Genetic modification is cool but morally wrong


Gyeongsang National University

Tony Kerr, Reporter

Genetic Modification has become growing popular in recent years. It can result in some really cool-looking animals, but at the end of the day it will be bad for their overall health and survival outside of the lab. Currently its most applicable use is to test experimental drugs and modifications for our modern diseases. Some of these diseases apply to more than just humans but is it morally right to give an animal a disease to prevent future animals from getting diseases?

I believe so, but in moderation. There was no need to give cats a jellyfish gene, especially after having given it to sheep, rabbits, pigs, monkeys, dogs, and even some fish that didn’t have it already, it provided no disease prevention. The benefit would be to make sure the gene was picked up successfully, along with funding in some cases. But the likelihood is very high that people will now want the average household cat to glow in the dark. I even mentioned this to my sister-in-law without context and she thought it was a great idea.

Imagine for a moment that the “glow-in-the-dark cat” managed to make it into the wild. How long could it possibly last at night? Any animal with the ability to see would be able to spot it. Not to mention hunting would be much harder if not impossible for any animal capable of escaping the cat if they see it early enough. So perhaps not tripping down the stairs on our household cats would be nice, but the long term effect could be devastating.

No testing has been reported on if these genes are passed down during reproduction either. So for example if we eventually decided to carry this into the human options, the limitations would be huge. For instance, working in the military would be impossible without special equipment to block the light from your body for night operations. This could even lead to a rejection from the military for a choice your parents made for you because they thought it might look cool or whatever other excuse. Not to mention the potential side effects on your kids.

What if this has some unaccounted for side effect that takes many years or generations to develop? Like the need or dependence of a certain chemical or drug. What about potential cancer causing agents or anything of that nature? If we do genetic modification for one thing, people will request that we do it with anything and everything they can come up with, leading to further potential damage to our genetics and what we call normal.