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How Is Genetic Engineering Altering the Process of Natural Evolution and to What Extent Is It Beneficial and Ethically Acceptable?

Info: 7753 words (31 pages) Dissertation
Published: 10th Dec 2019

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Tagged: BiologySciencesGenomics

How is genetic engineering altering the process of natural evolution and to what extent is it beneficial      and ethically acceptable?


This project will focus on how natural evolution is changing as a result of genetic engineering and whether we can live without evolution and solely rely on genetic engineering. This also importantly includes exploring the ethical views on this subject by comparing and contrasting the views and checking whether they are reasonable. Firstly, the topic of genetic modification is explored and explained in detail. This includes explaining the subject in detail and how genetic engineering is used now to treat particular cases of genetic disorders. It also includes the advantages towards the topic and how it helps many people in life and also the disadvantages in life and how it affects people drastically. The project concludes that genetic engineering will slowly give rise to GM species which will gradually eradicate the process of natural evolution but few exceptions like not single-handedly relying on genetic modification could regenerate species that have evolved naturally. As a final point, it will be concluded that it won’t be accepted ethically, as its appropriate use will never be justified as the benefits do not outweigh the limitations except for minor inconsistencies.


How is genetic engineering altering the process of natural evolution and to what extent is it beneficial and ethically acceptable?

This title was chosen mainly because of my intention to study medicine at University. I specifically chose this title because of the relation between natural evolution and genetic engineering was something that drew on my previously acquired skills from Biology. I also chose this title due to my interest in genetic engineering and how it gained lots of different opinions from various people.

Genetic engineering is also referred to as genetic modification or GM. It is not the same as cloning. Although few cloning techniques are used in genetic engineering, the two things should not be confused. Specific enzymes can remove pieces of DNA from one organism, and attach them into the space of DNA of another organism. This will mean that the new organism with the assigned genes has the genetic information for one or more new characteristics. The organism can produce a substance that might be the answer in curing diseases, and it could be able to carry out an important function. We can say that the organism has been genetically modified or genetically engineered. It is an issue, on the whole, that is both contemporary and contentious. In recent years, this topic has received much media coverage, and still tends to grab attention from a variety of people. Genetic engineering has been on the rise lately, due to successful cases of treatment. A consequence of regularly being in the public eye is that it has lots of opinions including much scrutiny and some praise for the advancement but most was criticism which was particularly on an ethical level. The ethical and philosophical questions vary widely but much attention has risen as an effect of the ethical issues. Nevertheless, very fundamentally, arguments are similar as both examine the effects on humanity, positive and negative and the impact on the future, and these are most people’s urgent concerns. Also, much-debated is the question of evolution: Is if genetic engineering is altering the process of natural evolution? From here, others arise about whether it should be ethically acceptable and to what extent is it beneficial.

Genetic modification receives a significant amount of global interest due to its potential to change the lives of sufferers of various genetic disorders/disabilities, present and future. It has the capacity of making disease a part of history. Due to the ethical side, this subject has provided the project with much publicity and global speculation. Genetic engineering does save people’s lives but the risks are unknown, and it could pose a threat to humans. The council responsible for genetics stated [1]Germ line modification is not needed in order to save the lives or alleviate suffering of existing people….The cultural impact of treating humans as biologically perfectible artifacts would be entirely negative”. The ethical side is not the only problem, as many people do wonder whether it will change the process of natural evolution forever. Debates often get intense when the matter of benefits “versus” negatives is involved and especially in a world where new diseases are rising. Lots of people also ask whether it should be legalised, as many individuals don’t think it’s ethically acceptable. To be able to understand and fully answer this question genetic engineering must be first defined concerning science before they are defined regarding ethics.

