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Genetic Engineering: Should it be legal?

Updated on October 12, 2011

Differing opinions on Genetic Engineering

Genetic Engineering is an extremely controversial breakthrough in science. It's a technology that allows us to do many things. We can use genetic engineering to clone, alter genes, and can aid researchers in finding cures to diseases.

I have decided to step out of my own shoes and write multiple opinions on genetic engineering by multiple people. Read on to see how genetic engineering can help and hinder us. Ultimately, I created this to help you make your decision on genetic engineering.

Some background info on genetics

Very simple and easy to understand

Before you can understand the basics of genetic engineering, you need to have a basic understanding of genetics first. Every human, animal, and plant has inside of them genes that determine specific traits about them. For every specific trait of a person, they have two genes, one that shows and one that doesn't (unless you are homozygous, meaning that both of the genes for a certain trait are t he same).

Now, scientists have discovered how to raise humans and animals up as an embryo without going through the usual breeding. Rather, they take an ideal gene they would like to put into. the creature, and through a series of procedures, they basically make the embryo have that gene. They raise the embryo in a lab (not inside of the mother) until it matures into the animal desired. Sometimes this gene will be a disease, and they will use the animal to further study it.

Genetic manipulation is also a way where an animal (or plants) genes are directly manipulated. Genetic manipulation has been used to make plants bug resistant, to clone a sheep, etc.

I must admit I don't completely comprehend the procedure used in genetic manipulation and engineering, but I have a good sense of the outcome. So, to further elaborate on genetic engineering, here are some great links that will prove helpful to you.

Learn more about genetics

Also, there may be some helpful links up at the top of this page too.

Cloning

A brief overview

Cloning is also associated with Genetic Engineering. Cloning is a (complicated) process in which scientists create an exact genetic duplicate of an organism. The best way I can explain this is if you've watched jurassic park; they take some of the genes out of the mosquito to make all those dinos. Instead of taking the DNA out of a third source however, they would take something DNA directly from something they want to clone, and then use the DNA to make an exact genetic replica.

Cloning can be used in several ways. Cloning can be used on an animal or crop to produce more food, or on an organism to further study it, or perhaps in the future it will be used to continue to replicate someone so they always have at least one of themselves alive.

However, when cloning is done the organism will have no memory of its past life. So, if you wanted to clone the ultimate basketball team, you might be out of luck because they wouldn't have the skills built into their genes. They learned how to play basketball through experiences; not via genes.

A lesson on cloning from Jurassic Park

In this movie, they use genetic manipulation and cloning to not only alter the dinosaur's gender, but also to "clone" it.

The dinosaurs wouldn't technically be clones however, because their DNA structure is slightly different than the extinct dinosaurs. Watch the movie to understand.

Is cloning an ok practice?

Cloning is controversial. It can be used to really help the world (discover a cure for something), or it could cause havoc (again, watch Jurassic Park). What's your opinion on it?

What do you think of cloning?

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What do you think of cloning?

There are a lot of factors in determing what is right and what is wrong. Debate them here, and prove that ultimately either the good out weighs the bad, or vice versa.

Should cloning be legal?

Learn more about cloning

After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Human Cloning
After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Human Cloning

I highly recomend this book to anyone who is interested in cloning. It tells an amazing account of the tale of Dolly, as told by the lead scientist for the project! He shares his opinions on cloning, genetic engineering, and genetic manipulation. It is a great opinion in the debate of genetic engineering, and an overall great book.

 

Genetic Engineering...

The following posts will all be someone's take on genetic engineering. Their ethical stance, economical stance, etc.

Enjoy!

