Throughout Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood illustrates the progression of genetic modifications such as pigoons and ChickieNobs that were used for different wants and needs, but are based off of the same immoral aspects; genetically transforming animals (in some cases making them almost unrecognizable) for personal use, thus creating and generating a negative, stereotypical image towards modifications for the readers. This got me thinking about genetic modifications created in our society, and where they stand ethically. After doing some research, I discovered one particular modification, that I believe can change our thoughts towards this idea in general.
Gene Therapy is an experimental technique that is supposed to introduce specific genetic elements into a patients cell in order to prevent or treat diseases, through the alteration of said patient’s gene. If a patient is missing a gene it is not as easy as placing a gene specifically into a cell. They create a vector (carrier) which can be thought of as a virus to spread the missing gene through the patient’s body, being transferred through tissue and IV. Some of these “viruses”, have the ability to combine the genetic material, which has created the new cell, into a chromosome in the human cell, erasing the gene abnormality altogether. This technique is being developed in order to help treat diseases such as Parkinson’s disease as well as cancer.
This treatment once fully developed, will change the lives of patients with diseases considered incurable for the better, thanks to genetic modifications contrary to what has been conveyed in Oryx and Crake. My question for you, how do you feel about genetic modifications? Are they ethical or not?