Ethical Issues of Genetic Research Essay

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Scientific and technological advances are the products of man's inherent desire to improve the society in which he lives. Such progress often accompanies an expansion of intellectual boundaries. As one acquires knowledge, one also encounters new opportunities to be explored. This is true in the area of human genome research. The implications of The Human Genome Project and other attempts to further understand the human genetic code clearly demonstrate the basic principles of social benefit versus social cost. The desired effect is obviously one in which the benefits significantly outweigh the costs. The actual impact of such technology, however, remains only an estimate until this scientific advancement becomes a reality. It is out…show more content…
Once the replacement gene is integrated in cells inside the patient, the cells and the insertion agent are irretrievable. The inserted gene will be an addition, not a substitute, for the defective gene. Problems may, therefore, arise if the supplementary genetic material "alters the cell's regulatory pathways"(232) and produces undesirable consequences. For if the therapy performed is on germ-line cells, adverse effects may influence multiple generations of people. But many view these risks as subordinate to the potential of gene therapy to help reduce and eliminate the social burden of genetic disorders. The ability of gene therapy to affect such disorders,however, is restricted to those caused by recessive X-linked or autosomal mutations. The realm of efficacy for treatment includes individuals afflicted with common disorders such as haemophilia, color blindness, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, phenylketonuria (PKU), cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, and Tay-Sachs disease(226-7). The treatment of such disorders must be monitored so that the replacement gene, once inserted, will be expressed at the appropriate time and place, and in the correct quantity(229). Improvements on regulatory techniques are then necessary to enhance the effectiveness of gene therapy. Furthermore, the effectiveness of such techniques is exceeded by the vast majority of the population afflicted with genetic disorders caused by
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