Socioeconomics and Agricultural Biotechnology - UK College of ...

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22 Οκτ 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 10 μήνες)

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Socioeconomics and
Agricultural Biotechnology:

The Challenges

Lori Garkovich and Valerie Askren

University of Kentucky

What is Biotechnology?

Common Definitions


Any technique that uses living organisms, or
substances from those organisms, to make a
product, improve plants or animals, or develop
microorganisms for specific uses


Any technique that deliberately manipulates
the molecules that carry genetic information


What’s the difference?

Why is Biotechnology so Exciting?


Strikes at the heart of many issues!


Incremental versus Disruptive Technologies


Is it simply an emotional reaction?


Does biotechnology blur the line between nature and man
-
made?


Does it offer enormous power to alter the fundamental
character of life?


First and second generation benefits


Importance of multidisciplinary perspectives and
bioethics to the physical sciences




Classroom Activity:

Think, Write, Pair, Share


If you could clone something or someone,
what would it be? What would be the
consequences of doing so?



Divide into pairs. Agree to share one genetic
trait with another student. What trait would
you want and why? How would you expect
your life to change?

Framing the Discussion


The way we frame an issue influences how we
understand its implications and also how we
think about alternatives


Who shapes the framing determines the
message’s content

Framing the Biotechnology Issue:

Creating Polarity


Biotech firms and
scientists have framed
the issue as one of
science and technology
applied to enhancing the
quality of life


Biotech opponents have
framed the issue as a
profit
-
driven effort
regardless of the risk to
human health, social
equity or environmental
quality


Framing the Issue:

Classroom Activities


Have students research a biotechnology issue.
Using the internet, collect articles that frame the
same “advancement” in different lights. Assess
scientific accuracy of claims.



Possible Issues:


Golden Rice


Bt crops and the Monarch butterfly


Terminator gene technology

The
Bioethical
Challenge

Is Biotechnology Morally Acceptable?

Two Kinds of Ethical Arguments Used to
Evaluate Concerns Over Biotechnology


Intrinsic objections

say the process of
biotechnology is objectionable in itself



Extrinsic objections

say the possible
consequences of some biotech applications are
objectionable, but others may be acceptable


The Bioethical Challenge:

Classroom Activities


Identify the possible intrinsic and the extrinsic
objections related to:


previous classroom experiments


recent scientific breakthroughs, as reported in the
popular press and science magazines (e.g., home
drug
-
use testing kits for parents to use to monitor
their children)


historical scientific advancements (e.g., the
development of dynamite, or cell phone
technology and adoption)


The Business

of Science
Challenge

Does the business of biotechnology corrupt the purpose and
integrity of the process of the science?


Or can business and scientific partnerships be beneficial

for society?

The Business of Science


Critics:


Focusing on profits contradicts the purpose of science
-

to
enhance or improve the quality of life


Biotechnology commodifies life and leads to reductionist
science



Advocates:


The spiraling costs of R & D required to bring a product to
market justifies the closer ties of science and business


This relationship has been beneficial to society and has
contributed to the public good




The Business of Science Challenge:

Classroom Activities


Questions for discussion:


Should private companies be permitted to use teminator
gene technology?


Should farmers in developing countries pay lower price
premiums for genetically
-
modified seed?


Should farmers be held liable for genetic pollution? What
is genetic pollution?


Has any scientific development not been corrupted by the
profit motive?

The Policy
Challenge

What public policies related to biotechnology
should be adopted and who should decide?


The Policy Issues


What, if any, should be the role of scientists
and the public in determining policies related
to biotechnology?



Are the questions about the risks associated
with biotechnology too technical and complex
for citizens to evaluate?

The Policy Issues
-

Classroom Activities


A public hearing before Congress on a proposal to
limit public funding of research on agricultural
biotechnology and to prohibit field testing of
biotechnology products


Students assume the following roles:



Congressional representatives


Opponents (who would oppose such a proposal and why?)


Proponents (who would support such a proposal and why?)