...From the opinion of a cancer researcher

Genetic engineering is a way for us to save millions of people from diseases like cancer, diabetes, or even the common cold. If we were allowed to manipulate genes, we could either give the gene of cancer to a test subject so we could further learn about diseases, or we could find a gene that prevents humans from getting cancer all together. Life would be good; nobody would have to die prematurely anymore. Sure, there would still be starvation and all that, but once we get advanced enough in genetic manipulation, perhaps we could even find a way where the body repels hunger as well. We have nothing to lose except a few test subjects! And a few people are a very small price to pay to save thousands, even millions. Some people simply aren't able to see the big picture. Sure, today you might call it immoral, but when your loved one catches cancer you'll say it's the most good-natured and helpful study there is. We would be hailed as the generation who stopped early death; how's that sound? We wouldn't even have to use human subjects for the most part. We could use mice to get a better understanding of cancer in general, and then move up to animals that more closely resemble humans, all the while getting a better understanding of cancer. Once we feel we have a good knowledge of cancer and have moved up to genetically engineering monkeys, we could very well try it out on humans with little to no risk. We're not even limited to cancer! We could use the same process for (theoretically) every disease known to mankind. As another added bonus, the more we use genetic engineering, the more complex and advance things we can do. It's just like cars; at first they were very basic, but with time we can develop more features, and ultimately get a better car. There is nothing to lose! We should allow genetic engineering to be legal immediately without hesitation.

Stem Cell Research Can Help Cure Cancer!

Stem Cell Research Can Help Cure Cancer!
Stem Cell Research Can Help Cure Cancer!

...From the opinion of a historian

I believe genetic engineering should be legal, with some constraints however. If genetic engineering was legal, our past wouldn't be so much of a mystery. We would be able to understand extinct animals, how they acted, and even the impact they had on humans at a time. Our ecosystem is so delicate, perhaps these historic animals are a crucial missing link to help other species survive. Maybe they weren't ready to die; everyone/thing deserves a second chance. We could find a way to help them help themselves. We would have new food sources, and more importantly a better understanding of history. History is so important to understand because it helps us understand our foundation, and allows us to learn from the mistakes of our fathers. Even research on a single animal could possibly help us understand those who came generations before us. Perhaps with great luck and great scientific advancement, we could find the DNA of a previously-dead historical figure, and 'rebirth' them. Of course they wouldn't have any knowledge of their 'previous' life, because I doubt we can exactly replicate the brain DNA, past experiences that shaped them, and their skills, but it would still be so fascinating! Just imagine the potential for greatness. Abe Lincoln, George Washington, and Martin Luther King could all be 'brothers' and spread their greatness to each other! Likewise, all throughout history there have been assassinations of the president. If we genetically manipulate a clone (or multiple clones) of the president, terrorists and/or extremists would have less chance to harm the president. Likewise, VIPs or people in danger could clone themselves. Think of what great history that will make in the future! Imagine how different life would be if Abe Lincoln wasn't assassinated (ok, maybe not that different, but you get my point). A large part of history is learning from our mistakes; we should take advantage of this new technology to be the generation that goes the extra mile for security. So long as genetic engineering is used responsibly and overseen by the government, I see no issue.

...From the opinion of a business person

I see no possible way that genetic engineering can help anyone. The price of the American dollar is already being lowered, and genetic engineering wouldn't help. If we were to just increase the production of food, its price will naturally deflate, further lowering the dollar's value. True, food value is inflating, but maybe that's good. America could use a small inflation just for the sake of international trade. The economy can recover itself naturally. The last thing we need is some chicken-cow thing terrorizing our citizens. If we allow scientists to be in control, no longer will we have a democracy, but rather a dictatorship lead by scientists.

Think about it; if they are in control of genetic manipulation, they can control production however they want. I could just see it now. "Hey you, yeah you. You're a farmer right?" The poor little farmer responds, "Listen, I have a family! Don't do this to me!!" The scientist, struck with his new-found power proclaims, "It would be a terrible accident if your corn grew poorly this year. I suggest you pay me if you would like to keep your crops up to par. If you know what I mean."

The sheer thought of scientists becoming gangsters can make anyone shutter. If some idiotic person did make stem cell research legal, they better keep a close eye on who they allow to use this technology. Money is the root of all evil (except when used responsibly), and I know if some people had the chance they would destroy the economy in a heartbeat for personal profit. Almost no prices would be stable; as scientists study and find new ways to change up crops and cattle, prices would be constantly fluctuating. And it wouldn't just be the food economy!

