Human Genome Project

The Human Genome Project produced groundbreaking research documenting human gene sequences.  The results of which have both positive and negative impact on our lives.

Positive results of this research has been deepening understanding of our biological makeup, down to the smallest cellular structure advancing our scientific understanding of physiology and anatomy.  The goal of this comprehensive understanding is to aid society by reducing illness, combating disease, and ensuring and/or improving healthy longevity.  These understandings will benefit many, not just those with debilitating diseases, but also those who suffer from the seemingly innocuous common cold.  The reality is that these viral colds cost the individual and society in many ways.  They are physically taxing, resistant to current medicines, and often result in sick time from work reducing workplace productivity.

A second positive result is the documentation of thousands of diseases to specific genes, which could possibly aid in potential gene therapies to either treat the disease or perhaps, prevent them from occurring.  Many diseases seem dormant until the individual matures, at which time they wreak havoc.  Multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons and Alzheimers are three disorders that have not yet found a cure, but which significantly impact the resources (financial, medical, and compassion care) of the individual, families, and society.

Unfortunately, there are also negative potentialities of a project such as this.  The human body is an amazingly unique organism.  Reproducing life is a miracle and it is frightening to consider manipulating anything of such magnitude without clear understanding of the repercussions.  If personality is the byproduct of certain genes linked together in specific ways, coded to include an unfortunate disorder such as ADHD, should the ADHD coding be removed, what would be the result?  Would I still be me?  I am extremely skeptical that gene sequences can be successfully manipulated without resulting in some unforeseen consequence.  I keep hearing in my head the character Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park, something along the lines of … just because the scientists can do it, they do not stop to think if they should do it.  I wonder the same thing.  How can we be sure that if we manipulate the genes to rid ourselves of Parkinsons that the result will not be a fate worse?

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