Health and Medicine Question #105

Dennis Nolivos, a 14 year old male from the Internet asks on December 16, 1999,

What is your opinion on the ethics of transplant farming and what is your opinion about genetic screening?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on December 16, 1999

I think that these issues will emerge to be possibly the biggest issues facing humanity in the 21st century. In fact it has been predicted that there will be major changes to the criminal code as genetic crimes overtake crimes of all other types. My main hope is that humanity will be wise enough to handle the new knowledge that is emerging with respect to genetic manipulation. With all the new knowledge and technology there will remain some impenetrable mysteries when it comes to concepts of biological growth, cell differentiation and gene expression. This is an excellent area to focus on and learn about, and if I was 14, I'd devote a lot of my time to understanding modern genetic concepts and technologies because they may well affect every aspect of life by the time you are in your 30s and having your own family.

Ethical considerations will continue to present very difficult problems with lots of gray areas and many sides to any particular issue just as the ethics behind pro-choice versus right-to-life groups give rise to discussion today. These are difficult questions and there are no simple answers.

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