Human genome project 2

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Human genome project 2

It all started back in 1953 with two men by the names of
James D. Watson and Francis Crick when they discovered the
double-helical structure of DNA.  Little did they know they were
opening the door to the creation of a perfect world.  In 1986,
the Human Genome Project, led up by the National Institution of
Health(NIH), took a giant leap through this door.  They began the
long process of mapping out the entire genetic makeup of the
human body.  The main purpose of the HGP was originally for the
use of preventing inherent diseases.  However, as studies
continue to progress, increased opportunities arise for
genetically altering the unborn.  You are now able to choose the
sex of you child before they are born with great accuracy.  What
is on the horizon now, is the possibility of designing your child
to be “perfect”.  Over the years, there has been heated, ethical
controversy on each of these issues, especially designer babies.
How far will we let biotechnological discovery take us?  What
will come of the world if designer babies become standard
The earliest and maybe simplest use of genetic manipulation
was in the selection of the sex of an unborn child.  In Vitro
Fertilization(IVF - A procedure in which a woman’s eggs are
removed from her body, fertilized outside using sperm from her
husband or another donor, and then transferred back to her body.)
was originally limited to couples that were infertile.  Even the
use of IVF for the infertile was unheard of at one point.  “But
growing demand makes it socially acceptable, and now anybody
who’s infertile demands IVF,” says Lee Silver, a Princeton
University biologist.  Several years ago, fertility clinics
announced the new possibility of sex selection.  It was obviously
an exciting breakthrough, but when these clinics were inquired
about their results, they only had about a 50 percent success
rate.  “Its affluent clients could have achieved exactly the same
outcome by leaving a note for the tooth fairy, requesting a girl
or a boy”(Riddell).  In the same way, there were many who were
opposed to the idea at first especially with the results they
were getting, but over time the procedures have been almost
perfected and it has become socially acceptable.(Lemonick)
Many issues have arisen from the possibilities sex selection
will provide.  In cultures where males are valued more than
girls, such as China and India, assured sex selection could
really throw off an already out of balance society.  In the
United States it may not be as likely for there to be a favored
sex, generally speaking.  In our case, it is more of a weighted
opinion on what order you should have your kids, what sex should
come first.  Statistics show that the ideal family has a male as
the firstborn.  Males tend to be more assertive and more dominant
than females, as do firstborns.  If you put all this together, it
seems as though we are headed towards an even more male-dominated
world.  This is obviously a huge issue not only for the feminist
and gender-role stereotypes, but also for the more general idea
of a balance of nature.  Will females eventually fade out of
existence?  That is obviously farfetched, but definitely not
At this point, the majority still agrees that the provisions
of genetic engineering should be limited to the correction of
inherent diseases.  There are two primary ways that genetics can
be used to treat diseases.  The first is gene therapy, in which
one or more genes are injected into the patient to replace those
that are absent or not working properly.  This approach has been
used to treat a broad range of disorders such as heart disease,
many forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, AIDS, and
many more.  The second way to employ genes to treat diseases is
known as small-molecule therapy.  In this approach, the patient
is given a small molecule (drug) to modify the function of one or
more genes in the body.  When the pioneers of gene therapy first
requested government approval for their experiments in 1987, they
vowed they would never alter the patients’ germline (eggs or
Dr. W. French Anderson, who