philosophy

Read Stock ch. 1-6

Q1
a)(1 page)
In no more than 300 words: What is the difference between somatic genetic engineering and germline genetic engineering? Why is the latter more controversial?

b)(1 page)
In no more than 300 words: Stock claims that genetic engineering has enabled us to take control of the evolutionary process. What does he mean? Is such control over evolution a good thing?

Q2 make a comment of the above essay

a)(a short paragraph)
Somatic genetic engineering is a therapy that changes/fixes/replaces genes in just one person. The targeted cells are the only ones affected. The changes that are made in genetic engineering are not passed on to that person’s offspring. It involves adding genes to cells other than egg or sperm cells. For example, if a person had a disease caused by a defective gene, a healthy gene could be added to the affected cells to treat the disorder.
Germline engineering involves changing genes in eggs, sperm, or very early embryos. This type of engineering is inheritable, meaning that the modified genes would appear not only in any children that resulted from the procedure, but in future generations.
Germline engineering is much more controversial than somatic genetic engineering because it impacts the inheritance patterns of humans. Also, as mentioned on page 13 with the example of Hitler’s beliefs in racial purification, it can be potentially used for human enhancement.

b)(a short paragraph)
Throughout the chapters, Stock claims that genetic engineering has enabled us to take control over the evolutionary process. In chapter 3, he talks about the Human Genome Project, which was an international scientific project to help map the entire genetic material of a human being. He also raises the assumptions that one day, we will be able to purposefully manipulate our genes (pg.42), which would be very significant on the evolutionary process. If we were able to do this, we would be able to alter and eliminate many diseases and illnesses that cause death.
Stock also raises the possibility of us being able to create “designer children”, which means to purposefully give our kids the genes that will enhance their intelligence, beauty, or athletic ability (pg. 62). Although this seems bizarre and far out of reach, it really isn’t any different than altering our offspring’s genes so that they don’t inherit a family disease. Any time we intervene on the evolutionary process, we raise the risk of creating a much greater problem. This is why controlling the evolutionary process is not a good thing. It can potentially cause more harm than good in the long run.

Stocks Book link:
http://books.google.com/books?id=XLjJ4AkYWUgC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

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