One of the main questions I want to answer is: can we live without relying on genetic engineering? In practical terms ‘Without’ would mean with the absence of a particular thing, in this case, genetic modification. We can live without solely relying on genetic engineering but to avoid completely it would have consequences. From this stems Whether the government spend too much on genetic engineering? The government tackle issues like this, but I want to question whether governments should take the ‘ethical’ side into account when the funding is being allocated. In my discussion part of the essay, I will mainly address scientific side of genetic engineering which includes the ever popular question of Will genetic modification ever erase natural evolution? From this, others arise which include the benefits, drawbacks and the ethical side of this subject that leads on to Should it be legalised? From both a moral and philosophical it may prove vital to look at genetic modification concerning human life and thus what contributes a person – whether an individual with artificially modified genes is not a human, and whether genetic engineering could make human life less ‘sacred’.

Literature Review

  1. Position Paper on Human Germ Line Manipulation presented by council for responsible genetics, online at http://www.columbia.edu/itc/biology/pollack/w4065/client_edit/readings/humangenetherapy.pdf.

This source was a highly reliable source, as it was not biased. I checked whether it was biased or not by double checking the website including whether it lacked authority on the subject. The council responsible for genetics are known for their opinions and information on biotechnology. This source helped me to argue to the contrary for the usage of genetic engineering. Accessed on 04/01/2016

  1. Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology, 5th edition. 1989 Worth Publishers, p.974.


Using this source had no regrets, as it was highly accurate and scientific. This book contains all the information you need to know about synthetic biology. It is well known for its definitions and reliable descriptions. Biology the fifth edition was an excellent source as it assisted me to have an accurate description of evolution. Accessed on 19/01/2016.

  1. On the Origin of Species Book by Charles Darwin, page 22.


Charles Darwin’s ever popular book called “On The Origin of Species”, gave rise to the theory of evolution. This is probably the best book to use because Charles Darwin wrote it, and he is the “Father of Evolution”. It should, therefore, be highly reliable and accurate as this is his writings so quotes regarding his thoughts should be spot on. This helped explain evolution in terms of natural evolution. Accessed on 02/02/2016.

  1. Are there some animals that have stopped evolving? Online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/story/20150413-can-an-animal-stop-evolving.

The BBC article on “Are there some animals that have stopped evolving”, is internationally rated due to its biological content and how it is covered without any bias content. Much research and time has been put into this, which makes this source more authentic. This article helped explain that human fossils are still evolving. Accessed on 05/02/2016.

  1. Genetic engineering and trade, page 6, by Chantal Pohl Nielsen, Sherman Robinson and Karen Thierfelder, online at


“Genetic engineering and trade” was the article I used. It was on the website of “CORE”, and this site was very useful in getting specific information concerning genetic engineering. It is internationally reputed for its student journals and research papers. It therefore should be a reliable source. This source helped me in realising the agricultural importance that genetic engineering carries.

  1. On the Origin of Species Book by Charles Darwin last page last line.


Charles Darwin, as previously stated was the “Father of Evolution”. This quote from the book helped argue that natural evolution is affected by genetic engineering. This the best book to get the quote from, as he was the creator of the natural selection theory. It, therefore, should be accurate. Accessed on 18/02/2016.

  1. Stephen Hawking. BrainyQuote.com, Xplore Inc, 2016. Online at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/stephenhaw447571.html.


A scientist’s opinion on genetic engineering was needed, and who better than Stephen Hawking to do that. This site is rated for its accurate quotes and thoughts. The quote from this website helped me prove that genetic engineering is beneficial. Accessed on 25/02/2016.

  1. Who Benefits from Biotechnology? by Michael Duffy, page 2 online at https://core.ac.uk/display/6430142.


“Who benefits from Biotechnology” was the article I used. It was on the website of “CORE”, and this site was very useful in getting specific information concerning benefits around genetic engineering. It is widely regarded for its student journals and research papers. It therefore should be a accurate source. This source helped me in realising the beneficial importance that genetic engineering carries. Accessed on 01/03/2016.

  1. Oxford Dictionary, definition of utilitarianism, online at http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/utilitarianism.


I needed a definition for “utilitarianism”, and the best place to look up a clear definition is Oxford Dictionary. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious dictionaries around. It should be very accurate. I needed a clear definition to explain “utilitarianism”, to explain the different views to genetic engineering. Accessed on 10/03/2016.

