Social Implications

Bioethics: Ethical Implications of Genetic Engineering

To the previous article To the next article

Are we playing God with Nature?

"Genetic engineering does not leave room for mistakes. Results of flaws in this technology cannot be recalled and fixed, but become the negative heritage to countless future generations." -Ron Epstein-

Humans have always had a strong impact on the environment and have greatly altered many things that we still consider "natural." These alterations have included, among others: agriculture, breeding, chemical use, destruction of natural habitat, and the introduction of foreign species. With the advent of genetic engineering, humans are now altering the natural world, genetic composition itself, for our own benefits. Never before have we so deeply and permanently affected the environment. We have now taken alterations to a new level of change. Essentially, humans are treating all living organisms as a commodity to be sold, patented and altered. Biotechnology reduces the value of every organism to to bits of information that can be profited from. Moreover, the negative effects and unknown possibilities are disturbing. Genetic Engineering has created a great ethical controversy.

"For the first time in history, transnational biotechnology corporations are becoming the architects and "owners" of life (Campaign for Food Safety 1999)".

We have moved from exploring the natural world to altering its very core.

How can we justify these actions?
Are we taking unprecedented risks all in the name of profit and convenience?

Ethics for Developing Countries
Unethical Practices
Ethics for the Future

ConclusionsNext page in the subjectPrevious page in the subjectEutrophication and hypoxiaAgricultural biotechnologyJoin the discussionReferences and readingsBack to homepageConclusions