Lawler defines genetic engineering as the technology, which is used to alter and modify the genetic makeup of cells and genes to produce new organisms. The techniques involve complex alteration of genetic material and other important biological chemical in the body. This process mainly entails the manufacture as well as the application of recombinant DNA. Research shows that the field of genetic engineering counts among the fastest expanding topics in science. The technology of genetic engineering is relatively new. However, with the last few decades, much has been done. It has been possible to study the single structures of DNA, classify them, and separate their individual genes. The alteration of genetic makeup is possible through either altering an organisms DNA or through joining it with DNA from a different being. The development of this technology has enabled many scientific breakthroughs such as animal cloning. A good example of an animal that was successfully cloned, using this technology is the Dolly Sheep in 1997. Through the development of this technology, animals have been produced from one single strand of DNA. Recently, many traits of an embryo can be identified to eliminate negative ones in future through the process referred to as genetic screening. Some people, who support genetic engineering, argue that this technology will enable people to make major milestones in future, especially in the field of medicine. On the other hand, the people that are against genetic engineering believe that the fast-growing technology has various shortcomings that will bring various social and ethical issues in the future. This study, therefore, aims to project the state of genetic engineering technology in 2050.
One major milestone in genetic engineering is genetic screening. The research points out that scientist have successfully studied the traits possessed by each of the thousands genes that exist. Currently it is possible to identify many generic traits in an embryo immediately after it has been conceived. This process has helped scientist to eliminate the negative or undesired traits from the organism and replacing them with the preferred traits prior to the birth of the child. It is, thus, referred to as genetic screening. Changing an organism’s genetic material involves the identifying of undesired gene in a strand of DNA, removing it and then replacing it with the preferred gene. By 2050, through genetic screening, scientists will be able to create perfect human beings, free from all diseases and who possess the desired physical and social characteristics.
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The film known as GATTACA directed by Andrew Niccol portrays the future of genetic engineering. The film clearly shows that in future, it will be possible to use the technology of genetic engineering to test DNA within few minutes. Companies will be able to check their employees’ health status constantly to ensure that their DNA is still the same and has not been mutated, since they were hired. According to the film, in the future, it will not only be possible to test for DNA quickly, but also as accurately as possible. Currently, scientists lack the ability to test and identify DNA in a couple of seconds. The process of testing and identifying genes can take for several months. Currently, even though it is possible to test for DNA, limited genetic information about a person is shown. However, by 2050, it will be possible to reveal detailed genetic information within few minutes due to advancement in technology.
With the current pace of technological advancement, by 2050 the technology of testing for DNA will be able to identify a person accurately and not just a vague description of one’s genetic information. By 2050, it will be possible to map and record the genetic sequence of every person in a massive database.
However, as Niccol portrays in his movie, the advancement of genetic engineering screening for making perfect human beings will bring along many social and ethical issues at that time. According to this film, in a society, where genetic modification is embraced and widely practiced, there will be social issues such as gene-based discrimination and loss of diversity. At the current pace, at which the technology of genetic engineering is moving, there will be more humanity alterations by 2050. By this time, genetic screening will be widely practiced in the field of superficial genetics, where babies will be designed only with the preferred physical characteristics. This will definitely lead to social segregation of social classes of people, who can afford the designed babies and those that decided to have them naturally and cannot afford the designed babies. Eventually, people will lose faith in their own ability to bring forth babies with good physical and behavioral characteristics and rely on perfect babies produced through genetic engineering. The greatest social problem that might arise with such a society is genetic discrimination. The people with the preferred and superior genes will be offered the best jobs, receive the best salaries and, hence, be the only one to succeed in such a society. This means that the people with inferior genetic characteristic will face serious discrimination in all the aspects of life.
Currently, the technology of genetic engineering is widely used in the medical field, especially in the creation of new, improved drugs and vaccines. Another major consequence of genetic engineering technological advancement is that it will give a person so much power over reproduction by 2050. Parents will be able to choose the best embryo that will have the preferred physical and behavioral characteristic and, hence, choose it from the rest. Unfortunately, the remaining embryos are destroyed. This leads to loss of diversity and is highly unethical.
By 2050, there will be efficient drugs produced through this technology. These drugs will be designed from the depth of knowledge and understanding of proteins and genes, how they function and not just on trial experiments are carried out currently, using organic molecules. This will make it possible to produce drugs and vaccines, which are highly efficient in treating and vaccinating against many major diseases of that time. Advancement in genetic engineering technology will make it possible by 2050 to regulate human metabolism, using another way apart from neural and hormonal methods. Through genetic engineering, another artificial method that is through drug inducement will enable scientists to regulate metabolism.
By 2050, genetic engineering technology will enable genetic alterations, which are health-related. During these times, there will be several ways to modify people. One of the ways that will be used in modifying people by 2050 is direct injection of the necessary proteins into the body system. The technology will allow addition of DNA into cells or the nucleus in order to alter the genetic makeup of a person. By 2050, the genetic engineering technology will enable scientist to alter DNA in order to rectify heritable health disorders such as albinism. By 2050, genetic engineering technology will also be widely used in the field of Olympics. Athletics will alter their genetic makeup in order to enhance their strength and sport abilities.
