Biogenetic engineering facilitates scientists to create animals, micro-organisms, and plants by manipulating the genes in a manner that does not occur through a natural process. The genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have the ability to spread throughout nature and inter-breed with various natural organisms. This may lead to contamination of non- biogenetic engineered environments as well as future generations in an uncontrollable and unforeseeable way. The release of these genetically modified organisms may be referred to as genetic pollution. Genetic pollution is a major hazard since genetically modified organisms cannot be recalled in the event that they are released in the environment (Wright, 2009).
The impact of dismissal of biogenetic products, as well as the necessity for regulation that distinguishes products that are produced through conventional methods and the transgenic products, is immense. Polarization is apparent since several countries are apprehensive of the European Union rejecting their products and admitting products that may be regarded as harmful, while other countries acknowledging that there are significant gains in adopting biogenetic engineering. The research will prove whether contemporary biogenetic engineering will provide the impetus that the U.S government believes is important (Charles, 2010).
Proponents of biogenetic engineering and numerous agro-food policymakers worldwide anticipate a positive future whereby biogenetic engineering would prevail over food shortages, improve the environment, and provide cure for a myriad of diseases, leading to a healthy and prosperous globe. However, several policymakers, the general public as well as consumers fear that biogenetic engineering will aggravate food insecurity, jeopardize human health, threaten the environment, and eventually impoverish the larger parts of the globe. It is apparent therefore that there is an inconsistency between the proponents of the technology and the antagonists who perceive the technology as a scheme of some conglomerates to invade humanity.
Countries that are leading in biogenetic research include the U.S, Canada, U.K, Australia, Argentina, China, India, Cuba, Brazil as well as South Korea. However, there are several industrialized countries that are lacking in biogenetic research. These countries include Austria, Greece, Denmark, and Norway. In order to understand the reason as to why some countries have advanced further in biogenetic research than others, it would be critical to highlight the tensions and concerns that are prevalent in this regard. Some countries feel that technology would generate increased economic disparities between the industrialized and the developing countries. There are also the issues of reduced privacy in regard to genetic profiles and DNA testing, especially where there is an indication of disease predispositions. This is because of the sluggish pace of legislation in comparison to technology, which would mean that privacy issues would barely be tackled in a reactive instead of a proactive manner with inter-leaving breaches in protection (James, 2008).
Cultural concerns are also instrumental in the little or no progress in biogenetic research in some countries. Several cultures are of the opinion that their ways of life would be jeopardized by biogenetic engineering. This is founded on the theory that biogenetic engineering has the capacity to revolutionize human life as well as living organisms. It is essential to mention that biological diversity ought to be respected and protected as the global heritage of humanity, and one of the world’s primary keys to survival. Several governments are attempting to deal with the threat of biogenetics with international regulations, for instance, the Biosafety Protocol (Wright, 2009).
Part II. Biogenetics and Public Health
It is implied that biogenetics represented a blending between science and the popular enthusiasm for the search of self-mastery or perfectibility, in which the errors that may occur in nature may be corrected. It is evident that commercial interests in biogenetics surpass the ethical responsibility of the stakeholders to enlighten the public on the demerits of biogenetics, thereby denying the public the right to distinguish biogenetic engineered ingredients found in the food chain. Consequently, in this regard, the public loses their right to keep away from these substances, in spite of the existence of labeling laws in several countries (Fernandez, 2010).
One of the most widespread fears concerning biogenetics is the likelihood of plant-based genetically modified organisms (GMOs) blending with food supplies or the possibility of transgenic animals reproducing with the indigenous population. Biogenetics brings about the weighty ethical question of what humanity is all about. Public discussion on such questions is difficult, with a predisposition to polarization and hyperbole. Finding an accord on the subject of biogenetics usually means that no party is entirely contented, and even when a consensus is reached it is constantly tested in the perspective of new experience. Several issues arise over diverse medical issues, such as whether there are grounds for barring genetic testing. This is in regard to people’s right to information, and in practice, since numerous tests are currently accessible from private suppliers (Chang, 2009).
There is contention over genetic testing whereby the tests might reveal untreatable conditions such as Huntingdon’s. It is essential to mention that tests which reveal conditions that are treatable are much more extensively taken up, than those tests which reveal conditions whereby little or nothing can be done. An important concern is that a test ought to be accompanied by sufficient counseling and enlightenment in relation to the degree of likelihood of any malady occurring. The problem lies in the fact that the majority of people do not understand that numerous tests are merely indicative. It should be noted that there might be a considerable disparity in the manner in which such information is communicated. This primarily depends on whether the tests are carried out in a government regulated system like the National Health Service (NHS), or private suppliers. Some experts recommend the use of phenotypes in performing diagnostic tests since they were liable to give increasingly clear results. However, various testing for pharmacogenetic compatibility seems to be evidently desirable in deciding on the most suitable drug for particular patients (Chang, 2009).
Over the past several years, food and agricultural products produced by means of biogenetics have experienced a fierce attack, predominantly in Europe. In the U.K, especially, anti- biogenetics activists continue to wage major crusades to bring to an end the trade in bioengineered products. Anti- biogenetics activists around the globe demonstrate a wide variety of viewpoints with reference to biogenetics. There are several who view biogenetics as morally wrong, claiming that scientists have assumed the function of God, while others raise the specter of mysterious toxic substances or super weeds being set loose into the environment. There are others who are concerned with conglomerates that are involved with the production, patenting, as well as marketing transgenic organisms and seeds, with an intention of ultimately taking over global agriculture. In addition, the National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization, United Nations, as well as the American Medical Association have scrutinized the health and safety concerns of biogenetic products. The UN is on record as stating that biogenetic products create no more danger than the traditionally grown crops and there are no certifiable reports of them causing any noteworthy environmental health or damage (Fernandez, 2010).
Wide-comprehensive legislation, proposed for agricultural crops, is focused on fear and erroneous claims and pressurizes on banning the use and presence and of all biogenetic products. Such an extensive ban fundamentally puts major medical advances at jeopardy and is detrimental to the innovation of new treatments, therapies, as well as cures. It also threatens to invalidate progress made in the course of several decades. Prescription biogenetic products will impact significant bio-medical research, and might potentially affect the important role transgenic plants and animals play in regard to biomedical research, and hold back the discovery of much-looked-for therapeutic antibodies, vaccines, treatment, care, and cure.
Chang, T. (2009). Artificially Boosting Blood Supply. Industry & Chemistry, 35, 281-285.
Charles, B. (2010). Biogenetically Engineered Crops &Pesticide Use in the U.S. Biotech InfoNet, 6, (2), 2-6.
Fernandez, C. (2010). Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 56, (2), 52-68.
James, R. (2008). Global Position of Commercialized GM/Biotech Crops. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 20(2), 190.
Wright, H. (2009). Molecular Politics: The Development of British and American regulatory policy for Biogenetic Engineering. Chicago IL. University of Chicago Press.
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