Genes are responsible for passing the traits from one generation to the next among the living organisms. The genetic composition of an offspring rhymes immensely to those of the parents or the source. Though reproduction is meant to be a natural process, science has introduced aspects where geneticist are able to alter the composition of the gametes, the dividing cells, to result in desirable traits of the organism. Resnik and Vorhaus referred to this technology as genetic modification where genetic composition of an organism is intentionally altered to boost those traits deemed desirable and suppress defective or undesirable phenotypic characteristics (2010). Ideally, intentions of these alterations are to facilitate the development and growth of the so called ‘gifted’ or ‘highly adaptable’ organisms that will easily fit in the ecosystem.
Genetic modification has remained a contentious issue in the society for decades. There are mixed expressions on the authenticity, ethical and religious beliefs on the issue. However, disputing the debate on factual ground has proved to be a turmoil task since the issue brings in significances in the medical field. Interestingly, not all people applaud these benefits, and the main gauge has been on the weighty side of the argument: risks versus benefits. In this connection, the social effects of genetic modification proofs to be a chore fulcrum of the contentious debate.
The burning truth concerning the matter is that there are possibilities of creating two varied categories of individuals in the society: the superclass and the underclass. With the possibility of modifying genetic composition of the offspring tempts the geneticist to lower the undesirable traits among the subsequent generation, thus, boosting the favorable characteristics from one generation to the other. Consequently, cross breeding between these superclass individuals will exacerbate the potentials, thus, eliminating the non-modified class from a fair competitive arena. As a result, the world will be dominated by generation of super traits personalities and the long term consequences of this domination remain a mystery.
Having a population that is highly gifted will indubitably offset the natural balance and harmony, leading to psychological, economic and social crisis that may culminate to political turmoil. The effect to the society might be such a mammoth for the current institutions to handle, that it may mutate into a worldwide disorganization.
In gene modification, the process may take different approaches such as gene augmentation, gene inhibition, and targeted gene mutation. When it comes to division of generation depending with their potential and superiority of their traits, geneticist uses gene inhibition and gene augmentation. This is mostly done at the level of fertilization where the traits wished for are incorporated to the stem cell. As the oocyte divides, the incorporated genes take preference and determine the phenotypic characteristic of the resulting offspring.
Another effect of genetic modification in the society captures the ethicality of the practice. The process has been critiqued as a violator of human rights and freedoms. Giving parents the power to decide on what traits their kids should possess hinders the freedom of the kids to make their decisions in life. Ones the desired traits are engineered, parents expect their kids to conform to that dictation and exploit their superior capabilities in life, both socially and economically. For instance, parents who wish their kid to have enhanced “musical gene” are actually restricting their kid in the musical field. This may be different from the interests of the kid.
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On the same footing, genetic modification in the determination of an offspring will enormously affect the social understanding and acceptance of physically challenge individuals. Resnik and Vorhaus argue that gene splicing reinforce a mentality of disability as an undesirable phenotype that should be eliminated in the society (Resnik and Vorhaus 2010). The religious doctrines are also violated in the genesis of desirable kids. For instance, among the first 30 kids genetically engineered in America in early 2000, some of them had genetic composition of more than two parents. Disclosing such information to these kids will traumatize the kid both psychologically and socially. They may be less accepted in the society amongst their peers and also have difficulties identifying their parents, consequently resulting to identity crisis.
However, not everything about genetic modification possesses negative repercussions. The medical field has recorded tremendous landmarks giving a smile and hope in fighting a number of medical conditions (Resnik and Vorhaus 2010). Some of these conditions had proofed nuisance in responding to convectional medical therapy. For instance, genetic modification has proved to be both frugal and fruitful in management of conditions that result from genetic defects. Such conditions include cystic fibrosis, diabetes, autoimmune conditions and heart problems among others. Similarly, there are profound hopes that genetic modification stands a chance in alleviating sufferings among HIV/AIDS and cancer patients. Therefore, the social effect ascribed to these benefits may cut across areas of economic, social and not only health wise.
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In conclusion, genetic modification brings in the positive and negative effects to the society. Ethically, there are question dictating the characteristics and choice of children the parent wants. This can affect the child in coping with the fact that their genetic composition was engineered or even fetched from more than two parents. Hence, the personal identity will be affected since they will be referred to as “fake talented personalities”. Conversely, genetic modification cannot be disputed wholly since it is a profound approach in treating some of the world common conditions. Therefore, there should be regulations and legislatures which restrain human reproduction through genetic modification, but allow the technology to be used as a therapeutic tool. In this aspect, the social effect connected to genetic modification will be more beneficial than negative.
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