Gene Technology

Gene technology is a term that denominates a wide range of activities that deal with understanding genes and developing ways to take advantage of their modification. This technology is a tool that can benefit humanity as a whole by solving problems of hunger and disease.

Genes are coded blueprints of an organism. They determine its appearance, properties and functions. They are made of DNA (thread-like deoxyribonucleic acid molecules) that forms chromosomes in plants and animals. Every cell of a living organism contains its complete DNA blueprint. This means that if this technology is developed further, people might be able to recreate an organism using a single cell. Understanding genes will allow creating new ways of food production through discovering DNA markers that can help in selecting the most efficient animals and plants. Genetic modification can create the best cattle and crops, increasing the amount and quality of food. Popularization of this technology will make products more affordable and help reduce the level of hunger.

One more great benefit of using gene technology is the fact that the conditions like cancer, hepatitis C and diabetes can be cured if ways to modify human genes are discovered. In essence, this treatment method will allow doctors to rewrite the body’s defense systems. This means that patients will be able to heal from the inside. Scientists also modify the genes of bacteria, yeasts and parasites in order to create vaccines for the diseases they cause. Another branch of genetic research is focused on locating the genes responsible for genetic diseases and predispositions to developing certain health conditions, for example Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc. If scientists can find a way to single out these harmful genes and replace them, they will be able to reduce the number of people suffering from these conditions drastically.

One should not forget that there are some hazards associated with gene technology. From the ethical point of view, progress of this research to the point where it will become possible to modify a child’s genes before it is born will allow parents too much power over their progeny. Adding the modifications that are necessary to prevent diseases is a good thing, but there will also be a chance to pre-determine the child’s appearance, character, etc. Providing people with this kind of power will have adverse negative effects on society as a whole. Genetic modifications to plants and animals have not been researched deeply. There is a risk of developing species that will be inherently dangerous, for example by triggering allergic reactions.

The changes that can be implemented by using gene technology may change the world for the better. However, people must learn how to use this tool properly and the access to it must be carefully controlled.

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