Human life is created by the careful and methodical combination of molecules, hormones, sugars and amino acids. DNA in the form of 23 chromatid strands from a mother and father host are combined and a human fetus develops in the womb. The final goal of this combination is a genetically sound child – a child who is smart and kind and healthy. But sometimes hiccups happen in the process, and disease occurs.
These imperfections can come in the
form of one extra (or one less) chromosome, it can be a chemical imbalance in the brain, it can be a missing receptor – and it can be avoided. These diseases can be found in the fetus’s DNA through genetic testing a few weeks after conception. The results are sent to genetic engineers, who can change the genetic makeup of the fetus to fix the genetic abnormality before the child is born. Thus creating a genetically healthy child. However, these changes would come at a cost to society. Using genetic engineering would cause a change in gene flow, mutation (which is necessary for evolution) and drift (random changes to traits in a population). These changes could cause for a halt of evolution or even these ceasing of things like different races and hair colors.
There are many ethical issues surrounding genetic engineering. Some people say that disease prevention is morally acceptable because it raises the quality of life for the individual, others say it is highly unethical because scientists are “playing God”. There is also the issues surrounding the cut offs. Should genetic engineering only be applied to terminal cases? Scientists can genetically alter DNA of an unborn fetus to have cosmetic changes, like blond hair and blue eyes – is this okay? Genetically engineered humans would have a huge impact on society. Would super diseases form to replace the old ones? The diversity of society would greatly decease, things could go south very quickly.
Through genetic engineering things like race and culture could all become one. Genetically altering genes so that every human on earth is white skin
ned and brown haired, specifically gendered and with no abnormalities could become mandatory, which would start to create a society with similar ideals and upbringings. This would end racism, sexism, and prejudice but it would have a severe effect on our societies next generations due to gene similarities and a lack of diversity that has kept us alive thus far in history.
Dystopian novels like Divergent and The Giver are about genetically altered societies and the chaos surrounding man-made perfection in humans. Are these novels going to become a reality for citizens of the 21st Century? The technology is nearly there to create genetically perfect human beings, but what are the consequences
of genetic perfection on a society? It may only be a matter of time before we find out.
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Simmons, Danielle, Ph.D. “Genetic Inequality: Human Genetic Engineering.”Nature.com. Nature
Publishing Group, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.