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Human Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons

Many human genetic engineering pros and cons are there that have stayed the same since its introduction to humanity. When the humans started harnessing the atomic powers, then just few years later they also start recognizing the effects of human genetic engineering on mankind. Many scientists have a belief that gene therapy can be a mainstream for saving lives of many people. A lot of human genetic engineering pros and cons have been involved since the evolution of genetic engineering. Mentioned below are some important advantages or pros of genetic engineering:

Other human genetic engineering pros and cons include the desirable characteristics in different plants and animals at the same time convenient. One can also do the manipulation of genes in trees or big plants. This will enable the trees to absorb increased amount of carbon dioxide, and it will reduce the effects of global warming. However, there is a question from critics that whether man has the right to do such manipulations or alterations in the genes of natural things.

With human genetic engineering, there is always a chance for altering the wheat plants genetics, which will then enable it to grow insulin. Human genetic engineering pros and cons have been among the concern of a lot of people involved in genetic engineering. Likewise the pros, certain cons are there of using the genetic engineering. Mentioned below are the cons of human genetic engineering:

The evolution of genetic engineering gets the consideration of being the biggest breakthroughs in the history of mankind after the evolution of atomic energy, and few other scientific discoveries. However, human genetic engineering pros and cons together have contributed a lot in creating a controversial image of it among the people.

All these eventualities have forced the government of many countries to make strict legislation laws to put restrictions on different experiment being made on human genetic engineering. They have made this decision by considering different human genetic engineering pros and cons.

Human Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons

3.1 (62.07%) 3251 votes

Read more:

Human Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons

Human Genetics Alert – The Threat of Human Genetic Engineering

David King

The main debate around human genetics currently centres on the ethics of genetic testing, and possibilities for genetic discrimination and selective eugenics. But while ethicists and the media constantly re-hash these issues, a small group of scientists and publicists are working towards an even more frightening prospect: the intentional genetic engineering of human beings. Just as Ian Wilmut presented us with the first clone of an adult mammal, Dolly, as a fait accompli, so these scientists aim to set in place the tools of a new techno-eugenics, before the public has ever had a chance to decide whether this is the direction we want to go in. The publicists, meanwhile are trying to convince us that these developments are inevitable. The Campaign Against Human Genetic Engineering, has been set up in response to this threat.

Currently, genetic engineering is only applied to non-reproductive cells (this is known as ‘gene therapy’) in order to treat diseases in a single patient, rather than in all their descendants. Gene therapy is still very unsuccessful, and we are often told that the prospect of reproductive genetic engineering is remote. In fact, the basic technologies for human genetic engineering (HGE) have been available for some time and at present are being refined and improved in a number of ways. We should not make the same mistake that was made with cloning, and assume that the issue is one for the far future.

In the first instance, the likely justifications of HGE will be medical. One major step towards reproductive genetic engineering is the proposal by US gene therapy pioneer, French Anderson, to begin doing gene therapy on foetuses, to treat certain genetic diseases. Although not directly targeted at reproductive cells, Anderson’s proposed technique poses a relatively high risk that genes will be ‘inadvertently’ altered in the reproductive cells of the foetus, as well as in the blood cells which he wants to fix. Thus, if he is allowed to go ahead, the descendants of the foetus will be genetically engineered in every cell of their body. Another scientist, James Grifo of New York University is transferring cell nuclei from the eggs of older to younger women, using similar techniques to those used in cloning. He aims to overcome certain fertility problems, but the result would be babies with three genetic parents, arguably a form of HGE. In addition to the two normal parents, these babies will have mitochondria (gene-containing subcellular bodies which control energy production in cells) from the younger woman.

Anderson is a declared advocate of HGE for medical purposes, and was a speaker at a symposium last year at UCLA, at which advocates of HGE set out their stall. At the symposium, which was attended by nearly 1,000 people, James Watson, of DNA discovery fame, advocated the use of HGE not merely for medical purposes, but for ‘enhancement’: ‘And the other thing, because no one really has the guts to say it, I mean, if we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn’t we do it?’

In his recent book, Re-Making Eden (1998), Princeton biologist, Lee Silver celebrates the coming future of human ‘enhancement’, in which the health, appearance, personality, cognitive ability, sensory capacity, and life-span of our children all become artifacts of genetic engineering, literally selected from a catalog. Silver acknowledges that the costs of these technologies will limit their full use to only a small ‘elite’, so that over time society will segregate into the “GenRich” and the “Naturals”:

“The GenRich – who account for 10 percent of the American population – all carry synthetic genes… that were created in the laboratory …All aspects of the economy, the media, the entertainment industry, and the knowledge industry are controlled by members of the GenRich class…Naturals work as low-paid service providers or as labourers, and their children go to public schools… If the accumulation of genetic knowledge and advances in genetic enhancement technology continue … the GenRich class and the Natural class will become…entirely separate species with no ability to cross-breed, and with as much romantic interest in each other as a current human would have for a chimpanzee.”

Silver, another speaker at the UCLA symposium, believes that these trends should not and cannot be stopped, because to do so would infringe on liberty.

Most scientists say that what is preventing them from embarking on HGE is the risk that the process will itself generate new mutations, which will be passed on to future generations. Official scientific and ethical bodies tend to rely on this as the basis for forbidding attempts at HGE, rather than any principled opposition to the idea.

In my view, we should not allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security by this argument. Experience with genetically engineered crops, for example, shows that we are unlikely ever to arrive at a situation when we can be sure that the risks are zero. Instead, when scientists are ready to proceed, we will be told that the risks are ‘acceptable’, compared to the benefits. Meanwhile, there will be people telling us loudly that since they are taking the risks with their children, we have no right to interfere.

One of the flaws in the argument of those who support the possibility of HGE for medical purposes is that there seem to be very few good examples where it is the only solution to the medical problem of genetic disease. The main advantage of HGE is said to be the elimination of disease genes from a family. Yet in nearly all cases, existing technologies of prenatal and preimplantation genetic testing of embryos allow the avoidance of actual disease. There are only a few very rare cases where HGE is the only option.

Furthermore, there is always another solution for those couples who are certain to produce a genetically disabled child and cannot, or do not want to deal with this possibility. They can choose not to have children, to adopt a child, or to use donor eggs or sperm. Parenthood is not the only way to create fulfilment through close, intimate and long lasting relationships with children. The question we have to ask is whether we should develop the technology for HGE, in order to satisfy a very small number of people.

Although the arguments for the first uses of HGE will be medical, in fact the main market for the technology will be ‘enhancement’. Once it was available, how would it be possible to ensure that HGE was used for purely medical purposes? The same problem applies to prenatal genetic screening and to somatic gene therapy, and not only are there no accepted criteria for deciding what constitutes a medical condition, but in a free market society there seems to be no convincing mechanism for arriving at such decision. The best answer that conventional medical ethics seems to have is to `leave it up to the parents’, ie. to market forces.

Existing trends leave little doubt about what to expect. Sophisticated medical technology and medical personnel are already employed in increasingly fashionable cosmetic surgery. Another example is the use of genetically engineered human growth hormone (HGH), developed to remedy the medical condition of growth hormone deficiency. Because of aggressive marketing by its manufacturers, HGH is routinely prescribed in the USA to normal short children with no hormone deficiency. If these pressures already exist, how much stronger will they be for a technology with as great a power to manipulate human life as HGE?

Germ line manipulation opens up, for the first time in human history, the possibility of consciously designing human beings, in a myriad of different ways. I am not generally happy about using the concept of playing God, but it is difficult to avoid in this case. The advocates of genetic engineering point out that humans constantly ‘play God’, in a sense, by interfering with nature. Yet the environmental crisis has forced us to realise that many of the ways we already do this are not wise, destroy the environment and cannot be sustained. Furthermore, HGE is not just a continuation of existing trends. Once we begin to consciously design ourselves, we will have entered a completely new era of human history, in which human subjects, rather than being accepted as they are will become just another kind of object, shaped according to parental whims and market forces.

In essence, the vision of the advocates of HGE is a sanitised version of the old eugenics doctrines, updated for the 1990s. Instead of ‘elimination of the unfit’, HGE is presented as a tool to end, once and for all, the suffering associated with genetic diseases. And in place of ‘improving the race’, the 1990s emphasis is on freedom of choice, where ‘reproductive rights’ become consumer rights to choose the characteristics of your child. No doubt the resulting eugenic society would be a little less brutal than those of earlier this century. On the other hand the capabilities of geneticists are much greater now than they were then. Unrestrained, HGE is perfectly capable of producing Lee Silver’s dystopia.

In most cases, the public’s function with respect to science is to consume its products, or to pay to clean up the mess. But with HGE, there is still time to prevent it, before it becomes reality. We need an international ban on HGE and cloning. There is a good chance this can be achieved, since both are already illegal in many countries. Of course it may be impossible to prevent a scientist, somewhere, from attempting to clone or genetically engineer humans. But there is a great difference between a society which would jail such a scientist and one which would permit HGE to become widespread and respectable. If we fail to act now, we will only have ourselves to blame.

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Human Genetics Alert – The Threat of Human Genetic Engineering

Human Genetics Alert – The Threat of Human Genetic Engineering

David King

The main debate around human genetics currently centres on the ethics of genetic testing, and possibilities for genetic discrimination and selective eugenics. But while ethicists and the media constantly re-hash these issues, a small group of scientists and publicists are working towards an even more frightening prospect: the intentional genetic engineering of human beings. Just as Ian Wilmut presented us with the first clone of an adult mammal, Dolly, as a fait accompli, so these scientists aim to set in place the tools of a new techno-eugenics, before the public has ever had a chance to decide whether this is the direction we want to go in. The publicists, meanwhile are trying to convince us that these developments are inevitable. The Campaign Against Human Genetic Engineering, has been set up in response to this threat.

Currently, genetic engineering is only applied to non-reproductive cells (this is known as ‘gene therapy’) in order to treat diseases in a single patient, rather than in all their descendants. Gene therapy is still very unsuccessful, and we are often told that the prospect of reproductive genetic engineering is remote. In fact, the basic technologies for human genetic engineering (HGE) have been available for some time and at present are being refined and improved in a number of ways. We should not make the same mistake that was made with cloning, and assume that the issue is one for the far future.

In the first instance, the likely justifications of HGE will be medical. One major step towards reproductive genetic engineering is the proposal by US gene therapy pioneer, French Anderson, to begin doing gene therapy on foetuses, to treat certain genetic diseases. Although not directly targeted at reproductive cells, Anderson’s proposed technique poses a relatively high risk that genes will be ‘inadvertently’ altered in the reproductive cells of the foetus, as well as in the blood cells which he wants to fix. Thus, if he is allowed to go ahead, the descendants of the foetus will be genetically engineered in every cell of their body. Another scientist, James Grifo of New York University is transferring cell nuclei from the eggs of older to younger women, using similar techniques to those used in cloning. He aims to overcome certain fertility problems, but the result would be babies with three genetic parents, arguably a form of HGE. In addition to the two normal parents, these babies will have mitochondria (gene-containing subcellular bodies which control energy production in cells) from the younger woman.

Anderson is a declared advocate of HGE for medical purposes, and was a speaker at a symposium last year at UCLA, at which advocates of HGE set out their stall. At the symposium, which was attended by nearly 1,000 people, James Watson, of DNA discovery fame, advocated the use of HGE not merely for medical purposes, but for ‘enhancement’: ‘And the other thing, because no one really has the guts to say it, I mean, if we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn’t we do it?’

In his recent book, Re-Making Eden (1998), Princeton biologist, Lee Silver celebrates the coming future of human ‘enhancement’, in which the health, appearance, personality, cognitive ability, sensory capacity, and life-span of our children all become artifacts of genetic engineering, literally selected from a catalog. Silver acknowledges that the costs of these technologies will limit their full use to only a small ‘elite’, so that over time society will segregate into the “GenRich” and the “Naturals”:

“The GenRich – who account for 10 percent of the American population – all carry synthetic genes… that were created in the laboratory …All aspects of the economy, the media, the entertainment industry, and the knowledge industry are controlled by members of the GenRich class…Naturals work as low-paid service providers or as labourers, and their children go to public schools… If the accumulation of genetic knowledge and advances in genetic enhancement technology continue … the GenRich class and the Natural class will become…entirely separate species with no ability to cross-breed, and with as much romantic interest in each other as a current human would have for a chimpanzee.”

