what are problems with genetic engineering?
ok so im interested in what people think are problems with Genetic engineering and also what you think are
- and ethical
issues relating to the use of genetic engineering
- Anonymous1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Public reaction to the use of recombinant DNA in genetic engineering has been mixed. The production of medicines through the use of genetically altered organisms has generally been welcomed. However, critics of recombinant DNA fear that the pathogenic, or disease-producing, organisms used in some recombinant DNA experiments might develop extremely infectious forms that could cause worldwide epidemics. In an effort to prevent such an occurrence, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States has established regulations restricting the types of recombinant DNA experiments that can be performed using such pathogens. In Canada, recombinant DNA products are regulated by various government departments, including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Health Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Environment Canada.
Animal rights groups have argued that the production of transgenic animals is harmful to other animals. Genetically engineered fish raise problems if they interbreed with other fish that have not been genetically altered. Some experts fear that this process may change the characteristics of wild fish in unpredictable and possibly undesirable ways. A related concern is that engineered fish may compete with wild fish for food and replace wild fish in some areas.
The use of genetically engineered bovine somatotropin (BST) to increase the milk yield of dairy cows is particularly controversial. Some critics question the safety of BST for both the cows that are injected with it and the humans who drink the resulting milk. In the United States, a large percentage of dairy cows are treated with BST, but in Canada, BST cannot legally be sold. Scientists at Health Canada rejected the legalization of BST in 1999 based on evidence that BST causes health problems for cows. In particular, the Canadian scientists found that BST increases a cow’s likelihood of developing mastitis, or infection of the udder, and it also makes cows more susceptible to infertility and lameness. Nevertheless, the scientists consider the milk obtained from cows injected with BST to be safe for human consumption.
Transgenic plants also present controversial issues. Allergens can be transferred from one food crop to another through genetic engineering. In an attempt to increase the nutritional value of soybeans, a genetic engineering firm experimentally transferred into soybean plants a Brazil-nut gene that produces a nutritious protein. However, when a study found that the genetically engineered soybeans caused an allergic reaction in people sensitive to Brazil nuts, the project was canceled.
Environmentalists fear that the transgenic plants may interbreed with weeds, producing weeds with unwanted characteristics, such as resistance to herbicides. An example of such interbreeding has been demonstrated in experiments involving transgenic oilseed rape. Environmentalists also argue that, due to natural selection, insects quickly develop resistance to plants that have been engineered to incorporate biological pesticides.
Opponents of genetic engineering warn that the use of genetically modified food crops could result in unforeseen problems. They point to a 1999 study that found that genetically modified corn produced pollen that killed monarch butterfly caterpillars in the laboratory. Although the study results were preliminary, as a precaution the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established new regulations in January 2000 to reduce potential risks posed by the corn crop. Among the new rules, the EPA has asked farmers to plant unmodified corn crops around the edges of genetically engineered corn fields in order to create a buffer that may prevent toxic pollen from blowing into butterfly habitats.
Many European and developing nations have voiced concern about the health and environmental risks associated with imported genetically modified food crops from the United States and other countries. In early 2000, 130 nations devised the Protocol of Biosafety. Formally approved in June 2003, the treaty requires exporting nations to notify importers when products contain genetically modified organisms, including seeds, food crops, cattle, and fruit trees.
Some critics object to the patenting of genetically altered organisms because it makes the organisms the property of particular companies. For example, Costa Rica has enacted laws to prohibit the patenting of genes of native Costa Rican species by drug companies in other countries. To date, no laws are in place in the United States and Canada regulating the use of cloning technology, and some people fear the prospect of human cloning. If this technology remains unregulated, critics fear that it will provide the ability to create an “improved” human being with characteristics predetermined according to a scientist’s particular bias.
- Anonymous4 years ago
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- 1 decade ago
i think the main problem is that alterations in genetic code may have unintended consequences