Essay on Genetic Engineering Should Not be Banned

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Genetic Engineering Should Not be Banned

Genetic engineering is a hotly-debated topic. On the one hand, giant corporations, ambitious scientists and powerful politicians are pushing forward with projects they claim will benefit mankind, and on the other, public opinion, environmentalists and consumers' associations are concerned that these projects are insufficiently safeguarded and pose irreversible risks to life on this planet. In this paper I will set out the main issues in the debate on genetic engineering. First I will summarise the history of genetic science, and look at the origins of the debate. Then I will discuss the manipulation of plant, animal and human genes in turn, and consider the possible benefits and
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130).

However, as we near the turn of the century, the debate has widened considerably, and taken on a new practical significance. The first cloned animals (sheep and cows) are now actually alive (and breeding), and 'Genetically modified crops are already entering the human food supply in the UK' (Nuffield Report, p.1).

The remainder of this essay is devoted to exploring the issues relating to GE of plant, animal and human genes, and discussing their advantages and disadvantages in turn.

The debate about GE in plants is of particular urgency, since 'Genetically modified crops are already entering the human food supply.' Nuffield Council on Bioethics, April 1998(p.1) and, in many cases, there is 'no way of knowing which food has genetically altered ingredients' (BBC News Online, March 18th)

Supporters of GE argue that 'Genetic know-how might provide the means to feed the millions of hungry people in the world.' (Karp, preface, p. xi) This hope applies particularly to the plant world. Scientists hope to produce crops which are resistent to diseases, able to survive in rough conditions, and have a long shelf life in the store or supermarket. 'Food for Our Future', a web site produced by the UK Food and Drink
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