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Genetic Engineering Cloning Genetic engineering altering the inherited characteristics of an organism in a predetermined way by introducing into it a piece of the genetic material of another organism Genetic engineering offers the hope of cures for many inherited diseases once the problem of low efficiencies of effective transfer of genetic material is overcome Another development has been the refinement of the technique called cloning which produces large numbers of genetically identical individuals by transplanting whole cell nuclei With other techniques scientists can isolate sections of DNA representing single genes determine their nucleotide sequences and reproduce them in the laboratory This offers the possibility of creating entirely new genes with commercially or medically desirable properties While the potential benefits of genetic engineering are considerable so may be the potential dangers For example the introduction of cancer-causing genes into a common infectious organism such as the influenza virus could be hazardous We have come to believe that all human beings are equal but even more firmly we are taught to believe each one of us is unique Is that idea undercut by cloning That is if you can deliberately make any number of copies of an individual is each one special How special can clones feel knowing they were replicated like smile buttons We arent just our genes were a whole collection of our experiences says Albert Jonsen But the idea he adds raises a host of issues from the fantastic to the profound When anesthesia was discovered in the 19th century there was a speculation that it would rob humans of the transforming experience of suffering When three decades ago James Watson and Francis Crick unraveled the genetic code popular discussion turned not to the new hope for vanquishing disease but to the specter of
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