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cancer cells and Genetic Engineering

Genetic Engineering: A leap in to the future or a leap towards destruction?
Introduction
Science is a creature that continues to evolve at a much higher rate than the beings that gave it birth. The transformation time from tree-shrew, to ape, to human far exceeds the time from an analytical engine, to a calculator, to a computer. However, science, in the past, has always remained distant. It has allowed for advances in production, transportation, and even entertainment, but never in history has science be able to so deeply affect our lives as genetic engineering will undoubtedly do. With the birth of this new technology, scientific extremists and anti-technologists have risen in arms to block its budding future. Spreading fear by misinterpretation of facts, they promote their hidden agendas in the halls of the United States congress. They fear that it is unsafe; however, genetic engineering is a safe and powerful tool that will yield unprecedented results, specifically in the field of medicine. It will usher in a world where gene defects, bacterial disease, and even aging are a thing of the past. By understanding genetic engineering and its history, discovering its possibilities, and answering the moral and safety questions it brings forth, the blanket of fear covering this remarkable technical miracle can be lifted.
The first step to understanding genetic engineering and embracing its possibilities for society is to obtain a rough knowledge base of its history and method. The basis for altering the evolutionary process is dependant on the understanding of how individuals pass on characteristics to their offspring. Genetics achieved its first foothold on the secrets of nature's evolutionary process when an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel developed the first laws of heredity. Using these laws, scientists studied the characteristics of organisms for most of the next one hundred years following Mendel's discovery. These early studies concluded that each organism has two sets of character determinants, or genes (Stableford 16). For instance, in regards to eye color, a child could receive one set of genes from his or her father that were encoded one blue, and the other brown. The same child could also receive two brown genes from his or her mother. The conclusion for this inheritance would be the child has a three in four chance of having brown eyes, and a one in three chance of having blue eyes (Stableford 16).
Genes are transmitted through chromosomes which reside in the nucleus of every living organism's cells. Each chromosome is made up of fine strands of deoxyribonucleic acids, or DNA. The information carried on the DNA determines the cells function within the organism.
Sex cells are the only cells that contain a complete DNA map of the organism, therefore, the structure of a DNA molecule or combination of DNA molecules determines the shape, form, and function of the [organism's] offspring  (Lewin 1). DNA discovery is attributed to the research of three scientists, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and James Dewey Watson in 1951. They were all later accredited with the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine in 1962 (Lewin 1).
The new science of genetic engineering aims to take a dramatic short cut in the slow process of evolution (Stableford 25). In essence, scientists aim to remove one gene from an organism's DNA, and place it into the DNA of another organism. This would create a new DNA strand, full of new encoded instructions; a strand that would have taken Mother Nature millions of years of natural selection to develop. Isolating and removing a desired gene from a DNA strand involves many different tools. DNA can be broken up by exposing it to ultra-highfrequency sound waves, but this is an extremely inaccurate way of isolating a desirable DNA section (Stableford 26). A more accurate way of DNA splicing is the use of restriction enzymes, which are produced by various species of bacteria (Clarke 1). The restriction enzymes cut the DNA strand at a particular location called a nucleotide base, which makes up a DNA molecule. Now that the desired portion of the DNA is cut out, it can be joined to anothe strand of DNA by using enzymes called ligases. The final important step in the creation of a new DNA strand ... more

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Abortion

Abortion Life or Death Who Chooses?
In Roman times, abortion and the destruction of unwanted children was permissible, but as out civilization has aged, it
seems that such acts were no longer acceptable by rational human beings, so that in 1948, Canada along with most
other nations in the world signed a declaration of the United Nations promising every human being the right to life. The
World Medical Association meeting in Geneve at the same time, stated that the utmost respect for human life was to be
from the moment of conception. This declaration was re-affirmed when the World Medical Association met in Oslo in
1970. Should we go backwards in our concern for the life of an individual human being? The unborn human is still a
human life and not all the wishful thinking of those advocating repeal of abortion laws, can alter this. Those of us who
would seek to protect the human who is still to small to cry aloud for it's own protection, have been accused of having a
19th Century approach to life in the last third of the 20th Century. But who in reality is using arguments of a bygone
Century? It is an incontrovertible fact of biological science - Make no Mistake - that from the moment of conception, a
new human life has been created. Only those who allow their emotional passion to overide their knowledge, can deny it:
only those who are irrational or ignorant of science, doubt that when a human sperm fertilizes a human ovum a new
human being is created. A new human being who carries genes in its cells that make that human being uniquely different
from any and other human being and yet, undeniably a member, as we all are, of the great human family. All the fetus
needs to grow into a babe, a child, an old man, is time, nutrition and a suitable environment. It is determined at that very
moment of conception whether the baby will be a boy or a girl; which of his parents he will look like; what blood type
he will have. His whole heritage is forever fixed. Look at a human being 8 weeks after conception and you, yes every
person here who can tell the difference between a man and a women, will be able to look at the fetus and tell me
whether it is a baby boy or a girl. No, a fetus is not just another part of a women's body like an appendix or
appendage. These appendages, these perfectly formed tiny feel belong to a 10 week developed baby, not to his or her
mother. The fetus is distinct and different and has it's own heart beat. Do you know that the fetus' heart started beating
just 18 days after a new life was created, beating before the mother even knew she was pregnant? By 3 months of
pregnancy the developing baby is just small enough to be help in the palm of a man's hand but look closely at this 3
month old fetus. All his organs are formed and all his systems working. He swims, he grasps a pointer, he moves freely,
he excretes urine. If you inject a sweet solution into the water around him, he will swallaw because he likes the taste.
Inject a bitter solution and he will quit swallowing because he does not like the taste. By 16 weeks it is obvious to all,
except those who have eyes but deliberately do not see, that this is a young human being. Who chooses life or death for
this little one because abortion is the taking of a human life? This fact is undeniable; however much of the members of
the Women's Liberation Movement, the new Feminists, Dr. Henry Morgentaler or the Canadian Medical Association
President feel about it, does not alter the fact of the matter. An incontrovertible fact that cannot change as feelings
change. If abortion is undeniably the taking of human life and yet sincere misguided people feel that it should be just a
personal matter between a women and the doctor, there seems to be 2 choices open to them. (1) That they would
believe that other acts of destruction of human beings such as infanticide and homicide should be of no concern of
society and therefore, eliminate them from the criminal code. This I cannot believe is ... more

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