Genetic Engineering would be considered the same as biotechnology because both of them are alterations to the natural environment.
1.1 Biotechnology is the use of scientific procedures to influence specific processes in living organisms. Improving the products and processes of living organisms aimed to improve the quality of human life. (Grogan & Suter, 2017)
1.2 First example of the use of biotechnology is in Vaccines. A lot of work and research has gone into having vaccines being the possible solution to the outbreaks and spreading of diseases around the world, most specifically underdeveloped countries which in turn is very costly for these countries. Vaccines were initially developed to inactivate pathogens. Proteins have been created by recombinant DNA technology; Recombinant proteins have been manufactured to allow the targeting if immune response focused against few protective antigens. Due to this development, it will depend on the knowledge of the mechanisms of the infection of the targeting of immune response required it to work or fight. Because of this development, it is produced rapidly in large quantities. Disadvantage is that, “That these strategies of immunization consist of designing vaccines that elicit the appropriate kind of immune response to confer immunity mainly to intracellular pathogens and especially to those that establish chronic, often lifelong infections.” (www.ncbi.nlm.gov/PMC/articles).
Second example is farmers using cross pollination or cross breeding to improve species of plants and animals. These have several advantages, such as cross pollination, which is the transfer of pollen grains from another flower to the stigma of a flower of a different plant of the same species. This allows the adaptation of the changes in the environment. More specifically out breeding. Due to pollination between different plants, hybridization occurs, which ensures that a numbers and introduces the offspring to become more disease resistant. Therefore, variations help in sustainability and viability of species. “May allow a plant to live under a wider range of conditions or to grow faster because of greater tolerance.” (http://www.life.illinois.edu/help/digitalflowers/BreedingSystems/4.htm)
Disadvantages that may bring are that flowers have to totally depend on the external agencies for pollination. It may introduce unwanted characteristics. The chances of uniformity are high. “It can destroy well-adapted genotypes because the offspring (genotypes) from sexual reproduction are not guaranteed to be viable.” (http://www.life.illinois.edu/help/digitalflowers/BreedingSystems/4.htm)
1.3 “Biotechnology refers to improve products, modified plants and animals or cultivate microbial technology for special purpose by using living organism or the constitution of the organism.”(www.biostars.org). The intentional manipulation of genes, cells and living tissue in a predictable and controlled manner to generate changes in the genetic make-up of an organism or produce new tissue
This shows how biotechnology has influenced the use of recombinant DNA and vaccines to improve lives and lessen the expenses for the vaccines and how it can be more easily produced. Also modern biotechnology has made dramatic improvements in the technical properties of processes and products.
Use of living organisms to make new products or modify existing ones, is known as traditional biotechnology. This type of biotechnology has been used for centuries. Farmers have taken to account that breeding a specific plant for a desired result over several years and sometimes generations, to obtain desired traits such as disease resistance, better taste and higher yield.
1.3 Ethical Issues:
• One of issues that were raised about vaccines is research and testing. Before a vaccine is approved to be used it has to go through clinical trials. “When they test the effectiveness of new strategies, researchers debate over whether or not it is safe and ethical to give control participants these vaccines. Additionally, it is important to understand a vaccine’s safety and efficacy in various populations, but testing a vaccine in vulnerable populations, such as children, also raises ethical concerns. Researchers must balance the need to protect children’s safety with the need to adequately understand how a vaccine will perform and protect children when administered.” (philadelphia, 2018)
For Vaccines it has become difficult to assess the long-term impact of the use of biotechnology in vaccines, therefore leaving many of the public fearing for the long term safety of human and environment. In underdeveloped countries there are situations or cases where there is an outbreak of cholera or malaria. Before any actions can take place to control the outbreak, government as to look as to either give vaccines to those who are already infected or those not infected or those mostly likely to get infected( children and the elderly). Not being able to issue any suitable preventive option can be a difficult decision when the vaccine can potentially avert a serious, untreatable, or fatal infection.
• An ethical issue that was raised was that flowers have to totally depend on the external agencies for pollination. This increases the chance of it being extinct due to its unique characteristics.
2.1 Genetic engineering refers to the uses of technology that will directly manipulate on an organism’s genes, change the genetic make-up of cells and add one or more new traits that are not found in that organism. At the heart of all life is what we call DNA. It is responsible for the abundance of life on this Earth and the reason why we are the way we are. The genetic make-up of any organism is defined by DNA. (Conserve Energy Future)
Scientists use this method to enhance or improve and individual organisms characteristics.
2.2 Examples of Genetic Engineering:
” Internationally, the cultivation of genetically modified crops has grown from six countries in 1996 to 25 countries in 2009, and it is expected to reach 40 countries (mostly developing countries) by 2015. In 2009, approximately 134 million hectares of land were under genetically modified crop cultivation.” (Case studies in agriculutural biosecurity)
Farmers have bred several controlled crops, meaning they can control the reproduction. They are able to grow crops with the desirable traits for efficient farming. Advantage of this, is that modified crops yield faster, meaning it is more consistent and productive, leading to more people being fed. In addition, nutritional value would increase in these crops because it is easily altered, which means people could gain the same nutrition from lower levels of consumption. For example Golden Rice is being genetically modified to produce higher levels of vitamin A; this could lead to the reduction of vitamin A deficiencies.
Genetically modified products an also have a longer shelf life, which makes it easier to transport from long distances and limit the wasting of food being thrown away due to it expiring quickly or unexpectedly.
These crops have been designed to become pest resistant because crops were dying out and not yielding to its full growth for production. Now farmers are growing GMO crops are pest resistant because the constant use of not environmentally friendly pesticides are hazardous for crops and the soil as it could to is being unfertile. Yielding is therefore increasing.
Disadvantages of crops being genetically modified is that genetic diversity of the crops is decreased. In addition, allergic reactions are to increase due to a certain proteins added to a crop, which stimulates an immune response.
“Bees are hugely important in the pollination of many food crops, but are unfortunately extremely endangered by modern agricultural techniques, such as GM crops. Monarch butterflies are specifically at risk from GMO maize plants. In addition to bees and butterflies, birds are also at risk from pesticides, and work as biological control agents and pollinators, again, like bees.” (Glass, 2013)
Long term effects are unknown and scientists believe toxins are produced rapidly and it could rendered ineffective over time
2.3 Main Features of Genetic Engineering
This involves the transfer of genetic material from one organism to another, which is the point of GMO product.
2.4 Ethical issues that have risen are that crops are not having its natural characteristics nad nutritional value. Crops in the end will no longer be as healthy due to the rush of growing crops in an unnatural manner. “A key ethical concern about GM foods is their potential to trigger allergies or disease in humans. Given that a gene could be extracted from an allergenic organism and placed into another one that typically does not cause allergies, a person may unknowingly be exposed to an allergen. In turn, this could lead to an allergic reaction. There is also the fear that new allergies could occur from the mixing of genes from two organisms.” (Murnaghan, 2018)
3. Genetic engineering can be regarded as biotechnology because both are alterations to the natural environment. Both are changing the genetic pool of these organisms causing them to become better for human consumption. Biotechnology has a longer history than genetic engineering meaning its concepts are more acceptable than genetic engineering is. Biotechnology and Genetic engineering use recombinant DNA technology to create desirable characteristics all around us.
4. My view is that genetic engineering and biotechnology can be regarded the same because genetic engineering plays a role in DNA manipulation, whereas biotechnology, their natural processes are enhanced to have the beat product. They do raise similar ethical issues and are both processes done to improve are lives and make them easier.