Saturday, February 09, 2008

My two cents (genetic engineering)

I've decided to have a new feature on my blog. It's called "my two cents" and will feature essays about a variety of issues.

Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering is the process of moving genes from one organism to another. One example of genetic engineering is genetically modified food, which is made when the genes of one organism are moved to a plant species. This could be done to make crops more insect-resistant. Other examples include cloning, which is the process of creating a genetically identical organism, and gene therapy. Gene therapy involves implanting a desired gene in a virus. This virus is then injected into a sick individual in hopes that this gene will help them.

Genetic engineering is not in itself a good or a bad thing, as there are both positive and negative uses for this knowledge. For example, gene therapy is a positive use of genetic engineering. Genetically modifying food is another positive example. However, even this can have problems. For example, problems could arise when genetically modified crops manage to breed with wild species of plants.

The case of cloning is similar to that of genetically modified food. It can be good or bad. Stem cell research, a type of cloning, can be very helpful with research into cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. Cloning whole organisms, on the other hand, upsets genetic diversity.

As is shown here, genetic engineering, like many other forms of new technology, can potentially be either helpful or harmful, depending on how it is used.


Jean said...

Nice essay, Annie. I'm glad you presented both sides of the issue. There's certainly a lot to think about there, and people who immediately dismiss genetic engineering as evil or embrace it wholeheartedly for every use probably haven't really thought it through.

Nymeth said...

That is a very well-written essay, Annie, and I wholeheartedly agree with the points you make. I think it's silly to be 100% against this kind of technology, because a lot of good can come out of it, but of course that ethical issues have to be taken into account, and things need to be done responsibly.

I can tell I'm really going to enjoy this new feature of your blog :)

Lis Garrett said...

Annie ~ I'm going to enjoy your 2-cents essays very much! Great job!

Kim L said...

Sounds like you have a great start for your new feature! You've put together a great essay with some important points. People often argue back and forth about the issue of genetic engineering without really knowing the facts. They need to be informed first, way to put the facts out there.

Somer said...

Hi Annie! I think it's great that you're thinking about such complex topics. I look forward to reading your two cents on future topics!

To complement The Giver, you might enjoy reading Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix and/or House of Scorpions by Nancy Farmer, both of which deal with cloning. (Your mom might want to take a look at House of Scorpions first just to make sure you're ready for that one, but I think I would probably let my 11-year-old daughter read it if she wanted to.)

Carl V. said...

Great idea for a new feature, Annie. Have to say I'd love to have a clone of me to send to work every day and return with my paycheck. Actually I'd rather have a robot to do that, that way I could just shut him down at night and wouldn't have to entertain him. :)

Debi said...


Thanks for all of the nice comments!


I've read The House of The Scorpion before, but I haven't read Double Identity. Thanks for the suggestions!


It would be nice to have a clone to do my math homework!


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