New Challenges

Another objection to biotechnology is that it interferes with nature, but so do traditional agriculture and medicine. However, the changes that biotechnology can introduce are usually quite unlikely to occur naturally, such as a tobacco plant that glows thanks to a firefly protein, or cloning a human. We place limits on some biotechnologies, but not on others, based on our perceptions and on the intents of the interventions. The glowing tobacco plant was done as an experiment to see if a plant could express a gene from an animal, but many countries ban human cloning because it is seen as unnecessary, dangerous, and unethical. Still, time can change minds. When Louise Joy Brown, the first baby conceived using in vitro fertilization, was born in 1980, objection to "test tube baby" technology was loud. The procedure is now routine. In general, it seems that a biotechnology will eventually be considered ethical if evidence accumulates demonstrating that it does no harm.

A biotechnology that by its very definition causes harm is bioterrorism, especially when genetic manipulation is used to augment the killing power of a naturally occurring pathogen. Bioterrorism dates back to the Middle Ages, when Tartan warriors hurled plague-ridden corpses over city walls to kill the inhabitants. The British used a similar approach in the eighteenth century, when they intentionally gave Native Americans blankets that carried smallpox virus. Efforts in the former Soviet Union to create bio-weapons

Pregnancy Guide

Pregnancy Guide

A Beginner's Guide to Healthy Pregnancy. If you suspect, or know, that you are pregnant, we ho pe you have already visited your doctor. Presuming that you have confirmed your suspicions and that this is your first child, or that you wish to take better care of yourself d uring pregnancy than you did during your other pregnancies; you have come to the right place.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment