Genetic Engineering Kinds of genetic manipulation




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TitleGenetic Engineering Kinds of genetic manipulation
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Genetic Engineering


Kinds of genetic manipulation

  • Breeding

  • Pre-implantation selection of embryos

  • Direct gene manipulation

    • recombinant DNA technology
    • genetic modification/manipulation (GM)
    • gene splicing


Somatic vs. Germline Engineering

  • Somatic genetic engineering

    • Gene therapy
    • Affects adult cells
    • Not inheritable
  • Germline genetic engineering

    • Changing genes in eggs, sperm or early embryos
    • Affects unborn baby
    • Inheritable


Negative vs. Positive Engineering

  • Negative engineering (cures and treatment)

    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Diabetes
    • Autism
    • Spinabifida
    • Etc.
  • Positive engineering (enhancement)

    • Intelligence
    • Health
    • Strength
    • Appearance
    • Longevity


Non-human Genetic Engineering

Benefits:

Medical: engineering beneficial bacteria/viruses

engineering better animal test subjects

better vaccines

Agricultural: plants/animals with better disease resistance

plants/animals that grow bigger, faster or more efficiently

Other: animals that are faster, fish that are prettier, roses that smell sweeter, etc.

Non-human genetic engineering (cont.)

Concerns:

Messing with nature

Permanently changing genomes

Loss of diversity

Fear of unexpected consequences

Human genetic engineering

Benefits
  • Selecting against genetic diseases and disorders

  • Making people healthier, stronger, smarter, more attractive, etc.

  • Giving parents choices



Human genetic engineering

Concerns:

Same as for non-human genetic engineering plus:

Altering the history of the human race

Reducing human diversity

Playing God

Choosing among possible people

Treating people as means, not ends

Treating children as commodities

Slippery slope

Division of society into “haves” and “have nots”
    • The “naturals” and the “GenRich”


Cloning

  • Creating an exact genetic replica

  • Natural cloning

    • Asexual reproduction
    • Identical twins
  • Identical genes identical organism



Artificial cloning

  • 1952: first cloned vertebrate -- frog

  • 1986: first cloned mammal – mouse (from embryonic cells)

  • 1996: first cloned mammal from an adult cell -- Dolly the Sheep

  • Since 1996: cow, cat, dog, horse, water buffalo, camel



Human reproductive cloning

Creating a baby that is genetically identical to an adult human
  • Benefits:

    • Treatment for infertility
    • Creating a child for the medical benefit of another, e.g. a bone marrow donor for a sick sibling
    • Parental choice?


Human reproductive cloning

Objections:

1) Safety concerns

2) Human individuality and autonomy

3) Complex family relationships

4) Undermining human diversity

5) Human dignity (using a person as a means)

Readings

Required:

G. Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (1968), pp. 1243-1248, available at: http://dieoff.org/page95.htm

Guha, Ramachandra, “Radical American Environmentalism and Wilderness Preservation: A Third World Critique” in Environmental Ethics, Vol. 11, No.1 (Spring 1989), pp. 71-83 , available at: http://research.rem.sfu.ca/downloads/REM-656/Guha_1989.pdf

Optional:

Goodpaster, Kenneth, “On Being Morally Considerable”, in Environmental Philosophy, pp. 49-65, available on reserve at the Philosophy Office


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