assignment 2: GENETIC ENGINEERING AND HUMAN-ANIMAL HYBRIDS: HOW CHINA IS LEADING A GLOBAL SPLIT IN CONTROVERSIAL RESEARCH
The ethical issue of concern addressed in the article is the application of genetic engineering on human beings in China and some other countries. Genetic engineering is used to form genetically edited human babies, human-animal hybrids, and human head transplant. The issue is controversial because it involves manipulation of human beings genetically, and that the scientific research’s in china are unregulated, creating a divide in the global scientific research world on what is acceptable or not. The technology called CRISPR gene-editing technology, and it is used to edit human embryos genetically.
The goal of the writer is to expose China’s participation in the controversial activity of genetically engineering human beings, how their actions are influencing other parts of the world to partake the same activity, and how these actions may worsen the existing health inequality, and create a two-tier system in the medical research industry. The kinds of practices cited in the article are the use of CRISPR gene-editing technology in china and Russia, human head transplant, and formation of human-animal hybrid. The consequences of such research and practices are that it can lead to a two-tier system where some nations will put in place biotechnological regulations to govern their practices, while others without regulations will act fast to keep up with the advances in technology putting aside ethical considerations. It can also lead to prejudice against the genetically engineered humans in regions the practices are not accepted. The advantage of the CRISPR technology is that it can be used to prevent someone from developing a genetical disease since it can be edited out. The parties affected by such practices are other nations not taking part in the practice due to unavailability of an internationally accepted standard and regulations with regards to genetic engineering, and the public in cases of predatory health practices. The international science community and the public, in general, have the right to call for a stop in these practices and work towards internationally agreed regulations and standards.
Using common good approach to evaluate the morality of the issue, I think it is very unethical to apply genetic engineering to human beings especially when standards regarding and regulating such practices have not been agreed upon internationally. In as much genetic engineering can be beneficial in correcting certain human health problems, and in expanding research, these practices do not put into consideration the impact on the international scientific community and the dignity of humans in general. It is therefore important that foreign policies and regulations be put in place and adhered to by every nation.
An article closely linked to the article on genetic engineering is, “Chinese Scientists Try to Cure One Man’s HIV With Crispr” by Megan Molteni. The article is about a clinical trial conducted in China to cure a man of HIV with the use of CRISPR to disable the CCR5 gene. Even though the procedure cured his cancer, he did not get freed from HIV, although the edited stem cells continue to carry the protective CCR5 gene mutation. The practice has been seen as progress in the scientific field in the quest for finding a cure for HIV. The foundation for HIV research had rewarded researchers with 65 billion dollars to find a cure for HIV using different strategies, including CRISPR. The study contradicts what I’ve found in the previous study because, in this article, human gene editing seems acceptable, and is being carried in different parts of the world including in Los Angeles to edit HIV patients’ hemopoietic stem cells. The author supports the use of gene editing to cure diseases such as HIV and cites the attempted trials in CRISPR as progress in science.
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