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Imagine a future earth where genetic diseases such as autism have been eradicated. No children are born blind, deaf or handicapped. An accident victim who looses a limb no longer needs to be handicapped, a cancer patient can have his internal organs replaced as they fail, an HIV patient can have all new blood he needs. This is a world made possible by genetic engineering and cloning.
But is this new technology a gift sent from god for the betterment of humanity? Or is it a test, like Pandora’s box, to see if we can resist the temptation of playing god? I believe that, if properly legislated, genetic engineering and cloning can revolutionize our society and bring us to a new level of prosperity.
Recently, in a lab in England, a sheep named Dolly became the first mammal to be cloned. This success spread wonder, amazement and fear around the world. People began asking if human beings could be cloned. Religious leaders around the world fought to prove that a clone could never be human. Governments immediately passed laws forbidding the cloning of a human being. Many countries outlawed cloning research at all. The discovery of a technique for replicating mammal tissues could revolutionize medicine as we know it.
I agree that a full human should never be replicated because of the moral implications, but I also feel that, if it becomes possible to replicate individual parts, science should pursue this discovery to fruition. The replication of individual human body parts could save a lot of lives. No more children would have to die waiting for a kidney or heart transplant. No more cancer patients would have to die because no suitable bone marrow was available. The cloning of a person’s own organ in a lab could one day save their lives.
Genetic Engineering, on the other hand, has a lot more possibility of being corrupted. While it may be able to improve the lives of many unborn babies who carry genetic diseases, Genetic Engineering also has the possibility of being used to create the perfect soldier. A man who is strong, fast and perfectly obedient could be created to fight the wars of the future. The episode of the original Star Trek entitled “Space Seed” shows the danger that these genetic supermen could cause. Being superior in every way to their creators might create a feeling of unrest among them or the rest of the population. This feeling of unrest could lead to a fatal civil war where no one survives.
Before any critical decisions are made, however, I believe that much research will be done into the morality of these topics and I believe that the correct decisions will be made. No matter what the future will hold, I am certain that it will be better than the present.