  1. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, Disabled world towards tomorrow, online at http://cia-biology-2011 2012.wikispaces.com/file/view/DISABLED+WORLD+TOWARDS+TOMORROW-1.doc.‬‬‬‬


I wanted a quote that shows the risks of genetic engineering. I came across the document online, and it had all the scientist’s and doctor’s opinions. This therefore a highly reliable source. Accessed on 18/03/2016.


  1. KFC, menu online at https://www.kfc.co.uk/our-food/for-one/box-meals/take-5-box#nutrition-allergen.

I needed to see what the ethical issues were concerning genetically modified food. KFC is the world’s second biggest fast food chain. They had information about genetically engineered foods. Accessed on 26/04/20


What Is Genetic Engineering?

Genetic engineering is a highly controversial issue as there are many ways to consider it from. It can be seen as just another technological development which was bound to surface with time. As a consequence, things like the “Human Genome Project” have become a reality. Genetic engineering is the procedure of physically adding new DNA to a life form. This means that scientists can target a specific gene and change it to whatever they want. This technique is becoming so advanced and useful that soon people will be able to create their children depending solely on their choices of how they want them to look. The science behind genetic engineering is easily said than done. To us, scientists simply alter any gene they would like to make it better than it was before. DNA is the recipe for life and it is the ‘universal language’ that makes genetic engineering possible. Genetic could hold the key to some many problems due to its potential. It brings with it possibilities of healthier, longer and eventually near-mortality. It also carries the potential of ending world hunger by making cheaper, more nutritious, and faster-growing foods. With genetic modification, we would have the power to clone a loved one. Agriculture could also be improved through improving animals and crops to serve humans better and it may be the solution to curing life-threatening diseases. The only problem is that no-one knows the long term effects. It could reduce genetic diversity, and also affect ‘natural evolution’.

What Is Evolution?

[2]Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations”. This theory explains all living things are from ancestors. Evolution on a small scale is called microevolution, relating to the changes that occur such as insects becoming resistant to pesticides. Evolution happens as a result of mutations, migration, and natural selection today’s descendants show a surprising amount of similarities and diversity. Evolution is an alteration in the gene pool of a population over time. A gene is a hereditary unit that can be passed on unchanged for many generations. The gene pool is the total set of genes in a species or population. The god of evolution is said to be Charles Darwin because he was the one who formalised it. Natural selection is a key for evolution, as this is the mechanism by which populations adapt and evolve. Individuals with characteristics most adapted to the environment are more likely to survive and reproduce to pass their traits to offspring. These genes are successfully passed on to the offspring, and after numerous breeding cycles, the better-adapted species dominate. As Darwin stated [3]It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”.

Evolution is a great process as makes it makes sure that species won’t go extinct. Humans are still evolving, and even within the last 15,000 years, humans have transformed. The existence of blue coloured eyes, and the ability of some adults to drink animal milk that contains lactose are two examples of modern innovations. It’s harder to say what has happened in the last few hundred years when technology has been advancing fast because it is only a short amount of time. As BBC stated, [4]But if the other living fossils have taught us anything, it’s that it should be impossible for humans to stop evolving”.

The Past, Present and Future

Genetic engineering has many uses in today’s world, and there are still many potential ways that we utilise this great scientific breakthrough. In 1973 two biologists named Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen did the unthinkable by developing a technique that gave them the power to cut pieces of DNA in specific places, and then attach the pieces to other organism’s DNA. This bacterium was the first ‘GMO’ to be created by genetic engineering. One year later the same techniques were applied to mice, and it was also successful. Now, these techniques are in decline in terms of applying these to animals.

We currently have and still are using genetic engineering in modifying plants and crops. A GM is a plant that has a modern combination of genetic material gained through the use of new biotechnology. For example, a GM crop can contain genes that have been synthetically inserted instead of the plant acquiring it through reproduction. The end plant is said to be “genetically modified”. [5]Genetic engineering techniques and their applications have developed rapidly since the introduction of the first genetically modified plants in the 1980s. In 1999, genetically modified crops occupied 40 million hectares of land – making up 3.4% of the world’s total agricultural area and representing a considerable expansion from less than 3 million acres in 1996”. Most of the genetically modified crops grown today are engineered to be resistant to herbicides and pesticides so that they can resist being sprayed with weed killer. In animals, it has been used to produce sheep that provides a therapeutic protein in their milk that can be utilised in a way to treat cystic fibrosis.

