Genetic engineering - Wikipedia
In this lesson, you're going to learn about the ethics of genetic engineering. We will review two hotly debated examples, GMO crops and 'designer'. Genetically Modified Foods/ Ethics of Genetic Engineering Genetic engineering can be used for good causes and also can be misused. . It is also argued that people eating meat harm the life of sentient beings (See the chapter on Animal. Most of the ethical discussions related to genome editing center around Bioethicists and researchers generally believe that human genome in some cases, germline editing can address needs not met by PGD. Statement on Genome Editing Technologies and Human Germline Genetic Modification.
This is driven by what the aim is for the resultant organism and is built on earlier research. Genetic screens can be carried out to determine potential genes and further tests then used to identify the best candidates.
The development of microarraystranscriptomics and genome sequencing has made it much easier to find suitable genes. Molecular cloning The next step is to isolate the candidate gene. The cell containing the gene is opened and the DNA is purified. If the chosen gene or the donor organism's genome has been well studied it may already be accessible from a genetic library. If the DNA sequence is known, but no copies of the gene are available, it can also be artificially synthesised.
The plasmid is replicated when the bacteria divide, ensuring unlimited copies of the gene are available. These include a promoter and terminator region, which initiate and end transcription. A selectable marker gene is added, which in most cases confers antibiotic resistanceso researchers can easily determine which cells have been successfully transformed. The gene can also be modified at this stage for better expression or effectiveness. These manipulations are carried out using recombinant DNA techniques, such as restriction digestsligations and molecular cloning.
Gene delivery A gene gun uses biolistics to insert DNA into plant tissue There are a number of techniques available for inserting the gene into the host genome. Some bacteria can naturally take up foreign DNA. This ability can be induced in other bacteria via stress e.
DNA is generally inserted into animal cells using microinjectionwhere it can be injected through the cell's nuclear envelope directly into the nucleusor through the use of viral vectors.
Due to the damage caused to the cells and DNA the transformation efficiency of biolistics and electroporation is lower than agrobacterial transformation and microinjection.
In plants this is accomplished through the use of tissue c ulture. Selectable markers are used to easily differentiate transformed from untransformed cells.
These markers are usually present in the transgenic organism, although a number of strategies have been developed that can remove the selectable marker from the mature transgenic plant. The presence of the gene does not guarantee it will be expressed at appropriate levels in the target tissue so methods that look for and measure the gene products RNA and protein are also used. The technique of gene targeting uses homologous recombination to make desired changes to a specific endogenous gene.
This tends to occur at a relatively low frequency in plants and animals and generally requires the use of selectable markers. The frequency of gene targeting can be greatly enhanced through genome editing. There are four families of engineered nucleases: Bacteriathe first organisms to be genetically modified, can have plasmid DNA inserted containing new genes that code for medicines or enzymes that process food and other substrates.
The genetically modified animals include animals with genes knocked outincreased susceptibility to diseasehormones for extra growth and the ability to express proteins in their milk.
One of the earliest uses of genetic engineering was to mass-produce human insulin in bacteria. FDA as a treatment for the cancer acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Genetically engineered viruses are being developed that can still confer immunity, but lack the infectious sequences. Genetically modified mice are the most common genetically engineered animal model. Also genetically modified pigs have been bred with the aim of increasing the success of pig to human organ transplantation.
Clinical research using somatic gene therapy has been conducted with several diseases, including X-linked SCID chronic lymphocytic leukemia CLL  and Parkinson's disease.
He said that twin girls, Lulu and Nana, had been born a few weeks earlier. The work was widely condemned as unethical, dangerous, and premature. By determining that it is ethical to edit the natural world in such ways, we open up the potential for these modifications to occur.
It can also be said that there are ways to achieve these changes without altering the genome of an organism. Silk like cotton thread can be dyed to be glow-in-the-dark once it is spun from the white thread a silkworm naturally produces.
