A2 Unit 5 Biology - Advantages and Disadvantages of Gene Therapy

Summary of the advantages and disadvantages of somatic and germ line gene therapy.

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A2 Unit 5 Biology - Advantages and Disadvantages of Gene Therapy


  • Can prolong the lives of those suffering from genetic disorders or cancer
  • Gives people with genetic disorders or cancers a better quality of life
  • Genetic disorder carriers may be able to have children without having the risk of inheriting the faulty gene with germ line therapy
  • May decrease the number of people that suffer from genetic disorders if germ line therapy is used


  • Somatic gene therapy is short lived
  • Patients using somatic therapy will have to undergo multiple treatments
  • It is difficult to insert an allele into a specific cell in the body
  • Vectors may be seen as foreign bodies by the immune system and an immune response would be started
  • An allele could be inserted into the wrong place in the DNA, possibly causing more problems
  • Inserted alleles could get over-expressed, so too much of the missing protein is produced
  • Genetic disorders caused by multiple alleles or genes will be difficult to treat


With more research and experimentation gene therapy may be very useful in curing and maybe even eliminating genetic disorders and cancers. However at the present time the disadvantages out weigh the advantages, currently germ line therapy in humans is illegal and somatic therapy has only been trialed on other animals. 




this is amazing! thank you so much



Synoptic essay titles are often framed in the compare and contrast, advantages and disadvantages format so recording your thoughts and evaluating them in this way is a useful revision exercise. This is well thought out summary of the problems met in gene therapy. This could be used as basis for a practice essay on this topic.

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