What are pros and cons of the Genome Project?

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Payal Khullar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Genome Project is a scientific effort of deciphering the genetic make-up of any living organism. When we do this for humans, we call it Human Genome Project or HGP. Genome project has both pros and cons. Knowing the complete genome sequence of a particular species will help us in its complete study and better understanding. Most importantly, it will be beneficial in early medical diagnosis and finding cure for many genetic diseases and abnormalities. It will be easier to predict occurrence of many other diseases that are affected by genetic make-up of an individual.

When we talk about disadvantages, we are concerned with Bioterrorism as well some ethical and moral issues.  If leaked, the bioterrorist might utilize this precious genome data to discover something fatal for the entire human race. This might also affect people on individual level. For example, if a person is a carrier for a recessive gene that can cause some severe abnormality (which otherwise won’t be expressed rendering him a normal life otherwise) and his genome sequence is available to others, he might start facing marginalization, partialities and discrimination in his community and work place, etc. (just like what patients suffering from AIDS face!). It’s because people are more or less ignorant when it comes to genetic diseases. Let us consider one more case. Now if every couple in the world, with the help of genome data, gets the cure for infertility, no one would adopt an orphan child. This is again not good for humanity. There are many such debatable issues.

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