As for Alba, an image of an albino rabbit could have been photo-shopped to make it appear to be glowing in the dark. Theoretically, having goats that produce more fiber means we would require fewer goats to sustain the current demand for cashmere. However, the fast fashion market has already started exploiting the potential of genetically modified cashmere to produce affordable cashmere clothing.
Not only does this raise questions over the ethics of fast fashion and factories which will be discussed later on in the discussion on stakeholders but it also contributes to the existing environmental impacts the garment industry has on the environment.
When determining the ethicality of producing genetically modified cashmere, the ethical theory of consequentialism can be applied. Consequentialism states that the morality of an action is to be judged solely by its consequences. With the introduction of genetically modified fibers, the potential for the garment industry to pollute the environment is high. Yet there also is the potential to lessen the impact of the garment industry on our environment. In an ideal world, producing cashmere from genetically modified goats would be positive for the environment.
Take, for instance, a herder who produces twenty pounds of wool with his forty non-genetically modified cashmere goats. If he were to switch to herding the Shanbei breed, he would only need to herd thirty goats to produce a little over twenty pounds of wool. On a larger scale, the one hundred million goats estimated to be herded in Mongolia and Inner Mongolia producing approximately fifty million pounds, could be reduced to 74, goats—twenty-five million fewer goats.
However, the idea of having fewer goats that produce more wool is unrealistic. Because the market is dependent on securing dominance over competitors, if a herder were able to afford to, he would herd more goats. This leads us back to the same issue we started with—cashmere goats damaging root systems and contributing to the desertification.
Additionally, the increase in yields leads to an increase in production of clothing that contains these fibers; in turn, more clothing waste. The textile and garment industry is the second largest polluter of clean water in the world after the agricultural industry and the second most polluting industry after the oil industry.
Environmentalists, conscious shoppers and the garment industry itself have seen the grave impacts the industry has on the environment. The production of clothing and fibers use many of our freshwater resources and contaminate water with bleaches, solvents, acids, alkalis, dyes, inks, resins, softeners and fluorocarbons. Most of these emissions are caused by the production of synthetic fibers but production of natural fibers also contributes to pollution.
Fast fashion has created a system where consumers purchase items every season and often dispose of them. Though consumers feel as if they have been conscious by donating clothes, only about ten percent of donated clothes end up being repurposed; the other ninety percent end up in landfills.
These landfills often sit in the same third world countries where clothing is produced, leading to impacts on the health of people who live there.
In this series of video reports, the Plant Money team made gray t-shirts for their team with the graphic of a squirrel, while following the process and speaking to the people involved in it.
Farmers and Garment Factory Workers With regard to the cotton farmers and the factory workers who produce our garments, the value of safety must be addressed. As mentioned earlier, consumers are extremely concerned about their safety when consuming genetically modified foods because there is little to no information on the long term impacts their consumption has on the human body.
Similarly, consumers have become aware of the impact the to purchase fast fashion has on the safety of the factory workers who produce these garments.
The safety of farmers who produce the cotton and the communities they live in also needs to be taken into account. Consider purchasing a tee shirt. As the supply begins to go down as others purchase the same tee shirt, an order is placed for more tee shirts.
This means that farmers and farm workers must go into fields where they are breathing in chemicals to pick the fiber manually or using a machine. Once the fabric is made using heavy machinery, garment factory workers, often teenage girls and young women, work long hours for little pay in factories that are often over-crowded and in buildings that are old and in need of repair.
We must ask ourselves whether a fifteen dollar tee shirt is worth the impacts on the safety of farmers and garment industry workers. Vandana Shiva, a scholar, environmental activist and anti-globalization author from India, has remarked upon the negative impacts caused by the creation and selling of Bt cotton. The safety of Indian garment workers has been compromised due to the debt accumulated by purchasing Bt cotton seeds.
The debt, in turn, has led many farmers to commit suicide. Over the past 16 years, according to Shiva, there have beenrecorded farmer suicides in India. Poor farmers, mainly in the Punjab region where most Indian cotton is grown, have been deceived into believing that by planting these seeds, their yields will increase.
