Applications and ethics of genetic engineering and biotechnology. Biotechnology traces its roots as early as two thousand years ago. In this depiction, commonly referred to as traditional biotechnology, practices of bread baking, alcohol brewing, food crops breeding were evident. However, the recent advancements in molecular biology have provided a new meaning to biotechnology. This is called modern biotechnology and has provided opportunities and challenges to the public. Modern biotechnology can bear significant impacts on the society and the entire world economy. A distinct example of modern biotechnology is genetic engineering (Keener, Thomas and Rekha 2011).
Genetic engineering is defined as the process of transferring selected genes of interest between organisms. Additionally, it can refer to the modification of genes within organisms. It can be achieved by addition or deletion of a desired trait. It is through this technique that genetically modified crops or organisms, commonly referred to as transgenics are formed. It has been at the epicenter of public attention and concern to consumers with regards to ethical issues. The objective of this paper is to clearly elaborate the gains made by modern biotechnology in applications such as human gene therapy and genetically modified organisms. With equal measure, these paper discuses the ethical concerns surrounding biotechnological applications (Gifford, 2000).
Research advancements in genetic engineering and biotechnology achieved over the last twenty years have had worldwide impacts in a number of ways. Generally, a larger percentage of the public has warmly embraced the technology. Furthermore, the same group has termed it as being beneficial with minimal challenge. However, there is a growing comprehension that new technologies harbor risks, costs and benefits. For example, in 2000 the U.S government increased its funding towards development of biotechnology and genetic engineering.