ethical legal and social issues of biotechnology pdf

Ethical Legal And Social Issues Of Biotechnology Pdf

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Read this article to learn about the benefits, positive and negative effects, ethics, legal and social implications of biotechnology. Advances in biotechnology, and their applications are most frequently associated with controversies. Strong opponents who oppose the new technology, as it will give rise to problems, issues and concerns humans have never faced before. They consider biotechnology as an unnatural manipulative technology. Strong proponents who consider that the biotechnology will provide untold benefits to society.

Biotechnology: Ethical Issues

Read this article to learn about the benefits, positive and negative effects, ethics, legal and social implications of biotechnology. Advances in biotechnology, and their applications are most frequently associated with controversies. Strong opponents who oppose the new technology, as it will give rise to problems, issues and concerns humans have never faced before. They consider biotechnology as an unnatural manipulative technology. Strong proponents who consider that the biotechnology will provide untold benefits to society.

They argue that for centuries the society has safely used the products and processes of biotechnology. A neutral group of people who have a balanced approach to biotechnology.

This group believes that research on biotechnology with regulatory systems , and extending its fruits to the society should be pursued with a cautious approach.

The risks and benefits of the developments of biotechnology may not be much different from that of any other branch of science. The fruits of biotechnology are beneficial to the fields of healthcare, agriculture, food production, manufacture of industrial enzymes and appropriate environmental management.

It is a fact that modern technology in various forms is woven tightly into the fabric of our lives. Our day-to-day life is inseparable from technology. Imagine life about centuries ago where there was no electricity, no running water, and sewage in the streets, unpredictable food supply and an expected life span of less than 40 years. Undoubtedly, technology has largely contributed to the present day world we live in. Many people consider biotechnology as a technology that will improve the quality of life in every country, besides maintaining living standards at a reasonably higher level.

The probable positive and negative effects of biotechnology, with special reference to developing countries are given in Table Why so much uproar and negativity to biotechnology?

This is mainly because the major part of the modern biotechnology deals with genetic manipulations. These unnatural genetic manipulations, as many people fear, may lead to unknown consequences. ELSI is the short form to represent the ethical, legal and social implications of biotechnology. The modern biotechnology deals with genetic manipulations of viruses, bacteria, plants, animals, fish and birds.

Introduction of foreign genes into various organisms raises concerns about the safety, ethics and unforeseen consequences. Some of the popular phrases used in the media while referring to experiments on recombinant DNA technology are listed:. The major apprehension of genetic engineering is that through recombinant DNA experiments unique microorganisms or viruses either inadvertently or sometimes deliberately for the purpose of war may be developed that would cause epidemics and environmental catastrophes.

Due to these fears, the regulatory guidelines for research dealing with DNA manipulation were very stringent in the earlier years. Thus, the fears of genetic manipulations may be unfounded to a large extent. Consequently, there has been some relaxation in the regulatory guidelines for recombinant DNA research. It is now widely accepted that biotechnology is certainly beneficial to humans. But it should not cause problems of safety to people and environment, and create unacceptable social, moral and ethical issues.

The public fears of biotechnology, besides some of the risks, social and ethical issues can be better understood with special reference to the following:. It is fortunate that there is no serious criticism about the use recombinant products for medical applications. This is mostly because the therapeutic products and strategies are designed to cure diseases, alleviate sufferings and improve the quality of life.

Further, the products are used under the medical supervision. In general, the recombinant products designed for human healthcare are more readily acceptable by the public. The overall objectives of genetic modifications with reference to foods are listed:. Each country has its own regulations for introducing foods into the market.

As regards the foods and food ingredients developed by genetic engineering, the FDA believes that no new regulations are needed. The existing regulations for the assessment foods for safety by toxicity, allergen city and impurity testing are adequate.

If the chemical composition of the existing food is altered by genetic modification, it should be specified, and the new product should be accordingly labeled. To highlight the public perception of genetically modified foods, some selected examples of food ingredients and their acceptance, or certain controversies related to their use, are briefly described. Chymosin is milk clotting proteolytic enzyme that hydrolyses the milk protein casein to produce curd, which in turn is processed into cheese.

Traditionally, chymosin is derived from the stomach of calves in the form of rennet. By genetic engineering techniques, the chymosin gene was cloned and expressed in E. This resulted in a large scale and cost- effective production of chymosin. The chemical composition, structure and biological activity of recombinant chymosin were identical to the chymosin of rennet.

FDA gave license to chymosin for its commercial use, and it is now widely used in cheese making. EMS is a rare disease with muscular pain and respiratory complications, and may be fatal. Investigations revealed that the victims of EMS were consuming large quantities of food supplement tryptophan obtained from one company.

This tryptophan was produced by genetically engineered microorganisms. Chemical analysis of the commercial preparations revealed the presence of certain metabolic derivative of tryptophan. It was concluded that the pharmaceutical company did not take adequate care for purification of tryptophan.

Consequently, recombinant tryptophan even without the impurities! Bovine somatotropin BST, also known as bovine growth hormone , when injected to dairy cattle, increases the milk production significantly. The effect of rBST was considered from two aspects — on the animals and consumers:. Administration of rBST can produce localized swelling at the site of injection. There may be some other adverse effects like increased susceptibility to infection, decreased reproductive capability.

The proponents of rBST argue that these problem could occur even in normal animals. There is evidence that IGF-I stimulate growth of cancer cells. This causes concern among the consumers of milk produced by using rBST. The counter argument is that rBST injection, after about days of lactation begins, is not associated with increased levels of IGF-I.