Genetic engineering has bright future and an example is that Genetic engineering has the potential to make food producing plants grow quicker, produce higher quality harvests, grow in less fertile areas, and be more resistant to insects, diseases, and weeds. Genetic engineering could make us live longer. There are specific conditions that can lead to killing us earlier than necessary. With genetic modification, we could change some of the most fundamental reasons for the body’s natural decline on a cellular level which will end up increasing our span and our quality of life. Genetic engineering can also assist humans to adapt to the growing problems of this world, like global warming in the world. In the future the climate might change as it could be could be extremely hot or freezing and humans have to adapt to that which is done by evolution. This process takes about 1000 years which is very long, so genetic engineering could help us change more quickly.

Genetic Engineering Vs Natural Evolution

For billions of years, evolution has assisted in given rise to the variety of life forms on Earth today. This process has created species with a diverse range of traits and characteristics; however, producing desired agriculture products by natural evolution can be very prolonging. Now that scientists have better knowledge of genetic engineering due to extensive research, they can now avoid natural evolution by producing genetically modified plants and animals. Genetic engineering has the potential to tackle diseases, increase life span and provide new foods. On top of this, it also has the power to alter and abolish natural evolution forever depending on our reliance on biotechnology. Once genetic engineering technology is safe and reliable, we will then have the knowledge and power to begin altering our DNA to make the later generations stronger, smarter and more immune to diseases. Human evolution is stepping into a new phase where genetic engineering will give parents and others to design and create their children the way they want them to look like.

Some experts state that genetic engineering on humans should be banned, this totally depends on whether our power to engineer genetically something was simply a normal accident of nature or whether evolution is more purposeful than what we think. Some experts also state that the best and proper way to understand evolution is to think it has no target or direction; however, this just expressing an opinion rather than calling a fact. A few argue that the creation of intelligent life was an accident from the naturally occurring mutations, but it can also be debated that the power of natural selection to favour stronger and sharper senses and other valuable traits made the outcome inevitable. Science alone cannot prove whether evolution has a purpose behind it. Whether it has a purpose or not, the question is a philosophical one, not a scientific one. There is a normally recognisable trend in evolution. Animals continue to evolve to become stronger and competitive than their ancestors, giving them a better chance of surviving longer, hunting more and outclassing competition. Charles Darwin also wrote about this trend [6]As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all physical and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection”.

We are the first species on this planet to build a civilisation and discover technology. After many years of evolution, the result of this trend on earth has been the bringing up of humankind and the discovery of advanced technology. Now it seems that the process of natural evolution is on the brink of expediting as technology allowed natural evolution to be overtaken by ‘artificially controlled evolution’. This might seem beneficial as ‘artificially controlled evolution’ means that we can make sure that the next generation of humans will be stronger, smarter and more efficient in tackling a serious disease that kills people early than necessary. ‘Artificially controlled evolution’ could even have the capability to end world poverty and hunger, it could also help us live a longer, productive and quality life.

We don’t know the long-term effects. When we create and let ‘GMO’ plants, animals and possibly humans into the wild it will cause all types of problems, some we can predict and some we can’t. When you let it out into the wild, they will cause reduced genetic diversity of all organism in the environment. The DNA which is what that codes for proteins in an organism, will become more identical for living organisms in the same type of species. Biodiversity is very similar to genetic diversity, “It is the variety within and between all species of plants, animals and micro-organisms and the ecosystems within which they live and interact”, because variety in DNA will determine the characteristics and traits of the organisms that make up a population. Managing and Maintaining genetic diversity is important for the population and environment because increased diversity in DNA will provide an excellent opportunity for organisms to adapt to an altering environment. Failure in maintaining genetic diversity, natural evolution could be slowed down and eventually stopped. This takes place as a result of “natural selection” not taking place, as no genetic diversity means failure in adapting to an environment which will mean we have to change the genes by genetic modification. If we get to the point where we have to alter the genes by ourselves, then the real problems arise. Firstly, everyone organism would have the same or similar genes inside them which will reduce genetic diversity and biodiversity. Secondly, a lack of genetic diversity could contribute to a major extinction as the lack of genetic variability would prove to be detrimental when an invasive pathogen such as deadly virus breaks. Finally, a reduced genetic diversity could also lead to “natural selection” to be brought to a halt, which will eventually mean no “natural evolution’ but “artificially controlled evolution”.

