Biotechnology advances have brought some progress in the society with controversies. Some are in support of the issues which are arising from the use of current biotechnology while other people strongly oppose to the applied technology (Qaim 126). The general changes cover human health, plants as well as animal production. Over the last few decades, various techniques and biotechnological tools have been used by the scientists to modify and improve plants, organisms as well as animals. In perspective to the controversies brought by the advances of biotechnology, it has significantly enhanced the condition of human health, living and livestock production leading to enough food supply but these as well come with some adverse effects.
Positive advances of biotechnology can be viewed in the field of genetic engineering based on decoding of DNA that has revolutionized ideas about life, and its functions. The biotechnological technique is currently used to clone farm animals and plants (Nicolia et al 79). It has been used to modify plants and animals to have their very own limited pests-resistant traits favoring production and protecting the environment from the harmful artificial pesticides used to control pests. Highly reliable, rapid and consistent have been created to add flavor, aid processing in the food processing industries and preserve the dairy products among others. Different diagnostic kits have also been invented for early detection of pest infestation for both plants and animals. Some human and animal diseases have also been prevented or cured successfully through the invention of vaccines which would otherwise be impossible without biotechnology. The Biotechnology is also used to solve crimes through forensic analysis, and also to probe patients’ chromosomes for symptom detections or in the prevention of disease such as cancers.
On the other hand, negative advances of biotechnology can also be observed in genetically modified crops and animal products which both come as a result of agricultural biotechnology. Hormones used in animals such as artificial recombinant bovine growth hormone are capable of causing health problems and infections in some animals such as cows. While at the same time there are inclusive controversies which view these products as a major cause of cancer and other possible negative health impacts which are brought by the consumption of genetically modified organisms or food products derived from organisms treated with artificial hormones. Crops which are genetically engineered may as well lead to contamination or erosion of natural plants with their genetically engineered pollen and genes, and further creating new virus strains or weeds, disrupting the natural pest control and leading to soil contamination with toxins that may be harmful to natural food web and food chains.
The aspect of monoculture and genetically engineering of plants and animals tend to limit the natural biodiversity. In cases where there are fewer varieties or species in an ecosystem, the population becomes more vulnerable to a monoculture pest that could lead to extinction or wiping out of important staple in the food supply. Therefore there is a need for proper regulation when applying the biological techniques to control the use and transfer of such organisms to protect people and the entire environment (Moshelion & Arie 337).
Moshelion, Menachem, and Arie Altman. “Current challenges and future perspectives of plant and agricultural biotechnology.” Trends in biotechnology 33.6 (2015): 337-342.
Nicolia, Alessandro, et al. “An overview of the last 10 years of genetically engineered crop safety research.” Critical reviews in biotechnology 34.1 (2014): 77-88.
Qaim, Matin. “Agricultural biotechnology in India: impacts and controversies.” Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development (2014): 126-137.