For my final blog post, I will be discussing whether it is ethical or not to patent human genes. Before I begin, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who commented or viewed my blogs. This was a very interesting trip. It went by so fast and I think it is crazy that the year is essentially over.
Human Genes should be patented:
There are people who believe that Human genes that can be patented. These people believe that there are no actual moral reasons as to why human genes should not be patented. However, they believe that only modified genes should be allowed to be patented. Technically, they do not own the part of the human since the modified part is not of the actual human.
Human Genes should not be patented:
People who believe human genes should not be patented compare the topic to slavery. If you patent a gene that belongs to a person, you are opening up the opportunity for the person to be viewed as an object. By definition, a patent is a right that someone holds to decide what happens with a creation. Because someone did not invent genetics, they should not be able to patent any genes.
I think that genes should not be patented. It sounds a lot like you are putting a label on parts of humans. Although the genes that would be patented would be genetically modified, I believe it is still wrong. However, I do think that instead of patents, people should be credited to discovering these genetic modifications.Instead of a patent, the genetic modification could be named after the person to come up with it.
Pro Genetic Engineering:
Genetic engineering has many aspects that seem beneficial. Genetic engineering could be used in the Agricultural industry to manipulate different types of fruits and vegetables. For instance, an apple could be genetically modified into having more nutrients than a regular apple. On top of being more nutritious, The apple tree could also be modified to be genetically resistant to diseases that could cause the apple tree to die. Of course, the most controversial part of Genetic Engineering is when it is applied to humans. Many scientists are aiming that in the future, Genetic engineering will be able to detect and treat genetic diseases. Genetic treatment would involve genetic pharmaceuticals that would be capable of turning off harmful genes such as Down's syndrome.
The main fear that people have about Genetic engineering is the well being of animals. It is feared that Genetic engineering experiments can have only partially successful results. For example, in an attempt to give an animal a gene that prevents one disease, the animal may receive another genetic disease that can lead to a long life of suffering. Not only could an animal be born with a disease but a whole new animal can be born. If large enough genetic error were to occur, a transgenic animal could be born. This would be a result of trying to give the genetic traits of one animal to another.
I think Genetic engineering is not unethical. I think it would be awesome to live in a society where you could essentially have surgery in order to get rid of a genetic disorder. The fact that the main objective for genetic engineering is for the greater good makes me believe that there should not be anything that should try to oppose it. Why try to stop something that can improve the lives of thousands or even save those lives?
Pro Post Mortem Pregnancies:
In 1992, a young pregnant woman in Germany was involved in a fatal car accident. As a result of the impact, the woman was killed, however the baby was still alive. The family decided to go with a post mortem pregnancy in which the woman's body would be kept alive by machines in order to sustain the baby until it could be born. People who think post mortem pregnancies are ethical argue that the lives of unborn children are still very valuable. Despite being developed inside of a body that is no longer living, the child had a life ahead of him so he should be saved.
Anti Post Mortem Pregnancies:
People who oppose post mortem pregnancies tend to look at the logistical point of view with this issue.
Pro cross-species organ transplant:
The pro cross species organ transplant argument is mainly led by the fact that these procedures have shown slight success in the past. As you may think, the donated organs come from primarily primates since their DNA is so much like that of a human. For example, in 1995, a man with AIDS received bone marrow from a Baboon. Crazy right? Unfortunately, his body rejected the marrow however but his AIDS got better. Scientists and doctors credit this to the natural immunity to AIDS that baboon marrow has. Another man received a kidney from a Chimpanzee and went on to live for 9 more months. On top of these signs of success, it is argued that it these transplants should be acceptable because they could potentially save lives. Lives of humans are much more valuable than that of an animal.
Anti cross-species organ transplant:
One well known opponents of this practice is PETA (Protection for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). They believe that killing an animal for its organs is unethical and cruel to the animals. It also puts them in danger of becoming endangered if scientists would ever focus on harvesting the organs of one specific breed of animals. Another fear that people have is the risk of animal to human disease. In the past we have had small epidemics of cross-species viruses such as the swine flu. Putting animal organs into the body of a human greatly increases the chances of giving humans a virus from an animal since infected parts may be transplanted into the human.