I'm sure soon puppy stores would be overflowing the cloned puppies. Can you imagine how strange that would feel? I dare say, it would be cloned love. It would be like loving a stuffed animal, it's not real! In fact, I bet soon enough those money-hungry CEO's would want cloning technology to clone their non-living products. Workers producing products would become obsolete. It's almost like scientists are like, "Let's see, how can we replicate the Great Depression for personal profit? Oh! I know! Let's create a technology that puts workers out of business, dumps tons of products on our stores, and eventually the product makers won't be making profit." And I can see all the other scientists in the background, while taking notes: "Brilliant! Wonderful! Why didn't I think of that?!" Our economy does not need this. What's worse; having a few people suffer from cancer, or almost the whole country suffer from poverty? I mean, I guess it could slightly help the movie business. I mean, no longer would they have to spend months creating animated robots to take over the world; they could just get actors to play clones taking over the world! The movie business might die after clones *do* take over the world and they get sued, but that's a small detail. If the government has any mind of their own, they will ban stem cell research.

Pick up some genetic gear!

Interested in genetic engineering? Check out some products amazon has on it:

...From the opinion of Adolf Hitler

Of course genetic engineering should be legal. In fact, I personally will make it legal. There is simply so many possibilities we could do to with genetic engineering. We could make the rest of the world the master race, but that would take away the honor of a master race. No, those in the master race must truly be blonde hair blue eyes by blood. Rather, we could use genetic engineering to super power all those in the master race. We would become capable of doing so much more than just exterminating the Jews; we could exterminate everyone except the master race! Marriages would be arranged so hidden traits couldn't come out, and eventually we would arrange the marriages so that everybody would be homozygous, then go ahead and wipe out those heterozygous. Slowly we would narrow down those unable to become the ideal human, only using genetic manipulation to super power ourselves. Using the power of genetics, we would eventually narrow down the master race to so much more than just blonde hair and blue eyes. They would have to be tall, no diseases in their genes, have a muscular build, have a small nose, and perfectly symmetrical eyes. And that's just the start! No valuable lives would be lost in the research, we have plenty of Jews off in concentration camps ready to be tested, and if necessary we could force them to breed in order for more test subjects. Once we've mastered this new technology, we could do so many things!

The possibilities are endless! We could begin by finding the DNA of a terrible disease - pretend the Ebola virus is around when I was alive - and also find an immunization gene (I'm sure there's one somewhere) and apply it to all those belonging to the master race, than force the Ebola virus onto several genetically created Jews. After we do that, all we do is ship those Jews each off to a different continent, spreading the virus around the world, killing off everyone even more effectively than concentration camps! We could find test subjects and perform tests on them to see if we can alter their genes after they are born! Or, my personal favorite, we could create Jews so hideous and with such terrible genes, and keep them alive in a museum for the pleasure of the master race! Jew zoos, Jew museums… oh the possibilities! Forget nuclear warfare, we have something of much greater power right under our noses. While those nations fight for the rights to bomb, we will use this technology more powerfully than anyone ever could have imagined!

Should the government over see genetic engineering?

Should genetic engineering be legal? Should the government put restraints on it?

Should genetic engineering be legal?

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...From the opinion of a poet

And a Christian perspective

(Quick note: This one is pretty harsh, so take it with a grain of salt. There are different ways to interpret the bible, and likewise there are different opinions of genetic engineering.)

The world swirls around,

Trees fly by you, dressed with leaves,

Such peace, tranquility, not a sound.

"I'm in love with you"

The words ripple through the silence

And she looks up at you.

Her eyes are plain and beautiful

But don't shed a hint of emotion

Her skin is pale, and looks dull

You hesitate for a moment, curious

The earth below you begins to shift

Mother Nature is furious.

Cloned love, artificial love

She is not real. But she isn't fake.

She is in limbo, deprived of

Herself, as humans try to overthrow God, entire nations!

They look up in the heavens, shouting

"Ha! You are not the only one capable of creation!"

And for one moment, they feel more powerful than God,

They have fooled themselves,

Destined to Hell. Repent now, he will forgive. Do not further prod!

The apple may look sweet now,

But wait until you are exiled from Eden.

You will know than that you are man, nothing else. It is time to bow

Down to your God, your savior

Know your place, he has a plan for you,

Worship him, acknowledge him as the creator

Man will always desire power

It is what keeps men up at night, plotting their brother's downfall,

And what turns sweet victory sour.

Just be content with what God has given us;

He knows what is best, he sculpted you inside and out,

And most importantly, he loves you.

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Did I miss any products related to this article? Got a favorite sci-fi book that involves cloning? Add it here!

