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Advantages and Disadvantages of Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering, gene alteration, and characteristics selection all have been debatable & questioned from their inception, whether it is from a social, scientific, or ethical perspective. Concerning this controversial subject, the most common inquiries and interrogations center on safety, individual rights, social inequity, and aristocracy.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Genetic Engineering

In this article, we will discuss genetic engineering, what it implies for people, and how it can impact our daily lives. What benefits and drawbacks can genetic engineering offer? What role does genetic engineering have in human life? That's in addition to talking about rules and laws related to ethics and safety, which are highly important to everyone, from doctors and scientists to patients & parents. Let's begin!

What do you mean by Genetic Engineering?

The method of genetic engineering involves using technology to change an organism's DNA. Genetic alteration and genetic engineering are both used similarly. To achieve a desired trait, the procedure may include modifying the genome, or the whole of an organism's DNA. Getting rid of a bad characteristic may also require eliminating portions of the genome. Any creature, be it a plants, an animal, a bacterium, or a person, may be subjected to genetic engineering with the aim of increasing or changing its appearance.

Types of Genetic Modification

There are several ways in which genetic changes might take place. To modify an organism's genetic structure and alter its traits, gene editing is done. With the use of recombinant DNA technology, DNA from two distinct species is combined in a host organism, usually a strain of bacteria.

Gene silencing, which involves suppressing or regulating a gene's expression, is another kind of genetic alteration. Gene silencing has been used to produce plants like the Arctic apple. After being chopped, it won't become brown since the browning gene has been inhibited. The following methods may be used to any of these genetic engineering procedures:

Advantages and Disadvantages of Genetic Engineering
  • By switching one base pair-for example, from A-T to C-G-modifications may be created.
  • For the purpose of removing an undesirable characteristic, a complete segment or region of DNA may be cut away.
  • The genome may be expanded by making a copy of a gene.
  • It is possible to take DNA from one creature and introduce a foreign gene to the genomes of another.

Effect of Genetic Engineering on different Aspects

Science and technology are widely used in human genetic engineering. It was created in an effort to stop the spread of illnesses. Because of the development of genetic engineering, it is now possible for researchers to alter the way the genomes cause certain illnesses that come from a genetic mutation.

Nowadays, genetic engineering is employed to treat illnesses like diabetes and countless others, as well as conditions like cystic fibrosis. The "bubble boy" sickness is a fatal condition that is now being cured via genetic engineering (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency). This is a resounding example of how genetic engineering may enhance life quality and extend lifespan.

The potential to treat illnesses and disorders in unborn infants is undoubtedly one of this field's biggest advantages. An unborn child may be treated if they undergo genetic testing. This may eventually affect how quickly illnesses spread in the next generations.

These advantages do not, however, come without risk. People have strong feelings either for or against the development of human genetic engineering. The impact of this concept on the biosphere is briefly discussed in this article, along with several contentious concerns that surround the use of this technology. The information used to produce the paper came from peer-reviewed publications that were included in PubMed from 2000 to 2015.

1. Environmental Impacts

Although this area can potentially have enormously good effects, there are still many unanswered concerns. Genetically engineered new creatures could cause ecological issues. The effects that a genetically modified animal might have on the ecosystem are unpredictable. Just like alien species would do, the introduction of a novel genetically modified species might lead to an ecological imbalance in the area.

A mishap or an uncertain outcome might lead to several issues. Incorrect genetic engineering of a virus or bacterium, for instance, might produce a stronger kind that, if unleashed, could start a catastrophic epidemic. In the case of human genetic engineering, this might be deadly, resulting in anything from mild health issues to fatalities.

2. Effects on People

Given that genetic engineering uses viral vectors to deliver functional genes into the human body, the effects are still not fully understood. There are no hints as to the placement of functional genes. In certain cases, they could even substitute healthy genes for defective ones. As a result, this might cause further human health problems or diseases.

Additionally, it is anticipated that genetic variety will decrease as dysfunctional genes are replaced with functioning ones. If all humans have similar genomes, the population will be more vulnerable to viruses and other illnesses.

Additionally, genetic engineering may have unintended consequences or results. Some persons may have unexpected allergic responses as a result of alterations made to a plant or animal that did not happen in the original form. Other alterations could make an organism poisonous to people or other living things.

3. Medicine Resistance

Antibiotic resistance genes are often used in genetic engineering as "selectable markers." These indicators aid in the early detection of cells that have ingested foreign genes. The genes are still expressed in plant tissues, despite being useless. Most GM plant crops include fully functional genes for antibiotic resistance. Genes that confer antibiotic resistance may have fatal consequences in food.

As a result, while taking antibiotics with meals, consuming certain items may decrease their ability to fight illness. Furthermore, the resistance genes could be passed on to infections that affect people or animals, rendering them resistant to drugs. If transfer were to occur, it might exacerbate the already major health issue of disease germs resistant to antibiotics.