Silver, another speaker at the UCLA symposium, believes that these trends should not and cannot be stopped, because to do so would infringe on liberty.

Most scientists say that what is preventing them from embarking on HGE is the risk that the process will itself generate new mutations, which will be passed on to future generations. Official scientific and ethical bodies tend to rely on this as the basis for forbidding attempts at HGE, rather than any principled opposition to the idea.

In my view, we should not allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security by this argument. Experience with genetically engineered crops, for example, shows that we are unlikely ever to arrive at a situation when we can be sure that the risks are zero. Instead, when scientists are ready to proceed, we will be told that the risks are ‘acceptable’, compared to the benefits. Meanwhile, there will be people telling us loudly that since they are taking the risks with their children, we have no right to interfere.

One of the flaws in the argument of those who support the possibility of HGE for medical purposes is that there seem to be very few good examples where it is the only solution to the medical problem of genetic disease. The main advantage of HGE is said to be the elimination of disease genes from a family. Yet in nearly all cases, existing technologies of prenatal and preimplantation genetic testing of embryos allow the avoidance of actual disease. There are only a few very rare cases where HGE is the only option.

Furthermore, there is always another solution for those couples who are certain to produce a genetically disabled child and cannot, or do not want to deal with this possibility. They can choose not to have children, to adopt a child, or to use donor eggs or sperm. Parenthood is not the only way to create fulfilment through close, intimate and long lasting relationships with children. The question we have to ask is whether we should develop the technology for HGE, in order to satisfy a very small number of people.

Although the arguments for the first uses of HGE will be medical, in fact the main market for the technology will be ‘enhancement’. Once it was available, how would it be possible to ensure that HGE was used for purely medical purposes? The same problem applies to prenatal genetic screening and to somatic gene therapy, and not only are there no accepted criteria for deciding what constitutes a medical condition, but in a free market society there seems to be no convincing mechanism for arriving at such decision. The best answer that conventional medical ethics seems to have is to `leave it up to the parents’, ie. to market forces.

Existing trends leave little doubt about what to expect. Sophisticated medical technology and medical personnel are already employed in increasingly fashionable cosmetic surgery. Another example is the use of genetically engineered human growth hormone (HGH), developed to remedy the medical condition of growth hormone deficiency. Because of aggressive marketing by its manufacturers, HGH is routinely prescribed in the USA to normal short children with no hormone deficiency. If these pressures already exist, how much stronger will they be for a technology with as great a power to manipulate human life as HGE?

Germ line manipulation opens up, for the first time in human history, the possibility of consciously designing human beings, in a myriad of different ways. I am not generally happy about using the concept of playing God, but it is difficult to avoid in this case. The advocates of genetic engineering point out that humans constantly ‘play God’, in a sense, by interfering with nature. Yet the environmental crisis has forced us to realise that many of the ways we already do this are not wise, destroy the environment and cannot be sustained. Furthermore, HGE is not just a continuation of existing trends. Once we begin to consciously design ourselves, we will have entered a completely new era of human history, in which human subjects, rather than being accepted as they are will become just another kind of object, shaped according to parental whims and market forces.

In essence, the vision of the advocates of HGE is a sanitised version of the old eugenics doctrines, updated for the 1990s. Instead of ‘elimination of the unfit’, HGE is presented as a tool to end, once and for all, the suffering associated with genetic diseases. And in place of ‘improving the race’, the 1990s emphasis is on freedom of choice, where ‘reproductive rights’ become consumer rights to choose the characteristics of your child. No doubt the resulting eugenic society would be a little less brutal than those of earlier this century. On the other hand the capabilities of geneticists are much greater now than they were then. Unrestrained, HGE is perfectly capable of producing Lee Silver’s dystopia.

In most cases, the public’s function with respect to science is to consume its products, or to pay to clean up the mess. But with HGE, there is still time to prevent it, before it becomes reality. We need an international ban on HGE and cloning. There is a good chance this can be achieved, since both are already illegal in many countries. Of course it may be impossible to prevent a scientist, somewhere, from attempting to clone or genetically engineer humans. But there is a great difference between a society which would jail such a scientist and one which would permit HGE to become widespread and respectable. If we fail to act now, we will only have ourselves to blame.

See the original post:

Human Genetics Alert – The Threat of Human Genetic Engineering

Human Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons

Many human genetic engineering pros and cons are there that have stayed the same since its introduction to humanity. When the humans started harnessing the atomic powers, then just few years later they also start recognizing the effects of human genetic engineering on mankind. Many scientists have a belief that gene therapy can be a mainstream for saving lives of many people. A lot of human genetic engineering pros and cons have been involved since the evolution of genetic engineering. Mentioned below are some important advantages or pros of genetic engineering:

Other human genetic engineering pros and cons include the desirable characteristics in different plants and animals at the same time convenient. One can also do the manipulation of genes in trees or big plants. This will enable the trees to absorb increased amount of carbon dioxide, and it will reduce the effects of global warming. However, there is a question from critics that whether man has the right to do such manipulations or alterations in the genes of natural things.

With human genetic engineering, there is always a chance for altering the wheat plants genetics, which will then enable it to grow insulin. Human genetic engineering pros and cons have been among the concern of a lot of people involved in genetic engineering. Likewise the pros, certain cons are there of using the genetic engineering. Mentioned below are the cons of human genetic engineering:

The evolution of genetic engineering gets the consideration of being the biggest breakthroughs in the history of mankind after the evolution of atomic energy, and few other scientific discoveries. However, human genetic engineering pros and cons together have contributed a lot in creating a controversial image of it among the people.

All these eventualities have forced the government of many countries to make strict legislation laws to put restrictions on different experiment being made on human genetic engineering. They have made this decision by considering different human genetic engineering pros and cons.

Human Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons

3.1 (62.07%) 3251 votes

Read more here:

Human Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons

Gene therapy – Wikipedia

Gene therapy is the therapeutic delivery of nucleic acid polymers into a patient’s cells as a drug to treat disease.[1] The first attempt at modifying human DNA was performed in 1980 by Martin Cline, but the first successful nuclear gene transfer in humans, approved by the National Institutes of Health, was performed in May 1989.[2] The first therapeutic use of gene transfer as well as the first direct insertion of human DNA into the nuclear genome was performed by French Anderson in a trial starting in September 1990.

Between 1989 and February 2016, over 2,300 clinical trials had been conducted, more than half of them in phase I.[3]

Not all medical procedures that introduce alterations to a patient’s genetic makeup can be considered gene therapy. Bone marrow transplantation and organ transplants in general have been found to introduce foreign DNA into patients.[4] Gene therapy is defined by the precision of the procedure and the intention of direct therapeutic effects.

Gene therapy was conceptualized in 1972, by authors who urged caution before commencing human gene therapy studies.

The first attempt, an unsuccessful one, at gene therapy (as well as the first case of medical transfer of foreign genes into humans not counting organ transplantation) was performed by Martin Cline on 10 July 1980.[5][6] Cline claimed that one of the genes in his patients was active six months later, though he never published this data or had it verified[7] and even if he is correct, it’s unlikely it produced any significant beneficial effects treating beta-thalassemia.

After extensive research on animals throughout the 1980s and a 1989 bacterial gene tagging trial on humans, the first gene therapy widely accepted as a success was demonstrated in a trial that started on 14 September 1990, when Ashi DeSilva was treated for ADA-SCID.[8]

The first somatic treatment that produced a permanent genetic change was performed in 1993.[9]

This procedure was referred to sensationally and somewhat inaccurately in the media as a “three parent baby”, though mtDNA is not the primary human genome and has little effect on an organism’s individual characteristics beyond powering their cells.

Gene therapy is a way to fix a genetic problem at its source. The polymers are either translated into proteins, interfere with target gene expression, or possibly correct genetic mutations.

The most common form uses DNA that encodes a functional, therapeutic gene to replace a mutated gene. The polymer molecule is packaged within a “vector”, which carries the molecule inside cells.

Early clinical failures led to dismissals of gene therapy. Clinical successes since 2006 regained researchers’ attention, although as of 2014, it was still largely an experimental technique.[10] These include treatment of retinal diseases Leber’s congenital amaurosis[11][12][13][14] and choroideremia,[15]X-linked SCID,[16] ADA-SCID,[17][18]adrenoleukodystrophy,[19]chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL),[20]acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL),[21]multiple myeloma,[22]haemophilia[18] and Parkinson’s disease.[23] Between 2013 and April 2014, US companies invested over $600 million in the field.[24]

The first commercial gene therapy, Gendicine, was approved in China in 2003 for the treatment of certain cancers.[25] In 2011 Neovasculgen was registered in Russia as the first-in-class gene-therapy drug for treatment of peripheral artery disease, including critical limb ischemia.[26] In 2012 Glybera, a treatment for a rare inherited disorder, became the first treatment to be approved for clinical use in either Europe or the United States after its endorsement by the European Commission.[10][27]

Following early advances in genetic engineering of bacteria, cells, and small animals, scientists started considering how to apply it to medicine. Two main approaches were considered replacing or disrupting defective genes.[28] Scientists focused on diseases caused by single-gene defects, such as cystic fibrosis, haemophilia, muscular dystrophy, thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. Glybera treats one such disease, caused by a defect in lipoprotein lipase.[27]

DNA must be administered, reach the damaged cells, enter the cell and either express or disrupt a protein.[29] Multiple delivery techniques have been explored. The initial approach incorporated DNA into an engineered virus to deliver the DNA into a chromosome.[30][31]Naked DNA approaches have also been explored, especially in the context of vaccine development.[32]

Generally, efforts focused on administering a gene that causes a needed protein to be expressed. More recently, increased understanding of nuclease function has led to more direct DNA editing, using techniques such as zinc finger nucleases and CRISPR. The vector incorporates genes into chromosomes. The expressed nucleases then knock out and replace genes in the chromosome. As of 2014 these approaches involve removing cells from patients, editing a chromosome and returning the transformed cells to patients.[33]

Gene editing is a potential approach to alter the human genome to treat genetic diseases,[34] viral diseases,[35] and cancer.[36] As of 2016 these approaches were still years from being medicine.[37][38]

Gene therapy may be classified into two types:

In somatic cell gene therapy (SCGT), the therapeutic genes are transferred into any cell other than a gamete, germ cell, gametocyte or undifferentiated stem cell. Any such modifications affect the individual patient only, and are not inherited by offspring. Somatic gene therapy represents mainstream basic and clinical research, in which therapeutic DNA (either integrated in the genome or as an external episome or plasmid) is used to treat disease.

Over 600 clinical trials utilizing SCGT are underway in the US. Most focus on severe genetic disorders, including immunodeficiencies, haemophilia, thalassaemia and cystic fibrosis. Such single gene disorders are good candidates for somatic cell therapy. The complete correction of a genetic disorder or the replacement of multiple genes is not yet possible. Only a few of the trials are in the advanced stages.[39]

In germline gene therapy (GGT), germ cells (sperm or eggs) are modified by the introduction of functional genes into their genomes. Modifying a germ cell causes all the organism’s cells to contain the modified gene. The change is therefore heritable and passed on to later generations. Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Switzerland and the Netherlands[40] prohibit GGT for application in human beings, for technical and ethical reasons, including insufficient knowledge about possible risks to future generations[40] and higher risks versus SCGT.[41] The US has no federal controls specifically addressing human genetic modification (beyond FDA regulations for therapies in general).[40][42][43][44]

The delivery of DNA into cells can be accomplished by multiple methods. The two major classes are recombinant viruses (sometimes called biological nanoparticles or viral vectors) and naked DNA or DNA complexes (non-viral methods).