Like I said in my last blog post, If it is being done in order to save human lives, It should be okay. Knowledge about this practice is very limited. These types of transplants have not always been successful, but if they ever are, it should be ethical. The only thing that should be observed carefully when doing this is the rate at which they use animals. It should never get to the point to where a species becomes endangered. After all, if you really look at the big picture, animal organs would only ever be used for transplants as a last resort. Human organs should be prioritized over those of animals, but if push comes to shove, use of animal organs should be okay since human lives are more valuable than those of animals.
As always, feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think!
Pro Organ Sale:
The question of whether or not it is ethical to sell your organs has been widely discussed over the past 50 years. As of right now there is a law that is in effect called the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 which prohibits the sale of Organs. However, the pro-organ sale argument accuses this law of being the cause of a shortage of organs that are currently available for donation. In other words, there are more recipients than there are donors. It is argued that a simple solution to this shortage is to allow people to receive money for donating their organs in order to encourage more donations. As of right now, organ donation is a completely altruistic act which lowers the interest in donating organs and as a result is a root cause of the donor shortage. Making organ sale legal would be eliminate the shortage of organs and as a result save many lives.
Anti Organ Sale:
The main arguing point for those who oppose the sale of organ donations is the abuse of power. In India, it is actually possible for one to legally sell an organ. As a result, there have been cases of men and women being overpowered by other people who forced them to have their organs removed for sale. The one case the book mentioned noted that a man sold his wife's kidney and gambled the money away in on night. Cases like these are what people who oppose organ sale in America fear. They also fear that they can abuse of the poor. On the left hand side is a little cartoon that demonstrates how the homeless can possibly be abused.
I believe that people should be able to sale their organs for a profit. I had never thought that there was a shortage of organs in The United States but now that I think of it, it explains why recipients always have to wait so long for an organ to be donated to them. As for the cases of people forcing organ donations upon others, I don't think that would happen often. If the U.S were to legalize sale of organs, I think this would be a very rare occurrence. However, one should not look at the bigger picture. Although some may be taken advantage of, thousands of lives may be saved. There have been so many cases of people who have passed away due to a lack of a donor organ and I think that if we could highly reduce the times that his happens, It would be a step forward in the medical field.
What do you think? Should organ sale be legal? Or should it not? Let me know in the comments!
The First section of the Bio medical Ethics book covered the controversial topic of cloning. The pro-cloning argument was surrounded around the idea that there is more possible benefit than the possible risk.
One example used to justify this is Galileo's actions. In his time, speaking out against the church and studying in the science field was a risky choice and very much controversial. However, Galileo was persistent and discovered that the sun in fact does not rotate around the Earth but vice versa. This example can also relate to cloning. As of now, cloning remains a controversial topic that is frowned upon by many. However, if the scientific community continues to research this topic, we are destined to find many discoveries that can benefit the world. Since cloning has successfully worked on animals, like in the case of Dolly the sheep. This cloned sheep lived 7 years, 10-12 years being the average lifespan of a sheep. She lived a fairly long life considering that she was the first animal to ever be cloned. She even had 6 offspring! Continuous research into this topic is noting but beneficial for the scientific community as it opens up an opportunity to learn about genetics in a whole new way.
Much of the anti-cloning argument comes from the perspective of looking at the clone as a human being. It is argued that cloning is unethical as the clone is a person with the exact same genome as another person. Because of this it is believed that the clone can look at the original version of himself and form the idea that his future has been already determined. This has a negative psychological effect on the clone because he will not be able to act with the genuine spontaneity and attempt to become "his own self." It is also argued that if a person were to be cloned they would be treated as objects rather than humans, making the mistreatment of clones unethical. Why bring in a person into the world only for them to be treated as subhuman beings.
In my opinion, Cloning should not be regarded as such a taboo topic. When people are asked about their opinion on cloning, many jump to the conclusion that they are talking about humans, and in return give a negative response. Animals too, can be cloned and It has been done before. In medicine, tests are run on animals before human trials begin. Similarly, cloning should be tested on animals first if they are ever tried on humans. All the kinks in every single aspect of cloning should be worked out before human trials are even considered. All in all, I believe cloning is a taboo matter because we know very little about it compared to other scientific fields. That being said, just because we don't know much about it does not mean that we should completely prohibit the act of learning about it.
So far, I am really enjoying this book. I usually read in my room at home to avoid being distracted by anybody and also because it is more quiet in there, allowing me to read more effectively. Also, since this book is about certain topics that genuinely interest me, it is very easy for me to read. I look forward to reading about some of the upcoming topics that I noticed in the table of contents.