Facts About Genetic Engineering:
- Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification or editing, is the practice of altering the genome of an organism.
- “Genetic engineering” was a term coined in the 1970s to describe the editing and alteration of DNA
- “As of 2014, there were about 40 countries that discouraged or banned research on germline editing, including 15 nations in Western Europe, because of ethical and safety concerns.”(“What are the Ethical Concerns of Genome Editing?” National Human Genome Research Institute, 3 Aug. 2017, www.genome.gov/about-genomics/policy-issues/Genome-Editing/ethical-concerns. Accessed 19 Apr. 2020.)
The principles of bioethics:
These are the four main concepts which will be used:
Respect for autonomy:
The idea that rational individuals should be allowed to make decisions for themselves, and that no one should act against their choices.
The idea that actions should only be taken with the intent of benefitting an individual.
The idea that no actions should be taken which will cause harm to an individual.
The idea that everybody should have fair access to resources.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Opinions on the regulations and use of genetic engineering and CRISPR vary significantly. The main issue regarding this topic is the controversy of non-medical GMs, however, there are compelling arguments for all perspectives.
I believe that genetic engineering for the purpose of medical treatment should be allowed as soon as possible in order to save the patients who are in need. However, it is essential that they are made aware of the risks and benefits that come with this treatment. This must include the stage of research we are in and the unknown variables which may affect the outcome of treatment, ensuring that informed consent is given. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of healthcare providers to ensure that as little harm as possible comes to the patients, and I feel that the principles of beneficence and non-maleficence for this side of the debate outweigh the risks that could be caused.
However, I feel that genome editing for cosmetic/self-modification purposes should not be permitted. It would almost certainly have some negative effect on society, and there is very little justification for this apart from the fact that we could make ourselves and our children exactly the way we want. Based on this and the information above, making non-medical genetic engineering accessible to the public would violate the principles of justice, nonmaleficence, and beneficence.
WHAT IS YOUR REACTION?
I am curious to see how my project has affected you. In the comments below, I would appreciate it if you shared your response to these three questions!
- What worries you most about genome editing technology?
- In ten years, do you expect genome editing do have affected your life?
- After reading this study, what do you think the next steps with genetic engineering should be?