The past in our present

Our ancestry affects who we are today


Though they’re small, genes have a lot to do with who people are and what the world looks like today. Genes are instructions that decide how everything is built up, but what happens when those instructions are altered?

Manipulating genetics isn’t a new thing. According to the FDA, humans have been using genetics to their advantage for thousands of years.

People have used selective breeding for both animals and plants to get desired traits in their offspring. This has allowed people to domesticate animals, such as dogs.

According to National Geographic, people wouldn’t have many of the foods we have today if they didn’t use selective breeding to alter genes.

Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage all came from a common ancestor, wild mustard. Scientists were able to develop all of this, and many more, thanks to gene manipulation.

Scientists are also able to choose what genes to have in foods for them to be more desirable. These are called GMO’s and they greatly improve the quality of foods.

According to the FDA, GMOs can be developed to be resistant to insect damage and plant viruses and also be tolerant to herbicides which are normally toxic to plants.

All of these genetic mutations allow us to have enough food and have high quality food.

Manipulating Genetics doesn’t just stop at food. It can also be beneficial in the medical field.

According to the University of Missouri, scientists have been able to produce human insulin, human growth hormones, a protein used in blood clotting, and other vaccines and medicine. This is only the beginning though, and many more life saving medicines could be produced in the future.

So many diseases such as cancer, Alzeimers disease, HIV, muscular dystrophy and inherited eye disorders don’t have a cure yet, but genetic engineering could lead to cures which will help millions of people, according to Synthego.

There is also a chance that altering genetics could allow people to develop desirable traits ourselves. Things like appearance, strength, endurance and more are developed through genetics and could, in theory, one day be altered.

While there are many positives that come with altering genetics, there can also be many negatives.

Things such as genetic therapy, which can help stop genetic disorders from getting passed down to kids, can have unforeseen results if the wrong cells are targeted.

There are also many moral problems with altering human genetics. Things such as “playing God” or going against nature are very controversial.

Genetic engineering could also create nonhuman creatures that could be alienated from other humans that aren’t altered genetically.  As new genes are developed, older generations could feel inferior to younger generations.

Older generations could become outdated, almost like electronics, as they don’t get the new improved genetic alterations.

While genetic engineering can have many benefits, there are also many downsides. Altering genetics will overall be beneficial for humans, but it’s understandable where peoples worries come from. Genetic engineering will likely become the future, good or bad. Society just needs to be ready.