• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Moral and Ethical Issues associated with DNA Technology

Extracts from this document...


The Moral and Ethical Issues associated with DNA Technology The topic of genetically modified crops has been one of popular debate in recent years, there are many different issues that people disagree over and the argument over whether or not they are commercially grown in Europe still continues. "Strong anti-GM technology sentiment in some parts of Europe has been influencing the food supply chains for 3-4 years. This has contributed to the development of distinct non-GM derived food and feed markets and effectively halted the EU wide approvals process for GMOs. On the 17th October 2002 new rules governing the safety approval of field trials and the growing of genetically modified (GM) crops came into force in the European Union (EU). Many people believe that this legislation is an important new step in facilitating the wider commercialisation of GM crops in Europe." www.bioportfolio.com/pgeconomics/gm_europe.htm The first step in genetically modifying a plant is to locate the specific gene that gives the desired trait. The next step is to isolate and extract the gene. The cells have to be broke open, this can be done using chemicals to dissolve the cell walls, with a blender or else mechanically. ...read more.


By growing new plants from these modified cells the first generation of the genetically modified plants are developed. A genuine concern for many people regarding GM crops is how they affect the environment. One of the major concerns is the unpredictable effects of cross-contamination. This is when pollen or seeds are carried from GM plots and could result in genetically modifying populations elsewhere. The GM crops could have a resistance to herbicides, when crossed the new plants could become 'superweeds' that we could not control. "There are already conventionally bred herbicide-tolerant varieties of oilseed rape, and the possibility therefore exists for transfer of these genes to produce herbicide-tolerant 'superweeds'." http://www.gmissues.org/introduction/issues.htm. A similar fear is that pest-resistant crops will lead to a new breed of "superpests" but these have yet to be found in the wild. 'English Nature' the government advisory body on wildlife, is concerned that such a change to the environment may have an impact on the surrounding wildlife. There are concerns that pest-resistant crops will remove food sources for animals, as many herbicides used along with GM crops wipe out everything except the wanted produce. ...read more.


Every year in Europe farmers produce so much food that it often has to be destroyed. To avoid this they are sometimes paid to keep empty fields and so produce much less. In this respect GM foods seem unnecessary in Europe. GM foods are not needed for a healthy diet. Although there is little proof that GM crops are unsafe, in the future they may contain a gene from a plant or animal that has never been a part of our diet. This could lead to unexpected health problems, as safety testing cannot be 100% effective. Genes can cross from the food we eat to the bacteria in our stomachs, and these might include antibiotic-resistant genes that have been routinely used as marker genes in GM technology. This could render antibiotics ineffective against human and animal diseases. The unknown risks surrounding GMOs have not yet been fully understood. If the EU decides to grant genetically modified crop licences in Europe they could be making huge environmental, social, economic and even health problems for future generations. There is little evidence that GM will offer us a more sustainable future. In fact, the main benefits are solely for the biotechnology companies, the multi-national corporations who have more and more power over our food chain. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Variation and Inheritance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Variation and Inheritance essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Evolution, what, and any evidence is there?

    4 star(s)

    Likewise, humans and apes have a lot of morphological similarities, so we would expect there would be similarities in their DNA. Of all the animals, chimps are most like humans, so we would expect that their DNA would be most like human DNA.? ?The final category of DNA evidence for

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Evaluating the risks and benefits of GM crops.

    4 star(s)

    but what isn't usually discussed by those people is that his research was found to be highly flawed and did not follow the correct guidelines, rendering its conclusions invalid.

  1. Food Policy at a Crossroads, A World of Plenty or a World of Famine ...

    The reduced or non-use of pesticides and herbicides diminishes the leaching of these chemicals into the soil and eliminates possible contamination of our water supplies and reduces our exposure to possible carcinogens and mutagens. The natural ecological balance is re-established and a biological vitality flourishes.

  2. What are GM foods? - Assessing the risks and benefits

    valuable forests to make room for more farms, while reducing the use of chemicals. This therefore slows down global warming and prevents greater pollution to the atmosphere. Future GM products that may be brought to market could include: - 1)

  1. Cloning Human Beings Is Not Ethical.

    The media has been softening us up for this possibility by turning the wild and bizarre into the familiar. Since the birth of Dolly, the sheep, cloned in 1997, the tone of discussion over the prospect of human cloning has dramatically changed.

  2. General Motors Social Responsibility Strategy.

    GM considers themselves to be a pioneer and leader company. Many of the activities that they have proceeded with are all firsts. Here are a few examples: - * GM was the first auto company to conduct atmospheric research, dating back to the 1950`s and share its findings with the

  1. The first available GM food was on themarket in 1994, it was a tomato ...

    They say that there is already experimental evidence that transgenic DNA from plants has been taken up by bacteria in the bottom of the human stomach, this can spread antibiotic resistant genes which can make infections hard to treat.

  2. There have been major technical developments in genetically modified plants. Identify and briefly comment ...

    ethical principles to decide what should be done given the capacities for genetic modification that have been developed. Some ethical considerations: Will new technology promote the general welfare by making improved food safety or reducing the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture?

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work