In order to replicate, viruses introduce their genetic material into the host cell, tricking the host’s cellular machinery into using it as blueprints for viral proteins. Retroviruses go a stage further by having their genetic material copied into the genome of the host cell. Scientists exploit this by substituting a virus’s genetic material with therapeutic DNA. (The term ‘DNA’ may be an oversimplification, as some viruses contain RNA, and gene therapy could take this form as well.) A number of viruses have been used for human gene therapy, including retroviruses, adenoviruses, herpes simplex, vaccinia and adeno-associated virus.[3] Like the genetic material (DNA or RNA) in viruses, therapeutic DNA can be designed to simply serve as a temporary blueprint that is degraded naturally or (at least theoretically) to enter the host’s genome, becoming a permanent part of the host’s DNA in infected cells.

Non-viral methods present certain advantages over viral methods, such as large scale production and low host immunogenicity. However, non-viral methods initially produced lower levels of transfection and gene expression, and thus lower therapeutic efficacy. Later technology remedied this deficiency[citation needed].

Methods for non-viral gene therapy include the injection of naked DNA, electroporation, the gene gun, sonoporation, magnetofection, the use of oligonucleotides, lipoplexes, dendrimers, and inorganic nanoparticles.

Some of the unsolved problems include:

Three patients’ deaths have been reported in gene therapy trials, putting the field under close scrutiny. The first was that of Jesse Gelsinger in 1999. Jesse Gelsinger was dead because of immune rejection response.[51] One X-SCID patient died of leukemia in 2003.[8] In 2007, a rheumatoid arthritis patient died from an infection; the subsequent investigation concluded that the death was not related to gene therapy.[52]

In 1972 Friedmann and Roblin authored a paper in Science titled “Gene therapy for human genetic disease?”[53] Rogers (1970) was cited for proposing that exogenous good DNA be used to replace the defective DNA in those who suffer from genetic defects.[54]

In 1984 a retrovirus vector system was designed that could efficiently insert foreign genes into mammalian chromosomes.[55]

The first approved gene therapy clinical research in the US took place on 14 September 1990, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), under the direction of William French Anderson.[56] Four-year-old Ashanti DeSilva received treatment for a genetic defect that left her with ADA-SCID, a severe immune system deficiency. The effects were temporary, but successful.[57]

Cancer gene therapy was introduced in 1992/93 (Trojan et al. 1993).[58] The treatment of glioblastoma multiforme, the malignant brain tumor whose outcome is always fatal, was done using a vector expressing antisense IGF-I RNA (clinical trial approved by NIH protocolno.1602 November 24, 1993,[59] and by the FDA in 1994). This therapy also represents the beginning of cancer immunogene therapy, a treatment which proves to be effective due to the anti-tumor mechanism of IGF-I antisense, which is related to strong immune and apoptotic phenomena.

In 1992 Claudio Bordignon, working at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, performed the first gene therapy procedure using hematopoietic stem cells as vectors to deliver genes intended to correct hereditary diseases.[60] In 2002 this work led to the publication of the first successful gene therapy treatment for adenosine deaminase deficiency (ADA-SCID). The success of a multi-center trial for treating children with SCID (severe combined immune deficiency or “bubble boy” disease) from 2000 and 2002, was questioned when two of the ten children treated at the trial’s Paris center developed a leukemia-like condition. Clinical trials were halted temporarily in 2002, but resumed after regulatory review of the protocol in the US, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany.[61]

In 1993 Andrew Gobea was born with SCID following prenatal genetic screening. Blood was removed from his mother’s placenta and umbilical cord immediately after birth, to acquire stem cells. The allele that codes for adenosine deaminase (ADA) was obtained and inserted into a retrovirus. Retroviruses and stem cells were mixed, after which the viruses inserted the gene into the stem cell chromosomes. Stem cells containing the working ADA gene were injected into Andrew’s blood. Injections of the ADA enzyme were also given weekly. For four years T cells (white blood cells), produced by stem cells, made ADA enzymes using the ADA gene. After four years more treatment was needed.[citation needed]

Jesse Gelsinger’s death in 1999 impeded gene therapy research in the US.[62][63] As a result, the FDA suspended several clinical trials pending the reevaluation of ethical and procedural practices.[64]

The modified cancer gene therapy strategy of antisense IGF-I RNA (NIH n 1602)[59] using antisense / triple helix anti IGF-I approach was registered in 2002 by Wiley gene therapy clinical trial – n 635 and 636. The approach has shown promising results in the treatment of six different malignant tumors: glioblastoma, cancers of liver, colon, prostate, uterus and ovary (Collaborative NATO Science Programme on Gene Therapy USA, France, Poland n LST 980517 conducted by J. Trojan) (Trojan et al., 2012). This antigene antisense/triple helix therapy has proven to be efficient, due to the mechanism stopping simultaneously IGF-I expression on translation and transcription levels, strengthening anti-tumor immune and apoptotic phenomena.

Sickle-cell disease can be treated in mice.[65] The mice which have essentially the same defect that causes human cases used a viral vector to induce production of fetal hemoglobin (HbF), which normally ceases to be produced shortly after birth. In humans, the use of hydroxyurea to stimulate the production of HbF temporarily alleviates sickle cell symptoms. The researchers demonstrated this treatment to be a more permanent means to increase therapeutic HbF production.[66]

A new gene therapy approach repaired errors in messenger RNA derived from defective genes. This technique has the potential to treat thalassaemia, cystic fibrosis and some cancers.[67]

Researchers created liposomes 25 nanometers across that can carry therapeutic DNA through pores in the nuclear membrane.[68]

In 2003 a research team inserted genes into the brain for the first time. They used liposomes coated in a polymer called polyethylene glycol, which, unlike viral vectors, are small enough to cross the bloodbrain barrier.[69]

Short pieces of double-stranded RNA (short, interfering RNAs or siRNAs) are used by cells to degrade RNA of a particular sequence. If a siRNA is designed to match the RNA copied from a faulty gene, then the abnormal protein product of that gene will not be produced.[70]

Gendicine is a cancer gene therapy that delivers the tumor suppressor gene p53 using an engineered adenovirus. In 2003, it was approved in China for the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.[25]

In March researchers announced the successful use of gene therapy to treat two adult patients for X-linked chronic granulomatous disease, a disease which affects myeloid cells and damages the immune system. The study is the first to show that gene therapy can treat the myeloid system.[71]

In May a team reported a way to prevent the immune system from rejecting a newly delivered gene.[72] Similar to organ transplantation, gene therapy has been plagued by this problem. The immune system normally recognizes the new gene as foreign and rejects the cells carrying it. The research utilized a newly uncovered network of genes regulated by molecules known as microRNAs. This natural function selectively obscured their therapeutic gene in immune system cells and protected it from discovery. Mice infected with the gene containing an immune-cell microRNA target sequence did not reject the gene.

In August scientists successfully treated metastatic melanoma in two patients using killer T cells genetically retargeted to attack the cancer cells.[73]

In November researchers reported on the use of VRX496, a gene-based immunotherapy for the treatment of HIV that uses a lentiviral vector to deliver an antisense gene against the HIV envelope. In a phase I clinical trial, five subjects with chronic HIV infection who had failed to respond to at least two antiretroviral regimens were treated. A single intravenous infusion of autologous CD4 T cells genetically modified with VRX496 was well tolerated. All patients had stable or decreased viral load; four of the five patients had stable or increased CD4 T cell counts. All five patients had stable or increased immune response to HIV antigens and other pathogens. This was the first evaluation of a lentiviral vector administered in a US human clinical trial.[74][75]

In May researchers announced the first gene therapy trial for inherited retinal disease. The first operation was carried out on a 23-year-old British male, Robert Johnson, in early 2007.[76]

Leber’s congenital amaurosis is an inherited blinding disease caused by mutations in the RPE65 gene. The results of a small clinical trial in children were published in April.[11] Delivery of recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) carrying RPE65 yielded positive results. In May two more groups reported positive results in independent clinical trials using gene therapy to treat the condition. In all three clinical trials, patients recovered functional vision without apparent side-effects.[11][12][13][14]

In September researchers were able to give trichromatic vision to squirrel monkeys.[77] In November 2009, researchers halted a fatal genetic disorder called adrenoleukodystrophy in two children using a lentivirus vector to deliver a functioning version of ABCD1, the gene that is mutated in the disorder.[78]

An April paper reported that gene therapy addressed achromatopsia (color blindness) in dogs by targeting cone photoreceptors. Cone function and day vision were restored for at least 33 months in two young specimens. The therapy was less efficient for older dogs.[79]

In September it was announced that an 18-year-old male patient in France with beta-thalassemia major had been successfully treated.[80] Beta-thalassemia major is an inherited blood disease in which beta haemoglobin is missing and patients are dependent on regular lifelong blood transfusions.[81] The technique used a lentiviral vector to transduce the human -globin gene into purified blood and marrow cells obtained from the patient in June 2007.[82] The patient’s haemoglobin levels were stable at 9 to 10 g/dL. About a third of the hemoglobin contained the form introduced by the viral vector and blood transfusions were not needed.[82][83] Further clinical trials were planned.[84]Bone marrow transplants are the only cure for thalassemia, but 75% of patients do not find a matching donor.[83]

Cancer immunogene therapy using modified anti gene, antisense / triple helix approach was introduced in South America in 2010/11 in La Sabana University, Bogota (Ethical Committee 14 December 2010, no P-004-10). Considering the ethical aspect of gene diagnostic and gene therapy targeting IGF-I, the IGF-I expressing tumors i.e. lung and epidermis cancers, were treated (Trojan et al. 2016).[85][86]

In 2007 and 2008, a man (Timothy Ray Brown) was cured of HIV by repeated hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (see also allogeneic stem cell transplantation, allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, allotransplantation) with double-delta-32 mutation which disables the CCR5 receptor. This cure was accepted by the medical community in 2011.[87] It required complete ablation of existing bone marrow, which is very debilitating.

In August two of three subjects of a pilot study were confirmed to have been cured from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The therapy used genetically modified T cells to attack cells that expressed the CD19 protein to fight the disease.[20] In 2013, the researchers announced that 26 of 59 patients had achieved complete remission and the original patient had remained tumor-free.[88]

Human HGF plasmid DNA therapy of cardiomyocytes is being examined as a potential treatment for coronary artery disease as well as treatment for the damage that occurs to the heart after myocardial infarction.[89][90]

In 2011 Neovasculgen was registered in Russia as the first-in-class gene-therapy drug for treatment of peripheral artery disease, including critical limb ischemia; it delivers the gene encoding for VEGF.[91][26] Neovasculogen is a plasmid encoding the CMV promoter and the 165 amino acid form of VEGF.[92][93]

The FDA approved Phase 1 clinical trials on thalassemia major patients in the US for 10 participants in July.[94] The study was expected to continue until 2015.[95]

In July 2012, the European Medicines Agency recommended approval of a gene therapy treatment for the first time in either Europe or the United States. The treatment used Alipogene tiparvovec (Glybera) to compensate for lipoprotein lipase deficiency, which can cause severe pancreatitis.[96] The recommendation was endorsed by the European Commission in November 2012[10][27][97][98] and commercial rollout began in late 2014.[99] Alipogene tiparvovec was expected to cost around $1.6 million per treatment in 2012,[100] revised to $1 million in 2015,[101] making it the most expensive medicine in the world at the time.[102] As of 2016, only one person had been treated with drug.[103]

In December 2012, it was reported that 10 of 13 patients with multiple myeloma were in remission “or very close to it” three months after being injected with a treatment involving genetically engineered T cells to target proteins NY-ESO-1 and LAGE-1, which exist only on cancerous myeloma cells.[22]

In March researchers reported that three of five adult subjects who had acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) had been in remission for five months to two years after being treated with genetically modified T cells which attacked cells with CD19 genes on their surface, i.e. all B-cells, cancerous or not. The researchers believed that the patients’ immune systems would make normal T-cells and B-cells after a couple of months. They were also given bone marrow. One patient relapsed and died and one died of a blood clot unrelated to the disease.[21]

Following encouraging Phase 1 trials, in April, researchers announced they were starting Phase 2 clinical trials (called CUPID2 and SERCA-LVAD) on 250 patients[104] at several hospitals to combat heart disease. The therapy was designed to increase the levels of SERCA2, a protein in heart muscles, improving muscle function.[105] The FDA granted this a Breakthrough Therapy Designation to accelerate the trial and approval process.[106] In 2016 it was reported that no improvement was found from the CUPID 2 trial.[107]

In July researchers reported promising results for six children with two severe hereditary diseases had been treated with a partially deactivated lentivirus to replace a faulty gene and after 732 months. Three of the children had metachromatic leukodystrophy, which causes children to lose cognitive and motor skills.[108] The other children had Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, which leaves them to open to infection, autoimmune diseases and cancer.[109] Follow up trials with gene therapy on another six children with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome were also reported as promising.[110][111]

In October researchers reported that two children born with adenosine deaminase severe combined immunodeficiency disease (ADA-SCID) had been treated with genetically engineered stem cells 18 months previously and that their immune systems were showing signs of full recovery. Another three children were making progress.[18] In 2014 a further 18 children with ADA-SCID were cured by gene therapy.[112] ADA-SCID children have no functioning immune system and are sometimes known as “bubble children.”[18]

Also in October researchers reported that they had treated six haemophilia sufferers in early 2011 using an adeno-associated virus. Over two years later all six were producing clotting factor.[18][113]

In January researchers reported that six choroideremia patients had been treated with adeno-associated virus with a copy of REP1. Over a six-month to two-year period all had improved their sight.[114][115] By 2016, 32 patients had been treated with positive results and researchers were hopeful the treatment would be long-lasting.[15] Choroideremia is an inherited genetic eye disease with no approved treatment, leading to loss of sight.

