The Perfect Baby?

When a couple wants kids, there’re a lot of factors to take into account. Firstly, does their family have any history of genetic disorders or a pattern of illnesses? If so, do they want to take the risk of their children having the disease as well? They also need to take into account whether their DNA contains alleles that may be incompatible. Again, the question is whether they want to take the risk.

Of course, there are methods of bypassing all of these factors. There is the method of artificial insemination or even genetic alteration for those who are desperate. But someone is going to find issues with these methods, no matter when or how they are used. In some cases, like if the parents do not happen to have any problems with their genetic capabilities, then maybe artificial insemination or genetic alteration are not necessary. There’s no telling how much further this will develop and what kind of methods people will take in order to get result they want.

Food on a Global Scale

As a student studying biotechnology, one of the most important things we learn about is the many applications of biotechnology; agriculture is one them. Using genetic modification, we are able to produce crops that are more nutritious and/or resistant against extreme weather conditions. Not only does this provide even more food for an ever-expanding population, it makes food-products cheaper and more available for low-income individuals or those who are less fortunate.

However, this puts a strain on farmers. They either purchase the seeds to produce the new crop or they stick with the crop they are currently growing. For some, the answer would be obvious — purchase the new seeds. But for others, it may be a concern. That concern would be whether their current buyers accept the use/consumption of GMOs.

My personal stance on the matter would be to sell the genetically modified seeds to countries of less fortune or to countries where settlements are constantly being destroyed by natural disasters. This would provide some stability to any lack of food-stuffs and create a lightened load for the authorities to deal with more pressing matters. Theoretically, there shouldn’t be any problems with consuming GMOs. Almost everything put into the DNA of crops comes from another creature/plant we can consume and we do not experience any of the side-effects that some people may suggest when GMOs are consumed. On top of that, our bodies process all sorts of DNA in the same way and adding an extra gene into our DNA does not change that process.

To Change or Not to Change?

There’s always been the question of “Should we modify DNA?”. Most people would say that it’s perfectly fine while others would say that it goes against religious beliefs. Personally, I believe that it’s a great technology to have and develop.

Just a couple nights ago, my family and I were discussing whether genetic modification was a positive or negative thing and, during the discussion, my father said this: “Genetic modification, like many other things, is like a blank canvas and what we do with it is what makes it good or bad.”

Much like the use of drugs can be used in a positive or negative way, the modification of something or someone’s genes can be for better or for worse. Modifying the genes of various food crops to be more resistant to disease, insects, and weather is very beneficial, not only to countries that have large populations but also to countries where food is a luxury.

Then there’s the question of where the line should be drawn. Should we stop at the modification of plant and animal DNA? Or should we stop at correcting a person’s DNA so they will be “normal”? Both of these points can be argued but here are my thoughts on the issue.

For the modification of plant and animal DNA, only modify the genetics of food products. Although there’re a number of people who believe that genetically modified foods (GMOs) are bad for your health, there has been absolutely no scientific study that suggest this. Not only does the modification of plant and animal DNA make food cheaper, it makes food more abundant for people who are desperate to get a morsel everyday.

In the case of modifying human DNA, I believe that we shouldn’t modify human DNA. There is great suffering that affected people may have to endure. But there are just as many who have actually learned to live with their disabilities and live fruitful lives. Famous movie/TV star Peter Dinklage, a “dwarf” (for those Game of Thrones fans), and well-known Christian speaker Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms and legs, have thrived despite their circumstances.

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