to reunite with their beloved departed ARTICULATING THE UNEASE What would the GENETIC KNOWLEDGE allow us to do…? • Holds the ability to manipulate nature • Enhancement of muscle tissue, memories and moods • Allows parents to choose sex, height and other genetic traits • Allows us to simply be “better than well” ETHICAL DILEMMA THE AUTONOMY STANCE • Genetic engineering violates the child's inherent right to autonomy, depriving her of an open and undetermined future • Designer children not fully free, even favorable genetic makeup violates the right to choose one's own plan of life WHY IS IT NOT PERSUASIVE? • None of us have the ability to choose our own genetic inheritance • It does not explain our moral hesitation about individuals seeking enhancement procedures for themselves GENETIC ENGINEERING MUSCLES - Researchers discovered synthetic gene allowing muscle growth in mice, not deteriorating with age - Prospects of application in professional sports - Unlike steroids, undetectable in current tests DOES IT NOT SEEM FAIR? - Enhanced genetic differences no worse than natural ones - Enhancement could be made available to all GENETIC ENGINEERING, part 2 MEMORY - Scientists managed to manipulate memory-linked gene in fruit flies and mice - Allowed for faster learning and better memory, active even in old age Which are the APPLICATIONS? - Curing Alzheimer and Dementia - Resisting the natural deterioration of memory - Improved learning - Blunting the emotional effects of traumatic experiences WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Will it create two classes of humans? - Subspecies; those with access and those who must make do with unaltered memory fading with age The fundamental question is not how to assure equal access to enhancement but whether we should aspire to it FOUR STAGES OF GENETIC MANIPULATION Therapeutic Organ Techno- Human Cloning Cultivation Eugenics Cloning Therapeutic Cloning Implantation of cloned cells into developed tissue to reverse disease/effects of aging; or to enhance capabilities of humans. CON PRO • Inequality in terms of access • Possibility to treat a variety of diseases • Difficulties in setting legal limitations – Alzheimer’s • Goes against position of – Skin cancer sanctity of life • Treat psychological traumas • Opens up to commercialization • A huge progress for medicine research Organ Cultivation Growth or mass production of human organs for transplant into a human, whether by growing organs within an animal or in a laboratory without the use of an animal. PRO CON • Solution to organ donation • Destruction of embryonic cells shortage in research • Replacing deteriorated organs • Development of technology • Possibilities for creating requires a vast amount of enhancements resources • Cost of producing organs • May cause unforseen pandemic Techno-Eugenics The use of genetic engineering and cloned cells to modify the traits of children, for example deafness or height. PRO CON • Parents enabled to design own • Allocation of medical research children funds • Getting rid of genetic flaws • Cost of longer life • Prevent transmission of • Intensifies prejudice genetic disease • Parental responsibility Human Cloning Full-scale cloning of humans for reproductive purposes. PRO CON • Individual’s decision • Violate right to autonomy • Share nature, not nurture • Potential to create a monster • Great way to combat infertility • Creation of new human species • IVF close to cloning, yet • Disposable people accepted • Safety should not be long run concern PERVADING ISSUES OF CLONING • Difference between genetic engineering to cure and genetic engineering to enhance • Limiting vs. furthering the science • Must confront age-old issues of philosophy and theology WHERE WOULD WE DRAW A LINE? …AND WHO GETS TO DRAW IT? OUR TAKE WE AGREE TO DISAGREE
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