Science is a creature that continues to advance at a much higher rate than ever before. World of information adds to humans` discovery and smoothens the path for more advances. But never in history science will be able to deeply affect our lives as science of Genetic Engineering does. With all the respects to this new advancement, Biotechnology forces humanity’s power over forces of nature and also carries the risks to human health, the environment, animal and biodiversity.
Therefore, this issue can be looked at various ways, which includes religious views on genetic engineering, cloning human’s genes, transmission of animal and plant genes, scientific and economical views, opponent groups and supporters` views. The first step to understand genetic engineering is to have a rough knowledge of its history and methods. Genetic was first been known when an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel developed the first discovery of human beings and other scientists studied the characteristics of organisms for next one hundred years.
The basic knowledge about genes is that “Genes are transmitted through chromosomes which reside in the nucleus of organism’s cells. Each chromosome is made up of fine stands of deoxyribonucleic acid DNA. ” (Clarke 10). And this technology of genetic transmission is called “Biotechnology”. But new signs of biotechnology approved when the advert of World War II brought the manufacture of penicillin. The successful use of penicillin made a thought to widen the choices to genetically modified food and crops.
Fairly speaking, the first reason for creating Genetic Modified foods was to help millions of starving people around the world by mass production of GM food with new characteristics, usage and tastes. Nevertheless, this helpful dream did not last long and human’s power changed the whole process of genetic engineering. One of the main needed considerations is to have a religious view on genetic engineering. In the current case in genetic engineering, life can easily created and ruled by one’s liking.
How can a human being break his limits and create and alter living things that only God has had the right to do so? Dont we know that trying to be on a same level as God has a punishment? In an example, builders of nuclear power and atom bomb indicate that God gave us knowledge to discover. If this is true, why they use this discovery for killing other human beings? And why did God give us the knowledge to destroy the world in few minutes? This world is created by God and based on natural basis, and creatures do not have the right to change that basis.
Therefore, they should not decide what sex a baby should have, how intelligent he has to be or how he should look. Genetic engineering is a human made way to change the structures of God’s creatures and to use it as a power over other humans. Biotechnology, commercialized technology of transmitted genes, is worrisome when its been said that this technology can offer cloning of human’s genes. Transferring one’s genes and submit it to another one’s body is the basic process of cloning. The process was first tasted on animals.
For instance, in West Vancouver, Bob Devlin and his team store the living products of their efforts at gene splicing. What they did was, borrowing the growth hormone gene naturally found in trout and then inserted it into fish embryos. The result is that the new fish grows faster and it is as much as thirty-seven times bigger than its normal size. This was a successful result in genetic engineering field but the reality was that “twenty percent of oversized fish have sprouted unexplainable bulous growths, signs of cartilage run awoke. Boyens 28). With the growth rate of biotechnology usage, some whispers have been heard about human cloning and its benefits in future of our children. Their try to clone a human and create an intelligent, beautiful and skinny creature is their long time dream and they advertise the cloning for parents in order to have children with these characteristics. But won’t it be weird for children to find themselves different from their parents? Who will be responsible of unlikeness of children from their own parents?
Who will tell the truth to these children that they have not been created naturally and from DNA transmission but from labratorarical cloning by biotechnology corporations and not by their parents. Without the doubt neither of fair parents will prefer alittle more intelligence of their kids to pure honesty with their beloved children. Another branch of genetic engineering is genetically modified crops that has raised many disagreements in International corporations but a great demand for grain in near future is a strong reason for GM corporations to win public acceptance.
In the recent statistics of Times magazine, “by the year 2020 the demand for grain, both for human consumption and for animal feed is projected to go up by nearly half, while the amount of arable land available to satisfy that demand will not grow much more slowly but also will probably dwindle. “(Time Magazine 40). It is indeed to note that %52 of people eat outside of dinning home and compared to European countries, North American people spend less on their food that makes that only one tenth of their income. (Boyens 4).
Therefore, because of the above reason and many more like: A company like Monsanto started to grow unexpectively fast and profitable to become manipulate of GM corporations. Even though, a huge company like Monsanto can be a big help to provide grain needs for country and also export around the world, but the recent close connection between Monsanto’s management with U. S federal MPs has made it hard for a fair production. Moreover, it has been a long time that Genetic Modified Food producers do not indicate GM good labeling.
Because truly speaking, they do not see any need to indicate it to the public. Interesting point is where Food and Drug Commissioner brought the reason as: “Genetic Modified Food is not a special thing to indicate in labeling. Except some allergic ingredients, all traditional and bioengineered foods have to have a same labeling requirements. “(FDA Consumer Magazine 5). But won’t it be necessary for some people to know what kind of food they are really buying?
As a matter of fact, “%75 of people like to be informed about GM contained food they are buying, while %60 of processed or manufactured food-cookie, ice cream contains Genetic Engineered soybeans. “(Boyens 5). In future, on the dairy shelves, milk is cowdrugged with growth hormone designed ensure huge milk yields. Genetic engineering has a large potential to help problems such as “developing crop varieties with resistance to pests and diseases. “(UNESCO Courier 29).
But the important point is that the impact of this technology on human health and the environment asks for a wide worldwide discussion. As a matter of fact, security of farmlands containing GM crops is concerned, too. If the monopolistic control over crop varieties lead to a situation where large areas are covered with few different crops, then if they get affected by a serious disease because of breakdown of resistance, who will pay for this big loss in the large farmlands?