In March researchers reported that 12 HIV patients had been treated since 2009 in a trial with a genetically engineered virus with a rare mutation (CCR5 deficiency) known to protect against HIV with promising results.[116][117]

Clinical trials of gene therapy for sickle cell disease were started in 2014.[118][119] There is a need for high quality randomised controlled trials assessing the risks and benefits involved with gene therapy for people with sickle cell disease.[120]

In February LentiGlobin BB305, a gene therapy treatment undergoing clinical trials for treatment of beta thalassemia gained FDA “breakthrough” status after several patients were able to forgo the frequent blood transfusions usually required to treat the disease.[121]

In March researchers delivered a recombinant gene encoding a broadly neutralizing antibody into monkeys infected with simian HIV; the monkeys’ cells produced the antibody, which cleared them of HIV. The technique is named immunoprophylaxis by gene transfer (IGT). Animal tests for antibodies to ebola, malaria, influenza and hepatitis were underway.[122][123]

In March, scientists, including an inventor of CRISPR, urged a worldwide moratorium on germline gene therapy, writing scientists should avoid even attempting, in lax jurisdictions, germline genome modification for clinical application in humans until the full implications are discussed among scientific and governmental organizations.[124][125][126][127]

In October, researchers announced that they had treated a baby girl, Layla Richards, with an experimental treatment using donor T-cells genetically engineered using TALEN to attack cancer cells. One year after the treatment she was still free of her cancer (a highly aggressive form of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia [ALL]).[128] Children with highly aggressive ALL normally have a very poor prognosis and Layla’s disease had been regarded as terminal before the treatment.[129]

In December, scientists of major world academies called for a moratorium on inheritable human genome edits, including those related to CRISPR-Cas9 technologies[130] but that basic research including embryo gene editing should continue.[131]

In April the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency endorsed a gene therapy treatment called Strimvelis[132][133] and the European Commission approved it in June.[134] This treats children born with ADA-SCID and who have no functioning immune system – sometimes called the “bubble baby” disease. This was the second gene therapy treatment to be approved in Europe.[135]

In October, Chinese scientists reported they had started a trial to genetically modify T-cells from 10 adult patients with lung cancer and reinject the modified T-cells back into their bodies to attack the cancer cells. The T-cells had the PD-1 protein (which stops or slows the immune response) removed using CRISPR-Cas9.[136][137]

A 2016 Cochrane systematic review looking at data from four trials on topical cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene therapy does not support its clinical use as a mist inhaled into the lungs to treat cystic fibrosis patients with lung infections. One of the four trials did find weak evidence that liposome-based CFTR gene transfer therapy may lead to a small respiratory improvement for people with CF. This weak evidence is not enough to make a clinical recommendation for routine CFTR gene therapy.[138]

In February Kite Pharma announced results from a clinical trial of CAR-T cells in around a hundred people with advanced Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.[139]

In March, French scientists reported on clinical research of gene therapy to treat sickle-cell disease.[140]

Speculated uses for gene therapy include:

Gene Therapy techniques have the potential to provide alternative treatments for those with infertility. Recently, successful experimentation on mice has proven that fertility can be restored by using the gene therapy method, CRISPR.[141] Spermatogenical stem cells from another organism were transplanted into the testes of an infertile male mouse. The stem cells re-established spermatogenesis and fertility.[142]

Athletes might adopt gene therapy technologies to improve their performance.[143]Gene doping is not known to occur, but multiple gene therapies may have such effects. Kayser et al. argue that gene doping could level the playing field if all athletes receive equal access. Critics claim that any therapeutic intervention for non-therapeutic/enhancement purposes compromises the ethical foundations of medicine and sports.[144]

Genetic engineering could be used to change physical appearance, metabolism, and even improve physical capabilities and mental faculties such as memory and intelligence. Ethical claims about germline engineering include beliefs that every fetus has a right to remain genetically unmodified, that parents hold the right to genetically modify their offspring, and that every child has the right to be born free of preventable diseases.[145][146][147] For parents, genetic engineering could be seen as another child enhancement technique to add to diet, exercise, education, training, cosmetics and plastic surgery.[148][149] Another theorist claims that moral concerns limit but do not prohibit germline engineering.[150]

Possible regulatory schemes include a complete ban, provision to everyone, or professional self-regulation. The American Medical Associations Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs stated that “genetic interventions to enhance traits should be considered permissible only in severely restricted situations: (1) clear and meaningful benefits to the fetus or child; (2) no trade-off with other characteristics or traits; and (3) equal access to the genetic technology, irrespective of income or other socioeconomic characteristics.”[151]

As early in the history of biotechnology as 1990, there have been scientists opposed to attempts to modify the human germline using these new tools,[152] and such concerns have continued as technology progressed.[153][154] With the advent of new techniques like CRISPR, in March 2015 a group of scientists urged a worldwide moratorium on clinical use of gene editing technologies to edit the human genome in a way that can be inherited.[124][125][126][127] In April 2015, researchers sparked controversy when they reported results of basic research to edit the DNA of non-viable human embryos using CRISPR.[141][155] A committee of the American National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine gave qualified support to human genome editing in 2017[156][157] once answers have been found to safety and efficiency problems “but only for serious conditions under stringent oversight.”[158]

Regulations covering genetic modification are part of general guidelines about human-involved biomedical research.

The Helsinki Declaration (Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects) was amended by the World Medical Association’s General Assembly in 2008. This document provides principles physicians and researchers must consider when involving humans as research subjects. The Statement on Gene Therapy Research initiated by the Human Genome Organization (HUGO) in 2001 provides a legal baseline for all countries. HUGOs document emphasizes human freedom and adherence to human rights, and offers recommendations for somatic gene therapy, including the importance of recognizing public concerns about such research.[159]

No federal legislation lays out protocols or restrictions about human genetic engineering. This subject is governed by overlapping regulations from local and federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA and NIH’s Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee. Researchers seeking federal funds for an investigational new drug application, (commonly the case for somatic human genetic engineering), must obey international and federal guidelines for the protection of human subjects.[160]

NIH serves as the main gene therapy regulator for federally funded research. Privately funded research is advised to follow these regulations. NIH provides funding for research that develops or enhances genetic engineering techniques and to evaluate the ethics and quality in current research. The NIH maintains a mandatory registry of human genetic engineering research protocols that includes all federally funded projects.

An NIH advisory committee published a set of guidelines on gene manipulation.[161] The guidelines discuss lab safety as well as human test subjects and various experimental types that involve genetic changes. Several sections specifically pertain to human genetic engineering, including Section III-C-1. This section describes required review processes and other aspects when seeking approval to begin clinical research involving genetic transfer into a human patient.[162] The protocol for a gene therapy clinical trial must be approved by the NIH’s Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee prior to any clinical trial beginning; this is different from any other kind of clinical trial.[161]

As with other kinds of drugs, the FDA regulates the quality and safety of gene therapy products and supervises how these products are used clinically. Therapeutic alteration of the human genome falls under the same regulatory requirements as any other medical treatment. Research involving human subjects, such as clinical trials, must be reviewed and approved by the FDA and an Institutional Review Board.[163][164]

Gene therapy is the basis for the plotline of the film I Am Legend[165] and the TV show Will Gene Therapy Change the Human Race?.[166] It is also used in Stargate as a means of allowing humans to use Ancient technology.[167]

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Human Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons

Many human genetic engineering pros and cons are there that have stayed the same since its introduction to humanity. When the humans started harnessing the atomic powers, then just few years later they also start recognizing the effects of human genetic engineering on mankind. Many scientists have a belief that gene therapy can be a mainstream for saving lives of many people. A lot of human genetic engineering pros and cons have been involved since the evolution of genetic engineering. Mentioned below are some important advantages or pros of genetic engineering:

Other human genetic engineering pros and cons include the desirable characteristics in different plants and animals at the same time convenient. One can also do the manipulation of genes in trees or big plants. This will enable the trees to absorb increased amount of carbon dioxide, and it will reduce the effects of global warming. However, there is a question from critics that whether man has the right to do such manipulations or alterations in the genes of natural things.

With human genetic engineering, there is always a chance for altering the wheat plants genetics, which will then enable it to grow insulin. Human genetic engineering pros and cons have been among the concern of a lot of people involved in genetic engineering. Likewise the pros, certain cons are there of using the genetic engineering. Mentioned below are the cons of human genetic engineering:

The evolution of genetic engineering gets the consideration of being the biggest breakthroughs in the history of mankind after the evolution of atomic energy, and few other scientific discoveries. However, human genetic engineering pros and cons together have contributed a lot in creating a controversial image of it among the people.

All these eventualities have forced the government of many countries to make strict legislation laws to put restrictions on different experiment being made on human genetic engineering. They have made this decision by considering different human genetic engineering pros and cons.

Human Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons

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Human Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons

Pros and Cons of Genetic Engineering in Humans – Bright Hub

The human body is not perfect. Some are created with inherent faults and others break down before their time. Science has the potential to make good these problems by altering how humans are made. This is genetic engineering, and this article looks at the pros and cons of the technology in humans

This is part one of a two-part series. Here I will look at a definition of genetic engineering and the pros of human genetic engineering. In part two the cons and the ethics of human genetic engineering are discussed.

Before weighing up the pros and cons of genetic engineering in humans, it’s worth taking the time to understand just what is meant by the idea. Simply put, it’s a way of manipulating our genes in such a way as to make our bodies better. This alteration of a genome could take place in the sperm and egg cells. This is known as germline gene therapy and would alter the traits that a child is born with. The changes would be inheritable and passed down through the generations. It is currently illegal in many countries.

The other way to change our genome is to swap our bad genes for good ones – in cells other than the sex cells. This is known as somatic cell gene therapy. This is where a functioning gene could be fired into our bodies on a viral vector to carry out the functions that a faulty gene is unable to. This technology is permitted, though it has enjoyed a very limited success rate so far (largely because it is technically very difficult). Nonetheless, it still holds out a great deal of promise.

To make disease a thing of the past

Most people on the planet die of disease or have family members that do. Very few of us will just pop up to bed one night and gently close our eyes for the last time. Our genomes are not as robust as we would like them to be and genetic mutations either directly cause a disease such as Cystic fibrosis, or they contribute to it greatly i.e. Alzheimer’s. Or in the case of some conditions such as the heart disease Cardiomyopathy, genetic mutations can make our bodies more susceptible to attack from viruses or our own immune system. If the full benefits of gene therapy are ever realised we can replace the dud genes with correctly functioning copies.

