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Biotechnology Essay

859 words - 3 pages

Biotechnology has made many advances in the last decade. Biotechnology has made it possible for the cheap and plentiful production of such disease-fighting agents as insulin and interferon; numerous people have been able to live longer and healthier lives. Its promise in improved agricultural production is exciting. And even without considering the practical consequences, we have the prospect of a New World of knowledge about life itself and the essential components of our own humanity, our own individuality, as revealed in our distinctive genetic codes. Is genetic engineering a safe form of biotechnology in our society? Many scientists believe so, as long as they don?t make a mess of what they?re doing. Others say its not because scientists might create a big mess and might cause an epidemic of a new and unknown disease. I believe that genetic engineering could be unsafe.Genetic engineering is used to take genes and segments of DNA from one species and put them into another species. Genetical Engineering provides a set of techniques to cut DNA either randomly or at a number of specific sites. Once isolated one can study the different segments of DNA of another cell or organism. Genetic engineering makes it possible to break through the species barrier and to shuffle information between completely unrelated species. Biotechnology encompasses ?all the studies and techniques that combine the ideas and needs of biology and medicine with engineering. ?In the public mind, however, biotechnology has mainly come to be associated with a range of controversial applications in the areas of genetic engineering, medicine, human genetics, and the forsenic use of DNA. (The Brave New World of Biotechnology, pg.485)??Genetic engineering is a test tube science and is prematurely applied in food production. A gene studied in a test tube can only tell what this gene does and how it behaves in that particular test tube. It cannot tell us what its role and behavior are in the organism it came from or what it might do if we place it into a completely different species. Genes from the color red placed into petunia flowers not only changed the color of the petals, but also decreased fertility and altered the growth of the roots and leaves. Salmon genetically engineered with a growth hormone gene not only grew too big too fast, but also turned green. These are unpredictable side effects, scientifically termed pleiotropic effects. We also knew very little about what a gene might trigger or interrupt depending on where it got inserted into the new host. ( There?s a big problem that occurs sometimes when the new gene is inserted, and that problem...

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