While in the overall view, people are the ones who get most of the effects by biotechnology, but a complete major information is needed for people before they judge on the effect of biotechnology in their lives. Today and based on modern biotechnology, scientists insert a single or two genes into the crop and that makes a new crop with individual characteristics. Sometimes, testing new characteristics are fairly attractive and useful. For example, gardeners and farmers have crossbred plants to create a prettier flower or productive crops.
However, as the commissioner of Food & Drug Administration indicates, no matter how a new crop is created, these should be a proper conduction for testing quality of the new crops. (FDA Consumer Magazine 2). Also, some genetic modifications have been made to Canola & Soybean plants to produce different percentage of fat in the food. However, with all the respects to the new modern technology, a certain labeling is required for all the genetic modified food to inform people about the way of processing the food.
But in fact, as GM producers admit, they do not see any need to inform people about genetically modified ingredients in the labeling. Is this really a fair response to people’s need for information? Dont people deserve to know the kind and the way of processing the food they eat? How about religious people who strictly avoid GM foods? How will they going to be informed? This is another reason for proving humanity’s power over forces of nature in genetic engineering field.
Along with scientific views of Genetic Engineering, Economical views play a major part in Genetic Engineering field and better to say it the main reason why Biotechnology is discovered. Without a doubt, the important crisis of today’s world is still hunger and this issue has worried International Organization to provide a certain help for solving it. In fact, the basic reason of biotechnology and creating genetic modified food was because of mass production of GM food under control of producers. With this mass production, the same hectares of farmlands can raise double amount of crops in the field.
Therefore, the worrisome about world hunger could be ignored, if GM food was totally healthy to be exported to the poor countries. However, with recent manipulation of giant biotechnology corporations such as Monsanto, AgrEvo and Novartis, less amount of money is spent on researchers and GM labeling test and therefore there will be more profits for these companies. As a matter of fact, however with almost two decades of biotechnology foods in North America, still many poor countries do not have the economical budget for providing biotechnology tools.
Therefore, as time goes on rich countries get richer with more food amount of opportunities and poor countries stay behind the modern technology and hunger still hurt them for a long time that in fact nothing instead of planned process can help them to survive this issue. That is why many scientists disagree with the idea of mass production of crops with the new Biotechnology’s rapid growth. As John Fagn, American Molecular Biologist, states: “science is not the problem, lets go forward on the basis of science, not economics or politics. and also ” The gene therapy techniques are going to put us in the same place that nuclear power did-we got burned not realizing the potential for side-effects. ”
Because the sad thing is according to recent statistics “From review of field testing and commercialization of transgenic plants from 1986 to 1995,it was found that %91 of 2500 field processed of biotech crops occur in industrial countries and only %2 in developing countries of Asia and very few in Africa. “(Boyens 211). It has been well proved even to local scientists that today’s biotechnology is nothing more than forcing human power.
As a Bioethicist, Arthur Shafer blames new technology as “It is so easy to say its going to bandit these poor people. That is not why it is being introduced. It is being introduced to make money. ” The question is should this biotechnology business, continue to grow monilulately or it should find a fair role in the new International market? The new Biotechnology business and marketing manipulation instead of exporting new technology has raised many strong voices of Anti-Biotechnology around the world. While American Gene giant, Monsanto, tries to grow faster and faster, European countries resist from using GM foods.
The main reason that exporters explain is that in the culture of Europeans, food has a key role and Europeans do care fairly a lot about the food they eat. On the other hand, North American people spend great deal of their time in fast food restaurants with cheap quality and low prices. Also, the economical benefits of Genetic Modified foods in future have had an advantage over the safeness of Genetic Modified food. But in Europe it differs, thats why European Union environmental ministers banned any Genetic Modified food import for three years and until 2002.
Moreover, British Medical Association, Friends of earth, Green Peace, Women’s institute and other anti Genetic Modified campaigns has increased From 6 campaign to 50 campaigns and Japan, the leading importer of GM crops from U. S, has urged for labeling of GM food before banning them. In fact, with rising doubts about environmental and health effects of Genetic Engineering. More Anti-biotechnology campaigns raised their voices and hope to save the world’s food sources from any human manipulation or unwise control.
Along with Anti- Biotechnologists, there are quite a lot of businesses and corporations who welcome Genetic Engineering in its new experience. In fact, trying to understand the population of supporters of Genetic Engineering can help to discover more about the new technology. While supporters of Genetic Modified food are businesses and giant and well known corporations, on the other side, Anti-Biotechnoligists are ordinary people, environmentalists and biologists. The conclusion comes up that the main reason for supporting Biotechnology is its huge profit and its capability to grow.
However, indicating some supporters` views is useful to have a correct judgement about the true face of genetic engineering. Supporters complain that genetic engineering creates disease resistant, Generatis vaccines and altering living traits and they hope that in near future, bacterial and viral diseases will face resistant by Genetic Engineering while replaceable parts can be created by human (Clarke 47). Moreover, fast growing of population and reaching to six billion people, it is very necessary to find a proper solution for world’s hunger and starvation of millions of people.
But as mentioned here before, people do not show interest in genetic engineering products, because they know that feeding millions of people with GM food is not as important as the quality, safeness and healthy food that these millions are fed with. From the above facts, it can be concluded that because of the conflicts every new technology and specially Biotechnology can have and because of the proved effort of corporations to force humanity’s power over other creatures, a strong proper research should be done before any broaden action.
But due to the fact that the new human made technology can be very useful in solving today’s agricultural issues, trying to control the technology as best and modernized as possible, will provide great facilities in the future of human life. Because if not, then continued overrule of power by humans will bring many environmental and health issues for people and affects natural existences that can never be replaced again.