Controversial Genetic Experiments

History is saturated with stories of controversial genetic experiments. Cloned sheep. Human-animal crossbreeding. Cats that glow in the dark. Those aren't "X-Files" re-runs, they're actual genetic experiments that have taken place in scientific labs around the globe. Sometimes secretive, sometimes within the public's radar, genetic experimentation has been notoriously embedded in controversy since the pseudo-science of eugenics became common practice during the 1930s and '40s. In the spirit of genetic cleansing and purity, many believed they could discern a person's level of intelligence, religion, sexuality and ethnicity through specific measurement ratios, like head circumference to nose length. By casting away those who failed to pass the threshold for purity standards, doctors, researchers and politicians hoped to create a superior race. Opponents of genetic experimentation argue experiments are often racially and ethnically charged, cite moral concerns and say it devalues natural life. So are there any positive takeaways?

Indeed it appears as if experimenting with genetic makeup has allowed doctors and scientists to team up in some beneficial (and fascinating) ways: growing artificial organs for transplant patients, helping hopeful parents artificially conceive and pushing the scientific envelope by cloning animals. So what do you think about genetic experimentation? Can stem cell research save lives, or is trying to control fate dangerous? Watch, learn and decide for yourself here.

Written by Curiosity Staff June 17, 2014

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