Questions Technology

What are the genetic engineering pros and cons?

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Madhu Mannen

Think Big

Genetic engineering is one of the technologically advanced processes which is used for genes manipulation in characteristics alteration and behaviors of an organism. It is done by changing, inserting or deleting, specific genes present within an organism’s DNA. One example for this engineering field can be Production of plants with higher nutritional value or the one which can tolerate any exposure to any herbicides. Besides having so many pros in it, there are some cons too. We will discuss both the pros and cons of this technology.

Pros of Genetic engineering:

1.     Managing and defeating critical Diseases: 
There are some deadly as well as difficult diseases in the world, which can be wiped out by the right application of genetic engineering. There are few genes which are inherited from a parent or by genetic mutations caused due to environmental mutagens, for example, cystic fibrosis, heart diseases, and Alzheimer. Genetic engineering can treat it with defective gene alterations. 

2.     Supports in enhancing lifeline: 
With the support of genetic engineering, we can now force our bodies to accept the climate changing scenario of our planet. We can now add some years in lives by making the alteration of body cells so that bodies don’t start to deteriorate as fast as they usually do. 

3.     Specific qualities can be introduced: 
There are various Plants and animals in which specific traits are clinically developed with the support of genetic engineering making it beneficial to consume. For example, Animals are developed to supply more milk, develop better muscle tissue, or crops are genetically treated to make better production of better quality. The problem of Food shortage can be well managed with genetic engineering.

Cons of Genetic engineering:

1.     Nutritional value of food may get affected.  When animals start developing faster and mature quickly, then the nutritional value gets affected and in most cases gets reduced.

2.     Genetic engineering shows 100% guaranteed change.  Some changes turn out to be positive, delivering healthier foods. There will be many other changes, which may turn out to be negative and unexpectedly poor.

3.     Another key problem with genetic engineering is safety in terms of making significant changes right at the cellular level. Even if we succeed to wipe out any disease by introducing something new which may turn out to be even more dangerous.

4.     Diversity is one of the important aspects of life and all of us agree to it. With genetical engineering of organisms, we basically attack to reduce that diversity. The effects which we will get to see in the long term for eliminating genetic diversity is still unknown to us, and if things go wrong it can also be dangerous too.


Dhiraj Khatri

Aspire to Inspire before you Expire

The 21st century witnessed some of the greatest advancements in the field of technology. One such field is the biological field, genetic engineering in particular.

What is genetic engineering?
Genetic Engineering is the branch of biotechnology, dealing with the techniques to alter the chemical and genetic make-up (DNA and RNA) of an individual and introduce these altered genetic constituents into the host organisms for changing the phenotype of the host organisms.

Let us now discuss the pros and cons of genetic engineering.

Pros of genetic engineering

  • Genetically Modified Plants
Using Genetic Engineering, scientists have successfully developed genetically modified plants that have the following properties:
  • Increased level of tolerance towards abiotic stresses like cold, heat, drought, salt, etc.
  • Made plants pest-resistant and reduced their dependency on chemicals.
  • Helped in the reduction of post-harvest losses.
  • Helped in the enhancement of the nutritional value of the plants, for example, Vitamin A enriched rice.
  • Genetically Engineered Hormones and therapeutic drugs

Genetic Engineering has enabled the mass production of several hormones and therapeutic drugs, including several recombinant therapeutic drugs that do not induce any unwanted immunological responses in our bodies.
Genetically Engineered Insulin is one such product of genetic engineering.

  • Gene Therapy
Genetic Engineering is used to detect and cure several hereditary diseases like ADA (Adenosine Deaminase) Deficiency.
  • Molecular Diagnosis
Genetic Engineering is used to detect pathogens early, even in lower concentrations, terminate them, and prevent them from degrading the body—for Example, PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), ELISA, radioactive tagging and autoradiography, etc.

Cons of Genetic Engineering

  • Ethical Issues
The first question arises: what are we doing any good in the real sense by manipulating animals' and plants' genetic composition just for our benefits? Many people use genetic engineering beyond moral standards, which cannot go on.
  • Patents Problem
Genetic engineering for the modification of living organisms has also started the patents' war, granted for such modifications. 
This results in several other problems like Biopiracy, which have negatively impacted several people, mainly the farmers.
  • Birth of advanced resistant pathogens
Using Genetic Engineering, disease/pathogen-resistant plants are modified. But due to natural evolution, the pathogens start developing immunity against the genetically engineered plants, ultimately giving birth to stronger and more dangerous pathogens.

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