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Biotechnology - Essay Example

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1. I disagree with the statement that agricultural biotechnology is promising and can solve the problem of world hunger. I argue that the risks associated with biotechnology far outweigh its purported benefits. Biotechnology in its simplest and most straightforward definition is the modification of the genetic make-up of natural organisms to serve human use, consumption and exploitation…
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Download file to see previous pages (Paine, et. al., 2005). Another example is the BT corn, which genetically modifies corn crops to protect it from predatory pests such as caterpillars. Much controversy has surrounded biotechnology and biotechnology crops from the start. There are many critics argue that it worsens the lot of farmers rather than improve it because it creates a pattern of corporate dependence. Taking the BT-corn example, after some time, pests would develop a tolerance to modified strain in the corn crop and farmers will have no choice but to purchase new pesticides from the corporations at prices that will exploit their lack of choices. Environmental advocates, on the other hand, warn of the hazards of biotechnology on biodiversity and other life-forms. For example, environmentalists assert that the corn that is keeping pests away is also killing the Monarch butterfly. According to Kloppenburg and Burrows (2001), “given the increasing commodification of science and technology and the reality of where purchasing power lies, it is naive to expect a new tool such as biotechnology ever to fall outside corporate control.” 2. a. ...
Because it is not possible to conduct research on human bodies, using animals in laboratory experiments is justified as a reliable way of ascertaining the risks to human health and to the environment. However, research involving animals must be done in a responsible manner so as to avoid any unnecessary cruelty upon the animals and to ensure that the laboratory experiments are done with the least possible damage to them or to other life systems. b. The dose-response curve refers to an x-y graph designed to measure the effects on a life-form or organisms as a result of exposure to stressors or chemicals, tested over a given period of time and in varying doses. The objective is to determine whether or not a certain chemical is beneficial, and the levels or doses that it is beneficial, as well as the doses at which it is already harmful. The dose-response curve is often used to aid in the crafting of environmental or health regulations. c. LD50 is the dose required to kill 50% of a sample population within a given time frame. It is also called the median lethal dose. A low LD50 is dangerous because it means that only small doses are required to exterminate half of the sample. Conversely a high LD50 is conventionally deemed to be safer. The problem however with this baseline is that it only measures death and not other toxic effects that do not necessary lead to death. 3. I agree that the precautionary principle is an important environmental principle, and one that should be prevail over market considerations and free trade invocations. Scholars like Adler oppose the precautionary principle, as his problem with it was that it was not responsive to the threats of biodiversity ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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