Genetic Engineering In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is closely related to the current issue of genetic engineering. Shelley’s main character, Victor Frankenstein, is a scientific engineer who brings different parts of people’s bodies together to make a new creation. This new creation at first seemed good to Victor however, he was eventually overcome by it. Genetic engineering is not only gene manipulation; it is a desire to take parts of an organism and create a new living thing. Shelley was 17 years old when she wrote Frankenstein almost 200 years ago and although young, her perceptions of what is good or evil, what is beautiful or monstrous, are topics today that are discussed in relation to genetic engineering, gene manipulation and mutation. Shelley's view is…show more content…
Victor Frankenstein's passion for science expands the boundaries of his modern science to create life from essentially nothing. Frankenstein tells the captain the story of how he came to be found in the icy waters by the ship's crew; "So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein—more, far more, will I achieve; tread in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation" (3.4). There are always unintentional consequences that negatively affect society when boundaries are crossed; with modern science, scientists do their best to map out contingency plans to deal with successes and failures, including what to do with a synthetic material that doesn't meet the guidelines established for it. With genetic engineering, some of the negative consequences that must be dealt with include legally protecting the patents awarded for testing DNA and creating synthetic materials. There are currently several studies being completed to determine the impact of genetic diagnostic testing practices and the associated licensing practices. As one lawyer for the US Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society (SACGHS) recently noted, "A near perfect storm is developing at the confluence of clinical practice and patent law" (Liddicoat et al). This statement is meant to warn every company involved in DNA testing that there is a problem with the way in which patents are granted and that these problems are just starting to be recognized in the legal world. This represents some of the consequences at the beginning of a long and difficult process started by scientists in the world of genetic engineering. In contrast, the story Frankenstein represents the birth of this complicated process and Victor proceeds
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