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Some of the effects of these unknown gene functions may be noticed immediately and possibly be rectifiable, while others without immediate effect may cause significant long term changes.Little is known about the long term effects and potential dangers which may be inherited before they are noticed.The benefits seem endless: the potential for a perfect society without physical imperfections, low intelligence nor undesirable personality traits.
Such problems may be cumulative and become harder to stop through time as the spread of new genetic problems continues through generations.
This problem of inadequate knowledge regarding a gene's complete function applies also to the use of genetic engineering in food production.
Genetic testing is also useful for families in which autosomal recessive disorders are known to exist, when these are planning to have children.
In addition, genetic testing is available for people who might have inherited a genetic disorder which only becomes apparent later in life (for example Huntington's Disease).
The removed gene may also have a part to play in other functions.
Similarly, the inserted gene may have other functions that are not known about.On the larger scale of life, natural variation is vital for subtle adaptions that help species accommodate to changing environments.If genetic alterations become widespread, genes required for particular circumstances or different environments that may be encountered by the organism, could conceivably be bred out.For example, production costs can be lowered and health, taste and look of a product maximised.Equally, a lot of food shortage problems in the Third World could be solved by adapting crops to grow in such harsh conditions.These problems may not even be immediately noticed and are hard to stop once cattle have been bred, crops sown or distributed.On the other hand, the benefits to humans are obvious where gene replacement has been successful in improving aspects of food production.Since the treatment is localised, any unwanted effects of this are not passed on to the next generation.A more controversial technique is the genetic alteration of gametes which causes a permanent change for the organism as well as for subsequent generations.While chromosome mapping is useful, without test crossing with every possible variable characteristic of an organism, it cannot be known what the functions of each gene are.Hence when a gene is removed, what is known about the function of that gene may not be all it codes for.