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List of Pros and Cons of Gene Therapy

Gene therapy is the process of replacing defective genes in a cell with healthy ones. In simple terms, genes form the basis of heredity. They come as triplets of nitrogenous basis which form amino acids. Amino acids are a composition of proteins which play a crucial role in the functioning of our bodies. Therefore defective genes cause malfunctions in metabolic pathways which become diseases, of which the causes are deeply rooted in our genetic design. Currently there isn’t a cure for genetic disorders and treatment is only indicative. This is why there’s so much turmoil in the medical arena about the possible effects of gene therapy.

Gene Therapy Treatment

Gene therapy can be categorized in to two different types—somatic cell therapy and reproductive cell also referred to as germline therapy. Somatic cells involves targeting somatic cells for gene replacement, while reproductive cell therapy involves replacing defective genes in reproductive cells with correct genes. Changes made in the genetic makeup of somatic cells is only corrective for the patient. Alterations are however not inherited by offspring of the treated person.

List of Pros of Gene Therapy

1. Untapped Potential
One notable factor that gives gene therapy the edge is the remarkable therapeutic potential it has.

2. Replace Defective Cells
Humans have always been prone to variety of diseases; as one cure is discovered, another disease emerges. We are constantly attacked by newer, more dangerous and vituperative types of germs and pathogens. Although many of such diseases can be treated or cured medically, there is no cure for genetic disorders unless defective cells are replaced by proper ones which is what gene therapy does.

3. Eradicate Disease
Furthermore, targeting reproductive cells can get rid of such defects for good. People with genetic disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are among those who require gene therapy.

List of Cons of Gene Therapy

1. Modify Human Capabilities
One con of gene therapy is that it may be used to enhance and modify human capabilities. If this was feasible, standards for normal human life would be altered for good. Even if certain countries experimented with this form of therapy, they could create unstoppable armies much like in those movies we’ve seen on the big screen.

2. Damage Gene Pool
If gene therapy was performed to a certain degree, it possibly could permanently change the human gene pool. Another thing would also be—this treatment therapy may possibly be for the rich only, and could make the rich more richer and the poor more poorer, indefinitely.

3. Rise in Disorders
While the most common choice as a vector, using the virus for such a purpose is not guaranteed. There’s an exact point in the host genome where the right should be brought in and there are no assurance that the viral enzyme responsible for this step will be able to bring in the right genes at the exact point in the host genome. If there’s an error in the process, the results could be bring about severe disorders. In addition, the body may destroy the vector perceiving that it is a foreign body.