Genetic Research Must be Regulated Human genetics and cloning have become a subject of hot debate in the recent past. Currently there are very few restrictions or regulations on genetic research and cloning. This means that the world of genetic research is wide open. In order to control genetic research and cloning an official government run department or committee must be established. This department would be able to regulate and restrict all genetic research and set a standard in bioethics.
The most important duty of the government department of bioethics would be to set guidelines for what is and is not acceptable in genetics research. This department or committee would decide what kind of research and experiments would be permissible. This would prevent experiments such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment from happening again in the future. With few laws in effect right now, just about anyone can perform any experiment they want with genetics.
This presents a great danger that morbid and inhuman experiments could be performed with no repercussions. An official committee would be able to control such research by enacting laws and prosecuting the perpetrators. The second function of an official government body would be to answer all of the ethical questions about genetic research. One question that this group would answer is after a person is tested genetically, who should have access to the results of the test This question brings about a lot of controversy, especially if the person tested is found to have some kind of genetic disposition to a certain disease. Should insurance companies or employers be given this information If insurance companies were notified, surely they would raise the premium or drop the coverage of the high-risk client. An employer may let their employee go if they know he or she may be getting ill sometime in the future and will not be able to perform as he o she did in the past.
This really doesn't seem fair and that is why an official committee needs to be formed. The committee could sort through all of the facts and come to some conclusion on whether or not insurance companies, employers, or anyone else has access to such information. Another issue that this group would be able to deal with is the storage and confidentiality of the results of genetic testing. This committee would be able to come up with a strict method of keeping the results confidential and provide harsh penalties for those who do not keep the results confidential. Basically this department would "[S]eve the needs of government for intelligence and counsel on bioethical problems aimed at assuring public accountability and protecting the rights and welfare of individuals in research, health care, and public health" (Caplan, Fletcher, Miller 504).
Finally, an official committee would be able to decide whether cloning, human or animal, is acceptable. They would make distinctions between what can and cannot be done ethically. Currently there is a five-year ban on cloning that was imposed by President Clinton. The government body of genetic research and cloning would review this policy and decide whether it should be abolished or extended. The duties previously mentioned are only some of the more important aspects of an official committee; however, it would provide many more valuable services to the world of bioethics.
We need to create this governing body before genetic research and cloning expands to the point where it can't be controlled.