Is Genetic Engineering Ethically Right?

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Is Genetic Engineering ethically right? Genetic engineering is the alteration of genetic code by artificial means and is therefore different from traditional selective breeding because scientists have discovered how to move pieces of genetic material from one species to another. There is no limit in theory to the potential of genetic engineering and it has given us the power to alter the very basis of life on earth. Ethical questions about genetic engineering have been raised since the 1970’s both about the process and the result, as it has few limits except our imagination and our moral or ethical code (Global change 2012). Ethics is the study of morality, what is good or bad, right or wrong. (DLCentre 2011). It is a requirement for human life, it is our means of deciding a course of action, without it our actions would be random and aimless. Most people recognise some common ethical norms but different individuals interpret, apply and balance these norms in different ways in light of their own values and life experiences (Importance of Philosophy 2001). The philosophical study of ethics goes back much further than 20th and 21st century medical issues but could still be applied to the ethical issues surrounding genetic engineering. Utilitarianism looks at the benefits and risks associated with ethics. Whereas Kant’s theory takes a very different approach and deals in absolute rules. Rather than asking what the benefits of say embryonic stem cell research might be he would ask whether there is anything in principle wrong with such research. Pre implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) also known as embryo screening allows couples at risk of transmitting a genetic disease to ensure their future children are unaffected by the disease without going through the process of parental diagnosis (i.e., testing of foetal tissue for the presence of diseased genes) and being
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