Argument against Germline Genetic Engineering
Our society ought to forbid entirely the development or deployment of germline genetic engineering because it is inefficient and unsafe. For the past few years, there have been many deaths as a result of genetic engineering. There is also increased fear that the viral vectors, which are used in transferring the DNA into the cell, may initiate lethal immune responses and even cause growth of tumors. An experiment on mice, while appearing very normal at birth developed cancerous tumors at forty- time is the rate of the mice whose traits were not modified. Even though there are efforts to eliminate this technical problem and a possibility of future elimination, today, it stands out as a major threat to health. For instance, it is believed that inserting the trans-genetic material into the genome may disorder the functional genes and result in mutation. The outcome of an additional experiment in mice, where DNA was inserted into the embryo was mice without eyes.
In any case, germline genetic engineering is not profoundly required to save human lives or solve people’s suffering. The target population of ‘futuristic persons’ who are only embryonic; therefore, there is no way of accountability for the prospective generations that might suffer the negative consequences of wrongful or unsuccessful germline engineering on their former relatives. It is also likely to bestow unnecessary power on the genetic engineers that might be misused.
Germline genetic engineering is that it threatens individual independence of the people going through the process. Even though it is true that embryos are not persons, it is also true to argue that they will eventually become persons upon fertilization. Parents may be inclined to go for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis so that they are able to have some influence on the traits or qualities they want to see in their children. This question is of moral concern because in any case the supposed children may grow up, rebel and be what they want to become.
The cultural effect of treating human beings as being perfectible is completely negative in its entirety. The ability to modify the characteristics of children would make them a commodity that can be commercially traded, while changing the notion that they are precious miracle occurrences. This implies that the individuals who fall short of the predetermined and attainable standards that are considered ideal would be considered “damaged,” while the individuals possessing the standard ideals would be the at the epicenter of the society’s dominant groups in politics and economy. The impact of this situation is increased prejudices that will only work to amplify the already existing discrimination.
Additionally, the open physical differences that may be caused by germline genetic engineering may lead to the loss of care and respect for the less auspicious individuals like the disabled persons. This may result in the view that this group of people is the pitied errors of nature. Moreover, it is also feared that genetic engineering could join other technologies that that only prioritize technical innovation at the expense of environmental preservation. It is; therefore, difficult to comprehend how long the world that accepts genetic engineering would be able to sustain or further enhance any sense of respect for natural surroundings.
Germline genetic engineering assumes that the traits or features to be enhanced or else suppressed are known. However, it is common knowledge that what might seem good in one environment may be might be harmful in another setting. For instance, a gene for lymphocyte adhesion has advantages and a mutation of the same gene may protect an individual from acquiring HIV, while the genes for sickle cell anemia are harmful in homozygous but beneficial in heterozygous.
Germline genetic engineering is tantamount to interfering with nature, playing God and interfering with the wisdom of natural evolution. Compared to the traditional medical interventions whose effects were limited to the individuals, genetic engineering is fundamental and profoundly has an impact on multiple generations. On this basis; therefore, moral caution concerning genetic engineering should be exercised.
Another argument is that germline genetic engineering may lead the destruction of a huge number of embryos. The development and the implementation of the engineering requires the creation of a large number of embryos but only a small number stand successful engineering and implantation, while the rest are either rejected or discarded. It should also be noted that the human belief in embryonic life pose moral claims on the issue of the destruction of the unsuccessfully engineered embryos.
Germline genetic engineering may result to eugenics, an attempt to harmonize the human race to be uniform and healthy. The success of such biotechnology would reduce biological diversity, a reason that is advocated for by civil rights activists against germline genetic engineering. Historically, communities of color have been subjected to unpleasant racial and social application of genetic theories. The prospective success of germline genetic engineering will only provide another platform for the manifestation and advancement of racism. Furthermore, the case of germline genetic engineering has not been helped by scientists who claim that it might help in the cure of some conditions like criminal behavior or homosexuality.