Humans could also be in risk of becoming “living fossils”, if we solely depend on genetic engineering to cure diseases, bring about change in the environment and alter our genes to become stronger and smarter. Humans are on the brink of being able to take full control over our evolutionary process. The science and logic are already making human genetic engineering possible exists and is being carried out, though in its promising form, in labs and research stations around the world. In the starting phases, we will be doing things that we have already started to do like screening early stage embryos during in vitro fertilisation to check for single gene mutations that cause diseases like Cystic Fibrosis’s, and trying to select out those diseases. Soon, this process will evolve and will give us the power to choose the best and most positive characteristics like intelligence or even empathy. Hawking stated[7]With genetic engineering, we will be able to increase the complexity of our DNA, and improve the human race. But it will be a slow process, because one will have to wait about 18 years to see the effect of changes to the genetic code”. While some scientists like Stephen Hawking are excited by the vast potentials of genetic modification and human interaction with machines, few ethicists urge caution as the experiments could go wrong. We’re probably a couple of years away from being able to have the power to sequence the cell of a 10-day old embryo to estimate how tall that person is going to be, within a centimeter or two. We are probably 10 years or so away from being able to predict within 0-5 points what that child’s IQ will be. This might seem very beneficial and useful but it also has its downsides to it. Living forever will mean more space is required for the excess number of people, more resources needed and new places. However, evolution takes care of this as the genetic diversity varies between humans, which will mean when a disease hits some people will die. From the minute we are born we start on the path to death; a harsh fact but unfortunately true, and it is for the good for the future generations because we would not want them to live in an overpopulated world. Evolution is not just there to kill everyone but rather to control population and conditions. “Artificially controlled evolution” might seem like the solution for everything, but the problem is that it also a pays a toll.


There are a few number of real and troubling concerns surrounding genetic engineering, although there are also some very real benefits to further genetic engineering and genetic research which could help the world and they possibly outweigh the drawbacks. Now it seems as though genetic engineering is both a blessing and a curse, as though we wait to either benefit and lose from developing this area of science even further. We have only lived to see the benefits from this intriguing piece of biotechnology.

Benefits like the absolute most dangerous and troublesome diseases on the planet, which have so opposed destruction, could be wiped out by the utilisation of genetic engineering. There are various genetic mutations that people can suffer from that will likely never be ended unless we effectively intervene and genetically engineer the next generation to withstand these issues. Examples like, Cystic Fibrosis, a dynamic and hazardous sickness for which there is no known cure, could be totally cured with the assistance of particular genetic engineering. There are a lot of issues that we can distinguish even before children are born. In the womb, specialists can advise whether your child is going to experience the ill effects of sickle cell anaemia, for an instant, or from Down ‘s syndrome. In fact, the date of which you can have an abortion has been pushed back late just with the goal that individuals can choose whether or not to end an infant prematurely in the event that it has one or a greater amount of these sorts of issues. In any case, with genetic engineering, we would no more need to stress. One of the primary advantages of genetic engineering is that it can cure sicknesses and diseases in unborn children. All children would have the capacity to be born healthy and fit without any diseases or illnesses present during childbirth, so make the ability even stronger with genetic engineering.It also has the potential of increasing the life span of people according to the studies of scientists; genetic engineering can increase the life span between fifty to one hundred fifty years. The technique is being applied to healthy individuals; changing his genome which results to slowing down the process of ageing. So far we have lived to see that there are no side effects from these methods; however, we are not entirely sure.

