Controversies related to biotechnology arise mainly because it encompasses genetic information, which can be harmful to organisms in many ways. There are four main concerns that, as a society, we have when it comes to this constantly progressing field. Although biotechnology has many uses and benefits, there are also some controversies surrounding it, for example with regard to genetic engineering. Another concern that arises in agricultural biotechnology is the involuntary spread of transgenes to other organisms.
When a crop is cultivated in the field, its DNA, including the transgene, can theoretically spread to other organisms in several ways. Certain types of plant viruses can also transfer DNA from the host's chromosome to a wild relative. Bacteria absorb genes from the environment in a process known as transformation and transmit genes between different types of plants through conjugation. It is not yet known if any of these latter processes have occurred with the DNA of transgenic plants, and detection may be difficult.
However, it is probably not a question of if, but rather when, given the large areas dedicated to genetically modified plants. When he coined the term in 1919, farmer Karl Ereky described “biotechnology” as “all lines of work through which products are produced from raw materials with the help of living beings”. International efforts to prohibit the development of biological weapons following the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001, could put an end to this subversion of biotechnology. Along with enthusiasm, the rapid progress of research has also raised questions about the consequences of advances in biotechnology.
Modern biomedical research, many of the best-selling drugs, most of the clothes you wear and many of the foods you eat depend on rDNA biotechnology. Biotechnology is most likely to be harmful, either because of the unintended consequences of benevolent research or because of the intentional manipulation of biology to cause harm. In fact, the most controversial aspect of the overfed flu case was not that the experiments had been carried out, but that the researchers wanted to openly share the details. Ethical issues that arise from modern biotechnologies include the availability and use of privileged information, the potential for ecological harm, access to new drugs and treatments, and the idea of interfering with nature.
In the coming decades, scientists will use the tools of biotechnology to manipulate cells with increasing control, from the precise editing of DNA to the synthesis of entire genomes from their basic chemical components. However, as critics pointed out, the technology could make it possible to produce children without biological parents or to recreate the genome of another human being, such as making cellular replicas of Einstein. This is because regulatory agencies determine food safety based on its similarity to existing foods, their chemical composition and the effects on the digestive system of test animals, not on whether the plant variant emerged from traditional agriculture or transgenic technology. Some people are concerned that the use of biotechnology in the environment may result in the replacement of the natural world by an artificial one that deprives people of contact with nature in their natural state, according to the Encyclopedia.
Although the risks of biotechnology have been a concern for decades, the increasing pace of progress (from low-cost DNA sequencing to rapid gene synthesis and accurate genome editing) suggests that biotechnology is entering a new area of maturity in terms of both beneficial applications and the most worrying risks. .