Yet pests have become resistant to the Bt cotton seeds, so their yields have not increase but rather stayed the same. To prevent decreases, farmers must spray more pesticides, which add to their accumulation of debt. In the United States, there is little evidence that cotton farmers have committed suicide like their Indian counterparts. However, what unites the experience of these farmers who seem worlds away is the impact growing genetically modified cotton has on the environment.
The use of pesticides and water has been linked cancer, birth defects, mental illness and other health problems. Additionally, the water run-off from farms contains pesticides with harsh chemicals that contaminate local water sources. As farmers produce more fiber to meet the demands of garment manufacturers, farmers are forced to compete in the market and have their safety compromised.
Beginning in the s, clothing retailers in the United States began to stray away from domestic manufacturing and started outsourcing production to other countries. Today, approximately ninety-seven percent of our clothing is manufactured in countries with low-cost economies, meaning wages are low and do not tend to increase over time.
India, China, Bangladesh and Colombia have become the top producers of clothing. As for the safety of garment factory workers, three of the four deadliest tragedies in the garment industry occurred in the same year in Bangladesh: One would think sales would go down in the industry as consumers became aware of these events.
Instead, fast fashion sales reached an all-time high. In the case of Rana Plaza, survivors recount that workers pointed out the cracks and other structural problems in the building. The manager ignored these concerns and told them to continue working and later, the building collapsed. As we continue to produce more fibers, more clothing will be produces thus a greater disregard for safety of workers. As a society and as consumers, we must as whether or not we will stand to allow more tragedies to occur.
[Bioethics in genetic engineering].
Some would easily state that the alternative to these unsafe conditions is for consumers to stop supporting the fast fashion industry and for factory sweatshops to be closed. However, there is another perspective on this matter. In the case of farming GM cotton and producing garments in sweatshops versus farming organic cotton and ethically producing clothing, we are stuck choosing between two equally bad options. Just like we are choosing between two options that put the safety of cotton farmers and workers in jeopardy, so are farmers and garment factory workers.
Outsourcing has helped the economies of many countries. Their economy is the seventh largest in the world after the economies of the United States and China. Much of this growth is credited to their vast exports of clothing and shoes. In Bangladesh which still has a poverty rate of just fewer than twenty percent has seen a decrease by about twenty percent since Though they are not working in the safest conditions, the seemingly unsafe factories are safer than working in other jobs that are available.
[Bioethics in genetic engineering].
It can also be argued that factories have presented great opportunities for women to be in the workforce seeing that the workers are predominantly women. This has caused several to believe that the impacts of sweatshops, low wages and unsafe conditions are justified because of they are better than the alternatives. But can exploitation ever be justified?
Additionally, though clothing is primarily used for clothing, the price to produce many food items containing cottonseed or vegetable oil as well as medical supplies bandages and even paper money in the United States would increase. Consumers The factors that motivate consumers to indulge in fast fashion are often at odds with ethical considerations For consumers who have the means to and are willing to pay, for example, the infamous Diane von Furstenberg DVF wrap dress is worth every dime.
Interpretation or copying of design concepts of fashion houses such as DVF and Chanel is quite common, and makes once out-of-reach styles accessible to the masses. Moreover, instead of the typical four seasons, consumers are able to purchase items from collections coming out almost every week. Popular Youtubers, style bloggers, and fashion columnists share clothing hauls from these stores. After a given season, consumers of fast fashion dispose of their clothing, donating or filling landfills with unwanted items.
One reason it is difficult to persuade consumers to change their habits, even when they are aware of the social and environmental consequences of fast fashion, is the emotional payoff of shopping. Psychologists believe that the tendency to purchase vast quantities of cheap clothing makes consumers feel happy. Though they are putting themselves deeper into debt by purchasing more and more, having the ability to buy inexpensive clothing makes these consumers feel better for a short time. What they do not take into account is the impact of their actions.
