Genetic engineering is the active modification of genetic coding to make it more ‘suitable’ for the application in question. There are 3 main subtypes of Genetic Engineering: Plant, Human and animal (such as dolly the sheep). For this essay I will concentrate on Genetic Engineering in Humans and plants. One application of Genetic Engineering is when the genetics of one child can be used to help another who is ill. For example if the child’s parents have a child who has cancer but has the possibility of being saved by another child (of the same genetic group, ie.
Sister or brother) could have another child and use it’s genetics to save the first child. However there are many religious and ethical dilemmas that arise. One is the views of the Catholic Church, many Catholics believe and argue that anything that happens is the will of god, and therefore any modification of genetic coding is immoral as Genetics are the work of God and you are not God. However, some ethics argue otherwise such as utilitarianism according to Bentham which would argue that this is morally correct as it would please the majority.
However Singer would argue that the child is a level two being and as such should be disposed of and recreated. Some modern religious Ethicists would disagree with singer and the catholic church and argue that the sanctity of life is the most important factor. Another application of Genetic Engineering is the modification of Plant species to suit a new purpose. For example if Companies deconstructed the genetic coding of corn crops and made it less dependent on water this could yield crops for dryer countries and as such improve their wellbeing- economically (as they would have crops to sell) and physically (As they would have food to eat).
However, various issues arise with such idea’s. Currently, genetically engineered crops are controlled in the UK and Europe but in the US there are no restrictions on the production of GM food products. Many ethicists argue that the decision to eat GM products is made by the person on their own and that nobody is normally forced to consume genetic crops. However some of the developing countries disagree with the production of GM crops for Economic reasons. This is because the production of GM seeds is not controlled by any regulatory body and as such is subject to the average market demand.
This means that the purchase of their seeds one year could be a lot cheaper than the purchase of the seeds next year, as in theory the demand for the seeds would increase and increase the price with it. This would leave the people without the crops for that year. Also as the effects of the crops are unknown, it isn’t guaranteed that they will not of damaged the land. Therefore it can be argued that the production of GM products is immoral. Although it could be argued that banning them is a restriction of choice for poor people in the BRIC countries and developed countries.