Friday, December 17, 2010

Engineering Organisms

"The president’s bioethics commission has concluded that there is no need to temporarily halt research or to impose new regulations on the controversial new field known as synthetic biology. Synthetic biology uses genetic engineering and other techniques to create novel organisms tailored for particular tasks. The idea is that by synthesizing DNA and by combining standard genetic building blocks, engineers can efficiently design a biological machine much as they might design a bridge or a computer chip. (Synthetic Biology)"

There are three sides to this story. The scientists that are synthetically creating these organisms want all regulations to go away and they want to "let science rip," complaining that regulations are halting their experiments and lessening their findings. Then there are the environmentalists that argue that without regulations these organisms could get out of hand and out of the labs and disrupt our ecosystem. There was a movie that came out this year, "Splice," which dealt with synthetic biology. In the movie the organism became too much for its creators to handle and escaped into the wild; the environmentalists are playing off this fear and are using it as their argument as to why these experiments need regulated. Then the commission proposed a middle ground, which would include ongoing monitoring of the experiments and deciding the potential harm of the experiments as they are done, instead of regulating them along the way. I agree with the middle ground of the other two sides. I feel that these scientists should be able to experiment with what they want and not have to follow regulations that could cause them to miss a huge discovery. However, they do need to be monitored because this technology in the wrong hands would not be a good thing. Scientists have been experimenting with what they want and how they want for millions of years now, without regulations. Putting too many regulations on experimenting could cause today's scientists to miss a major breakthrough and i do not agree with that.

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