Thursday, 26 May 2011

Time for me to ask you guys some questions...

I know you guys are all going to be jealous when I tell you this, but today, I did gel electrophoresis in my biology practical. Okay, maybe you're not jealous, but it was a pretty exciting experience for me. I can't say I did very well with actually putting the DNA in the wells of the gel; my hands are apparently too shaky for lab work, which poses a bit of a problem considering I'll probably be doing it for the rest of my life! Anyway, my prac supervisor told us to go home and write in our diaries that we'd performed gel electrophoresis! I don't have a diary, my blog is almost like my diary, so I'm putting this down for the record. His point was that science and technology is moving so quickly that in a few year we'll be able to look back on this and see how far we've gone since then. This made me think about a few things, and I was going to ask my readers (however small the group is) a few questions! A whole paragraph just to get that point...

Advances in medicine and science are all well and good, believe me, they're going to keep me in a job in the future, I'm sure of it. But when does it become too much? This is what I have been wondering lately. For example, the "super bugs" that have shown up over the last few years, MRSA and the like. These bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, and the theory is that we've gone to so much effort to try and kill infections that they've somehow become immune to it all. I could go into the science of this, but basically it's to do with one bacteria having the mutation, surviving and reproducing. Bacteria reproduce at an alarming rate, so next thing you know you've got a whole colony of antibiotic resistant monsters sitting there just waiting to wreak some havoc. Apparently this can all be caused by people not taking their full course of antiobiotics, taking too many antibiotics, or taking the same antibiotics all the time. Why do you think this is happening? Do you think we are too paranoid about germs? Apparently children who are exposed to illness have a stronger immune system, so do you think by being too "clean" we're actually putting people at greater risk of infection and disease? Will this just keep happening until we can't fight infection at all? I ask for your thoughts on this issue!

The other thing I wanted to bring up was genetics and gene technology. This has been important for the last decade or so, because genetics really is a very recent thing. Now that we've got a draft of the human genome, I have to wonder what the next step is. We can now locate genes in the human body, and this would be great for stopping genetic diseases, but of course there will be people who will use this information for personal gain. I'm talking about designer babies and the like. Is it going too far to choose the gender, eye colour, height or personality of your unborn baby? Personally, I'm against the idea of designer babies and genetic engineering for selfish reasons. I don't think it's right at all, and feel that technology like this should be reserved for saving people's lives from horrible illnesses such as Huntington's Disease and Haemophilia.  But then there's all the religious issues, about whether we should be messing around with this kind of stuff anyway. I'm not an expert on it, but I do think it's a brilliant piece of technology and amazing things will come from it in the fiuture. Not only with humans but with creating more nutritious and disease/drought resistant plants as well. Once again, what do you guys think about this? I'm sure those of you doing Year 12 bio at the moment are sick of hearing about it, but have most likely developed your own opinions on the matter and I would love to hear them!

Surely there comes a point where we've gone too far, but I think some of the recent discoveries in science are going to save many, many lives, and I hope one day to be a part of it all!

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