Where to? Genetic Engineering —Genetically Modified Organisms, GMO, Synthetic Life and Bioethics

| January 4, 2018 | Leave a Comment

DNA by MIKI Yoshihito from the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

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Publication Info: Abbreviated version of "What if? Genetically Modified Organisms and Synthetic Life: Future Ethics Questions," in World Future Review, 6(2) | July, 2014

Year of Publication: 2014

Author(s): Gioietta Kuo, Lane Jennings

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Authors Gioietta Kuo and Lane Jennings consider the different directions the future could push genetic modification research, and argue that prevailing social conditions and technologies might have more influence on future GMO research than moral precepts or logical reasoning. You can read the full article here:

Abstract: Our body consists of billions of cells.  In the cells are strands of DNA – our genetic hereditary material. DNA consists of bases —amino acids, briefly denoted by A, G, C, T.  Scientists have already mapped the human genome with its 3 billion bases, and successfully applied their knowledge of this structure, its sequence, to correct defects and improve healing. But this same knowledge can be used to artificially enhance human capabilities, or even produce variations on existing human physiology and reasoning far beyond our present powers to imagine—let alone predict or plan for. The sequence of these bases gives what we are. But modern technology has advanced to such an extent that we can modify the sequence of DNA and modify some animals and plants.  These result in the bizarre examples we show here. Some are good and beneficial, some are bad. Whatever, our society is changing in a big way in front of our eyes. We should be aware and we need to know and take action if possible.

Using techniques we have gathered, we can decode the entire sequence of a bacterium and store in a computer. With the bases A, G, C, T we can insert into the cells this sequence and synthesize the animal.  Given this ability, we can then change and produce new life. This opens up great vistas for the future we can only  imagine.

Our modern ethical considerations of this power tend to focus on the “rights” and “duties” of human beings as we know them today as the one desirable norm.  This paper briefly reviews the progress of Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs, technology to date, and considers how different conditions in the future might justify—or even require—applying various genetic modification techniques to help ensure the survival of the human species.

Gioietta Kuo has MA at Cambridge, PhD in nuclear physics, Atlas Fellow at St Hilda’s College Oxford and many years research at Princeton. She has written many environmental articles for World Future Review, and in Chinese – People’s Daily, World Environment, Magazine for the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection. She has published more than 100 articles in American and European professional journals, She can be reached at: koupet@comcast.net

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