To extend life spans

Having enjoyed life, most of us want to cling on to it for as long as possible. The genetic engineering of humans has the potential to greatly increase our life spans. Some estimates reckon that 100-150 years could be the norm. Of course gene therapy for a fatal condition will increase the lifespan of the patient but we’re also talking about genetic modifications of healthy people to give them a longer life. Once we fully understand the genetics of ageing it may be possible to slow down or reverse some of the cellular mechanisms that lead to our decline – for example by preventing telomeres at the ends of chromosomes from shortening. Telomere shortening is known to contribute to cell senescence.

Better pharmaceuticals

The knowledge gained by working out genetic solutions for the above could help with the design of better pharmaceutical products that are able to target specifically genetic mutations in each individual.

So What’s the Downside?

As deliriously exciting as some people believe genetic engineering to be – there are several downsides and ethical dilemmas. Click the link to read the cons.

This two part series explores some of the pros and cons of human genetic engineering.

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Pros and Cons of Genetic Engineering in Humans – Bright Hub

Human Genetic Engineering Cons: Why This Branch of Science …

A Slippery Slope? Ethics of Human Genetic Engineering

To say that genetic engineering has attracted some controversy would be an understatement. There are many cries that scientists are ‘playing God’ and that it will lead to a two-tier society – the genetically haves and the have-nots. But is this any different to the cries of horror and fears of Frankenstein’s monster that greeted Louise Brown, the first child to be born by IVF treatment? There was great uproar in the late 1970’s but IVF is now a common, if expensive, fertility treatment. And there aren’t any monsters stalking the Earth.

The technology is nowhere near there yet, but a tiny number of parents undergoing IVF have selected their embryos to be free from genetic mutations that have blighted generations of their family. In the UK in January 2009 a mother gave birth to a girl whose embryo had been selected to be free from a genetic form of breast cancer. Some see this as a slippery slope towards a eugenic future, others view it as a valuable use of genetic engineering to prevent disease from striking someone down.

Society will decide how it uses this technology, and it is for governments to weigh up the pros and cons of genetic engineering in humans to see what may be carried out and what should be illegal. They will be prompted by public understanding, desire and concern. It therefore behoves all of us to understand what scientists are trying to accomplish and what they are not trying to do. We must all become better informed, to equip ourselves with more information and to know the difference between science fiction and science fact.

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Human Genetic Engineering Cons: Why This Branch of Science …

New Hampshire biologist reacts to gene-editing discovery – The Union Leader

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON Union Leader Correspondent August 14. 2017 11:06PM

This sequence of images shows the development of embryos after being injected with a biological kit to edit their DNA, removing a genetic mutation known to cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.(Oregon Health & Science University)

Bryan Luikart, an associate professor of molecular and systems biology at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College.

It is pretty amazing. It is a super-exciting time to be a scientist right now, said Bryan Luikart, an associate professor of molecular and systems biology at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature, was detailed in a New York Times report. According to the article, Oregon researchers reported they repaired dozens of human embryos, fixing a mutation that causes a common heart condition that can lead to sudden death later in life.

The way they have dodged some ethical considerations is that they didnt go on to have that embryo grow into a person, said Luikart, explaining that if the embryos with the repaired mutation did have the opportunity to develop, they would be free of the heart condition.

At the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Luikart and his colleagues have already been using this concept with mouse embryos, focusing specifically on autism.

Researchers are using the gene-editing method called CRISPR-Cas9 in hopes of trying to more fully understand autism, which he said is the most critical step in eventually finding a cure.

I think the CRISPR is a tremendous breakthrough. The question really is where and when do you want to use it, Luikart said. I have no ethical concerns using it as a tool to better understand biology.

The new milestone, an example of human genetic engineering, does carry ethical concerns that Luikart said will trigger some debates. He acknowledged that while the advancement of gene-editing technology could eventually stop unwanted hereditary conditions, it also allows for creating babies with smarter, stronger or more attractive traits.

The ability to do that is now within our grasp more than it has ever been, he said.

More importantly, the breakthrough could ultimately eliminate diseases, Luikart said. As the technology advances, he said, genetic diseases that are passed down to children may be corrected before the child receives them.

He used another example of a brain tumor, which often returns after it is surgically removed. Now, once the brain tumor is removed, there is the possibility of placing something in the space to edit and fix the mutation that causes the brain tumor in the first place if physicians are able to find the right cell to edit, Luikart said.

People are definitely thinking along those lines, or cutting the HIV genome, said Luikart, who predicts that those advancements will occur in mice within the next decade, and the ability to do that in humans is definitely there.

The big question is whether that can occur without some sort of side effect that was not predicted, he said.

Columbia University Medical Center posted an article earlier this year warning that CRISPR gene editing can cause hundreds of unintended mutations, based on a study published recently in Nature Methods.

This past May, MilliporeSigma announced it has developed a new genome editing tool that makes CRISPR more efficient, flexible and specific, giving researchers more experimental options and faster results that can accelerate drug development and access to new therapies, according to a release.

CRISPR genome editing technology is advancing treatment options for some of the toughest medical conditions faced today, including chronic illnesses and cancers for which there are limited or no treatment options, states the release, adding the applications of CRISPR are far ranging from identifying genes associated with cancer to reversing mutations that cause blindness.

It is pretty big news, Luikart said.

khoughton@newstote.com

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New Hampshire biologist reacts to gene-editing discovery – The Union Leader

Human Genetic Engineering Facts

Names of a lot of scientists come to notice whenever there are talks about Human Genetic Engineering Facts. Two scientists namely Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer discovered a technique for cloning using DNA. These two have contributed a lot in Human Genetic Engineering studies. This stage was the discovery of science for historians. It was also the beginning of advanced sciences.

Two other popular scientists involved in studying Human Genetic Engineering Facts were Cohen and Boyer. They made proper use of enzymes with the purpose of cutting bacteria plasmid in slices.

A different DNA strand was required for placing these slices. DNA strands can be obtained from that particular bacteria plasmid. Cohen and Boyer, together with their efforts, proved that it is quite possible to manipulate or mix the genes. DNA mapping has made it easier for the scientists to do the genes manipulation.

Human Genetic Engineering Facts have emerged a lot in this area of work. With the emergence of these facts it became possible for scientists to develop insulin that can be used in the treatment of patients that suffer from diabetes. The technique can also be used for creating insulin that can be given to patients suffering from ailments in their kidney.

The invention of genetic therapy also involves the use of this technique. White blood cells present in humans can be altered genetically. This is the situation in people that have defects in the immune system. Altered blood cells can easily be reinserted for improvements in the immune system.

Agricultural benefits of Human Genetic Engineering

Crops can be modified with the help of genetic engineering. This is an important advantage or factor contributing in the vast scope of Human Genetic Engineering Facts . Gene therapy will alter or change the genes, and this will keep the vegetable and fruits resistant from any kind of disease. Human Genetic Engineering Facts have inspired many scientists. Farmers have also been impressed with the effect that it lays on the growth of fruits and vegetables. Many additional benefits are there for using gene therapy in agricultural activities. It will increase the production by making minimum investment.

Many otherHuman Genetic Engineering Facts are there that can leave positive impact on agricultural development. This can be done in order to fulfill the demand of food items. It will also result in reducing the use of insecticides, and fertilizers at the same time convenient. All these factors will contribute together for reducing the amount of pollution caused from the fertilizers. It will also increase the level of health among people.

Other benefits

Human Genetic Engineering Facts can also lead to generate breeds that will bring diversity among the animals that have been modified genetically. It will keep animals away from any kind of danger. Gene therapy will increase the strength of the animals to a great extent. This will also enable them to cope with the ever changing environment. Animals that have genetically altered genes will stay away from deadly diseases.

Human Genetic Engineering Facts

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Human Genetic Engineering Facts

Human Nature on Collision Course with Genetic Engineering …

Human Nature on Collision Course with Genetic Engineering

Human genetic engineering could be the next major battleground for the global conservation movement, according to a series of reports in the latest issue of World Watch magazine, published by the Worldwatch Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization. While previous struggles have involved protecting ecosystems and human societies from the unpredicted consequences of new technologies, this fight over high-risk applications of human genetic engineering is a struggle over who will decide what it means to be human.

Many countries have already banned reproductive cloning, and the U.N. is working on a global treaty to ban it, but even more powerful and much more dangerous are the related technologies to modify the genes we pass on to our children, says Ed Ayres, Editor of World Watch magazine. The contributors to this special issue call on the U.N. and national governments to ban the technology known as inheritable genetic modification.

Many uses of human genetic technology could be beneficial to society, but as political scientist Francis Fukuyama writes in the magazine, our understanding of the relationship between our genes and whatever improvements we might seek for our children (and their descendants) is dangerously deficient. Fukuyama warns that the victim of a failed experiment will not be an ecosystem, but a human child whose parents, seeking to give her greater intelligence, will saddle her with a greater propensity for cancer, or prolonged debility in old age, or some other completely unanticipated side effect that may emerge only after the experimenters have passed from the scene.

Human genetic engineering has ramifications that reach far beyond the life of a single child. Several contributors highlight the disastrous results of the last serious effort to engineer genetic perfection. In the early part of the 20th century, scientists and politicians in the United States relied on the alleged science of eugenics to justify the forced sterilization of tens of thousands of people who were judged to be feebleminded, mentally defective, or epileptics. Hitler passed his own sterilization law soon after taking office in 1933, heading down the path toward the Holocaust. The U.S. biotechnology industry-which dominates the global industry-has become an increasingly powerful economic and political force, with revenues growing fivefold between 1989 ($5 billion) and 2000 ($25 billion). Aided by the equally rapid revolution in computing, laboratories that once took two months to sequence 150 nucleotides can now process over 30 million in a day, and at a small fraction of the earlier cost. The number of patents pending for human DNA sequences has gone from 4,000 in 1991, to 500,000 in 1998, to several million today.

We are publishing this special issue because we dont want to lose the opportunity to decide openly and democratically how this rapidly developing technology is used, says Ayres. This isnt a fight about saving whales, or the last rain forests, or even the health of people living today. The question is whether we can save ourselves from ourselves, to know and respect what we do not know, and to put the breaks on potentially dangerous forms of human genetic engineering.

Excerpts from the authors of the Beyond Cloning issue of World Watch

About World Watch magazine: This bimonthly magazine is published by the Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organization, based in Washington, DC. Launched in 1988, the magazine has won the Alternative Press Award for investigative journalism, the Project Censored Award, and a number of Utne Reader awards. Recent editions have featured articles on the imminent disappearance of more than half of the worlds languages, airport sprawl, and the rapid growth of organic farming. Please visit: http://www.worldwatch.org/mag/.

The Worldwatch Institute is an independent research organization that works for an environmentally sustainable and socially just society, in which the needs of all people are met without threatening the health of the natural environment or the well-being of future generations. By providing compelling, accessible, and fact-based analysis of critical global issues, Worldwatch informs people around the world about the complex interactions between people, nature, and economies. Worldwatch focuses on the underlying causes of and practical solutions to the worlds problems, in order to inspire people to demand new policies, investment patterns, and lifestyle choices. For more information, visit: http://www.worldwatch.org.

Disclaimer: Please note that the statement by eight leaders of environmental NGOs, which appears on page 25 of the magazine, represents the views of the individuals quoted, not necessarily of the organizations they lead.

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Human Nature on Collision Course with Genetic Engineering …

The ethics of creating GMO humans | The Spokesman-Review – The Spokesman-Review

(PHOTO)

Los Angeles Times (TNS)

The following editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, Aug. 4:

In a process that can be likened to the creation of GMO crops, scientists have edited genes in human embryos in order to eliminate a mutation that causes thickening of the heart wall. The embryos were created solely for the scientists study and will not be implanted. Nonetheless, the research offers hope that in years ahead, science could prevent many serious genetic diseases at the stage in which people are a microscopic cluster of cells in a petri dish. Whats more, because those edited genes would be carried forth into new generations, the disease might eventually be eliminated altogether.

Is this a glorious new frontier or a troubling situation? Unequivocally, the answer is yes to both.

The research results by an international team of U.S., Chinese and South Korean scientists were enormously exciting medically. Beyond the technical achievement involved, the teams work hastened the arrival of a revolutionary form of treatment: removing genes that can lead inexorably to suffering and premature death.

Public policy and the field of bioethics have not caught up with the science of genetic intervention.

