What is Biotechnology? Some may think that Biotechnology is the latest science to manipulate Mother Nature for our selfish purposes; because it does not take account of any outcomes that our future generation may encounter, such as side effects of taking in Genetically Modified Organisms. Other may think that Biotechnology is a salvation for us to solve many global problems, such as incurable diseases, the decreasing amount of fossil fuels, environmental pollution, the food scarcity and so on.
In my opinion, both perspectives have their clear points. Biotechnology really is the latest science that can suggest some solutions for the current issues that could affect our lives in many different ways. However, the formal perspective does not guarantee that there will be no negative outcomes for our future. As we can see with the case of GMOs, the existing studies are not giving evidence that is sufficient enough to assure the safety of Biotechnology. In spite of the lack of a guarantee of the safety, Biotechnology could be a brilliant solution to global problems, which has not been solved for a long time, by fair means or foul; it indeed includes the way to manipulate Mother Nature as the formal perspective asserts.
With considering both perspectives on Biotechnology, I will ask the same question one more time. What is Biotechnology? Biotechnology Industry Organization (date unknown) defines Biotechnology as the technology for using “the biological processes of microorganisms” to “Heal the World, Fuel the World [and] Feed the World.” And based on this definition, I will ask another question. Do we need it or not, even if we know that this is the way we could lose our original Mother Nature? I will explore this question based on the perspective of Agricultural Biotechnology.
Biotechnology: Is It Good or Bad?
The territory that Biotechnology has violated into recently is God’s territory that men of old times had not even considered invading before. There has been the conventional notion of science that determines the limitation we should not covet. The conventional notion is grounded solely on religion’s perspective. The representative example of bad effects of this conventional notion is a famous controversy between Galileo Galilei and the Roman Catholic Church. Scientists like Galileo were punished only by the fact that they have different perspectives from that of religion.
As time goes on, the era of religion had been faded. Things have been changed. Albert Einstein (date unknown) even said, “I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.” This arrogant and confident statement indicates that scientists will be no more hesitate to invade the limitation that the conventional notion defines. This tendency clears the track of testing infinite scientific exploration without external pressure. However, the thought that the conventional notion has always blocked the infinite possibility of science is flawed.
As a matter of fact, modifying genes, producing new spices, an animal testing and many other areas derived from Biotechnology cause people’s anxiety because these are giving a feeling that we are doing what we are not supposed to do. Those are foul means in a view of the convention notion that manipulate Mother Nature and that could bring serious consequences. It is not surprising that Dr. Thornbury (date unknown) throws a question, “With these new biotechnologies being developed [by foul means], who controls the power over them?” The answer is the conventional notion. It has suggested moral and ethics of science that could be standards and regulation to keep a balance between freedom and license. We should not overlook the importance of the role that the conventional notion plays because there are many pieces of evidence about the outcome of the license of Biotechnology: “unexpected interactions,” such as “Health risks from Antibiotic exposure” and “unpredictable effects,” such as “deterioration of the nutrition value of food.”
While we never forget foul means that Biotechnology use, we should remember positive outcomes of freedom of Biotechnology as well. In particular, Agricultural Biotechnology “reduce[s] their annual production costs by $1.4 billion, contributing to an increase in net profits of $2 billion” (Food Insight, 2013). Moreover, the increasing trend of food productivity rate—it “cover[s] a total of 220 million acres” (Food Insight, date unknown)—could become a key solution for the food scarcity in the world. “High reliable, consistent and rapid enzymes” made by Biotechnology also contribute to developing the safer “food processing”; it could be another solution for Hunger in the world. Biotechnology is literally a salvation to “Feed the World!”
Biotechnology: A Salvation That Comes From Foul Means
From all these consideration, there is no doubt on that Biotechnology is needed for our current and future agricultural fields. It helps us to grow our crops or livestock with low price and limited place. It helps us to prevent numerous foodborne illnesses that “cause 200 diseases.” It reduces “allergens and toxins” in foods. It is indeed a salvation for our food safety, food scarcity and our overall agricultural production of both the present and the future generation. If we do our best to remain our vigilance on the negative possibility of Biotechnology, Biotechnology would be devoted to its role as a salvation for us to solve many agricultural-related global problems.