There are arguments that such genetic treatments are already in use. However, the efficiency of current genetic treatments to enhance athletes’ capability and strength are made on the hit and miss procedures. By 2050, the genetic engineering technology will enable scientists to accurately treat athletes with the preferred genes that will enable them enhance their sport and athletic abilities. This means that by this time, many athletes will be using this form of genetic treatment in order to survive in sports
By 2050, genetic engineering technology will have made it possible to produce chips that people can use to network with the electronic environment. Such chips will be used for enhancing people’s senses10. By 2050, enhancement surgical procedures will be expansively practiced. Surgical procedures such as muscle surgery and plastic surgery will be highly advanced. The current techniques used in modifying the body will have made major improvements. The technology will also enable scientists to implant remotes under the human skin to allow the interaction between neurons and the electronic environment. By 2050, the technology will also enable disabled people to rectify their inequities artificially, since the technology will enable scientists to create artificial body parts such as legs, hands legs, and eyes among others. By 2050, people will be at liberty in modifying their appearances to take any shape that they want. By that time, the technology will also enable people to spend time in animal bodies. In the near future, genetic engineering technology will have advanced to a level that it will allow people to control their metabolism artificially.
This will be possible through a combination of genetic therapies and automatic devices for releasing implanted hormones. It will spread to the broader population. At this time, scientists will have the ability to enhance people by changing their genetic code in a safe manner without any risks or side effects due to major technological improvements. By 2050, parents will exercise their freedom in selecting and modifying the DNA sequence of their children. By 2050, biotechnologies will have expanded. During this era, labs for manufacturing robots will evolve. Nanotech to complement the current biotech will have been invented and fully developed. There will be a lot of new and improved artificial inventions by this time. Using the existing software, there will be more R & D. Software technologies will be more sophisticated comparing to what is today. This will enable ordinary people to access digital devises for bio-labs, pull together the designs, using desktop laboratory, retrieve biological and genetic information from genetic databases, and create the DNA.
However, there will be regulatory issues with such technological advancement in genetic engineering technology. Some politicians and psychologists will protest against the technological advancement, demanding some policies to be implemented in order to control the use of genetic engineering technology. However, just as it is the case with piracy today, there will be pirates, who will continue practicing body modification through activities such as body tattoo and providing access to modified drugs. This means that regulation cannot be effective in solving the use of genetic engineering technology for illegal and socially unacceptable practices in the future. By 2050, it will be easy for anyone to observe the significant technological growth.
The children born in 2050s will be in their adolescent stages while modified with mind-improving drugs even though the genetic alterations will not turn them into robots or zombies, who obey everything they are told by their parents.
The advancement that will have been recorded by the year 2050, will expand the transplantations industry with million of various types of transplantations executed in a single year. Cells form stems will be used to grow new plant parts both in vivo and vitro experiments. There will be reduced the risk of carrying out cyborg and body modification. Healths defects will be fixed at reduced or even zero risks. Many people during this era will be experimenting with genetically modified bodies. Genetic engineering technology will be used to complement many surgical procedures in order to achieve efficiency. Scientists will use the advanced genetic engineering technology to control body reconstruction, especially rectifying health and heritable disorders and rebuilding the body as preferred.
Genetic engineering technologies will be widespread and easily accessible by the year 2050. Genetic engineering software products will exist in downloadable forms, which can be used without experiencing ay difficulties. By this time, people will be able to create new organisms from scratch and modify their bodies at their will and in any way, they want. People will take many forms to satisfy their various aesthetic desires. By 2050, genetic engineering technological advancement will have brought a lot of changes in the society as a whole to a level that the changes will not only be embraced, but expected. Using mind-improving methods, there will be significant social changes that the traditional work places will have been changed into places that embrace all types of people with various personality traits. People will be able to spend their lives in creative ways away from the traditional lifestyles.
The study has clearly explained in details the state of the genetic engineering in the year 2050. The projected state appears more positive than negative with regard to advancements in genetic engineering. According to the views of different scholars, with the current pace of genetic technological advancement, it will be possible to cure many health and genetic defects through genetic modification. Scientists will be able to identify the bad gene from the single DNA strand rectify or replace it in order to cure health disorders. By 2050, genetic engineering will have made it possible to produce effective drugs for treating various diseases. Many sport people will use enhancement drugs during this era in order to enhance their capabilities. Genetic engineering will complement many surgical procedures in order to improve their efficiency. By 2050, genetic screening will be widely practiced among parents, choosing the genres they want in their babies. By 2050, genetic screening will have enabled scientist to make almost a perfect human being without any disease or disorder. However, the advancement in genetic screening will bring about many social issues. Genetic screening will lead to genetic discrimination and loss of human life since the undesired embryos will be destroyed. This is highly unethical, thereby controversial. With controversies, positive outcome is hard to achieve. Despite the fact that some regulations will put in place to control the use of genetic engineering technologies, they will still be used extensively in illegal and unethical practices such as use of enhanced drugs by athletes. Therefore, the effective ways of managing genetic engineering should be sought in order to ensure its success and minimize problems, which result in controversies.