Genetic engineering is the cutting-edge technology where the genes of a particular organism are manipulated. The characteristics and structure of a cell are directly changed with precise molecular cloning and transformation techniques. Medical history shows that the term genetic engineering comes from Dragon’s Island, a classic science fiction novel written by Jack Williamson in 1951.
Genetic engineering has evolved over the years. After cloning animals successfully, scientists moved on to developing human stem cells. The practice of cloning animals is done to change and improve the usefulness of animals for human beings. As usual, controversy surrounds this unique scientific practice. The animals (genetically engineered) are used as models for various human diseases. Many critics feel that there is noticeable increase in the overall production quotient of the cloned animals.
Plants are also used for genetic engineering studies and research. When done in plants, the overall crop production can be increased dramatically. Growth rates can be increased and plants can become resistant to deadly diseases. Scientists have learned that using a few resources (pesticides and fertilizers) with this special technology can increase food production for countries around the globe. This special technology can also be used to increase the population of endangered species, and help them adapt to their unique environment. One must also consider the idea that the animals can become resistant to the diseases and pathogens that can harm them.
Genetic engineering has shown positive results, but it still has critics. Church leaders, scientists, and biotechnology companies are not in favor of genetic engineering. The public has even come forward with its criticism. Is it safe to eat genetically modified foods? This is the main concern that the critics have for genetic engineering. At this point, scientists have not been able to use genetic engineering to perform DNA transformation. Their experiments have lead to the creation of mutations. The cons associated with mutations are not well-known.
Tough restrictions and bans should be placed on this technology. The restrictions and bans can help prevent serious consequences in the future. There has not been in-depth research on genetically modified foods. Intensive studies show that the impact on one’s health depends on the type of change made (Key, 290-8). The foods produced at this point show no adverse effects on people, but some are known to cause serious allergic reactions (Leary, 7). This is the primary reason why tight restrictions should be placed on this technology.
The genetically modified organisms have the ability to spread in our natural environment and interbreed with natural organisms. Those modified to resist insects and pests have disturbed the ecology of these insects and pests (Metz, 442-450). As a result, other insects and pests emerge and may need more powerful and expensive pesticides. They may also need more powerful and expensive insecticides. This cycle may repeat itself until it wipes out the insects in our ecosystems. This may have a negative impact on herbivore wildlife that depends on weeds for survival.
From a spiritual standpoint, nature belongs to God. God has appointed us stewards. He has also given us the opportunity to create technology that can help support nature’s balance. Unfortunately, the interpretation of our responsibility is not clear to many. We must answer to God for our actions. This includes the usage of scientific technology. Human beings are part of the creation, but we are not the creators (Page, 58). When genetic engineering reaches the point of creating the perfect plant or animal, the desire for God’s original creation will decrease.
Patenting genetically altered genes is another major concern for genetic engineering. Big corporations are using this technology to hold a monopoly on genetically modified seeds. They are making huge profits from their monopoly. Will they create a monopoly on genetically modified genes? This is a question that worries many people around the world. If genetic engineering research is not controlled with restrictions, future generations may be held ransom by greedy corporations.