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healthy person as well as advance preparation time for the transplant to minimise the risk of rejection. The main problem consists of the possible introduction of new diseases to humans. A particular retrovirus has been discovered which, harmless to pigs, has the potential to cause severe ill effects in humans.

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2. The Release of Genetically-Modified Crops into the Environment. Conner AJ, Glare TR, Nap JP. New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd. 2003.


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Supporters of the genetic engineering of food, such as Fedoroff, believe this innovation holds the key to sustaining the growing human population. Fedoroff contends that genetic engineering comes at an appropriate time when climatic changes are a common phenomena. To sustain the expanding world population, Fedoroff and other supporters of the technology believe we should turn to adopting genetically-modified food. Central to this appeal is that the engineering of food increases productivity and reduces costs of production. Farmers who have adopted the technology have reported increased yields of “as much as 10 times” (Fedoroff). In addition, the technology is environmentally-friendly. Using herbicides reduces the tendency of tilling land. Therefore, it “decreases soil erosion and shrinks the agricultural footprint” (Fedoroff).


- Jeremy Cerfas (1982). 'Man Made Life'. Blackwell Oxford

Today`s advances in gene therapy make it possible to even remove a faulty gene and replace it with a functioning gene in cells lacking this function. Though these techniques are available, they are still in the experimental stages. Somatic cell therapy, for example, uses faulty genes to target the affected areas for genetic treatment. This technique is beneficial in the treatment of cancers and lung, blood and liver disorders. Since the treatment is localised, any unwanted effects of this are not passed on to the next generation.

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A more controversial technique is the genetic alteration of gametes which causes a permanent change for the organism as well as for subsequent generations. Of course if the gene is corrected without further negative effects, the genetic disorder has been

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Genetic engineering is a powerful and potentially very dangerous tool. To alter the sequence of nucleotides of the DNA that code for the structure of a complex living organism, can have extremely ill effects although the potential benefits can be huge.

- Anne Fullick (1994) Biology. Heineman Oxford

These advances in genetic engineering make the possibility of "designer babies" a reality. When the choice to change every aspect of every characteristic of a child is available, who would refuse? Why have an average child, when it is possible to have one with perfect health, good looking, intelligent and matching every other desirable characteristic which parents could want? The benefits seem endless: the potential for a perfect society without physical imperfections, low intelligence nor undesirable personality traits. How far this could go, is unpredictable; theoretically humans could for example be made more efficient - requiring less food but able to work harder.