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Rachana Sangem
HELA 10
Mrs. Grimaldi
13 February 2016
Genetic Engineering: Is It Worth It?
Nathan Myhrvold said “Cloning would only copy the genetic aspects of people who are
already here,” when talking about whether or not reproduction would make any big changes to
the world. However, cloning has always been a topic of extreme controversy, especially when it
comes to the ethics of the genetic engineering process. For many years now, people have been
arguing about the medical breakthroughs and economic solutions that genetic engineering could
help with, whether or not it is good for the environment, and its ethics. Though a few problems
may happen along the way, they won’t compare to the number that genetic engineering could
solve.
Through the Human Genome Project, geneticists have already learned the entirety of a
human DNA structure, and others have found how to recombine human DNA with that of a
bacteria to create insulin for diabetics. With a little more research, they could be on their way to
completely curing diseases like Alzheimer’s and heart problems (Sandel). But at a time like this,
is it acceptable to play God? Though curing Alzheimer’s would definitely be a breakthrough,
people are worried that others might modify the cure’s use to make it a memory booster, to cram
before a test or just to remember things through old age. The point of genetic engineering is to
change lives of those that are suffering, and not make the fortunate even more fortunate. The
same idea goes for increasing one’s strength. Medical issues like paralysis or dystrophy are fine

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to cure through these methods, but steroids and general genetic improvement should not
considered against the same standards.
One of the main issues those against genetic engineering seem to worry about is if others
will take things too far, use it for personal enhancement, or manipulate their children’s genes for
the best start in life (Naik). Since others give advantages to their little ones through expensive
schools and classes, creating better genes for brawn and brains don’t seem like a big deal. The
only difference is that the first group worked for it. But changing genes to be their best is
considered selective breeding, and it allows “manufacturing” people, with the result being a
world of Barbies and Kens. Everyone would start to be smarter and stronger as this catches on,
and would once again be on mostly even footing. The problem lies in that this limits genetic
diversity.
Though the creation of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, would not limit
genetic diversity, some believe that it could allow new disease outbreaks or not be as healthy.
Yet, in places with droughts, a modified plant may be a good investment to have. When there is
so much poverty in the world, GMOs could allow more people to be fed. Corn yields, especially
in Iowa, have increased greatly in the last thirty years (Piller). To keep up with the skyrocketing
numbers, bioengineered corn was suggested to farmers so they could count on crops no matter
the weather. GMOs are already approved by the FDA and USDA, but only because not much
was known about it at the time of the rules’ creation. This causes joy for some and concern for
others. Because of their helpfulness to the economy and population, people everywhere should
be appreciative of the extra yields in a time of need.
Those against bioengineering argue that it should be banned due to the safety concerns
and genetic improvement being of no need, saying “synthetic biology” is too extreme (Vastag).

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However, with a few more regulations put in place, it could be a technology that starts a new
chapter in history. Major diseases like diabetes have already been treated, but there are many
more that could be helped by this. In addition, plants can help with food supply. Though people
have been arguing for many years about this topic, the solution should be genetic engineering
being allowed for its helpfulness and possibilities for breakthroughs.

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Works Cited
Naik, Gautam. "New Advance Toward 'Designer Babies'." Wall Street Journal. 04 Oct. 2013: p. A.3.
SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.
Vastag, Brian. "Coalition Urges Tighter Controls on 'Extreme Genetic Engineering'." Washington
Post. 14 Mar. 2012: A.4. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.
Piller, Dan. "Drought-Tolerant Seeds on Way." USA TODAY. 31 Aug. 2012: p. B.3. SIRS Issues
Researcher. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.
Sandel, Michael J. "The Case Against Perfection." Atlantic Monthly. April 2004: 50+. SIRS Issues
Researcher. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.