It is beyond any doubt that, in this day and age,
genetic engineering has made inroads into our
lives. Little did we know about what far-
reaching opportunities it might bring about a
few decades ago and scientists are on the
brink of a breakthrough in terms of cloning
creatures. However, there seem to be
opposing opinions whether these advances
might do humankind more harm than good . It
is the time to question ourselves, is genetic
engineering a blessing or a curse??
Genetic engineering can make foods that were
once safe to eat a threat to people with
allergies. Because this process is
unpredictable, new substances can develop in
engineered foods. The FDA (Food And Drug
Administration) knows this and does some
testing, but there are no guarantees.
Besides the new allergies, inserting genes into
plants and animals can cause existing genes
to react in unknown ways, including reduced
nutritional values and changes in organism
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
By engineering plants to be resistant to
pesticides and herbicides, we
necessarily affect the web of life. Other
plants and animals not considered will
be impacted. As has been said, when
one string in the web is tugged, it pulls
all of the others.
Biodiversity in danger
Engineering specific traits into select
species threatens the planets
biodiversity by upsetting the natural
balance. Engineered organisms spread
uncontained into the wild. They also
spread their genes into the gene pool.
Once engineered organisms are
released, there will be no recalls, and as
they continue to upset nature, it may be
impossible to undo the damage.
Has associated consequences and possible irreversible effects
Even scientists themselves believe that genetic
engineering can have irreversible side effects,
especially with hereditarily modified genes.
After all, the process at the present uses viral
factor to carry functional genes to the human
body. Viral genes as they are, they are likely to
leave certain side effects. Also, where the
functional genes are placed in the genome is
not exactly known. In the event that they
replace other important genes instead of the
mutated ones, other forms of diseases or health
conditions are likely to develop. Is the world
equipped to battle new illnesses that may turn
out to be deadlier than ever?
Transgenic biotechnology presents an exciting range of
possibilities, from feeding the hungry to preventing and
treating diseases; however, these promises are not
without potential peril. Some of the issues that need to be
considered are given as follows:
Are species boundaries “hard” or should they be viewed
as a continuum? What, if any, consequences are there of
blurring species boundaries?
What, if any, research in genetic engineering should be
considered morally impermissible and banned (e.g.,
research undertaken for purely offensive military
Will these interventions redefine what it means to be
Are there long-term effects on the environment when
transgenic or genetically modified organisms are released
in the field?
It is obvious, considering the
disadvantages of genetic engineering that
there is need to proceed with caution in
use and the absolute necessity of
creating as well as enforcing ethical
legislation to prevent misuse also.
Otherwise, this miracle of science may
turn out to become a curse to the
mankind and the whole world.