Benefits are just not medical, there are agricultural and political. [8]Many proponents of biotechnology say that this technology is necessary to feed the world.  They argue that if we do not use biotechnology, many of the world’s people will face starvation and other ills associated with malnutrition”. With genetic engineering, we can be able to design foods that are better have the ability to withstand harsh temperatures such as the very hot or very cold and foods that are packed fully with all the right nutrients that humans and animals need to survive. We may also be able to make our foods have a better medicinal value, thus introducing edible vaccines which will be accessible to people all over the world. Genetic engineering can assist the poor in many ways such as make food producing plants grow faster and making them grow in less fertile areas. For example, golden rice contains vitamin A for night blindness.

Utilitarian believe [9]actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority”. Well this means that they only accept genetic engineering if it is useful and helping us, up to now we can argue that is its useful and sometimes not useful. Deontologists believe in the “right action and the nature of duty, without regard to the goodness or value of motives or the desirability of the ends of any act”. Whether genetic engineering is beneficial or not it totally depends on the person’s ethical approach. These ethical approaches could alter the way we use genetic engineering. As all of these benefits are positive but that is as long as the people agree with them.


Maybe more evident than the pros of genetic engineering, there are various drawbacks allowing researchers to break down barriers that maybe are better left untouched. The benefits make genetic engineering seem like the next revolution for future generations, but hiding underneath are potentially the most dangerous of things.

A genuine issue of genetic engineering is the question about the safety of making improvements at the cell level. Researchers do not yet know totally everything about the way that the human body works. In what manner would they be able to understand the consequences of slight changes made at the smallest level? What if we finally manage to abolish one disease only to present something new and considerably more dangerous. Also, if researchers genetically engineer babies still in the womb, there is an undeniable and present danger this could prompt problems, including miscarriage. Diseases, exist for a reason and have stayed all through history which is as it should be. While we should battle against them, we do require no less than a couple of sicknesses, else, we would soon get to be overpopulated. The truth today is, living longer is already bringing about social issues on the planet now, so misleadingly amplify everyone’s chance on Earth may cause considerably more issues later, issues that we can’t in any way, shape or form predict.

We require diversity in all types of species. By genetically engineering our species, we will detrimentally affect our genetic diversity similarly as something cloning would. Quality gene therapy treatment is accessible just to the incredibly wealthy, and this will hit the poor hard as they will not have the money to go through gene therapy. As defective genes are replaced with functional genes, it is expected that genetic diversity will now be a thing of the past. Moreover, if human beings will have identical genomes, the population as a whole will be vulnerable to virus or disease. This may lead to human extinction in the earth.

Some people will argue that genetic engineering research is a waste of money because it has risks and problems that no one can foresee; instead, it is better to spend money on medical techniques that we know has no issues like organ transplants. Just because we have the power and ability use, this method does not mean we have to. Another problem which we cannot predict is how our “artificial genes’ will respond the environment, as in would the genes work with the natural environment or do we need to have an “artificially controlled environment”. Genetic engineering is a gamble, and either it helps us change our lives forever by making the life quality better, efficient and painless. Alternatively, genetic engineering helps us abolish natural evolution forever, and possibly holds the key for the extinction of our species.

[10]Genetic engineering is inherently dangerous, because it greatly expands the scope for horizontal gene transfer and recombination, precisely the processes that create new viruses and bacteria that cause disease epidemics, and trigger cancer in cells.

Acceptable on an ethical scale?

Some people might think this is the opportunity for a stronger and healthier life, but there are other people are scared that it is “playing God” and trying to “programme” a human. Both of these views is right in certain ways. Genetic engineering could be used to enhance people’s lives, but it could also be used to harm people’s lives.

Genetic engineering can hamper the moral issues, particularly in religion. They also question whether man has the power and right to influence the course and law of nature. Is genetic engineering right, when genetic engineering became possible, peoples’ first reactions were to immediately question whether it was ‘allowed’? Some religions believe that genetic engineering, after all, is equivalent to playing God, and explicitly not allowed it performed on their children. Other ethical issues are that genetic technologies could become a significant national security issue between countries. In a couple of years, this piece of biotechnology could be available to anyone, and the worrying question is how they would use it. It could be the spark of “World War 3”.

