Ethics of Germ line Therapy

The issue of whether human gene therapy is acceptable ethically can be evaluated or addressed in the following issues such as present technical situations, legal situations, evils it creates, or whether it is needed. Somatic Gene therapy can be directed to anybody’s cells which are not reproductive, these genes are only supposed to affect that particular individual and hence they should not be passed to subsequent generation.

In reproductive cells, any genes that changes germ line therapy can end up affecting all the subsequent generation. This is because changes occur early after fertilization before an embryo can hence differentiate into cells which are reproductive or non reproductive cells (Anderson, 1989, p. 685). Therefore, in determining these ethical issues, questions need to be addressed such as; what is human’s duty in regard to life, health of future generation?

And what are effects in long term which could be used to judge what could go ahead. Present legal and technical situation show the interest that the nation has in the issue of germ line therapy which can be used to save the lives of so many individuals who are in most cases affected as a result of inheritance of diseases from their parents. A lot of money can be spend by the nation to be used for research purposes so that therapy can be initiated which is affordable to all those who require it.

When the somatic therapy is undeveloped, germ line therapy is quite near the parent. In United Kingdom, it is illegal for physicians to carry out research in this area. Germ line genetic intervention can be justified morally on various principles but this can only take place when gene replacement technique is validated. Totipotential cell value can be outweighed by genetic diagnosis value. In most cases of gene therapy, they take place through treatment of somatic tissues which is usually referred to as somatic gene therapy.

Somatic gene therapy is of ethical concern since individuals have to understand whether it’s morally right to carry on with gene therapy or not. Most of the technologies of gene therapy are still under developed and therefore safety of the patient should be emphasized before therapy is initiated. (US Congress, 1989, p. 125) Treatment is usually confined to somatic cells the consequences of these treatment are only confined to individual who has agreed on the procedure.

Ethics of gene therapy should be generally accepted just like that of organ transplant where the patient is usually not sure of surviving but agrees on procedure. According to physicians, it is unethical to refuse such treatment considering some of the constraints of gene therapy. Individuals who are affected by this problem usually fear therapy since it can lead to alteration of one’s phenotypic characters such as height which are entirely independent and are not associated with the disease.

Genetic enhancement can result to more defined ethical problems since the procedure at times can fail. Germ line gene therapy which is meant for modifying genetic characteristics of gem line cells is quite different. (Berger & Gert, 1991, p. 675) This therapy has not yet been initiated in humans. For this manipulation to be ethically acceptable, three conditions must be met to evaluate the pros and cons of manipulation. Various arguments have come up on whether to accept germ line gene therapy since it’s viewed to have a number of cons. The arguments are based on: Pros

Therapy of germ line are procedures which cannot be reversed and once they are initiated results are usually expected and incase a mistake is made in doing this its usually manifested in generation which can either have a positive or …

When this manipulation is carried out, it favors subsequent generations from therapy since the bad traits would not be passed on to other generations. Therefore, by undergoing therapy, individuals can reduce the risk of passing dangerous infections, abnormalities or traits …

As a matter of ethical concern, some individual’s miss-use the value of germ line gene therapy since they neglect its essential meaning of curing disease condition and hence they use it on in trying to enhance their human trait (Franki …

Ashanti DeSilva was a four-year old girl, when she was born with a rare genetic disorder known as Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). She was diagnosed with a disease which caused the depletion of white-blood cells, hence making her immune system …

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