But there is also a great deal we still dont know about how minor issues might become major ones as people pass on edited DNA to their offspring, and as people who have had some genes altered reproduce with people who have had other genes altered. Weve seen how selectively breeding to produce one trait can unexpectedly produce other, less desirable outcomes. Remember how growers were able to create tomatoes that were more uniformly red, but in the process, they turned off the gene that gave tomatoes flavor?

Another major issue is the ethics of adjusting humans genetically to fit a favored outcome. Today its heritable disease, but what might be seen as undesirable traits in the future that people might want to eliminate? Short stature? Introverted personality? Klutziness?

To be sure, its not as though everyone is likely to line up for gene-edited offspring rather than just having babies, at least for the foreseeable future. The procedure can be performed only on in vitro embryos and requires precision timing.

But even with this early study, problematic issues already are evident. Gene editing isnt the only method to protect against certain hereditary conditions such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which was edited out in this study. Children stand a 50 percent chance of inheriting the condition; if a couple produces several embryos through in vitro fertilization, half of those already would theoretically be free of the mutation, and those are the ones that would be selected for implantation. Gene editing made the process more efficient, but it did not offer hope where there was none, Jennifer Doudna, a molecular and cell biologist at the University of California at Berkeley, observed.

In fact, six months ago, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recommended that scientists involved in germline editing that is, making changes that would be passed down to future generations should limit their work to diseases for which there are no other reasonable treatments. The most recent embryo study began before that recommendation was delivered.

Thats emblematic of the real problem: Public policy and the field of bioethics have not caught up with the science of genetic intervention. Yes, federal money cant be spent on research involving human embryos even when they are still at the stage of a clump of undifferentiated cells. FDA approval would be needed for any actual human therapies, which would be years off.

Still, the technology is advancing more rapidly than societys discussions about human genetic engineering, the specter of eugenics and even the seemingly mundane topics of who will own the patents on customized genes and who will have access to gene editing once it is approved.

The answers arent easy, but the discussions have to take place and decisions need to be made, probably through an international convention that includes governments, researchers, physicians and consumer advocates. Taking the research to the next level should mean experimentation with animals rather than humans. They should then be followed for generations to see whether unexpected health issues arise. Gene editing on humans should be introduced one step at a time, starting with the most disastrous diseases and conditions that cannot be tackled in any other way, then tracked long term to ensure safety.

We all would love to eliminate disabling deformities, painful conditions that shorten lives or genetic mutations that predispose us to various fatal diseases. Although science has a long way to go before such miracles are achieved, research is moving fast. Its paramount that we get human gene editing right rather than just getting it soon.

)2017 Los Angeles Times

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Human Genetic Engineering Cons

Many Human Genetic Engineering Cons are there that can stop a person from getting through the entire gene therapy. It is a process in which there is a modification or change in the genes of a human. The aim or objective of using Human Genetic Engineering is to choose newborn phenotype or to change or alter the existing phenotype of an adult or an already grown child. Human Genetic Engineering has shown a lot of promise for curing cystic fibrosis. It is a kind of genetic disease that exist in humans. It will increase the level of immunity in people. Increased immunity will make them resistant to several severe diseases.

There is also a speculation that Human Genetic Engineering can be used in other area of work. It can be used for making changes in the physical appearances. Metabolism may notice some improvements. Human Genetic Engineering Cons can be seen on the mental abilities of a human.

However, it can make certain improvements in the intelligence level. Human Genetic Engineering has made a lot of contributions in the field of advanced medical sciences. There is not much data about Human Genetic Engineering Cons . One can easily think of it as a successful invention in the field of medical science.

Gene therapy can be used for curing several deadly diseases. Many diseases are there that have no cure, so this is a helpful invention in this field. It can lead to various health benefits. Genetic engineering can also lead to population free from any diseases. However, some Human Genetic Engineering Cons are also there that can trouble human beings.

This is because of the complications involved in human genes. A person has multiple physical attributes that differ from each other, so chances are there that these attributes get controlled by only one gene sequence. This helps the scientists to make changes or alteration in only one gene at a time and the remaining multiple sequences of genes will automatically be altered.

Scientists involved in this alteration process also noticed that whenever a DNA strand gets a new gene, then it becomes difficult for the DNA strand to make a decision about where the new gene will be settled. It is one of the factors that contribute to Human Genetic Engineering Cons. With the help of genetic engineering scientists will find no difficulty at the time of altering a part of DNA in a human. This will keep them resistant or away from any genetic disease or effects. These effects might be there on the reproductive cells of a person.

For an instance, it these reproductive cells are there on parents that their children will automatically acquire the effects of genetics. Such Human Genetic Engineering Cons can cause few genetic diseases on humans. Chances of errors are always there in making use of genetic engineering for human cloning, agriculture, and in any other related field. Entire human generation can lead to mutation if these Human Genetic Engineering Cons do get removed at their earliest.

Human Genetic Engineering Cons

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Human Genetic Engineering Cons

The Scopes Monkey Trial and global warming: Same playbook, different football – Baptist News Global

A business owner, a school superintendent and a lawyer walk into a bar . Sounds like the beginning of a lame joke, right? Well, it was definitely a joke even worse than the kind of joke that might illicit an eye roll from spouse or friends. Ninety-two years ago this week, one of the greatest legal farces in history commenced in the small town of Dayton, Tenn. It all started at a drug store lunch counter as many things do in a small town when a manager at a local company met with the school superintendent and a local attorney. The story goes that the businessman, George Rappleyea of the Cumberland Coal and Iron Company, hatched a plan designed to bring much needed publicity to Dayton. So, you must wondering, what kind of publicity campaign did they devise? They, of course, decided to bring suit against a 24-year-old substitute teacher named John T. Scopes, for unwittingly teaching evolution in science class.

Pit fundamentalist Christians against modernist ones. Place science and the Bible itself on trial. Drive a wedge between conservative people of faith and the scientific community. Create a cloud of doubt and fear about scientific claims, and instead of encouraging people to study and wrestle with the claims themselves, encourage a spirit of bitter resentment and dismissal. Create a media driven campaign to discredit scientists, thereby discrediting science in general. Make sure all this is started and largely funded by a leader in the fossil fuels industry. Make sure the ACLU (among others) is on the side of the liberal, anti-God movement.

Now, instead of the Scopes Monkey Trial, think global warming and climate change. Its the same playbook, folks. As people of faith we should be able to recognize and name a farce when we see one, and stand up for truth in the face of propaganda meant to drive a wedge between good people of faith. Care for creation may well be the most pressing ethical and theological issue of our time, and the church cannot allow disinformation and indoctrination to rule the day.

We live in a time of seemingly unprecedented political division, and many organizations and movements decry the changes in our culture, and the progress we are making. Harry Emerson Fosdick said in his famous sermon, Shall the Fundamentalists Win, The new knowledge and the old faith cannot be left antagonistic or even disparate, as though a man on Saturday could use one set of regulative ideas for his life and on Sunday could change gears to another altogether. We must be able to think our modern life clear through in Christian terms, and to do that we also must be able to think our Christian faith clear through in modern terms. Think that sounds tough in modern times? How about postmodern times?

Many of the same challenges that existed in the last century persist today. Pastors in churches across the country face the challenge of placing faith in the contemporary context a context marked by sweeping and rapid change. One peer-reviewed article I recently read cites that the only cross-segment of American society that has grown in its distrust of science since the late 1970s is Protestant Evangelicals. Let that sink in for a minute. Think about how that fact impacts our political climate. Think about how that fact impacts our planetary climate. Simply astounding.

Interesting, is it not, that the rise of evangelical distrust in science itself coincides with the rise of the so-called Moral Majority and the culture wars of the 1980s and 90s?

Its been nearly a hundred years since The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, but for many, science (or the Bible depending on your perspective) remain on trial. As Christians, we (perhaps) still struggle to speak of faith and science in ways that dont alienate or divide people in our churches. In 1925, the conversation was about the future of education and about the nature of religion, focusing largely on the history of humanity. Today the conversation between science and faith revolves around the future of the planet, the ethics of human genetic engineering, human sexuality, and the nature of religion itself, focusing largely on the future of humanity.

The conversations between science and faith will never go away. As scientific knowledge exponentially proliferates at unprecedented rates, those of us in faith communities need to strongly consider how we are called to respond to the discoveries and claims of the scientific community. I fear many are still living in 1925.

Related story:Millennials not OK with conventional science vs. religion debates, experts say

Related opinion:Genius hesitates, both in science and religion | Scott Dickison

OPINION: Views expressed in Baptist News Global columns and commentaries are solely those of the authors.

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The Scopes Monkey Trial and global warming: Same playbook, different football – Baptist News Global

The Threat of Human Genetic Engineering – hgalert.org

David King

The main debate around human genetics currently centres on the ethics of genetic testing, and possibilities for genetic discrimination and selective eugenics. But while ethicists and the media constantly re-hash these issues, a small group of scientists and publicists are working towards an even more frightening prospect: the intentional genetic engineering of human beings. Just as Ian Wilmut presented us with the first clone of an adult mammal, Dolly, as a fait accompli, so these scientists aim to set in place the tools of a new techno-eugenics, before the public has ever had a chance to decide whether this is the direction we want to go in. The publicists, meanwhile are trying to convince us that these developments are inevitable. The Campaign Against Human Genetic Engineering, has been set up in response to this threat.

Currently, genetic engineering is only applied to non-reproductive cells (this is known as ‘gene therapy’) in order to treat diseases in a single patient, rather than in all their descendants. Gene therapy is still very unsuccessful, and we are often told that the prospect of reproductive genetic engineering is remote. In fact, the basic technologies for human genetic engineering (HGE) have been available for some time and at present are being refined and improved in a number of ways. We should not make the same mistake that was made with cloning, and assume that the issue is one for the far future.

In the first instance, the likely justifications of HGE will be medical. One major step towards reproductive genetic engineering is the proposal by US gene therapy pioneer, French Anderson, to begin doing gene therapy on foetuses, to treat certain genetic diseases. Although not directly targeted at reproductive cells, Anderson’s proposed technique poses a relatively high risk that genes will be ‘inadvertently’ altered in the reproductive cells of the foetus, as well as in the blood cells which he wants to fix. Thus, if he is allowed to go ahead, the descendants of the foetus will be genetically engineered in every cell of their body. Another scientist, James Grifo of New York University is transferring cell nuclei from the eggs of older to younger women, using similar techniques to those used in cloning. He aims to overcome certain fertility problems, but the result would be babies with three genetic parents, arguably a form of HGE. In addition to the two normal parents, these babies will have mitochondria (gene-containing subcellular bodies which control energy production in cells) from the younger woman.

Anderson is a declared advocate of HGE for medical purposes, and was a speaker at a symposium last year at UCLA, at which advocates of HGE set out their stall. At the symposium, which was attended by nearly 1,000 people, James Watson, of DNA discovery fame, advocated the use of HGE not merely for medical purposes, but for ‘enhancement’: ‘And the other thing, because no one really has the guts to say it, I mean, if we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn’t we do it?’

In his recent book, Re-Making Eden (1998), Princeton biologist, Lee Silver celebrates the coming future of human ‘enhancement’, in which the health, appearance, personality, cognitive ability, sensory capacity, and life-span of our children all become artifacts of genetic engineering, literally selected from a catalog. Silver acknowledges that the costs of these technologies will limit their full use to only a small ‘elite’, so that over time society will segregate into the “GenRich” and the “Naturals”:

“The GenRich – who account for 10 percent of the American population – all carry synthetic genes… that were created in the laboratory …All aspects of the economy, the media, the entertainment industry, and the knowledge industry are controlled by members of the GenRich class…Naturals work as low-paid service providers or as labourers, and their children go to public schools… If the accumulation of genetic knowledge and advances in genetic enhancement technology continue … the GenRich class and the Natural class will become…entirely separate species with no ability to cross-breed, and with as much romantic interest in each other as a current human would have for a chimpanzee.”

Silver, another speaker at the UCLA symposium, believes that these trends should not and cannot be stopped, because to do so would infringe on liberty.

