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MCAT Content / Recombinant Dna And Biotechnology / Safety And Ethics Of Dna Technology

Safety and ethics of DNA technology

Topic: Recombinant Dna And Biotechnology

Agencies and governments have been placed regulations in order to govern how biotechnology can be used in industry, medicine, and agriculture.

The purpose of these regulations is to assess risk, public education, and mandating policies to protect both scientists and the public. As an example, genetically modified crops have received widespread criticism of its potential health risks. The transgenic crops could produce unknown outcomes to the ecosystems. Consuming these genetically modified plants is also a concern since they may cause harm.

Gene therapy is also under scrutiny since administering a foreign gene into the human body can cause complications. Germ line therapy is also controversial since it implicates the use of eugenics. Genetic variation is vital for survival and gene therapy decreases the alleles in a population. Stem cells is also a controversial methodology since it involves terminating a blastocyst and harvesting the embryonic stem cells.

Key Points

• Government agencies use regulations in biotechnology to prevent risk associated with unintentional harmful implications

• Genetic modifications of food, gene therapy, germ line therapy, and embryonic stem cells are all regulated methods

Key Terms

eugenics: a deliberate effort to control the genetic makeup of human populations

gene therapy: an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease

genetically modified: organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered

germline therapy: the process of genetically modifying sperm or egg cells to create a new offspring

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