4. Social and Ethical Problems

  • Genetic engineering is now strongly defended against by the idea of "playing God." Regarding the acceptability of this technology, a number of difficulties have also been brought up. These worries vary from moral dilemmas to ignorance about the potential impacts of genetic modification. The fact that a changed gene cannot be removed from an organism after it has been introduced is a significant source of worry.
  • The use of rDNA in genetic engineering has elicited a range of responses from the public. The use of genetically modified organisms in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals has usually been praised. However, rDNA skeptics worry that disease-causing organisms utilized in certain rDNA research may evolve into highly contagious forms that might spark pandemics over the globe.
  • The use of additional human DNA in non-human species to produce new life forms that are genetically partially human raises significant ethical concerns. How many genetic mutations, for example, would such a green pepper need to have before it could be eaten without repercussions? Or what proportion of human genes must be present for an organism to be classified as human?

To help tomatoes and peppers develop more quickly, genetic mutations are now being put into the plants. This implies that it is now possible to practise vegetarianism and cannibalism simultaneously. This very same argument regarding eating pork with human Genes may be put to meat eaters. How about the mice created via genetic engineering to generate human sperm. How will it affect the children psychologically is the question.

  • Because of the fact that this really raises a cow's risk of getting mastitis, or an ailment of the udder, but also renders cows extra prone to infertility and lameness, critics have doubted the security of genetically altered bovine somatotropin (BST), which is used to improve the milk supply of dairy cows.
  • Controversial problems also surround transgenic plants. Through genetic engineering, allergens may be spread from one food crop to another. Another issue is that consuming genetically modified foods while pregnant may jeopardise the unborn child by impairing normal foetal development and changing gene expression.
  • Human cloning should be illegal, according to a study published in 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. The investigation came to the conclusion that such an attempt in humans would be very risky for the mother and growing embryo and is likely to fail given the high prevalence of health issues in cloned animals. Beyond safety, the prospect of cloning people poses a range of societal concerns, such as the psychological problems that might arise for a cloned kid who is the exact twin of one of his or her parents.
  • The harmful use of genetic engineering is further unsettling potential. Terrorist organizations or the military might develop more potent biological weapons. These weapons may be drug-resistant or even intended for persons with certain DNA. Genetically modified organisms employed as biological weapons may also multiply more quickly, producing larger amounts in a shorter amount of time and a greater degree of destruction.

Genetic Engineering: Advantages and Disadvantages

Particularly in relation to genetic alterations in people, genetic engineering has grown to be a contentious subject. The use of genetic engineering has both benefits and drawbacks. The parts that follow will examine each side in more detail.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Genetic Engineering

Advantages of Genetic Engineering

Numerous applications of genetic engineering have benefited society, and there is yet room for more. The following are some advantages of genetic engineering that have already been applied or may be employed:

  • Curing illnesses - The treatment of genetic disorders involves either genotype modification or replacement of the gene mutation with a healthy one. To fix a mutation causing an illness, gene therapy inserts a healthy gene into an individual's DNA.
  • Medicine - Genetic engineering has been used to develop a number of significant drugs, vaccinations, and therapies, including human insulin.
  • Improved Foods - Crops may have their DNA altered via genetic engineering to produce more nutritious food that lasts a lot longer, & tastes much better. For illustration, "golden rice" has been altered to have more vitamin A. In order to improve the health of those who live in regions with inadequate nutrition, this rice may then be supplied.
  • Longer Lifespan - Genetic engineering may be used to raise a person's risk of contracting particular diseases or ailments, therefore enhancing their health and life expectancy.
  • Resources are more plentiful - Resources are becoming scarce in certain locations due to high population expansion. The constraints may be lessened with the use of genetic engineering. For instance, cows may be genetically altered to produce more milk, while sheep may be altered to provide more wool.

Disadvantages of Genetic Engineering

The use of genetic engineering has drawbacks as well. Its applications have given birth to moral and ethical concerns, and they have the ability to make matters worse. Genetic engineering may have several drawbacks, such as the following:

  • Ethical Challenges - The capacity to change a person's DNA raises the prospect of "designer babies." Parents may pay to have their kid's DNA genetically tweaked in the womb to produce the "ideal" child if genetic engineering advanced to the point where DNA could be changed to generate certain desired features in a person.

This raises moral concerns about whether or not parents should have that authority, the danger of an imbalanced male-to-female ratio, and the appropriateness of even tampering with a person's DNA.

  • Limits Diversity- It is crucial for all species, yet genetically altered species are created to be more resilient and outlast other types. This restricts species diversity.
  • Additional Issues: Genetic engineering has the potential to confer undesirable traits on an organism. For instance, a microorganism may create a poison, be resistant to antibiotics, or result in the development of a disease.
  • Money and Ownership: The people who produce a gene are the ones who own it. As a result, the price of goods like genetically modified crops is decided by the owners.

It is up to the owner's judgement whether to make it more inexpensive or accessible in regions of the globe where it is most needed; he or she may decide to increase pricing or restrict its accessibility. Only the wealthy could be able to afford gene therapy to cure illnesses if costs for human genes rise to that level.


Modern society has integrated genetic engineering into practically every aspect of life, and its extensive applications have affected and advanced almost every significant subject. The healthcare, agriculture, and pharmaceutical industries have all been transformed by this technology.

Depending on our needs, various approaches are used in genetic engineering for various goals. With the help of this technology, we now have crops that are resistant to pests, transgenic organisms and hormones, and several other critical goods. Without this technology, biological research today cannot be considered complete.

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