How Does Biotechnology Affect Individuals, Society, and the
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How Does Biotechnology Affect Individuals, Society, and the Environment? Grade 8 Science and Technology
What is Biotechnology? • Some Ideas?
• Some examples?
What is Biotechnology?
• In its most simple form, biotechnology is the use of living systems (organisms) by people to make products. • Biotechnology uses many different sciences, such as biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computers, and information technology to develop tools and products. • Biotechnology changes genes of organisms for specific purposes.
What are some common examples of biotechnology use? • Pollution-eating microbes (oil spills) • Laundry detergents and dish soaps • DNA finger-printing • Bio-pesticides for crops • Vaccines for illnesses and diseases • Genetically Modified Foods like cheese • These are just to name a few!
So... How Can or Does Biotechnology Affect us as Individuals?
What does it mean? Biotechnology affects our everyday lives! • It provides medicine, and can detect and treat diseases – Diabetes, sickle-cell anemia, antibiotics, etc.
• It has and continues to change what we are able to eat – Baking bread, making cheese, etc.
SAMPLE: Biotechnology of Corn • Scientists have successfully been able to change the genes of corn for more desirable traits • Biotech (Bt) corn may be insect protected (no need for pesticides), herbicideresistant, or both • Another type of corn is able to grow in times of drought (no or low rain seasons) • As well, corn has been engineered to contain more healthy ingredients
How does corn affect us as individuals? PROS
• Many products we rely on contain a corn base (high fructose corn syrup) such as fast food, batteries, candy, pop, cereal, etc. • Genetically modified corn adding nutrition and medicines both increase quality of, and help to prolong, human life – especially in third world countries
• High fructose corn syrup, made from corn, is linked to diabetes in kids and other health risks • For those who have or may develop an allergy for corn or corn products, will have a very short list of foods they can eat! • Some genetically modified corn have led to signs of organ damage in rats...
How can or does biotechnology affect our society?
What does it mean?
• • •
It changes the quality of life in our world!
Pros Industrial Biotechnology can help generate a new “greener” economy with countless new jobs. May solve world food shortage (agriculture and livestock) Helps with discovery of new medicines Solving crimes with DNA and forensic testing Cons There are safety and ethical debates – How far do we draw the line? – “Perfect” babies and cloning – Accidental immunity of pests, weeds, viruses, and bacteria – Engineering even more foods – Biological warfare
How does corn affect our society? • When compared to original unchanged corn, the amount of biotech corn being able to be produced is much higher. • This is important for farming economies, like Canada, which therefore is able to feed more people while also requiring less work and time overall.
How does biotechnology affect the environment?
What does that mean? Public Environment • We will have the ability to find ways to use our garbage to create new needed products. • Agricultural biotechnology will help us to use our lands more efficiently (no loss of crops and money)
Natural/Physical Environment • By 2030, the WWF estimates that biotechnology “has the potential to save the planet up to 2.5 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year.” • Biotechnology will aid in the removal of pollution from our soils, water, and air
Advantages of Biotechnology Are all of these biotechnology solutions safe? • As we move towards a greener society, biotechnology is the leading force to help us solve problems that we, as humans, were responsible for creating. • We are able to understand the world that we live in on a microscopic level.
Why or How is Corn Biotechnology Good? • http://www.youtube.com /watch?v=-lI9zrDGX1o “Corn production bills” from FOOD INC. • May solve declining oil issue and provide us with new energy form • Third world countries especially prone to insect infestation, nutrition deficits, and drought no longer have to worry
Disadvantages to Biotechnology Are we planting new problems that may haunt us in the future? • • • •
Unknown/unintended harm to environment Food Labelling and consumer choice Dependency Cost
Why or How is Corn Biotechnology Bad? • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3q5tjKUIxs&feature=related • Insects may become immune to pest-tolerant Bt corn and become more harmful (already seen in mosquitoes) as well as creating `superweeds`
References • Biotechnology Institute, 2005, “What is Biotechnology” • Monsanto Company, 2001, “Biotech Basics” • Gewin, Virginia. “Genetically Modified Corn – Environmental Benefits and Risks” October 13, 2008. Public Library of Science