The opponents of rBST strongly feel that since milk is consumed by most people, any inherent risk, however small is unacceptable. Some countries in fact have banned the use of rBST. There are some people particularly among the scientists who believe that the hue and cry raised against rBST is more due to economic and political reasons.

It is feared that by rBST use, the dairy industry may be controlled by large industrial groups and the small dairy farms may become unprofitable. The rBST story is an interesting illustration of the problems surrounding the use of genetic engineering. Some of the ethical concerns of the use of recombinant foods are related to religious beliefs, besides food habits.

For instance:. Feeding of human gene — containing organisms to animals sounds in bad taste at present, the genetically modified yeast that produce recombinant proteins after their use, are fed to animals.

The religious groups, in general, are selective about the foods to be eaten. However, they are not so rigid when it comes to the use of medically- derived products. For instance — Jews and Muslims may accept pig-derived insulin for use in diabetic patients. This is due to the fact that all religious faiths consider human life is the most valuable, and its preservation the first priority.

Further, the general belief is that the human body is violated only by oral consumption and not by injection or surgical interventions.

Every day, we eat plants and animals and various products derived from them, besides a large number of bacteria. In other words, we regularly consume genetic material, the DNA, organized into genes in various organisms! So far no one has attempted to categorize genes as vegetarian and non-vegetarian, as we do for foods!! The production of transgenic plants and animals by genetic engineering techniques has now become routine.

These organisms will enter the food chain in the form of genetically modified foods GM foods. Some social and environmental groups are against the consumption of GM foods. These people insist that the GM foods should be specifically labeled. As regards the safety of GM foods, opinions range from one extreme that they are absolutely safe, and improve human nutrition to the other that they should not be consumed at all. Most of the people have opinions somewhere between these two extremes.

The release of genetically engineered organisms GEOs , also called as genetically manipulated organisms GMOs into the environment has been a controversial issue; and continues to be so. It is feared that the release of GEOs into the environment could have far-reaching consequences. This is due to the fact that the living GEOs proliferate, persist, disperse, and sometimes may transfer their DNA into other organisms. It is further feared that there exists a possibility of GEOs displacing the existing organisms, besides creating new species.

This may lead to severe environmental damage. For the reasons stated above, the regulatory authorizes are very careful in permitting the field trails of GEOs. Further, the release of GEOs into the environment has to be carefully monitored and recorded. A genetically modified strain of Pseudomonas syringae was the first GEO that was given permission for field trails in This organism is a genetically engineered ice-minus strain, when sprayed onto the leaves could prevent frost damage to the plants.

A number of open-field trails have been conducted with several GEOs during the past two decades or so. The studies concluded that the genetically modified microorganisms do not persist in environment for long, do not transfer the genes into other organism and do not exhibit any abnormal biological functions. Thus, the initial apprehensions on the use of GEOs appear to be unfounded. The transgenic plants developed for higher quality and quantity of foods, in general, are more liberally permitted to go to fields.

It is generally believed that the transgenic plants do not significantly differ from the natural cultivars traditional plants obtained by plant breeding experiments. The transgenic Bt-plants such as cotton, corn, soybean and potato were approved for cultivation in USA.

However, some countries did not allow Bt- plants in their fields e. Bt-rice was not allowed in Philippines, Bt-cotton in France.

Biotechnology: Society, Risks and Ethics

Convention on Biological Diversity describes biotechnology as "any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use" UNEP, There is a wide array of biotechnologies and its different techniques and applications have provided various goods at different times. Considering the definition under CBD, we can regard using biotechnology dating back when humans started using yeast for making bread or using lacto bacillus for yogurt or curd. We are dependent on biotechnology in our everyday life and it has become inevitable to not to use it. Biotechnology has come under sharp criticism and media focus for its potential negative impacts and contingent risks.


ELSI: Ethical, Legal and Social Implications economic and social issue that a massive development of GM crops could [email protected] accessed 25 May


3.15: Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues of Biotechnology

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Stem Cells

Many of the expressed concerns about food and agricultural biotechnology are described as "ethical. This White Paper provides a framework for understanding the force of these concerns and a summary overview of them, but it should not be interpreted as a substitute for actual public dialog on ethical concerns. Those who call for attention to ethical issues appeal to many diverse values. Their concerns can be classified into two broad categories. On the one hand, some see the very act of using genetic technology to raise ethical issues that would not apply to other applications of food and agricultural technology.

The pace of change was so great that it took society years to start asking questions about the ethics or morality of new developments. However, the advancements may come at too steep a price. On April 14, , the project reached completion, and the genetic engineering field grew quickly. Uncovering the human genome was a tremendous step forward for science, but the discovery created a series of new concerns. While the new personalized medications can eliminate side effects, the use of genetic information to create medicine contributes to the rising cost of drugs, and shifts attention away from designing affordable drugs available for mass production.

NCBI Bookshelf. Over the past decade, many ethical, legal, and social issues ELSI associated with genetic testing and research have been raised. For genetic testing to be used safely and appropriately, these issues should be discussed with patients so they are aware of risks and benefits. This chapter provides a brief overview of some of the major ELSI concerns related to genetic testing. Concerns have arisen regarding the use and potential misuse of genetic information. The unease relates to a range of misuse: from the analytical and clinical validity of a genetic test, to the possible stigma of carrying a genetic difference, to the duty of disclosing genetic information to potentially affected family members. To protect patients from additional distress, healthcare providers should be aware of the relevant ethical, legal, and social issues related to genetics in healthcare.

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