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Genetic Engineering

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Genetic Engineering

What are your views on genetic engineering ?
It is claimed it may soon be possible to repair or change genes in humans such changes could lead to elimination of some diseases in children and give longer life to many.
Recently a baby was treated in this way and has made excellent progress but of course it's early days.
This subject raises many issues and some countries are against it for a variety of reasons but my own view is that we should go ahead with it providing such work is constantly monitored, it's one thing to eliminate diseases but another thing to have designer babies.
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PowerLee
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Re: Genetic Engineering

As someone who has been type 1 diabetic for 29 years now it would be nice if it could be cured.
Just think how much I've cost the NHS over the years in treatment.
Only bonus is it's nice knowing my tax money isn't being wasted on others
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Re: Genetic Engineering

As long as it is used purely for combatting disease, improving public health and extending human life for the nation (not just those who can afford it) then I have no issue with it. Lets face it, we're not making an awful lot of progress with cancer and other deadly things so something has to change - we have to refine our treatments and find a new way of dealing with these threats and that usually means going smaller and getting right into it on the small scales which in this case means dealing directly with genetics, DNS and the like.
What I would object to is anything that tampers with the human genome so much that it changes the species dramatically. I think it's norway? that have been performing so many caesarian sections they're now worried that women will loose the ability to give bith naturally and THAT is the kind of thing that needs to be considered seriously - we can't rely on surgeons performing caesarians in the middle of a desert after a plane crash for instance and having been present at a caesarian, it's very intricate surgery - not something a normal person could ever attempt in an emergency.
But it doesn't really matter what we think. If we don't do it, someone else on this planet will.
Oh and I AM against genetic modification of our food sources. Not that I can do anything to stop it, I just think it's where our bodies learn to handle things and modifying that content may do more harm than good in the long run.
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Re: Genetic Engineering

I can't agree with you about the lack of progress on cancer. Major strides have been made in treatment. Just look at prostate, bowel and breast cancer as  examples. Mortality rates are still too high but major improvements over the last 10 years. New drugs are coming on stream to help treatment.
Also look at heart disease. So many heart problems can now be treated successfully compared with 10 years ago.  A friend of mine had her grand daughter admitted to a London hospital on Sunday for open heart surgery and she will hopefully be discharged on Saturday and is expected to return to a normal life. This type of operation is commonplace now which it wasn't even five years ago.
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Re: Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering has it's positives, but also its negatives, the latter often being the idea that you could breed a new species of super-humans that are stronger, more intelligent and far more powerful than a normal human, aka the "super soldier" type of idea...
nanotm
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Re: Genetic Engineering

it has more negatives than positives overall, you get short term improvements and long term your keeping to many alive so it will lead to selective breeding controls
remember  it will be subverted because it can be and no amount of supposed regulation will prevent that, money buys power and power corrupts /
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
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Re: Genetic Engineering

Quote from: artmo
I can't agree with you about the lack of progress on cancer. Major strides have been made in treatment. Just look at prostate, bowel and breast cancer as  examples. Mortality rates are still too high but major improvements over the last 10 years. New drugs are coming on stream to help treatment.

I see what you're saying and yes strides are being made but nothing significant in actually making a huge difference / finding a proper cure. Yes advances in slowing down cancer have been made, in some cases some people never see it again once its removed however the point is that it is still a poking at shadows experience and until a rock solid cure is found, thats what it will remain.
Using genetic engineering there is potential to design custom treatments for each patient - designed to explicitly target that patients cancer (or if a common property can be found a cure for all cancers among the entire population). All the time cancer presents a threat of death, there is no significant progress (IMO).
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Mal08
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Re: Genetic Engineering

I agree with Artmo - I have had prostate cancer for almost 6 years now and it was quite advanced at diagnosis. There are about 25 sub-types of the disease and the outcome can vary greatly, some are more treatable than others.
I have been a patient at the Royal Marsden for about two and a half years now - and my consultant is part of Professor Johno de Bono's team who are one of the leading research team in the UK if not world wide. They with others have made really significant advances in the time since I was diagnosed; I have been on a trial of two drugs for about 10 weeks now and I got the results today of recent scans and blood tests and the disease has been significantly hit again, the PSA halved in that 10 weeks which is excellent.
One of the most promising advances of several cancers are as a result of the geno programme and genetic research. What they have found is that the way to reduce or maybe cure some cancers is to engineer the immune system to turn on the cancer - so letting the body fight it rather than aggressive treatments like chemotherapy.
It's also case of one treatment eventually fails but advances mean that another new one is waiting in the wings - and that continues until hopefully there will be a cure.
Of course sadly some peoples cancers do not respond to some of the new treatments and they die. Far too many people sadly. But they really are making excellent progress.
I'm not looking at the issue through rose tinted glasses - I have read extensively on the subject and been talking to oncologists for 6 years - so are totally realistic.
nanotm
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Re: Genetic Engineering

I agree the potential for good is huge the problem is everything good can be subverted for wrongdoing and even the "failures" will be of use for those looking to do ill to others
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
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Re: Genetic Engineering

Quote from: nanotm
I agree the potential for good is huge the problem is everything good can be subverted for wrongdoing

What he said... (for once  Cheesy)
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Re: Genetic Engineering

One of the dangers that has been suggested is the creation of a 2 tier society where those who can afford it, get defect free babies.
Those who can't, take their chances.
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Re: Genetic Engineering

I don't think there is any danger of that... It's guaranteed  Cry.
We're in a capitalist society remember..
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nanotm
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Re: Genetic Engineering

there are much worse dangers than that, Geno mutative destruction on a mass scale requires a delivery system and you can wipe out all the "defective genes" at once, target any aspect of mutation you choose custom print the search hand destroy virus load it into a carrier bacteria shove it in the water system and bingo half the population reports sick with a mystery illness and by the time you figure out what it is the infected die, that was the basic principle of thousands of horrors stories and trashy sci-fi films produced in the last centaury, and its what lead to a world wide ban on all genetic research bans which have ben progressively lifted in the pursuit of curing various diseases....
Hitler undertook his version Stalin did his Pol Pot did his as did many others they just failed because they didn't have the science (given his recent outbursts I wouldn't put it past Trump to have a go as well only he will have the science)
and the masses will be begging it to happen with slogans like " let me cure your cancer", " drink this water for a better life" or "eat this bread to beat alzheimer's" and he will cure those things just with a select additive change that will back fire or mutate in the wild and bang a new form of plague that cant be cured or stopped ....... mutating or killing everything it touches from flora and fauna to us, and that's ignoring the clever people that will slip it into the water or the food to make everyone that doesn't have a  licence bade barren to control the population in their attempts at averting wars or catastrophes 
so yes genetic therapies have the potential to do good things but they will be the end of life as we know it if just one mad scientist slips through the supposed oversight
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
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Re: Genetic Engineering

Quote from: twocvbloke
new species of super-humans that are stronger, more intelligent and far more powerful than a normal human, aka the "super soldier" type of idea...

Khan - No
Max - Yes
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Re: Genetic Engineering

When making changes to a complex System such as DNA it is easy to introduce unintended errors.
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