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The Morality of Genetic Modification History of Underlying Science 19th century- Gregor Mendel discovered fundamental laws of heredity, known now as Mendelian Genetics. 1952- Hershey and Chase experiment determined DNA is the hereditary molecule Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA in 1953 Underlying Science 19th century- Darwin and Wallace proposed evolution by natural selection Mutation is natural, speciation is natural, farmers have always bred animals and crops… Not only does genetic information change from generation to generation in nature; in the last half-century humans have learned how to manipulate it artificially. Various techniques for changing the DNA of organisms; famous bacteriophage Scientists can now artificially synthesize DNA in machines and paste it into living organisms. The Catechism of the Catholic Church 283- the question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers… 299- …Our human understanding, which shares in the light of the divine intellect, can understand what God tells us by means of his creation, though not without great effort and only in a spirit of humility and respect before the Creator and his work… 338- Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God’s word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all of human history are rooted in this primordial event… 341- The beauty of the universe: The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars…ought to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will. 2415- The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation…Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbour, including generations to come… Genetics research has gained extensive knowledge for humans about nature and specifically about human development and life. We can foresee genetic disorders in babies such as; Huntington’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Down Syndrome, Haemophilia and many more Would it be moral to genetically modify the genes responsible for these disorders in humans? Communion and Stewardship: Human persons created in the image of God The use of genetic modification to yield a superhuman or being with essentially new spiritual faculties is unthinkable, given that the spiritual life principle of man – forming the matter into the body of the human person – is not a product of human hands and is not subject to genetic engineering. The uniqueness of each human person, in part constituted by his biogenetic characteristics and developed through nurture and growth, belongs intrinsically to him and cannot be instrumentalized in order to improve some of these characteristics. A man can only truly improve by realizing more fully the image of God in him by uniting himself to Christ and in imitation of him. Such modifications would in any case violate the freedom of future persons who had no part in decisions that determine his bodily structure and characteristics in a significant and possibly irreversible way. Gene therapy, directed to the alleviation of congenital conditions like Down's syndrome, would certainly affect the identity of the person involved with regard to his appearance and mental gifts, but this modification would help the individual to give full expression to his real identity which is blocked by a defective gene. Suppose we map the genomes of the most hopeless criminals ever and find that a single gene is causing crime. Cutting this gene out of babies would eliminate crime in the world, increasing quality of life of all of society significantly. Would it be moral to cut that gene out of all babies? 2416- Animals are God’s creatures…By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness… 2417- God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image. Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals, if it remains within reasonable limits, is a morally acceptable practice since it contributes to caring for or saving human lives. Gaudium et Spes, 36 For by the very circumstance of their having been created, all things are endowed with their own stability, truth, goodness, proper laws and order. Man must respect these as he isolates them by the appropriate methods of the individual sciences or arts. Therefore if methodical investigation within every branch of learning is carried out in a genuinely scientific manner and in accord with moral norms, it never truly conflicts with faith, for earthly matters and the concerns of faith derive from the same God.