Few people argue that Genetically Modified Food is unhealthy and bad for you. As KFC states [11]“Our research shows that UK customers don’t want genetically modified foods in KFC products; so naturally, we have ensured none of our products contain genetically modified ingredients” which shows that even a major fast food company are sticking to the people’s opinions, which involves discarding genetic engineering. When the subject of “Should it be legalised” comes along then a major debate arise. If you look at the positive side of genetic engineering, then you will see that it cures diseases, increases life span and improves life quality. This is all good, but the ethical issues outweigh the benefits, and, people’s opinions matter most according to major companies. So whether it is ethically acceptable will decide if it should be legalised.


Imperative to the evaluation is the conclusion that genetic engineering is ever useless. Although genetic engineering can appear at first instance to lack importance to the well-being of humans. We can readily conclude that genetic engineering is very helpful as it assists in curing diseases, creating food and improving life quality. Not only does Genetic engineering improve people’s satisfaction with life, but it also makes the humanoid species stronger and smarter than ever. Intelligent life can be created easily with genetic modification.

Genetic engineering is a fascinating subject to research and to gain more knowledge about, but it should not be carried out for further use in the future even though it has intriguing potential, unless for fatal diseases, or when it is the last option to resort to. We should be living a naturally healthy life, not a life filled with chemicals, which may kill us in the long term. Not only does it fill our lives with chemicals but it could also hold the key to us dying if a disease was to hit then we will all die. This is because if genetically engineer humans, then most of us will have similar or same genes which help a virus to wipe all of us out.

From this project, we can confidently conclude that genetic engineering has an effect on natural evolution. As we start and continue to use synthetic biology techniques to cure humans and make them “perfect”, we are changing the process of natural evolution without knowing it. Humans are products of natural evolution, and natural evolution involves natural selection which is abolished due to the use of biotechnology. When we use genetic engineering methods, we enter a phase called “artificially controlled evolution” this means we control the evolution, meaning we can change the process of evolution to be more beneficial.

Genetic engineering is highly controversial and contentious issue, receiving much-needed media coverage. Much debatable are the ethical issues surrounding genetic engineering and its end products. People are scared that this procedure is just simply “playing God”, which is right in some circumstances. Some even argue that genetically modified food be harmful while a minority say that they cannot eat modified food. Right now, it is based on the ethical views of the subject not the scientific part, as ethical views are people’s opinions which matter greatly than a few scientists’ accomplishments. So far now we can conclude that genetic engineering should not be legalised until less it is accepted on the ethical scale.



When I first chose to look into genetic engineering affecting natural evolution, I strongly believed in this fact, seeming to concur with general opinion. To look into that, I had to see whether it was beneficial leading to the question of whether it is ethically acceptable. I wanted to look into why people felt that it was not allowed, in particular, on a moral and ethical ‘scale’. While being aware of the ethical implications of genetic engineering of genetic engineering but also the intense concern of those who believed that genetic engineering was a threat to the planet – it had the potential to destroy it.

While researching for the dissertation, my opinion began to change. However, my personal interest was by no means substantial enough to justify genetic engineering’s appropriate use. I came across the ‘benefits v. risks’ debate in the later stages of my research. One of the main concepts at the core of the discussion was if genetic engineering is ethically acceptable.

During research, I came across limitations such as finding too many biased sites. Most of the information on one website was full to the contrary about genetic engineering as it was only stating the disadvantages of this procedure. To overcome this problem, I made sure I used a broad range of sources, and that I double checked a website’s information before actually referencing it. I also tended to avoid websites or publications which lacked authority on the subject upon which they wrote/spoke. I learnt the importance of confirming the accuracy of sources by comparing to a small selection of others to increase its accuracy via the concurrence of other sources.

If I had the chance to do my project again and further my research, I would like to look into the consumer attitudes towards genetically modified organisms. I would like to look into benefits of “GMO” more specifically, to find out how these help the environment and the people. Such a method would include developing and ‘Third World’ countries which do not have the money or facilities. Another thing I would take into consideration when doing it again is to make sure that I do most of the research beforehand rather than during the course of the project.