Each cheap garment purchased was produced by a farmer who is often in debt to Monsanto and a garment factory worker who makes only a few cents an hour. As new fibers such as genetically engineered cashmere and silk enter the market, consumers will have access to even more clothing; this clothing will continue to come at a cost to those who produce it and those who produce the fibers.
Consumers inevitably drive the industry. There are a few examples of consumers taking responsibility for the impact of their consumption on other stakeholders. While this is a step in the right direction, the company continues to produce garments in factories that do not adequately pay workers. In the past few years, events such as the collapse of Rana Plaza have made consumers aware and concerned about the impacts of their consumption.
However, they fail to take responsibility. Often they blame the industry itself or the governments of the countries in which their garments are produced. The workers in garment factories are not employed by fast fashion brands nor do they work in factories owned by them. Therefore, consumers do not hold major retailers responsible, and brands do not take responsibility for these human rights violations.
As for the governments, they are forced to keep wages down to prevent brands from relocating production to other countries with low-cost economies; all of this is done to satisfy the consumer. Therefore, consumers must take responsibility for the impacts brought on to the other stakeholders by their consumption. There also are limits to the extent that consumers can take responsibility for their consumerism.
As mentioned before, consumers who purchase fast fashion items are often not well of financially. It is unrealistic to expect consumers to become ethical consumers. In an ideal world, consumers would be conscious when consuming and consider how their decisions impact others; this is to say all consumers would ideally be ethical shoppers. Realistically, this will never be attainable in the society in which we live. It is a given that some will have more than others and that wealth will never be fully distributed equally.
Until ethically sourced and produced clothing becomes more affordable, the fast fashion market will continue to exist. Extending past the shelves of the supermarket, the racks of clothing in stores also contain genetically engineered fibers as well as synthetic fibers. If you look inside the label of your clothing assuming there is a labeloften the percentage of materials can be found as well as were the item was produced.
On produce, assuming the consumer does not discard the sticker, information about where the product was grown can be found. The stark difference between fibers and produce is the fact that you are told where the produce is produced but not where the fiber is produced, rather the garment.
Especially in the twenty-first century, we have seen as shift to consumers who have very particular expectations. While the vast majority of consumers purchase items that fit their needs and are affordable, those who have the means to do so have driven markets to supply products that fit certain criteria.
It is inherent that we are drawn to labels seeing Labels whether used to categorize people places or things are seen as ways to differentiate.Are GMOs Good or Bad? Genetic Engineering & Our Food
Infollowing discussions taking place in high school biology classes to executive board meetings at Monsanto, Congress passed a bill regarding labelling of GM foods.
In the next few years, consumers will know whether the food they buy in grocery stores contains genetically engineered ingredients. The information will either be presented on the package itself or through a QR code. When thinking about clothing, no such legislation has been introduced. However, for cashmere and silk, would it not be nice to know as a consumer whether it is genetically modified fiber you are purchasing? The logical extent of making everyone responsible for knowing where their fibers and clothing are produced is something that can be measured.
Consumers who are interested or concerned will attempt to find out whether or not their garments were made by workers being paid significantly less than minimum wage. Instead of placing the burden of responsibility on the consumer, it should be placed upon the seller. The production of clothing makes it so that the producer cannot necessarily track where the seller is obtaining the materials. Instead, they work on an agreement to produce the clothing. With regard to the value of responsibility, it is the responsibility of the producer to make the consumer aware of what they are purchasing.
Based upon the precedent set by requiring all foods containing genetically modified ingredients or genetically modified themselves to be labelled as so, labeling should be present on clothing containing genetically modified fibers as well. Taking into account our values, our beliefs and our ability to see all of the factors involved in this complex situation is the only way to truly come to a decision.
I began by discussing the collapse on Rana Plaza and Fashion Revolution, an organization that looks to raise social awareness about the devastating effects of the fast fashion industry on the people who make our clothing. The first question that I sought to answer in this paper was, is it ethically permissible to use genetically engineered fibers in the production of clothing?