Technology

PROS AND CONS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY

Biotechnology aimed at introducing any alteration of genetic material (DNA or RNA) of an organism through mating or recombination. This genetic modification contributes to important societal value like contributes to important societal values like sustainability, biodiversity and health.

Examples of the application of biotechnology include micro-organisms engineered to produce hydrogen gas organic waste; plants engineered to make biodegradable polymers; molecular machines based on plant photosynthetic proteins to harness energy from the sun; bacteria engineered to break down environmental contaminants rapidly. The environmental applications of biotechnology are often overlooked and underfunded, yet the sustainability of our planet in the face of an increasing population is an issue of utmost importance

Biotechnology plays an important role in preventing diseases. Vaccines produced by recombinant DNA methods are generally safer than traditional vaccines because they contain isolated vital or bacteria proteins, as opposed to killed or weakened disease-causing agents.

Biotechnology applications are also layered with the question of the right of humans to interfere   with basic natural processes. Other questions include the right of consumers or patients to choose their own level of acceptance (for example, informed consent to gene therapy or labeling of genetically engineered foods) and the right of the poor to benefits from biotechnology application (for example, access to Rdna-derived HIV treatments). There seems to be no easy universal solutions to addressing risk, societal and ethical issues in governance of emerging to consider all of these in local, national and international decision-making.

The public is more likely to perceive risk as unacceptable if they lack information about, experience with, and control of technologies. Risk aversion factors have been formulated based on acceptability criteria, including whether technological risks are voluntary or involuntary, ordinary or catastrophic, natural or man-made, old or new, controlled or uncontrolled and delayed or immediate. In fact, quantitative risk is just one of the many factors that citizens consider when they choose what is acceptable to them.

We should neither ignore the potential health and environmental risk of biotechnology, nor dismiss its promise. However, the arguments for or against applications will be trusted only if the sources are. We need to fund independent studies of impacts. Too often there is polarized debate because information presented comes from groups entrenched in their positions. Neutral think-tanks, academe, and respected organization that do not have conflict of interests or large stakes in the outcomes and where biases can be balanced, seem like goods places for dialogue, policy analysis and safety research

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