...From the opinion of a starving man

I absolutely feel we should use genetic manipulation to our advantage. Every day I watch my brothers on the street die because we lack food, and this could all be prevented if we could just tap into some technology. There already is enough food in the world to feed everybody, but still someone in this world dies about every 7 seconds (or something like that). But other people will always be motivated by money, and giving yields no profits for them. So I propose the government take things into their own hands, and use this technology to cheaply and effectively produce food for those dying of hunger. I see no reason why not. They already aid the elderly, the sick, why shouldn't the hungry be helped? I am not a bad man, I just made one mistake. I deserve another chance, but if I'm not fed I'll never have the energy to chase after my life. And every day I wait, I see my life and dreams and hopes go that much farther away from me. And I cry. I always tell myself God loves me, and that he'll help me through this. But the more I look at humans, the more I see sin all across their face. They won't help me, but this technology that God has granted us may. I've sold my dignity, my house, and all my belongings just for food. If I could start to save up for rebuilding my life by not having to feed myself, I could contribute to society. In fact, I could help other people! I could lead others to the light, I could provide them a home. If I could just provide for myself, I could open up so many possibilities. Yet, right now the sheer thought of moving pains me. My stomach is in shreds, and I know my time is near. I'm not ready to die. I haven't done anything in my life - maybe if I just had a dad or mom to support me I would be ok. But I was abused, and I never thought I would end up here. When I got an A on a test, I would think what a great person I would become when I grew up. Look at me! I'm out on the streets, dying. Strangers cast me disdainful looks, and adults usher their children away from me. It's like I'm a walking piece of fire - everyone is running from me. I'm a hazard to them. It's become clear to me I can't help myself, and no one else is going to help me anytime soon. The government is my last hope. Please, allow genetic engineering to be legal. Think of the little people your feet, even if just for one moment.

...My Opinion

Genetic engineering is by far one of the most evil plans man has come up with. I expressed a lot of my feeling very bluntly in the poet's opinion, but there is just so much more to it than that too. First and most importantly, God does not make mistakes. He created everything on the earth, and when he was done he looked back and he said it was good. We are in no place to judge God's art, or try to smear the paint on the canvas. God knows what is best for us, and for that same reason he has nothing but the best intentions for us. Stop questioning him, and stop trying to play God's role. Man will fool himself into thinking he is more powerful than God. There is no doubt that once genetic engineering was rolling, other advancements would come. Parting waters, stopping earthquakes, etc. We are in no place to mess with this world. Secondly, very soon things would spin out of hand. Sure, it would start with just a rat. But you just wait until humans are being tested shortly after, and babies are raised for the sole person of science. Why not just ship them off to a concentration camp? In fact, why let the parents choose the child's fate? They shouldn't be able to do that. It's like arranged marriages; it simply is out of the child's control, but he could be strongly against it later in life. There is no doubt this technology would be used for medical terrorism as well. Not all people have good intentions, and there are those that genuinely want to hurt others more than anything. They thrive off of pain. And until now, there hasn't been much effective way to spread medical terrorism; but now the horrors are so easy to accomplish! Just like finding a suicide bomber, they find two willing participants and genetically manipulate the baby to have the Ebola virus. Millions will die so quickly if the "bomb" is placed in the right place. It may wipe out everything. This technology is more deadly than nuclear technology. It's only a matter of time before war breaks out, and if WWIII ever occurs, there is not a hint of doubt in my mind it would be because of genetic engineering. There simply is no good that could come out of it. There simply is no good in turning your back to God, and declaring you're better than him. It just doesn't work that way. Finally, if cloning and all this sci-fi adventure stuff goes through, life just won't be valuable anymore. Anybody can have a kid now; there is no joy left in it. There's no surprise in whether it has the dad's nose, or the mom's face. Because it's all been decided. You're dog died? So sad, let's get a sample of its DNA and bring it back. The question would be; is the soul brought back from heaven to earth, or does the same person go to heaven multiple times? Brain cells aren't brought back, so they wouldn't have any memory or skills they had in the 'past life'. Humans would lose an appreciation of ourselves, our lives, and life around us. We would lose all feeling of beauty, romance, and such. But hey, as long as it makes economical sense it could do no harm. Look back at slavery. The new world capital would be MN - MoNey. How terrible and corrupt humans would be is not a question of how badly, but how soon.

So, what's your verdict?

Is genetic engineering right?

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Share your opinion

Is genetic engineering right?

