What are the negative impacts of biotechnology?

Although biotechnology has produced many benefits for humanity, its applications have also had some undesirable consequences, such as the decline in the biodiversity of species and the reduction of agrobiodiversity, environmental pollution and the exploitation of intellectual property rights and patents in. The positive impact of biotechnology on the world is well known. The arrival of biotechnology has benefited fields such as agriculture, livestock, the pharmaceutical industry and medical sciences. In agricultural biotechnology, genetic engineering has allowed the production of crops that can grow in non-ideal soils or in dry conditions.

These genetically modified or transgenic crops are of higher quality and higher yield, and have a long lifespan. In addition, they have been designed to be resistant to pests, allowing farms to use fewer pesticides. Biotechnology has also allowed the mass production of drugs that were not previously available, such as insulin, and has facilitated research in molecular biology using genetically modified organisms. Biotechnologically improved crops absorb many nutrients from the soil.

A high intake of nutrients can adversely affect soil fertility, so future crops may not be able to grow or be harvested. The use of biotechnological seeds can cause the loss of genetic diversity in crops. At the same time, biotechnological processes themselves provide humans with the powerful means and tools to combat the negative effects that could result from the application of these processes. In particular, they introduced the control of the release of genetically engineered organisms (hereinafter, GMOs) into the environment, as well as the monitoring of the impact on humans and the environment of GMOs and products obtained with the use of such organisms or containing them.

While some experts do not deny the enormous potential of agricultural biotechnology in food production, they warn that the benefits of biotechnology should not be overestimated and that its potential negative effects should not be overlooked when determining its role in global agricultural production. When analyzing the positive and negative aspects of transgenic technologies, we must not give in to emotions and draw unfounded conclusions, accusing biotechnology companies of “taking advantage of human pain” or of trying to destroy natural ecosystems and “turn the earth into a desert”. For better or worse, it is the task of humanity to address the problems that are associated with the use of this technology and that, to a large extent, are in the field of unwanted environmental impacts. The main objective of this study is to determine the best practices of social regulation of the negative consequences for the use of modern biotechnology based on a comparative review of European and Russian legal regulations on food safety.

This chapter presents the positive and negative impacts of biotechnology on the environment and also describes the application of biotechnological processes. This classification of risks can be used to develop measures that avoid the impact of potential threats resulting from the introduction of GMOs into agriculture.

Tammi Ludlum
Tammi Ludlum

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