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There have been major technical developments in genetically modified plants. Identify and briefly comment on the ethical, social and/or environmental issues associated with the advances.

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There have been major technical developments in genetically modified plants. Identify and briefly comment on the ethical, social and/or environmental issues associated with the advances. Technology is about how society uses science. The study of technology developments belongs to the social science, and the social sciences insist on the adaptation of a critical attitude to technical developments. Forcing this on ones attention starts with the assertion that technical factors do not determine how the advances of science are used. Social factors shape both the design and implementation of technology developments. The new technologies usually called 'genetic engineering' or 'genetic modification' (GM) promise to revolutionise medicine and agriculture. An optimistic view is that GM plants will make a great, possibly indispensable, contribution to reducing mass hunger. Yet the development of GM crops has recently caused widespread unease around Europe. The unease comes in varying degrees of intensity. It is also based on a wide range of ethical beliefs. Humans have been modifying plants for thousands of years. Selective breeding and any other techniques have evolved into powerful tools for developing innumerable varieties of cultivated plants. ...read more.


A consumer who thought GM food unsafe would be unwise but not wicked to eat it. The consumption of GM food would be ethically problematic, but in an indirect fashion, if its production did harm, violated rights, or caused injustice. One major issue has been avoided in the evaluation of GM, namely the ethical status of the natural world itself. GM crops do not raise questions about the rights of plants. They do, however, provoke a reaction that is difficult to place within arguments about welfare, rights and justice. Entities that possess rights usually, although not always, possess the ability to waive their rights and to make choices about how they exercise them. Plants cannot pass that test. At another level, rights are often thought to protect the vital interests of creatures that cannot make choices for themselves: babies and unconscious people have rights even when they cannot make choices. It is a stretch of the imagination to think that plants have vital interests, as distinct from human beings having vital interests in what happens to plants. ...read more.


This would result in less food for birds and other animals further up the food chain. Secondly, a high level of illing would exert strong selection pressure on any resistant insects, so that the pest resistance might quickly become ineffective. This might force farmers to go back to spraying. Thirdly, in built pest resistance might affect non-target species, including susceptible beneficial insects that feed on pest species. The way that the costs and benefits of agricultural technologies fall on the citizens of well-off and poor societies respectively raises questions of justice, as well as difficult issues of how policy makers can steer technological change so that it does good to those who most need it. A considerable amount has been said and written already about both the potential benefits and risks to the environment of GM plants, but we are only beginning to accumulate the data that will enable us to evaluate precisely the pros and cons of these issues. If further research indicates that some particular applications of GM technology pose such risks to the environment that they should not go into commercial production, they should be withdrawn. BSc Computing CF102 Assignment 1 - Ethics Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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