Review State two advantages and two
disadvantages of GM foods
Infer Write three specific questions about the
ethical, social, or legal implications of genetic
engineering that did not appear in this chapter
Persuasion Biologist may one day be able to use
genetic engineering to alter a child’s inherited
traits. Write a persuasive paragraph expressing
your opinion on the following: Under what
circumstances, if any, should this ability be used?
15.4 Ethics and Impacts of Biotechnology
In the movie GATTACA, schooling, job prospects,
and legal rights are rigidly determined by an
analysis of the individual’s DNA on the day he or
she is born
Are we moving closer to this kind of society?
Profits and Privacy
Private biotechnology and pharmaceutical
companies do much of the research involving GM
plants and animals to develop profitable new
crops, drugs, tests, or other products.
Patenting Life
Molecules and DNA sequences can be patented
One fifth of the known genes in the human genome
are now patented commercially.
Laboratory techniques like PCR have also been
When you do that test you pay a fee for it
Patent disputes over golden rice kept it from
farmers for years.
How much privacy in terms of your DNA, are you
entitled to?
Do you have exclusive rights to your DNA?
Should you, like patent holders, be able to keep
your genetic information confidential?
To serve in the military you need to provide a DNA
sample to keep on file for identification
Who all can get access to that information and for
what purposes.
Pros of GM Foods
Produce higher yields
Need little insecticide or herbicide to grow
Lower cost
Lower land and energy use
No scientific support for safety concerns.
Cons of GM Foods
No long term studies
Harm beneficial insects
Overuse of insect and weed killing compounds
Price of GM seeds to high to allow small farmers
and farmers in less developed countries to use
No additional testing or label is required for GM
food in the U.S.
Ethics of the New Biology
The same GFP technology was used to create
fluorescent zebra fish
fluorescent mice, tadpoles, rabbits, and even cats
Just because we can make these, should we.
Should biologists try to engineer taller people or
change their eye color, hair texture, sex, blood
group, or appearance
What happens if/when we start making clones of
What will happen to the human species when we
gain the opportunity to design our bodies or those
of our children?
Survey Biotechnology Opinions
Select two issues for each of the following safety,
legal, ethical issues related to genetic engineering
Design a survey to ask people their opinions on
these issues.
Find 15 people to survey (only five can be in your
Collect surveys and tabulate the answers.
Copy down the following questions to answer after you
complete your survey
Analyze Data Did all respondents agree on any
issue- if so which one(s)
Draw Conclusions If you had surveyed more
people, do you think you would have found more
or less agreement in the responses- why
Evaluate How informed about biotechnology
were the people you surveyed? If you were a
politician or government official, how would you
act on the results of your survey