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Positive and Negative Advances in Biotechnology Essay

Biotechnology and the research associated with it have become an issue in which people either support, or are against. Technological advances in this day and age have given scientists the ability to do things that were only dreamed about in the past. Research has given them the ability to find cures for diseases, to allow people to live longer with new medications, and also to solve crimes that may have been unsolved due to a lack in technology. Biotechnology has given humanity a great deal of advances with new discoveries, but some may think it’s a privilege that is being abused.

I believe that biotechnology is one of the greatest discoveries that mankind has achieved this past decade. It has led the way to maintain and improve the quality of life we live. Biotechnology has very positive effects and is encourage by many people, although there are many laboratories who have taken the power of science and used it for purposes that are selfish, unethical and unnecessary.

Biotechnology has proved to change the lives of many people, it has given those suffering from diseases a chance to live their life without the fear they are going to die. Eliminating a disease or at least controlling its symptoms is the greatest breakthrough that we have yet seen. Medical biotechnology has helped those with cancer combat it and live worry free, it has prolonged the lives of those who may have already had death wishes.

Currently the use of plastic artificial body parts, a fairly new concept, has allowed people to maintain their lifestyle without interruptions or fear of death. Its given doctors the ability to get a heart beating again once it has stopped. The fact of genetic testing has eased many minds in hopes they will not have any lifelong health problems. Although testing can reveal problems and then worry them more. I believe that the worry is worth it because you are now aware of possible health risks and can live your life accordingly.

In reading “Tinkering with Destiny,” there was a statement that I thought was very bothersome relating to the issue of genetic testing. Eleni, the mother of the family suffering from cancer had said, “If I had¬†known I carried the disease, I never would have gotten married and had children” (517). People who think this way have limited knowledge of life and would rather make their life pointless and worthless than try to overcome an obstacle they are presented with. How would she feel if her mother never had her?

HIV and AIDS are still the greatest threat affecting many in the gay community, as well many heterosexuals. I understand the fear people may have in getting tested because when I first decided to get tested I worried for days until I got the results and was very happy in knowing I was perfectly healthy. Even if I had been infected I would still want to be aware to prevent passing it to others and change my life accordingly. Research in this field has come a long way in lengthening the lives of these ill-fated individuals who unfortunately know they eventually will die because of this disease. Although there is no cure yet, biogenetic research will play a large part in solving this horrible epidemic. Many of these medical advances are results of researchers who should be applauded for the work they do. Improving and maintaining a person’s life is the greatest gift someone could receive, it would not be possible without research.

It is not only the medical field or improving human life that biotechnology is greatly appreciated for, but also in the use of crime solving and forensic work. Blood and other bodily fluids has been a great help in solving crimes which the offenders may believe is a “perfect crime,” where they won’t be caught. It has not only helped solving crimes, but solving crimes from the past where the technology was not available to do DNA testing. In reading William Tucker’s story, “DNA in court,” he mentions “From its inception, DNA profiling has implicated the guilty and exonerated the innocent in a way that was previously unthinkable” (579). Imagine how thankful an innocent person sitting in jail is to the person who had the idea to test DNA samples found at the crime scene. As well the guilty can now be properly punished for crimes they commit. Watching many court cases, I have learned that a crime is always traceable with the use of technology, its amazing how a crime can be solved because of skin cells found under the victims fingernails, which lead investigators to the offender.

We have seen all the good that biotechnology can offer but there are individuals and laboratories that take advantage of modern science and use it for purposes that should be outlawed or at least strictly regulated. The big controversy has been with cloning and altering the genetics of babies, also called “designer babies.” It is my opinion that the parents that go along and encourage such research are acting in their own selfishness and vanity. Birth is a natural process and should not be altered in any means except if it is to treat the child for any problems. What is the purpose of cloning and choosing your child’s characteristics? Isn’t the whole joy of childbirth to see what two people made?

Imagine all the heartbreak parents would have if their baby came out all disfigured? Also, if the idea of making your own baby was possible, would the parents be held liable if the child’s characteristics are not what he/she wanted? Could the child then sue for such an improper selection? The whole idea is absurd and the government should forbid it. It is these researchers who will later be responsible for any wrongdoing as a result of this sort of experimentation.

The researchers believe in fact they are doing a good thing for mankind, they get so caught up in their work that they believe they are providing a need for humanity. This was especially seen in “Brave New World” when Huxley wrote about the director of the research facility who believed his work was very important. He said, “You should see the way a negro ovary responds to pituitary! It’s quite astonishing, when you’re used to working with European material.” Reading this passage gave me the feeling this person believes they are of a high status and how he must be so involved in his work that he can become upset when someone mentions something other than what he believes.

The idea of living forever is something we sometimes see in movies, but it is now being researched to see if such a thing is possible. Imagine that, living forever, again messing with nature and the creation of God. If should a thing were possible we could stop the evolution of humans and prevent any future for anyone or us. Scientific research for ideas such as these and the government funding they receive is wrong. Government money should be used for important purposes such as healing the sick and improving and maintaining human life.

Biotechnology is a fairly new concept and I believe it should be fully encouraged for meaningful purposes but not because of vanity and selfishness. We should not tinker around with the greatest gift that god gave us, life. Perhaps some of the biotechnological advances not related with medicine or crimes are okay, but they should be strictly regulated. There should be some sort of ethical code of conduct of what should be allowed by law and what is not. We are in an age for many great advances, before its too late we should consider what is necessary to research. What is the difference if a child has blue eyes versus brown eyes anyway?

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