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Benefits and Risks of Biotechnology
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There are numerous discussions about the development and use of modern biotechnology, especially about the safety of genetically modified foods. Benefits for human health, as well as risks can be divided into four categories:

1. Benefits:
- Increased food safety
- Enhanced nutritional composition of foods
- Food with even more health benefits
- Reduction of certain chronic diseases related to diet

By the application of genetic engineering, organoleptic properties and expiration date of certain grains were able to improve. Delaying the rotting process of fruit and vegetables provides better quality, taste, color and texture. With the help of genetic engineering it is possible to create foods with greater amount of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Also, by increasing crop yields deforestation is prevented, and, the most important for the developing countries, economic development is accelerated.

For developing countries, particularly useful is growing beans resistant pathogens, virus-resistant papaya, cotton, and rice enriched with vitamin A. The production of certain vaccines for oral use is also important, which would be cheaper, easier to store and less stressful to use than the previous ones, and would be used for prevention of diarrhea, cholera and hepatitis B.

On the other hand, for many researchers, and the public production of so-called Frankenstein food is unacceptable tampering with nature.

2. Risks:

- Allergies
- Toxicity
- Nutrient imbalance
- Decrease of food diversity

There are concerns that the use of genetic engineering in the food industry can increase sensitivity to certain allergens. In fact, the transfer of allergenic properties of donor can be transferred to recipient. Foreign genes can disrupt the balance of nutrients. The question is how that changes will affect:

- Interaction of nutrients
- Interaction between nutrients and genes
- Bioavailability of nutrients
- Metabolism and
- "Strength" of nutrients.

By the production of genetically modified foods, different genes from different genetically modified organisms are transmitted in different ways. So far, this food is present in the market, because it is approved in many studies, so it is a little likely to endanger the life of man.

In order to determine the attitude to genetically modified products, we need to have in mind many facts, such as the rapid growth in world population, the available farmland, environment and the characteristics of genetically modified food and its impact on human health. At the same time it takes extensive knowledge and multidisciplinary approach to this issue in order to take advantage of this technology, and to avoid negative consequences.

Methods of resolving ethical issues of biotechnology:
1. We need to understand what might be called the nature of genes and their origins, evolution, and their role in the shaping of different organisms
2. Until we understand well the size and role of genetic exchange between different types of materials we should not experiment with transgenic organisms
3. We must bear in mind that the largest number of phenotype properties of humans by which people differ, result from the large number of genes and environmental factors
4. Information related to the genetics should exclusively be used to allow each person to make a personal decision about life style.
5. The creation of biological weapons should be completely banned
6. Genetic diversity of species on Earth is one of the main resources of our planet and it is of the greatest interest to preserve that diversity.

The development of biotechnology has enabled access to genetic information stored in chromosomes and opened the way for a new development. Products obtained by using biotechnology have the potential to positively affect the environment and to change human society. On the other hand, there is much still unknown and the possibility of misuse of scientific discoveries and unpredictable consequences of scientific research are reality. It is impossible to rule out the occurrence of bioterrorism. Therefore, the development of biotechnology brings up many unresolved issues, the questions of intellectual property and legal issues.

Many predict that, over the next decade, thanks to genome sequencing operations in the developed countries, scientific development will direct towards biotechnology, while the Internet and information technology are to be suppressed from today’s leading positions.

Making diagrams of the human genome is considered by many to be the greatest scientific achievement of the twentieth century. Reading of the genome will open new areas in the field of science and medicine, but will also lead to major changes in the sphere of industry, economy and other sciences as well as in the way of thinking about the world and nature. Directed manipulation with genetic material has become a reality, and studies have begun to direct to the developing of more sophisticated instruments and methods.

So we are left to hope and to make an effort for the benefits of biotechnology to overcome the disadvantages, and to contribute to the development of the mankind.

(Posted on behalf of Sasa)
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Messages In This Thread
Benefits and Risks of Biotechnology - by Charles - 12-18-2012, 02:11 PM
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