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    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      AliciaMae is right. We cannot raise animals outside the womb of another, female, animal. She is also wrong about the possible gains from genetic engineering. Some people have already been doing it, and so far it has been a disaster. That won't change. People who want to mess with the genomes like that should be shipped off to another planet. Leave the rest of us alone. Breeding is NOT a form of "genetic engineering". It is a natural possibility that is inherent in the organisms. The traits being placed in GMO will never occur in nature, and are costing the human race an incalculable amount. I'm not against ethical work. Genetic engineering is simply not ethical.

    • gregorymbrooks profile image

      gregorymbrooks 5 years ago

      Kind of long, but well designed. :) I enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      AliciaMae 5 years ago

      You clearly don't understand what genetic engineering is - you only know the scary parts that aren't even possible yet (we can't grow embryos in test tubes, they do have to be carried in a womb!). I worked in a lab for years and did genetic engineering - I isolated human DNA from blood, cloned the genes of interest into bacteria, then ran experiments in tissue culture to determine how hormones affect genes that affect blood pressure. And you know what - no mutant animals or humans or embryos were created in that process. Your fear and misplaced religious convictions would stall great work that has already led to improving quality of life, understanding the human body, and preventing early death.

    • Ram Ramakrishnan profile image

      Ram Ramakrishnan 5 years ago

      Whatever that humans attempt now, nature has been doing all the time. Also, humans are part of nature and so is all that they attempt.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 6 years ago from Virginia

      Genetic shenanigans is just ripe for the law of unintended consequences. As a wise Canadian Colonel once said, "Once the worms are out of the can, the only way to get them back in is to use a bigger can". Genetic engineering is measured in terms of the life of a man or woman but we cannot foresee the damage that may be done for the generations years ahead in the future. What if the genetic discrepancies are unable to be identified? I say leave well enough alone. Don't get me started with patents on genomes or I may rant for a fortnight on "Owning the right to a genetic sequence!!!" Preposterous. But..... enough of my diatribe. Great lens!

    • profile image

      PushinTheBoundries 6 years ago

      @triathlontraini1: There is no Gain Without Risk.

    • Mrmakingusmile LM profile image

      Mrmakingusmile LM 7 years ago

      Awesome Lens. Good info. You got me thinking. Thank you for making me smile.

    • JeremyCrow profile image

      JeremyCrow 7 years ago

      Excellent interactive lens on this very interesting topic. Thanks for sharing. I have SquidLiked and Favorited this lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      i am doing a project for school and i found information in the my opinion part of your website very helpful. I would like to use it but before i do i need to know how or where you got the information and how you want me to cite it so i can give you credit. Please reply ASAP. Thanks

    • profile image

      Quirina 8 years ago

      Mj, I acknowledge that you did a big effort in making this lens, it surely was a lot of work. However, I do not agree with other comments that this is a great lens. First of all, you are completely mixing up 'cloning' and 'genetic engineering', which is not the same thing per se. Then, there is not 'it' to cloning, since the different application areas are totally different stories (like engineering bacteria, plants, animals, humans... ?) and should be evaluated separately. But most of all, the majority of what you wrote in this lens is sentimental, imaginary, and non-factual. It is kind of nice of you, but also revealing that you admit you do not understand the molecular process of cloning/genetic engineering. And a last remark: The history of genetic engineering started about 8000 years ago with traditional plant breeding.

    • profile image

      agpass 8 years ago

      im working on biology project, i need the name of the person who posted information about genetic engineering. can some one tell me who the person is. thanks

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 8 years ago

      Good job.

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 9 years ago

      I'm torn on the issue. Although it could allow us to continue as a species, it's also loaded with risk. Hmmm. Great lens! 5*

    • profile image

      Dav1d0 9 years ago

      Hi, thanks for joining Squidoovision ;) Good luck and keep lens rolling in the future ;)

    • profile image

      Dav1d0 9 years ago

      Hi, thanks for joining [url=http://www.squidoo.com/squidoovision]Squidoovision[/url] Good luck and keep rolling in the future ;)

    • raswook profile image

      Jeff Wendland 9 years ago from Kalamazoo, MI

      Well done indeed, excellent info on cloning.

    • TheBookGarden1 profile image

      TheBookGarden1 9 years ago

      A fantastic amount of info here,well done!