Genetically Modifying for Smarter Living Things

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GENETICALLY MODIFYING FOR SMARTER LIVING THINGS Scientific research holds vast propensities for advancement. Recently, the genetic modification of organisms has been a topic for debate among professionals and the general public alike. For instance, some value the benefits of modifying foods to contain greater nutritional benefits, yield larger crop sizes, and have resistance to many diseases. Alternatively, others fear the undetermined risks for consuming scientifically altered organisms long-term, and deem the act of tampering with the makeup of living things unethical. Even more controversial, is the modern idea of using genetic modification techniques to create smarter organisms, largely, humans. Advances in scientific research—particularly in the field of neuroscience—make this argument not only possible, but entirely plausible and more attainable than ever before. Thus, it is important to become educated on the topic and explore both sides of the argument prior to making this prospect a reality. This paper argues that it is beneficial for researchers to generate smarter living organisms through genetic modification based on the biological, social, and ethical benefits that arise from the act. Although there are many factors that influence an individual’s ability to learn, the most biological support for the process of learning involves the strengthening and weakening of synaptic connections in the brain. These processes, termed long-term potentiation (LTP)

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