Most scientists say that what is preventing them from embarking on HGE is the risk that the process will itself generate new mutations, which will be passed on to future generations. Official scientific and ethical bodies tend to rely on this as the basis for forbidding attempts at HGE, rather than any principled opposition to the idea.

In my view, we should not allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security by this argument. Experience with genetically engineered crops, for example, shows that we are unlikely ever to arrive at a situation when we can be sure that the risks are zero. Instead, when scientists are ready to proceed, we will be told that the risks are ‘acceptable’, compared to the benefits. Meanwhile, there will be people telling us loudly that since they are taking the risks with their children, we have no right to interfere.

One of the flaws in the argument of those who support the possibility of HGE for medical purposes is that there seem to be very few good examples where it is the only solution to the medical problem of genetic disease. The main advantage of HGE is said to be the elimination of disease genes from a family. Yet in nearly all cases, existing technologies of prenatal and preimplantation genetic testing of embryos allow the avoidance of actual disease. There are only a few very rare cases where HGE is the only option.

Furthermore, there is always another solution for those couples who are certain to produce a genetically disabled child and cannot, or do not want to deal with this possibility. They can choose not to have children, to adopt a child, or to use donor eggs or sperm. Parenthood is not the only way to create fulfilment through close, intimate and long lasting relationships with children. The question we have to ask is whether we should develop the technology for HGE, in order to satisfy a very small number of people.

Although the arguments for the first uses of HGE will be medical, in fact the main market for the technology will be ‘enhancement’. Once it was available, how would it be possible to ensure that HGE was used for purely medical purposes? The same problem applies to prenatal genetic screening and to somatic gene therapy, and not only are there no accepted criteria for deciding what constitutes a medical condition, but in a free market society there seems to be no convincing mechanism for arriving at such decision. The best answer that conventional medical ethics seems to have is to `leave it up to the parents’, ie. to market forces.

Existing trends leave little doubt about what to expect. Sophisticated medical technology and medical personnel are already employed in increasingly fashionable cosmetic surgery. Another example is the use of genetically engineered human growth hormone (HGH), developed to remedy the medical condition of growth hormone deficiency. Because of aggressive marketing by its manufacturers, HGH is routinely prescribed in the USA to normal short children with no hormone deficiency. If these pressures already exist, how much stronger will they be for a technology with as great a power to manipulate human life as HGE?

Germ line manipulation opens up, for the first time in human history, the possibility of consciously designing human beings, in a myriad of different ways. I am not generally happy about using the concept of playing God, but it is difficult to avoid in this case. The advocates of genetic engineering point out that humans constantly ‘play God’, in a sense, by interfering with nature. Yet the environmental crisis has forced us to realise that many of the ways we already do this are not wise, destroy the environment and cannot be sustained. Furthermore, HGE is not just a continuation of existing trends. Once we begin to consciously design ourselves, we will have entered a completely new era of human history, in which human subjects, rather than being accepted as they are will become just another kind of object, shaped according to parental whims and market forces.

In essence, the vision of the advocates of HGE is a sanitised version of the old eugenics doctrines, updated for the 1990s. Instead of ‘elimination of the unfit’, HGE is presented as a tool to end, once and for all, the suffering associated with genetic diseases. And in place of ‘improving the race’, the 1990s emphasis is on freedom of choice, where ‘reproductive rights’ become consumer rights to choose the characteristics of your child. No doubt the resulting eugenic society would be a little less brutal than those of earlier this century. On the other hand the capabilities of geneticists are much greater now than they were then. Unrestrained, HGE is perfectly capable of producing Lee Silver’s dystopia.

In most cases, the public’s function with respect to science is to consume its products, or to pay to clean up the mess. But with HGE, there is still time to prevent it, before it becomes reality. We need an international ban on HGE and cloning. There is a good chance this can be achieved, since both are already illegal in many countries. Of course it may be impossible to prevent a scientist, somewhere, from attempting to clone or genetically engineer humans. But there is a great difference between a society which would jail such a scientist and one which would permit HGE to become widespread and respectable. If we fail to act now, we will only have ourselves to blame.

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The Threat of Human Genetic Engineering – hgalert.org

Human Genetic Engineering Effects

Some people can think of Human Genetic Engineering as a thing that makes them live a healthier life for a long time. People can think of it as a something straight from the heaven or a programmed human being. Genetic engineering is a concept that can be used for enhancing the life of human beings.

However, Human Genetic Engineering Effects are also there that can harm humans. A lot of doctors or scientists involved in gene engineering believe that if the research produces accurate and effective manipulation of DNA in the humans, then they can make medicines for diseases that have no cure. This will also enable the doctors to make changes in the genes of a child before the birth of that child, so there will be no defects on a child from birth.

This process can also be applied on curing hereditary disease. It will prevent the disease from carrying forward to other coming generations. This research primarily focused on being applied on families that have a history of suffering from diseases. It will fix the wrong positioning of the genes. TheHuman Genetic Engineering Effects are in its application towards animals and plants that have been modified genetically. When farmers make use of gene-engineering for breeding plants, then this will result in fast production of food items. Fast and increased production will also put down the prices of several food items. Human Genetic Engineering can also add taste and nutrition to different food items.

Human Genetic Engineering Effects can also help in fighting with severe uncured diseases. Those who suffer from life threatening diseases like cancer or AIDS can have a better idea about maintaining their lives according to the circumstances. This can only be done with the help of Human Genetic Engineering.

Hereditary diseases will not trouble any person, and nor there will be any fear of deadly virus taking place in people on all corners of the world. Human Genetic Engineering can achieve all these things in a theoretical way. Human Genetic Engineering Effects can also be seen in societies concerning health. It has tremendous benefits on health.

Human Genetic Engineering can help people in fighting with cystic fibrosis problems. It also helps to fight against diabetes, and many other specific diseases. Bubble boy is also a disease that can be treated successfully with the help Human Genetic Engineering. It is also termed as Severe Combined Immune efficiency.

Gene mutation is the only thing responsible for the characterization of this deadly disease. This mutation causes ADA deficiencies that later result in destroying the immune system cells. Human Genetic Engineering Effects include ecological problems that might be present in organisms developed or generated by Human Genetic Engineering. However, it can leave positive impacts on a lot of diseases.

One cannot predict the changes that can occur with the use of species that generates with the help of Human Genetic Engineering Effects. A newly generated species creates ecology imbalances due to Human Genetic Engineering Effects. This is a similar case with exotic or natural species.

Human Genetic Engineering Effects

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Human Genetic Engineering Effects

Two Representatives Offer A Look At How Congress Is Doing – WNIJ and WNIU

On A Friday Forum earlier this year, Illinois U.S. Representatives Bill Foster and Randy Hultgren talked about their hopes and concerns for the new Congress as it began its work. For this week’s Friday Forum,WNIJ’s Guy Stephens asked the two for an update on how things are going in Congress.

Randy Hultgren and Bill Foster have both served several terms in the U.S. House. Hultgren, a Republican considered one of the most conservative members of Congress, took the old 14th District from Foster in 2010. When new lines were drawn in 2012, Hultgren won election in the new 14th, while Foster, who calls himself a centrist Democrat, won the seat in the new 11th District. Both won re-election last year.

Its been a tumultuous several months in Washington, but Hultgren felt that Congress, at least, has earned a fairly good grade. He gave it a B. Why?

“Theres some really good things happening,” he said, but it could be better — with some help.

“We need to be doing our work, certainly, in the House, but also need the Senate to step up and do some of the important things. Theyve been very focused early on in this session on appointments and I know that took a lot of time.

Hultgren based his positive assessment, in part, on Congresss productivity. Just look at the numbers through this week, he said. Theres more going on than youd guess from the headlines. He finds that encouraging.

Weve passed 158 bills through the House, and thats the highest, really, in recent history,” he said. “The average at this point would be right around a little over 91 bills, and 37 of them have actually gone on to become law, through the Senate and signed by the President. So in spite of all of the busy-ness and noise and challenges and bumps, were still getting our work done. Were still moving forward on some important issues.

But Hultgren said he thinks there is a limited window of opportunity to pursue those big issues, and the challenge is for the White House and Congress to stay focused. Otherwise, the people may give his party a much lower grade than his in the 2018 elections.

Foster had a very different view. He didnt disagree that a lot has been done. Whether thats a positive, he said, it depends.

Well,” he said,”youd have different grades in different subjects. For instance, in health care, I would give Congress a D-.

Foster said thats because he thinks Republicans should have gone in another direction than they did with the GOP health care bill, which he said was often referred to during the debate by opponents as a “wealthcare bill.”

“The starting point and the ending point of that was a tax cut for the wealthy of most of a trillion dollars,” he said. “And when thats your starting point, you then have to balance the books. You have to take away most of a trillion dollars of healthcare from someone in the United States.

Foster said likewise, the effort to repeal and replace the financial reform legislation known as Dodd-Frank, which passed on a party-line vote, has provisions that could have dire consequences for both individuals and the economy.

Foster said those concerns also apply to proposals on tax reform and infrastructure spending, which he says have so far been disappointing, but where there remains the possibility of bipartisan action.

Hultgren emphasized that most of the issues and bills that he and his colleagues are working on arent the big polarizing ones like health care or tax reform. But theyre still important. He listed his service on the financial services committee, as co-chairman of the Tom LantosHuman Rights Commission that deals with problems such as religious persecution and human trafficking, work on improving access to Perkins Loans that provide individuals money for education, a bill to protect veterans whose credit has been adversely affected by reimbursement delays when using the Veterans Choice Program, and work to strengthen the Federal Home Loan Bank.

Hultgren said those efforts are often — in fact, mostly — bipartisan. Foster, too, said it has been possible to work across the aisle on some things. One he pointed to thats transcended party politics is the opioid crisis. He said the problem is widespread and has, on average, affected Republican districts harder than Democratic ones.

“Its something where, if youre going to do some good, you have to spend money,” he said. “And so, even people who believe they were elected to cut the size of government are often willing to spend some amount of taxpayer money on things like dealing with the heroin epidemic.

Foster said that was evident in the bipartisan pushback that reversed proposed cuts to addiction programs in the administrations preliminary budget.

He said progress also can happen on things that dont seem so dire in fact, maybe just the opposite.

Ive often found its easier to get bipartisan agreement when youre talking about the long-distant future,” he said.”If youre talking about next years budget, it immediately gets very partisan.”

He cites as an example human genetic engineering — think designer babies –which seems the stuff of science fiction, but which Foster said is closer to being a reality than you think. He was able to get the chairman of his committee, a Republican with whom he says he rarely agrees, to arrange a hearing on the topic.

Although hes in the majority, Hultgren said he too realizes that getting a bill not just through the House but the Senate as well and signed into law means reaching out to the other side. He said he often strives to do so, even as he tries to move quickly on his own and his partys agenda.

But Foster remains concerned about how that process happens in the House these days. He said hed like to return to how things used to work in Congress — whats known as regular order. He explained by giving as an example what used to happen to an appropriations bill.

It would come up under whats called an open rule, where any member of Congress would get to propose an amendment,” he said. “We couldnt just arbitrarily add large amounts of money to a program, but we could, for example, move money from one bucket to another bucket within the same bill.”

This, Foster said, was a very positive way for members of both parties to get involved in coming to a better place, and he thought it was a very healthy thing for the institution.

“But,” he said, “it is not loved by those who are in charge of the U.S. House. They want — them and their staff — to write just write all the final deals.

As a result, he said, members of Congress often are asked only for an up-or-down vote on big omnibus bills put before them.

On top of that, Foster said the turmoil — as well as the policies — of the Trump Administration has him worried and complicates efforts in Congress to do something constructive for the country. But he said hell continue to do his bit to affect change for the better.

Hultgren doesnt necessarily disagree about the effects of the turmoil on the process. Still, he said, in spite of that, he reminds people once again that its not all partisan battling and stalemate in Washington.

I would say eighty percent of the things we work on or more are absolutely bipartisan things,” he said. “So, well continue to get things done and continue to struggle and find ways to get things done on the other twenty percent or so that we absolutely do disagree on.

