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Genetic Engineering Brings More Harm Than Good

1999 words - 8 pages

Until the recent demise of the Soviet Union, we lived under the daily
threat of nuclear holocaust extinguishing human life and the entire
biosphere. Now it looks more likely that total destruction will be
averted, and that widespread, but not universally fatal, damage will
continue to occur from radiation accidents from power plants, aging
nuclear submarines, and perhaps the limited use of tactical nuclear
weapons by governments or terrorists.

What has gone largely unnoticed is the unprecedented lethal threat of
genetic engineering to life on the planet. It now seems likely, unless
a major shift in international policy occurs quickly, that the major
ecosystems that support the ...view middle of the document...

Everywhere are claims that genetic engineering will feed
the starving, help eliminate disease, and so forth. The ideas and
evidence presented below are intended to help evaluate that central
question.

Some scientists believe that, since genetic codes determine the
appearance, personality, health, and aging process of human beings, if
that genetic information in the chromosomes could be decoded and the
genetic mechanism were understood, we could potentially control and
improve our health, quality of life, and the biochemical processes in
our bodies. In other words, we could control our own fate. Also, we'd
be able to improve the genes of other animals and vegetables so that
they could serve humankind better. At first sight, these ideas seem
reasonable and attractive. However, careful analysis reveals that they
are based upon an incorrect theory--the theory of gene determinism.

Genes are often described as 'blueprints' or 'computer programs' for
our bodies and all living organisms. Although it is true that genes are
specific sequences of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) that are central to
the production of proteins, contrary to popular belief and the now
outmoded standard genetic model, genes do not directly determine the
'traits' of an organism.1a They are a single factor among many. They
provide the 'list of ingredients' which is then organized by the
'dynamical system' of the organism. That 'dynamical system' determines
how the organism is going to develop. In other words, a single gene
does not, in most cases, exclusively determine either a single feature
of our bodies or a single aspect of our behavior. The genes are
processed through the self-organizing ('dynamical') system of the
organism, so that the combination of a complex combination of genes is
subjected to a variety of environmental factors that lead to the final
results, whether somatic or ! behavioral.

^a gene is not an easily identifiable and tangible object. It is
not only the DNA sequence which determines its functions in the
organisms, but also its location in a specific chromosomal,
cellular, physiological and evolutionary context. It is therefore
difficult to predict the impact of genetic material transfer on the
functioning of the extremely tightly controlled, integrated and
balanced functioning of all the tens of thousands of structures and
processes that make up the body of any complex organism.

What has gone largely unnoticed is the unprecedented lethal threat of
genetic engineering to life on the planet. It now seems likely, unless
a major shift in international policy occurs quickly, that the major
ecosystems that support the biosphere are going to be irreversibly
disrupted, and that genetically engineered viruses may very well lead
to the eventual demise of almost all-human life. In the course of the
major transformations that are on the way, human beings will be
transformed, both intentionally and unintentionally, in...

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