Hoza biotechnology safety lecture


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Hoza biotechnology safety lecture

  1. 1. Genetic modification of animals: applications and issues
  2. 2. • Safety/risk – What are the long/short-term effects? – Environmental impact • Distributive justice – Who benefits? • Animal welfare – Is the animal harmed? • Spurious/religious concerns – Are we “devaluing” life? Playing God? biotechnology
  3. 3. <ul><li>Scientific omnipotence </li></ul><ul><li>– “ Trust us” approach is no longer effective </li></ul><ul><li>– Scientists’ failure to communicate with the public </li></ul><ul><li>– Scientists’ ties to biotech companies </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Belief that some are just servants of big business </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can these scientists be trusted to make impartial decisions/statements? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>– Scientists’ assessments of risk </li></ul>Level of trust in scientists
  4. 4. Growth promotants
  5. 5. Ethical questions arising from use of growth promotants <ul><li>• Health risks to humans? </li></ul><ul><li>– Is milk from rBST-supplemented cows safe for human consumption? </li></ul><ul><li>– Is there increased risk for developing allergies from rBST milk? </li></ul><ul><li>– Should rBST milk be labeled? </li></ul><ul><li>• Animal welfare </li></ul><ul><li>– Are cows injected with rBST harmed? </li></ul><ul><li>• Reports of increased mastitis, decreased conception rates, inflammation from repeated injections, arthritis, lameness </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Transgenics and Cloning </li></ul>
  7. 7. Ethical issues in livestock cloning <ul><li>• Animal welfare </li></ul><ul><li>• Social benefits </li></ul><ul><li>• Impact of animal cloning on human cloning issues </li></ul><ul><li>• Market structure to protect individual choice </li></ul>
  8. 8. Welfare issues related to transgenics and cloning <ul><li>• Technology isn’t perfected yet </li></ul><ul><ul><li>– Very low success rate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– High mortality rates </li></ul></ul><ul><li>• What happens to animals born without transgene? </li></ul><ul><li>• Suffering of transgenic animals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>– Case of Beltsville pigs (human GH introduced) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>• High mortality, arthritis, gastric ulcers, degenerative joint disease, infection, lethargy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>• Cloned animals </li></ul><ul><li>– Shortened life spans, health problems </li></ul>
  9. 9. Risks associated with transgenics and cloning <ul><li>• Risks; product safety for humans and animals (e.g allergies, zoonoses,) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Consumption of animal products from cloned vs. transgenic animals <ul><li>• A report to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August distinguished between cloned and transgenic animals </li></ul><ul><li>– Cloned animals probably safe to raise and eat </li></ul><ul><li>• Labeling issues arise </li></ul><ul><li>– Transgenic ones may not be safe to consume </li></ul>
  11. 11. Ethical issues arising from the consumption of cloned animal products <ul><li>• Milk has enormous cultural symbolic value. </li></ul><ul><li>This is the first primordial food that people eat, and we don't like people messing with it,&quot; said Paul Wolpe, a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;There has not yet been a single cloned mammal that has yet been alive long enough to have lived out a natural life span for that animal. </li></ul><ul><li>We can't underestimate the unanswered questions about cloning.&quot; </li></ul>
  12. 12. Concerns about animal biotechnology applications <ul><li>• Environmental impact : GE organisms escaping/ reproducing </li></ul><ul><li>• Probability (small) of allergic responses to new proteins </li></ul><ul><li>• Animal welfare problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>– ⇑ birth weights, longer gestation periods, difficult births in clones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– Poor survival rate of fetuses using some techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– Anatomical, physiological, behavioral abnormalities </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Distributive justice <ul><li>• Distribution of risks and benefits </li></ul><ul><li>• Equal distribution of welfare </li></ul><ul><ul><li>– Not just how much good is done but how that good is distributed in society </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Distributive justice <ul><li>• rBST </li></ul><ul><ul><li>– Idea that small dairies would be even more disadvantaged than large commercial dairies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– Potential for biotech to contribute to demise of small farms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Loss of choices in products offered </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>• Biomedical applications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>– Who pays for research? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– Who benefits? Only the wealthy who can afford new technologies? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– Widening the gap between rich and poor </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Religious and Moral Concerns associated with Transgenics and Cloning <ul><li>• Devaluing of life </li></ul><ul><li>• “ Playing God” </li></ul><ul><li>• Implications for applicationof technologies to humans </li></ul><ul><li>• Unnatural” exchange of genetic material </li></ul>
