Summary: The Ethics Of Biotechnology

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The world of biotechnology is often rife with ethical arguments over whether or not certain studies or products should be allowed or not. Lately, these debates have gotten more intense as a result of a new technology that is revolutionizing both research and industry in the biological sciences. The new technology in question has the cryptic name; CRISPR/Cas9, which acts like a microscopic pair of scissors that can cleave DNA sequences with unprecedented precision and speed when compared to any other technique that is currently available. It has the potential to impact nearly every application of genetic research in several species and make the development of biotechnology products easier, less expensive, and more widespread. However, those …show more content…
The presumption of restraint dictates "a default position of wariness that must be overcome by morally compelling reasons in order to justify a particular project 's moral legitimacy or permissibility" (Fiester, 2008). Since the modification of genomes in any living thing is a very powerful and profound act, it should not be done without a morally compelling reason. I also think that the utilization of cost-benefit analysis is useful for deciding whether or not a specific project is morally compelling or not. If the total benefits conferred by a project or product overcome the risks and hazards involved then, I think that they should be allowed to proceed. Some opponents to biotechnology advocate the precautionary principle which is a "moral mandate to take preemptive, preventative measures against possible harms even in the absence of certainty that such harms will occur" (Fiester, 2008). I would argue that the precautionary principle is far too narrow-minded and advocates that no project should be pursued unless it has been shown that there is no risk involved beyond a reasonable doubt. This view fails to consider and balance the potential benefits of biotechnological research with the risks involved. In many cases, I believe that there is great potential to benefit people, animals, and even the …show more content…
The first is the ability to knock out certain endogenous deleterious genes to improve a crop 's performance, yield, or shelf life. The second is the ability to insert genes from other species into a precise location in a plant 's genome (Paul and Qi, 2016). While genome editing in crop species has been done for over a decade, this new technology presents ethical concerns mainly due to how these technologies are regulated. Under current regulatory standards set by the FDA, USDA, and EPA, only cover plants that were genetically modified using plant-pests, like in agrobacterium mediated transformation. Plants that are modified using nuclease-mediated transformation which can be done by TALENs, ZFN, and CRISPR/Cas9 are not considered transgenic and are therefore not under any sort of regulatory oversight (Caplan et al.,

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