Ethics and Genetic Engineering

twoeggfinnishΒιοτεχνολογία

14 Δεκ 2012 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

193 εμφανίσεις

Issues and Ethics in
Biotechnology

Pest Resistance:
Bt

Corn

Herbicide Tolerance

“Roundup Ready”

Enhanced Nutrition

Golden rice

Issues of plant GMOs


GM crops may have adverse effects on
human consumers


Modified DNA from GM crops may
spread to non
-
modified crops with bad
consequences


Weeds and pests may adapt and mutate
to attack the GM crops, leading to more
vicious weeds and pests

Enhanced Nutrition

Golden
rice: rich in
Vitamin A!

GM Animals


Fast
-
growing salmon

Issues about transgenic animals


GM animals may
damage wild
populations


GM animals may
disrupt the
ecological balance


GM animals may
have adverse
effects on human
consumers

Ethical Arguments About
Biotechnology


Intrinsic
: Biotechnology is good/bad
in itself



Extrinsic
: Biotechnology is good/bad because
of:


its

consequences


the motivations behind:


advocacy of biotech
or


opposition to biotech

Intrinsic Arguments Against
Biotechnology


Premise: Genetic engineering is
unnatural.


Conclusion: Therefore, genetic
engineering is intrinsically wrong.


Is this a good argument?

Intrinsic Arguments Against
Biotechnology


Genetic engineering requires that we take a
reductionist view of life that sees only
genes
,
not
individuals
, as important.


“From the reductionist perspective, life is merely the
aggregate representation of the chemicals that give rise to it
and therefore they see no ethical problem whatsoever in
transferring…even a hundred genes from one species into
the heredity blueprint of another species.”


Jeremy Rifkin

Extrinsic Arguments About
Biotechnology


Biotechnology is good/bad because of its
consequences
.


Three ways to evaluate consequences:


Do no harm (avoid bad consequences).


Maximize good consequences and minimize bad ones
for all affected.


Justice: Fair distribution of good and bad consequences
among all affected.

Extrinsic Arguments About
Biotechnology


Biotechnology is good/bad because of
the motivations of its
proponents/opponents.

Extrinsic Arguments: Motivations


Friends of the Earth
: “Golden rice may never help
poor farmers, but it could give the beleaguered
European biotech industry a new grasp on life.”



Florence
Wambugu
: “These critics [of biotech], who
have never experienced hunger and death on the
scale we sadly witness in Africa, are content to keep
Africans dependent on food aid from industrialized
nations while mass starvation occurs.”

Extrinsic Arguments About
Biotechnology


Environmental consequences


Human health consequences


Who benefits?


Who decides?

The Precautionary Principle

“When an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or
human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if
some cause and effect relationships are not fully established
scientifically.”


Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle,
Jan. 1998


“Lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for
postponing cost
-
effective measures to prevent environmental
degradation.”


Rio Declaration 1992

Issues in DNA Sequencing


DNA sequencing


unmask the tendency
to acquire a genetic disease



Pros


The individual can make lifestyle changes
earlier to avoid disease


The individual can apply for genetic
treatment for such a disease


Earlier detection can possibly help in
psychological adjustments

Issues in DNA Sequencing


Cons


The genetic data can be used by others for
nefarious purposes


If not guarded properly, the genetic data
can become public


Insurance companies may use the genetic
data against the owner


Fear of the possibility of genetic
discrimination

Issues in Intellectual property


Who owns the right to the GMO?


Is the intellectual property ownership
fair?


Was the intellectual property claim
legitimate and proper?


Will commercialization of the
GMO/biotechnology lead to unfair
practices?

EXERCISE (10
pts
)

1.
Based on what we have learned today,
are you pro
-

or anti
-
GMO? Explain why
you are pro
-

or anti
-
GMO.