  16. 16. Moral concerns ⇒ welfare issues <ul><li>• Time factor </li></ul><ul><li>– mistakes can occur more rapidly with GE than conventional methods of animal selection (e.g. selective breeding) </li></ul><ul><li>– loss of incremental steps ⇒ lose ability to evaluate results at each step </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. traditional breeding allows time for evaluation, correction, reversal </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Moral concerns ⇒ ecological issues <ul><li>• Ecosystem concerns </li></ul><ul><li>– Impact on genetic diversity </li></ul><ul><li>• what might be the impact of limited gene pools on livestock faced with new (deadly) pathogens? </li></ul><ul><li>– what might be the impact of GE animals on fragile ecosystems? </li></ul><ul><li>• habitat preservation issues for wild animals </li></ul><ul><li>– What if GE organisms escape and reproduce? </li></ul><ul><li>• Loss of genetic diversity, unbalanced ecosystems </li></ul>
  18. 18. Implications for human applications <ul><li>• Impact of genetic engineering of animals (especially cloning) on human cloning </li></ul><ul><li>• Slippery slope </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Biotechnology and law: </li></ul><ul><li>Are we prepared for societal and legal issues? </li></ul>
  20. 20. Who “owns” the technology?
  21. 21. Animal biotechnology and law <ul><li>• Decision-making processes are unclear with new technologies </li></ul><ul><li>• Legislation on animal biotechnology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>– Who advises politicians, especially regarding nature of risks? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Commissions, advisory boards comprised of practicing scientists, lawyers, sociologists concerned individuals, religious bodies….. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Animal biotechnology and law <ul><li>• “ Any food system practice that does not allow individuals who do not want to consume meat or milk from clones to act upon their values at a reasonable cost is ethically unacceptable and ought to be illegal.” (Thompson, 1997) </li></ul><ul><li>• Lack of controls to prevent GE animals from entering the food chain (e.g., cows that produce drugs in their milk) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>– One reported instance of meat from GE animals used in a food product </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Public education: ethics of implementing biotechnology without public understanding or consent
  24. 24. Responsibility to the public: education <ul><li>• Is it morally responsible to implement technologies that impact the public while excluding them from decision-making? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>– Need for public education to facilitate understanding & discussion of biotech </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– Need for informed consent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– Foisting of technology is wrong, not technology itself (Thompson, 1997) </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Conflicts of Interest
  26. 26. Conflicts of Interest (Hodges, 2000) <ul><li>• Biotechnology companies’ investments in research and development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>– Usually patent techniques and are eager to market them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– May create artificial “needs” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– May pressure governments to act in their best interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– Governments may pressure scientists to be definitive about risks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– Self serving--huge markets benefiting pharmaceuticals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>– “ Might doesn’t make right”; “Ends don’t justify means” </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Conflicts of Interest (Hodges, 2000) <ul><li>• “ Politicians do not like probabilities </li></ul><ul><li>• “ Scientists do not like ethics” </li></ul><ul><li>• “ Consumers and users do not like risk” </li></ul><ul><li>• “ Business does not like waiting” </li></ul><ul><li>Can these conflicts be resolved? </li></ul><ul><li>– How? </li></ul>
  28. 28. Need for scientists to integrate ethical analysis into the scientific process <ul><ul><li>• “Allowing a contentious technology such as human cloning to become feasible through technical means alone, without legal, social and ethical reviews, is inconsistent with democratic values” (Thompson, 1999) </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Discussion <ul><li>• Is animal biotechnology going too far too fast? </li></ul><ul><li>• Is it realistic to expect scientists to ponder implications of research rather than trying to initiate discoveries? </li></ul><ul><li>• Should we put constraints on scientists? </li></ul><ul><li>• Are scientists responsible for how their findings are used? </li></ul><ul><li>• What is your response to Thompson’s statement </li></ul><ul><li>(slide 28)? </li></ul>