The Benefits Genetic Engineering For Medical Purposes

957 words - 4 pages

Genetic Engineering has developed by very rapidly over the past twenty years. It is also one of the most controversial topics to go through the United States. From the research gene therapy to the cloning of different animals, genetic engineering can save lives while at the same time, endanger them as well. There are many pros and cons which are being heavily debated by political, scientific, and many other organizations. Most are centered on the idea of using Stem cells as a way of curing diseases.

Stem cells are cells that have the capabilities to develop into many different types of cells in the body. Serving as a type of repair system for the body, they can theoretically divide without limit to take over for other cells for as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. There are three different types of stem cells: totipotent, multipotent, and pluripotent. These stem cells have the potential to cure many diseases in many different areas of health. Such things as cancer and birth defects are caused by cell abnormalities and stem cells can be used to correct these things (NIH, FAQ's, 1). But stem cell research still has a few kinks to fix before it can be called one-hundred percent safe. Pluripotent stem cells, while having great therapeutic potential, face a few technical challenges. Scientists must learn how to control their development into all the different types of cells in the body. Also, the cells now available for research are likely to be rejected by the patient's immune system. Another issue is an ethical one based on the fact that stem cells are taken from human fetal tissue and human embryos. Scientists once believed that human adult stem cells could be used, but that idea was quickly put to rest when scientists discovered that the cells may be damaged by sunlight or toxins in the air, as well as the fact that adult stem cells may contain more DNA abnormalities. Stem cell research could one day lead to the cures of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease (NIH, FAQ's, 1).

Did you know that with the science of DNA manipulation, animal cadavers can be turned into insulin for diabetics? Back in the 80's scientists isolated the human gene for insulin and transferred it into bacteria. Now bacteria cultures are used to produce large amounts of human insulin. DNA manipulation is especially important in medicine, where it holds the hope of curing genetic diseases such as Huntington's, and even some types of...

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