GENETIC ENGINEERING/GENETIC RECONSTRUCTION/GENETIC INTERVENTION Dr. E. T.

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References:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Robert M. Veatch - Medical Ethics Ronald Munson - INTERVENTION & REFLECTION: Basic Issues in Medical Ethics B.M. Ashley &K.D. O’Rourke - ETHICS in Health Care Florentino T. Timbreza - Bioethics & Moral Decisions Michael A. Monge, M.D. - Ethical Practices in HEALTH & DISEASES INTRODUCTION

GENETIC ENGINEERING/GENETIC RECONSTRUCTION: 1. Direct intervention in the genetic make-up of a living being, the replacement of genes or the addition of new genes to the genetic “code” or “blueprint” of an organism. (Varga: 82) Involves the whole process of altering genes, the building blocks of life, in order to achieve a radically, or a completely new, human being. (Overduinn & Fleming: 172-173) The effort to repair genetic defects at their genotypic source in the genes and chromosomes rather than in their phenotypic effects and, further, to control and produce at will new combinations of genetic traits in offspring. (Ashley/O’Rourke) (1)

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GENETIC ENGINEERING includes: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. Genetic testing Genetic screening Prenatal diagnosis Genetic control In vitro fertilization Embryo transfer Cloning Sperm and zygote banking Sex selection Surrogacy Organic Transplant Contraception Amniocentesis Artificial insemination

‘Genetic Engineering: Its morality and value to biotechnology:
• Scientists can take useful genes from plant and animal cells and transfer them to microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria that are easy to grow in large quantities. Products that once are available only in small amounts from an animal or plant are then available in large quantities from rapidly growing microbes. Ex. – the use of genetically engineered bacteria to produce human insulin for treating diabetes. (2)

• Can be useful for animal and plant breeders. G.E. allows desirable genes from one plant, animal, or microorganism to be incorporated into an unrelated species, thus, avoiding the constraints of normal cross breeding. A wider range of traits is available to the breeders and these traits can be incorporated more quickly and more reliably into target species than possible with conventional methods. Ethical consideration: Cloning, freezing of embryos, post mortem insemination, and sperm banking or cryopreservation constitute an offense against the respect due to human beings by manipulating them. APPLICATION OF ETHICAL THEORIES: Pope John Paul II - “a strictly therapeutic intervention whose explicit objective is the healing of various maladies such as those stemming from chromosomal defects will, in principle, be considered desirable, provided it is directed to the true promotion of the personal well-being of the individual without doing harm to his integrity or worsening his conditions of life. Such intervention would indeed fall within the logic of the Christian moral tradition.” (3)

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Genetic testing Chromosomal manipulations or interventions are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his or her integrity and identity. Prenatal diagnosis It is done with the purpose of aborting the fetus if it is found to be deformed, Genetic screening It is to be condemned as a violation of the unborn child’s right to life. Genetic control. In vitro fertilization Embryo transfer Constitute an offense against the respect due to human beings by manipulating them. contrary to the unity of marriage and to the dignity of the procreation of the human person

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Cloning Sperm & zygote banking Sex selection Surrogacy

11. Organic Transplant

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MORAL PROBLEMS AND QUESTIONS 1. With Rawl’s concept of justice as “fairness”, or “giving one one’s due”, should we regard sex exchange operations on transsexuals a way of granting what is due to them therapeutically? “What is due” to a transsexual is recognizing his/her true feelings, e.g., a male with the feelings of a female, and vice versa; hence, it seems a sex change would do justice to him or her. Discuss the moral issue of this matter. Suppose you are born without a uterus, a natural defect – i.e., something “unnatural” for a human being; you cannot carry a child, which is again “unnatural” for a woman. Your ovaries, however, are functional –i.e., you produce eggs. Modern medical science has a technological solution to your “natural defect” or incapacity to carry a child, namely: surrogate motherhood. Would you or would you not undertake the process? Justify your stand on this issue. Some moralists contend of tampering that medical interventions (e.g., AIH, AID, etc.) are ways of tampering with nature. Should we not rather view these means as “correcting” natural defect (e.g., obstruction in the fallopian tube and other forms of infertility) which is “unnatural” so as to make it “natural”? Should it not be our moral obligation to correct the “unnatural” in compliance with the dictates of natural moral law? (5)

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