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Jordan Shoemaker

Professor Leslie Bruce

English 301

March 16, 2017

MLA Format

Ethical concerns of interfering with the human genome

Research Question

Is the use of genetic engineering in humans safe and ethical?

Working Thesis

The use of genetic engineering in humans has the potential to solve many problems in

health care. However, there are serious concerns regarding the rights of the unborn baby,

eugenics, and the safety of an engineered human that far outweigh the potential positive impacts

that human genetic engineering may provide.


Genetic engineering is the use of biotechnological techniques to alter an organisms

genetic makeup. Historically, genetic engineering has been applied to industries of agriculture

and health such as with GMO (genetically modified organisms) crops or with GMO bacteria.

These GMOs have proven to be successful and highly beneficial to the industries of agriculture

and health. Genetic engineering is not a new concept; however the research into human genetic
engineering has been limited due to concerns regarding safety and ethical implications of altering

the genetic makeup of humans, and for good reason. Those concerns include the health

consequences for human test subjects further along in life, the ethics of subverting the rights of

the genetically modified individual, and the potential for eugenics to create a genetically superior

subset of population. Human genetic engineering has the potential to solve health crises affecting

humans, but the unknown consequences of modifying the genetic makeup may present

themselves in lethal ways. There is a huge potential to fight heritable diseases using human

genetic engineering, however the ethical and safety concerns do not warrant the pursuit of this



Newman, Stewart A. Responsible Genetics. Accessed 16 Mar. 2017

The author argues that the lack of safety in HGE (Human Genetic Engineering) does not

make its use worth the risk.

I will use this source to support the claim that human genetic engineering is not worth the

risk by discussing the inherent unpredictability of the developmental process. The author gives

examples of laboratory experiments in which genetically engineering mice developed tumors

later in their life; He likens the danger of the situation to providing a drug for which there are

drastic side-affects yet cannot be withdrawn if the subject reacts negatively.

King, David. No to Genetic Engineering of Humans! No to Genetic Engineering of Humans!, Accessed 16 Mar. 2017.

The author believes that HGE is not the only solution to the problem of diseases .
I will use this source to support the claim that there are alternatives to accomplishing the

goals set out by supporters of HGE by discussing the prenatal and preimplantation technologies

that allow for detection and avoidance of harmful diseases in children.

Glenn, Linda MacDonald. Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering and Transgenics. ACTION

BIOSCIENCE, Action Bio Science, Nov. 2015, Accessed 16 Mar. 2017.

In the article the author addresses legal and ethical implications involved in the process of

human GE.

I will use this source because it supports my claim that the number of ethical concerns for

human GE make it unworthy to pursue in the face of the potentially positive impacts. The author

discusses certain legal implications involved in patenting human genetic engineering techniques

and addresses the question; what makes a human? A concern with the rights of genetically

engineered humans is certainly an ethical concern, therefore this source will be useful in

supporting my claim.

Gebelhoff, Robert. "Where Do We Draw Line between Genetic Engineering and

Eugenics?"Genetic Literacy Project. Washington Post, 22 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 May 2017.


The author argues the topic of modern eugenics in HGE discussion is widely debated and

a lack of consensus has formed.

I will use this source because it supports my claim that the ethical concerns behind HGE

are too great for its use to be seriously considered. For example, the author suggests a future of

genetically superior designer babies to result from HGE. Whether or not this should be
supported is a serious ethical concern because some believe it could drive discrimination and

divisions within our society.