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Thread: Genetic Research

  1. #1
    Biggles's Avatar Looking for loopholes
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    Following the successful cloning of human embryonic stem cells in South Korea I thought I would add a topic to discuss the wisdom, or not, (as the case may be) of cutting back this kind of research. The UK has decided to continue with some work in this area but the US has decided as far as I can tell to ban all such research.

    Given the success of the S. Koreans, and I believe Japanese and Chinese scientists are also working in this field, is there a danger that the we are simply bowing out of the next big thing in medicine and that these countries will leap ahead of us technologically? In the future, if they are successful, the rich of the West will pay for these treatments in Korean, Japanese or European clinics? - whilst potentially life-saving treatments will be unavailable to the general public in those countries who have declined to go down this route.

    Of course, putting the other side of the argument, have our Governments shown wisdom in protecting us from the unknown dangers that lay ahead?

    I think, on the whole, I support the current UK position of continued but careful advance in order that we do still have, at least, a finger-hold on the technology, perchance it should take off. However, I fully understand if someone were to say that this position is, at best, amoral opportunism. I am open to others opinions on this.
    Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum


  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    vidcc's Avatar there is no god
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    The problem with this is all based on religion...are we playing God?..take this out of the equasion and nearly all ethical dilemas dissapear.
    As someone that doubts the exsistance of God (doubts but doesn't deny) i still find certain aspects worrying.I still believe that we don't need to clone Humans as we don't have a shortage. However if cells can be cloned and altered and in turn this could cure cancer for example then i am all for it and i think it is shortsighted to ban such research.
    We don't need to alter genetic make ups to produce chickens with a dozen legs for the benefit of KFC and we don't need to cross species (look what happened with the bees in south America)
    just a short simplified viewpoint.

    it’s an election with no Democrats, in one of the whitest states in the union, where rich candidates pay $35 for your votes. Or, as Republicans call it, their vision for the future.

  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    At some point, reality will out.

    It is a difficult question, even apart from the religious/moral aspects.

    I am always reminded of Jeff Goldblum's line in "Jurassic Park", something to the effect of, "They were so enamored of the fact they could, they never stopped to consider whether or not they should.
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
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    Originally posted by Biggles@16 February 2004 - 22:35
    Following the successful cloning of human embryonic stem cells in South Korea I thought I would add a topic to discuss the wisdom, or not, (as the case may be) of cutting back this kind of research. The UK has decided to continue with some work in this area but the US has decided as far as I can tell to ban all such research.

    Given the success of the S. Koreans, and I believe Japanese and Chinese scientists are also working in this field, is there a danger that the we are simply bowing out of the next big thing in medicine and that these countries will leap ahead of us technologically? In the future, if they are successful, the rich of the West will pay for these treatments in Korean, Japanese or European clinics? - whilst potentially life-saving treatments will be unavailable to the general public in those countries who have declined to go down this route.

    Of course, putting the other side of the argument, have our Governments shown wisdom in protecting us from the unknown dangers that lay ahead?

    I think, on the whole, I support the current UK position of continued but careful advance in order that we do still have, at least, a finger-hold on the technology, perchance it should take off. However, I fully understand if someone were to say that this position is, at best, amoral opportunism. I am open to others opinions on this.
    It's scientific progress, Biggles, good or bad, you can't stop it, someone somewhere
    will carry it on, look at neuclear phisics bad idea but now it's been put to good use.
    Man U fer eva

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    the future of medicine will prolly involve some form of human cell cloning. if this is able to swing stem cell research away from the use of fetuses, put an end to that controversy, and advance the notion of cloning as a component of medicine in practice, it sounds like a wonderful breakthrough. i mean, if we are on the brink of being able to clone a new arm or a new heart for someone that really needs it, then why not? and maybe there'll be some great benefit to humanity by cloning stem cells.

    altho... maybe j2k4 has a point with his jurassic park reference. frankenstein would've been just as appropriate a reference. science fiction, at least science fiction in its noblest form, has always been a great medium for tackling the philosophical/ethical/psychological issues of science, and even just plumbing the more unusual aspects of the human condition. we certainly wouldn't want a cloning fad to result in a mad scientist creating an army of deranged, fire-breathing, tokyo-stomping super-monsters...

    @j2k4: that's not intended to make fun of your post. you raised a completely valid objection, imho.

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    Biggles's Avatar Looking for loopholes
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    Genetic research is an emotive subject, Frankenstein does spring to mind. However, as was noted above, if clinics can start replacing organs and limbs without the necessity of waiting for donors or concern over rejection then those clinics in those countries which have carried out the research will have enormous clout.

    I suspect that this is why the UK has decided to go for a halfway house approach. Medicine is big business, if these technologies do take off those at the forefront will reap huge benefits. I am only guessing here, but I also suspect that major US companies will not want to be left behind. Their capital will flow into those research facilities which have a more tolerant environment to work under - unless the current administration intends to penalise corporations that invest in research in this area.
    Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum


  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    Agrajag's Avatar Just Lame
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    Biggles

    "this position is, at best, amoral opportunism". Whether or not the cloning of human cells should take place, should be a matter for weighing up the pros of advancements in medicine against the cons of seriously deeply held moral and ethical objections. Whether or not we will fall behind in the research is not, for me, an issue.

    I am reminded that a lot of the advances in medicine, primarily in surgery and knowledge of the human anatomy, come from the treatment of prisoners during war times. As I understand it a lot of experimentation was done on people in the concentration camps. A lot of good has come from this, a lot of people's lifes have been saved or dramatically enhanced. However if we could turn back time, would we (the human race) commit these atrocities again, no matter the rewards in scientific knowledge ? I hope the answer is no.

    Advancement sometimes has a cost, it is often not easy to see that cost, but we must consider it. As someone said earlier, we should not just consider whether we can, we must also consider whether we should.

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    Biggles's Avatar Looking for loopholes
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    I would agree about the Genie and the bottle. However, I think the comparison you draw is perhaps a little stretched. There is a difference between messing around with a microscopic clump of cells and dragging some poor sod kicking and screaming into a medical torture chamber.

    I do accept that for some there are religious/ethical considerations regarding clumps of cells, but these are fairly specific to certain strands of thinking within those religions. For other religions or those who have none, these are just clumps of cells and less of an ethical issue than say testing on live animals. (I seem to recall reading somewhere that the ancient Zarathustrian religion believes the soul does not enter the human body until the 22nd week of pregnancy.)

    Nevertheless, as the technology develops some clown will want to clone himself and no doubt it will happen. More worrying will be those want to improve the human gene pool whether we will or no. The Eugenists of tomorrow. If a Nazi style regime were to come to power in the future with access to this kind of technology then who knows what might happen.

    As I said, I don't rule out work in this area, but caution is not a bad idea either.
    Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum


  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    Its magic baby!
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    Humans mess with nature far to often... atom bombs... global warming... why not try and work with it rather than against it.. as someone else said someone will still carry on the research even if it is outlawed.. i just hope they learn from there mistakes
    Wiz.

  10. The Drawing Room   -   #10
    I think this research is very important and should be done.

    If its going to be able to help quadriplegic people to walk again, im all for it.

    Im sure when blood tranfusions were made possible, their were people that were against it.

    Its going to be the same with this.

    If we can grow organs for people that need them why the fuck not ??

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