But he thinks that, for more of that to happen, both representatives including him — and their constituents need to work harder at being well-informed, to recognize other points of view, and not take every bit of information that comes their way from a particular source as gospel truth.

To listen to not just Fox News, but to tune in to MSNBC once in a while, or CNN, or vice versa,” he said. “Or to still get a newspaper and look through that, or if you can get some different websites where you can get some information.”

He adds that public radio continues to be a great place to hear a range of perspectives and for going a little bit more in depth on issues than, say, the cable news shows.

If everyone did that, he said, then the system and Congress would have a better chance to work more like it should.

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Two Representatives Offer A Look At How Congress Is Doing – WNIJ and WNIU

‘Knights of Sidonia’ is the Pinnacle of Gritty Mecha Anime – Inverse

Anime fans in the U.S. who grew up watching Gundam Wing on Cartoon Networks Toonami block will love the darker, more mature take on the mecha subgenre of anime theyll find with Netflixs Knights of Sidonia.

Whereas series like Power Rangers, Voltron, and various Gundam iterations are lighthearted in their tone and small in their stakes, Knights of Sidonia is a dark post-apocalyptic story of mecha vs. kaiju that feels an awful lot like Battlestar Galactica meets Pacific Rim and its not afraid to depict some truly grisly deaths.

In Knights of Sidonia, the year is 3394 and the half-million remaining humans live aboard a massive arc named Sidonia as it hurdles through space. As the series begins, Sidonia has already spent 1,000 years fleeing from the gauna, the monstrous shapeshifting alien race that destroyed Earth. A select few Knights pilot Gardes, Sidonias name for giant mechs.

The protagonist Nagate Tanikaze grew up hidden underground with his grandfather, training daily in a Garde simulation. He emerges from hiding to join a society he never knew, and he eventually becomes one of humanitys greatest defenders. Its a job he trained his entire life for, and through his eyes, the viewer slowly learns truly how desperate existence is on Sidonia.

Special humans piloting giant mecha is a tried-and-true premise for an anime that could very easily be a bore here, but rather than just throw mecha pilots into an endless war with flashy fight scenes, Knights of Sidonia deftly explores the practical implications of its setting.

What would humanity really look like after a thousand years aboard a massive space arc? What technologies or innovations would be invented for the sake of survival? How dangerous and gritty would their lives be? Knights of Sidonia has a lot to say about these questions and so much more.

Much like the recently released Blame! anime film, Knights of Sidonia is adapted from a manga by Tsutomu Nihei and produced by Polygon Pictures. Both anime feature a very similar dystopian sci-fi design aesthetic with 3D character animations (at times its even implied that both series exists in the same universe). Whereas many sci-fi anime can come across colorful and refined, both these series make a point of presenting worlds with a uniquely weathered look that conveys how grim and desperate these dystopias really are.

Sure, both Blame! and Knights of Sidonia present high-tech settings in the worlds of tomorrow, but after millennia, even our future could become the distant past. High-tech gadgets are transformed into ancient relics by the passage of time. Even Sidonia itself is of brutish, practical design, built right into a massive asteroid.

In Sidonias society, innovations like human cloning, asexual reproduction, and human genetic engineering are commonplace, along with an adaptation that allows most humans to gain nutrients via photosynthesis rather than actually eating. And one of the shows most interesting characters is Izana Shinatose, who is actually a nonbinary third gender. She has androgynous features and, like all third genders, her body can shift into either male or female when she finds a mate.

These adaptations do not arise out of creative or inspired feats of innovation; they arise out of necessity in a resource-starved and highly volatile existence. Much of it is very cool, but as a whole the series does a great job of communicating how bleak life is on Sidonia.

Starvation might be a concern, but the real threat comes from the gauna, which are faceless, emotionless, formless blobs that are nearly impossible to kill. Because theyre so grotesquely inhuman, theyre that much more of an absolute terror.

Not only are the fight scenes in Knights of Sidonia truly horrifying even with Gardes, humanity is hopelessly outmatched and the frequent deaths are truly gruesome but the despair permeates throughout and beyond the militarized portion of society.

Humanity is totally screwed. If you dont die from a gauna attack of some kind, then youll probably just die of starvation at some point. In this, Knights of Sidonia is a lot like Attack on Titan in space.

Knights of Sidonia is easily one of the best anime available on Netflix right now, and you cant watch it anywhere else. Sure, its overwhelmingly dark and gritty, but at least theres a fun and hilariously cute momma bear that takes care of Nagate:

Because what would an anime be without some bizarre comic relief?

See more here:

‘Knights of Sidonia’ is the Pinnacle of Gritty Mecha Anime – Inverse

Human Genetic Engineering on the Doorstep – hgalert.org

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Technosplit: The bifurcation of humanity – Salon

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

The chasm between rich and poor in the world has become so extreme it is frequently difficult to grasp. The eight richest men in the world now own as much as the entire bottom half of the worlds population. The wealthy OECD countries, representing less than 20% of the global population, consume 86% of the worlds goods and services, while the poorest 20% consume only 1.3%. These numbers translate into the shameful reality that a billion people go hungry every day and another billion remain chronically malnourished.

Nevertheless, you wont hear much talk about these numbers in techno-optimist circles that breathlessly discuss the tantalizing possibilities of human enhancement. When futurists blithely envision the possibilities for human enhancement, they ignore the fact that billions of people are barely surviving. and will have no realistic chance of gaining access to these advances. In fact, spend enough time on these topics and youre liable to forget that the majority of human beings are struggling to make ends meet and barely able to think about the next month, never mind decades ahead.

In certain affluent echelons of the developed world, the technological promise of an enhanced human lifestyle exerts a powerful attraction. Leading Silicon Valley companies are funding startups intent on discovering how to disrupt the aging process and allow people to achieve something close to immortality. Breakthroughs in neural implant technology raise the possibility of people being able to communicate with their computer and each other by thought alone in the near future.

Meanwhile, advances in genetic engineering offer the possibility that, within a few decades, the gulf between rich and poor might extend beyond economics and technology to become part of our biological makeup. Scientists are working on identifying sets of genes that correlate with better intelligence, physical fitness, health, and longevity. Once they do so, affluent parents will not forego the advantages that genetic engineering could offer their offspring. At first, new generations will appear much like the older ones, only somewhat more intelligent, healthier, and longer lived. Before too long, however, we will see a new default perception of what constitutes a human being in the affluent world.

Gregory Stock, an advocate of human genetic engineering, predicts we will soon see humans as divergent as poodles and Great Danes. Hes not alone in this view. Physicist Freeman Dyson has warned that engineering the human germline could cause a splitting of humanity into hereditary castes, while biologist Lee Silver sees what he calls GenRich and naturals ultimately splitting into entirely separate species, with no ability to cross-breed, and with as much romantic interest in each other as a current human would have for a chimpanzee.

Eventually, the affluent and the dispossessed will become effectively, if not literally two separate species. One species, genetically and technologically enhanced, exploring entirely new ways of being human; the other species, genetically akin to us, left behind to struggle in a world reeling from resource exploitation and environmental degradation. Its a future scenario I refer to as Technosplit.

Cameron and Jude, circa 2050

Based on the current rate of converging technical advances, its reasonable to expect, by 2050, a young affluent urban couple lets call them Cameron and Jude to be planning their genetically optimized offspring while communicating their thoughts and feelings to each other in an enhanced form using neural implants.

Cameron and Jude will be increasingly segregated from the fate of billions of others suffering the effects of climate change and resource scarcity. They are fortunate to be living in London, one of the affluent cities that by then, will have spent many billions of dollars to protect itself against the massive tidal surges that will be part of the new normal. As they enjoy their virtual reality tours of the few carefully engineered eco-zones still maintained as wilderness parks, what kind of world will the majority of humanity be experiencing on the other side of the Technosplit divide?

In future decades, as the affluent minority enjoy their neurally interconnected, genetically enhanced lives, cities in much of Africa and Southeast Asia, beleaguered by political instability, massive poverty and inadequate infrastructure, are likely to be reeling from the ravages of climate change. Reduction in river flows and falling groundwater tables will lead to widespread shortages of potable water. Flooding and landslides will disrupt electricity, sanitation and transportation systems, leading to rampant infectious disease.

Meanwhile, even as these cities strain to the breaking point, millions more refugees will be streaming in from the rural hinterland where the effects of climate change will be even more devastating. Wealthier residents will flee these urban disaster zones for safer abodes, either in the developed world or newly planned, segregated cities insulating them from the suffering of their compatriots, leaving the largest urban population centers without the capital reserves to fortify their structures against the threatening onslaught of even more severe climate disruption.

Along with the human catastrophe of failed states and the misery of billions in overwhelmed coastal megacities, the nonhuman world is heading inexorably to its own form of collapse. At current rates of destruction, natural ecosystems are likely to be reduced to islands of conservation habitats surrounded by vast agribusiness plantations and urban sprawl. Tropical rainforests will only survive as degraded, shrinking remnants in national parks.

Cameron and Jude might not, however, consider this situation as gravely as we do, given their reduced expectation of the natural world and their ability to experience vastly enhanced virtual reality immersions in wildlife reservations, enabling them to feel closer to nature in some ways than many of todays urban residents. Meanwhile, the affluent world will be doing its utmost to maintain an iron grip on access to vital global resources through its stranglehold on the worlds economic and military systems.

A betrayal of human values

At the current rate of increase in global economic disparity and technological innovation, this is what we must expect for humanitys future. But is it what people desire, even in the affluent world? Many techno-optimists, who argue that humanitys defining feature is the ability to reach beyond the limitations of our biology, believe so and celebrate the possibility of humanitys ultimate triumph: the unfettered progress of technologys conquest of nature.

But theres another view of humanity that permeates the modern world, one based on the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. These words, from the U.N.s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, represent a different kind of historical progressthe progress of humanitys moral scope, which has expanded beyond tribal groupings to encompass the entire human race. In this view, spelled out by the Declaration in 1948, all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. According to this view, everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

From this viewpoint, the Technosplit scenario would be a fundamental betrayal of human values. It would be equivalent to the rich minority building a luxury lifeboat and deserting a rapidly sinking ship thats taking down those who cant afford the entry ticket.

Avoiding Technosplit

On the other hand, might Cameron and Jude be more profoundly disturbed by the convulsions of their world than an equivalent couple in todays society? Could their enhanced connection with whats left of the natural world cause them to treasure it more keenly? Might the impending devastation from climate change drive them and their peers to demand a radical redirection in the worlds trajectory? Could their potentially enhanced neural ability to connect with the suffering of the impoverished billions cause them to press for a different world economic order that honors the intrinsic rights of each human being?

The attitude Cameron and Jude and millions of their peers take to their world will fundamentally affect the future trajectory the human race. And this attitude will depend ultimately on their core values, which will emerge to a large extent from ideas developed by our generation.

A scenario where humanity remains resilient requires something deeper than even the most compelling economic and technological solutions to our current crises, such as a global price on carbon and massive investment in green energy. These are undoubtedly necessary to avert disaster, but even if theyre fully effective, they wouldnt be sufficient to avoid the Technosplit scenario. That would require a more fundamental shift in the underlying values that drive our daily decisions, along with structural changes to the global economic system that is causing the inequalities wrenching humanity apart and leading us step-by-step towards Technosplit.

When a system is stretched to breaking point, something has to give. In the Technosplit scenario, our economic model remains resilient, but our shared humanity is transformed beyond recognition. In a scenario where our shared humanity remains intact, the economic system driving our current trajectory would need to be transformed, along with its underlying values: the pursuit of never-ending material growth and the glorification of humanitys conquest of nature. In its place, we need to nurture a new set of values, ones that emphasize growing the quality of life rather than material possessions, a profound sense of our shared humanity, and a commitment to the flourishing of the natural world.

As we progress further into this century, with its combination of glorious possibilities and existential threats, it is becoming clear that our generation, along with the next, is engaged in nothing less than a struggle over the future of what it means to be human.

This article was adapted from the final chapter of The Patterning Instinct: Trajectories to Our Future.Jeremy Lent is author of The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanitys Search for Meaning (Prometheus Books) available May 23, 2017.

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Technosplit: The bifurcation of humanity – Salon


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