Position Paper on Human Germ Line Manipulation presented by council for responsible genetics, online at http://www.columbia.edu/itc/biology/pollack/w4065/client_edit/readings/humangenetherapy.pdf.


On the Origin of Species Book by Charles Darwin, page 22.


Are there some animals that have stopped evolving? Online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/story/20150413-can-an-animal-stop-evolving.


Genetic engineering and trade, page 6, by Chantal Pohl Nielsen, Sherman

Robinson and Karen Thierfelder, online at



On the Origin of Species Book by Charles Darwin last page last line.


Stephen Hawking. BrainyQuote.com, Xplore Inc, 2016. Online at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/stephenhaw447571.html.


Who Benefits from Biotechnology? by Michael Duffy, page 2 online at https://core.ac.uk/display/6430142.


Oxford Dictionary, definition of utilitarianism, online at http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/utilitarianism.


Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, Disabled world towards tomorrow, online at http://cia-biology-2011 2012.wikispaces.com/file/view/DISABLED+WORLD+TOWARDS+TOMORROW-1.doc.‬‬‬‬


KFC, menu online at https://www.kfc.co.uk/our-food/for-one/box-meals/take-5-box#nutrition-allergen.





[1] Position Paper on Human Germ Line Manipulation presented by council for responsible genetics, online at http://www.columbia.edu/itc/biology/pollack/w4065/client_edit/readings/humangenetherapy.pdf”. This is the council responsible for genetics and their community is fully devoted to genetics, therefore should be very reliable and accurate. Accessed on 04/01/2016.

[2] Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology, 5th edition. 1989 Worth Publishers, p.974. This book is pure biology and has lots of information on biotechnology. It is well known for its accurate descriptions, so it should be very reliable. Accessed 19/01/2016.

[3] On the Origin of Species Book by Charles Darwin, page 22. This is Charles Darwin’s own writings and therefore these quotes regarding his thoughts should be very reliable and accurate.  Accessed 02/02/2016.

[4] Are there some animals that have stopped evolving? Online at

http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/story/20150413-can-an-animal-stop-evolving. This article is from the famous BBC Earth series. BBC is internationally reputed for its contributions to biological information. This article consisted lot of time and research to make it, so should be highly accurate. Accessed on 05/02/2016.

[5] Genetic engineering and trade, page 6, by Chantal Pohl Nielsen, Sherman Robinson and Karen Thierfelder, online at https://core.ac.uk/display/6388598. This site is well known for its student journals and research papers. Therefore, this site should be very reliable. Accessed on 15/02/2016.

[6] On the Origin of Species Book by Charles Darwin last page last line. Charles Darwin was the “father of the evolution”, so is better to use his quotes regarding the theory of evolution. This should therefore be highly reliable. Accessed on 18/02/2016.

[7] Stephen Hawking. BrainyQuote.com, Xplore Inc, 2016. Online at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/stephenhaw447571.html. I needed a scientist’s opinion on genetic engineering, and well Stephen Hawking is one of best scientists around. This website is also well known for its quotes so should be very accurate. Accessed on 25/02/2016.

[8]  Who Benefits from Biotechnology? by Michael Duffy, page 2 online at https://core.ac.uk/display/6430142. This site is known for its student journals and research papers. Therefore, this site should be very reliable. Accessed on 01/03/2016.

[9] Oxford Dictionary, definition of utilitarianism, online at http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/utilitarianism. This dictionary is highly reliable, and its known for its famous definitions. Accessed on 10/03/2016.

[10] Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, Disabled world towards tomorrow, online at ‪http://cia-biology-2011-2012.wikispaces.com/file/view/DISABLED+WORLD+TOWARDS+TOMORROW-1.doc‬‬‬‪. This document is just on genetic engineering and biotechnology, so therefore should be very reliable. Accessed on 18/03/2016. ‬‬‬

[11] KFC, menu online at https://www.kfc.co.uk/our-food/for-one/box-meals/take-5-box#nutrition-allergen, KFC is major fast food chain, and the menu information should be highly reliable. Accessed on 26/03/2016.

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