Genetic Engineering

Mind Map by Sumahlor, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by Sumahlor over 5 years ago


A-Level Ethics Mind Map on Genetic Engineering, created by Sumahlor on 05/06/2015.

Resource summary

Genetic Engineering
1 In the 1970s, scientists learned how to move genetic material from once species to another
1.1 Is this just an extension of natural selection, or playing God?
1.2 Used to modify food and medicine
2 Embryo research
2.1 Finding cures for illnesses using tissue/cells from embryos
2.2 Stem cells can change into other cells - in pre-14 day embryos, they are totipotent
2.2.1 Taken from surplus IVF treatment
2.2.2 Currently only stem cells from adults have been successfully used Stem cell-grown organs are rejected Embryo cells are volatile and can become malignant Embryos are generally used for drug testing
2.2.3 Taking them from embryos destroys them
2.2.4 The law says an embryo may not be experimented on past 14 days They cannot be cloned or placed in animals They must be used for infertility treatment, disease treatment, contraception, or to help detect genetic abnormalities
3 'Frankenfood'
3.1 Genetically modified food
3.1.1 Better taste
3.1.2 Better nutrition
3.1.3 Disease/weather resistant/build in pesticides
3.1.4 Greater yield
3.1.5 Preserve soil
3.1.6 Feared that they could Cause allergies Mutate Cross-pollinate Increase antibiotic resistance Reduce disease resistance Be owned by companies that exploit workers/favour only large producers Cure, but not prevent, world hunger
4 'Designer babies'
4.1 Embryo screening currently allows you to check for Huntingdon's disease
4.1.1 In some countries eg India, gender may be chosen - most aborted are females
4.1.2 Wrong if life begins at conception, because embryos are discarded Blastocysts have no individual identity
4.2 To create a saviour sibling - eg the Hasmi family
4.2.1 To prevent a miscarriage - eg Philipa Handyside
4.2.2 These cells come from the umbilical cord - no unused embryos
5 Genetic testing
5.1 To see if a gene (eg for cancer) is carried
5.1.1 Should such information be given to employers/insurers?
5.2 Done on sections of the population at risk
5.2.1 Can lead to discrimination - eg a group of Ashkenazi Jews in New York were forbidden to intermarry
5.3 Gene therapy - replacing or altering genes
5.3.1 Can have harmful side-effects; eg sickle-cell anaemia provides resistance to malaria
5.4 Germ line therapy aims to alter sperm/eggs to pass benefits on to offspring - could reach a stage where low intelligence is cause for abortion?
5.4.1 'Three parent babies' - unnatural? Could be argued that penicillin and aeroplanes aren't natural either1
6 Applying ethical theories
6.1 Destroying embryos is wrong for Christians especially Catholics
6.1.1 Does not appreciate their intrinsic worth
6.1.2 However, shouldn't we use our God-given intelligence? Puts to use embroys already made by IVF Augustine's 'privation' argument - embryos with abnormalities are suffering from a lack of full health Joseph Fletcher: 'humans are makers and designers'
6.2 Natural Law
6.2.1 A difficult theory - both destroys and preserves life
6.3 Utilitarianism
6.3.1 It's hard to know the consequences of genetic engineering
6.3.2 Better to save many lives through GE than a few embryos The costs must be considered
6.4 Kant
6.4.1 Uses people as a means - not a good thing (although we don't know what Kant thinks about embryos' moral status)
6.4.2 You cannot universalise 'use embryos for research' or no one would ever be born!
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