The Ethical Issues of Genetics

Jennifer and Megan

The human genome project is very useful, but presents difficult political, social, and cultural issues for society to deal with. A living organism is one of the hardest things to study. Its DNA is always duplicating within its cells and can mutate at any moment. The knowledge of how these strands of DNA work is not necessarily a good thing to know. Some have the capability of taking this knowledge and misusing it.

There are a few ethical dilemmas that cause people concern. Being able to actually procure the information that lies in the DNA's structure could result in people being discriminated against for a job or insurance coverage. Another issue that causes controversy is the prospect of selection of fetuses during pregnancy. This causes a huge commotion with pro-lifers. The idea of creating the "perfect" child is also disturbing. The other side of the coin is that we would be making advances in medical science that are unrivaled at this time, such as cures for hereditary diseases.

Here are a few good questions to be thinking about, next time they make Jurassic Park advances: Are the developments in genetics worth the loss in people's privacy? Would you like to be the unborn child that was a girl instead of a boy? Would you want to be discriminated against in the job place, because of the possibility of a future illness? Would you like being turned down for health insurance, because you may have heart disease in the future? On the other side, would you not like to have the causes for all genetic diseases solved?

These are all controversial questions that may or may not disturb you. There is great importance in discussing questions of this nature, before other genetic advances are made.