Eugenics and genetic improvements are practices that emerge from advancement in genetic understanding and that essentially seek to improve the human race. Eugenics particular is a practice that advocates for controlled human breeding where people with undesirable genetic or hereditary traits are prevented to mate and thus do not pass those traits onto others. genetic enhancement, on the other hand, is the practice of altering the genetic makeup of an individual, to give them desirable traits and take away those traits that are undesirable. The later emanates from high advancement in technology and particularly knowledge in genetics, understanding genetic has brought genetic engineers closer and closer to making and altering the genetic makeup of an individual. Enhancement essentially occurs before fertilization which is then artificially placed in the woman’s womb for implantation and development. While genetic enhancement can add and remove certainty genetic trait from the newborn, eugenics can only prevent the bad traits by preventing certain people from mating. Both, however, have similarities as they are aimed at improving the human race, and the government in the view of this aim can put its efforts in educating parents on both choices and allowing them to make their own best decision.
Eugenics is a practice that aims at improving the human race by defining and controlling mating people. It is a practice and also includes advocacy for the same. The main idea from this practice is to reduce human suffering and improve the human race. This is especially done by prohibiting people who have genetic or hereditary non-desirable issues from mating and thus reducing the replication of such genes (‘First Do No Harm: Law, Ethics and Healthcare Series: Applied Legal Philosophy Edited by Sheila A. M. McLean’, 2007). This practice began as early as the first half of the 20th century where string movements emerged in the US preventing people with mental illness and disabilities from mating and giving birth to children with even more complications (Clarke, Savulescu, Coady, Giubilini & Sanyal, 2016). The idea was to reduce continual disabilities and mental illness with the discovery of their hereditary nature of these traits. Further such traits as aggressive behavior, criminal behavior, and anti-social behavior lie among the undesirable characteristics. Proposers of this practice would essentially avoid marrying people with such traits as they would pass these traits to their children and thus continuity to the next generation.
Similar to the practice of eugenics, genetic enhancement seeks to solve the same challenge of undesirable hereditary human traits. In a unique manner, this practice seeks to change human DNA composition before birth and thus breed out a higher quality breed, this has been successfully made on animals helping to tame out such characteristics as poor productivity, and temperament. In its place, desirable characteristics in animals like high productivity, for instance, higher milk production for cattle has been enhanced (Clarke, Savulescu, Coady, Giubilini & Sanyal, 2016). In a similar manner, genetic enhancement seeks to take the sex cells of both males and females and alter their genetic composition before fertilizing them artificially outside the body. Then, the fertilized egg is then implanted into a woman’s womb. Through genetic modification, genetic engineers are able to put such desirable characteristics like sports performance, brightness, and high mental capabilities and appearance. Also, proposers of this belief that it is also possible to eliminate undesirable characteristics like bad behavior, disabilities and hereditary diseases.
The two approaches differ in the underlying technology and application. While eugenics does not apply any technology but rather uses physical separation and barring people with undesirable traits from mating, genetic enhancements are done through the use of high-end technology to modify the genetic makeup of the fetus and thence create an improved child. eugenics in the past, essentially in the first few decades of the 20th century was done by physically locking up people with undesirable traits in different sexes (Clarke, Savulescu, Coady, Giubilini & Sanyal, 2016). Today, perhaps an easier and cheaper approach was to apply family planning medications or approaches to prevent such people with undesirable traits from giving birth. Further, eugenics may be understood in two dimensions. Essentially, this practice also advocates for reproduction for people with desirable traits which is called positive eugenics while preventing mating of people with bad characteristics is negative eugenics. Eugenics as such alters the genetic composition of the next generation by inspiring mating choice. The two approaches underlie the idea to create a better genet-ration. This effort to create a better generation has promoted people to think about whether the next generation will be more advantaged than the current one. However, those who argue against these approaches argue that besides ethics, these practices will yield superhumans who will not enjoy the normal life people enjoy.
The two approaches nevertheless face unprecedented challenges in ethics, and acceptance by the people. Eugenics, for instance, faces the ethics of controlling mating which is natural and every human has the right to mating. The artificial discrimination preventing people from mating, regardless of their disability or other traits is unethical. However, it is more acceptable in the community especially when the trait in question is problematic and clearly seen as hereditary (Friedmann, 2019). On the other hand, however, positive genetics faces ethical issues in the family set up and ethics. Encouraging mating for people with desirable characteristics may be unacceptable as mating is defined and confined in family lines, making people have less choice for mating partners. They can only be effectively applied to animals.
Genetic enhancement, on the other hand, faces issues in ethics and acceptance in society. Unlike in eugenics where people can easily see the phenotype that is being altered, genetic engineering knowledge is only well understood by genetic engineers and the majority of people in the society do not trust this technology. As a result, it continues to face rejection as people voice the issues of genetically modified human beings. Such humans could develop other traits that were nit mean in the enhancement and which may become a burden to the parents. It is also unethical to alter the traits of the unborn because it is considered a permanent alteration that the resulting human being may dislike (Friedmann, 2019). As such, this could affect the general life of the resultant person if they dislike their difference from normal human beings. Due to these ethical and practical challenges, genetic enhancement has continued to face challenges in applications in human beings.
The state plays an important role in many health issues. The state is fundamental for instance in creating a platform for services in genetic enhancements and is also fundamental in coming up with policies that allow eugenics. Further, the government can enforce such policies and make certain practices mandatory. This is not however without consideration to the human rights and other considerations to ethics (Clarke, Savulescu, Coady, Giubilini & Sanyal, 2016). Essentially, the best the government can do is to provide and facilitate education to the public on the various existing alternatives in improving the human race. The system may be interested in the development of better people within its boundaries. With this motivating factor, then, the government can find these services in the society and also make available these services (Clarke, Savulescu, Coady, Giubilini & Sanyal, 2016; ‘First Do No Harm: Law, Ethics and Healthcare Series: Applied Legal Philosophy Edited by: Sheila A. M. McLean’, 2007). Going beyond providing the services and providing education for the parents to make ethics the best information, it would be wrong and perhaps a violation of human rights to do so.
In conclusion, eugenics and genetic enhancements are human efforts to improve the human race, both practices aim to eliminate the bad characteristics in the human race like temperament, anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour and instead promote the good and desirable traits in human race like sport performance, high mental ability and social behavior among many others (‘First Do No Harm: Law, Ethics and Healthcare Series: Applied Legal Philosophy Edited by Sheila A. M. McLean’, 2007). Eugenics is primarily based on the control of mating partners. In this sense, some humans are encouraged to mate more and give birth to many people while others are prevented from mating and essentially meant not to give sire or bear any child in their lifetime (Clarke, Savulescu, Coady, Giubilini & Sanyal, 2016). In helping those who were prevented from giving birth in eugenics, genetic enhancements approach seeks to alter the genetic composition of the sex cells and thus can break the heredity of bad traits. As such, people with disabilities and mental illness can give birth to children who do not have such traits. The government can help parents make choice in the two subjects by proving the services and educating the public on these two alternatives for parents to make their own choices.