The press


The Policy Issues
-

Classroom Activities


Students research the arguments that would be
presented by those in their role and prepare a
summary of these positions


Students develop two questions that might be
asked by someone in their role as to why this
proposal should or should not be enacted


Conduct the public hearing


Students evaluate the arguments presented and
make a recommendation to Congress in a
summary white paper



The
Globalization
Challenge

Is biotechnology part of the solution?

Or symptomatic of the problem?

How widespread are GM plantings


in the US?

How widespread are GM plantings

in the world?

Globalization and Biotechnology:

The Hopes


Improved resistance to drought and salt stress,
toxic heavy metals, pests and diseases


Higher yields &/or reduced input use


Enhanced environmental protection


Increase food production


Reduce post
-
harvest losses


Micronutrients / Edible Vaccines


Increased farm profitability


Greater access to export markets


Globalization and Biotechnology:

The Concerns


Lack of appropriate GM crops / cash crops only


Loss of export markets


Endangers indigenous crops / loss of biodiversity


Creation of superweeds


Higher seed costs / licensing agreements


Fear of “terminator” gene technology


Low input use already in place


Gains to wealthy landowners and multinationals


Genomic databases and research are needed


Consumer concerns


Globalization and Biotechnology:

Classroom Activities

Case Studies:


SuperSpud: World Hunger Case Study


Native American Culture and Whaling



Bangladesh Farm Decision Project



Food Aid to Africa


Case Study: Food Aid to Africa


You are an advisor to a leader of a developing nation
experiencing famine. The U.S. has donated surplus corn
to your country, but it is genetically modified corn.


“Green” groups are warning you that the corn is
dangerous to human health.


Others fear that farmers might plant some of these seeds,
cross
-
pollinating with native corn, endangering important
export markets and revenue


But, if you don’t accept the surplus corn, many people in
your country will die right now from the famine.


What do you recommend and why?


The Challenge of
Consumer Choice

Does society have an ethical obligation to
maximize consumer knowledge and choice?

Consumer Choice



The Issue of Labeling


Advocates of consumer labeling criticize efforts
NOT to label food containing genetically modified
organisms. They argue: “If biotech foods are safe
and risk free, then why are you afraid to let us
know what we are buying?”



Consumers with food allergies, vegetarians, and
those with religious dietary restrictions have a right
to know



Consumers should be able to choose the type and
quality of food they consume, and the production
system they want to support with their food dollar



Consumer Choice


Opposition to Labeling


Labeling is unnecessary because biotech foods contain genetic
material from other natural products
-

nothing is added that
does not already exist in nature



Federal organic labeling standards exist. If you are opposed to
consuming genetically modified food ingredients, simply buy
organic!



Labeling does not change consumer behavior



Why must everyone pay for the cost of labeling that is
demanded by a few?

The Challenge of Consumer Choice:

Classroom Activities


Conduct a taste test comparing genetically
modified soybeans and conventionally bred
soybeans. Tabulate and graph the results.



Classroom debate: Resolved that Congress
should adopt legislation mandating the
labeling of all consumer products that
contain any trace amount of genetically
modified components.

The Challenge of Consumer Choice:

Classroom Activities


A student survey gauging consumer attitudes towards
genetically modified foods. See

www.pollingreport.com ,
www.nal.usda.gov/fnic, or www.nationalcenter.org for examples
of surveys


Students develop and administer their own survey (5
-
7 questions) to 5
persons each.


Students compile the answers and calculate percent distributions,
mean, median, and mode


Students compare their answers to those in national or international
surveys and discuss the ways in which who was asked questions and
how a question was asked may influence the answers


Some students illustrate the responses using two different types of
graphics


Other students prepare a written report on the results


Key Challenges of Agricultural Biotechnology


Can we capture the potential benefits of
agricultural biotechnology in a fair and equitable
way for today’s and future generations?


Can we balance the interests of human society
and the environment using biotechnology?


Can biotechnology contribute to sustainable
agricultural systems?


How should we frame the biotechnology issue?