Genetic modification has the potential to do amazing things for the standard of living of millions of people across the world, however many people are still against the notion of altering an organisms genetic code. Here are some ethical issues associated with genetic modification.
- The possibility of species extinction. If an organism escapes the controlled environment of a lab and is able to breed with other organisms we could see specific gene codes eradicated, hence possibly seeing the genetic extinction of a species.
- Health risks. Although no health risks have been identified as a result of the consumption of genetically modified food, the possibility can not be entirely ruled out. We digest millions of nitrogenous bases from different species every day, changing the code is just changing their order, so there shouldn't be any health risks associated with that.
- Environmental impact. As mentioned in the first point, there is the possibility of species extinction due to the release of genetically modified organisms. There is also the risk of a GM organism out competing rival species, and hence driving the to extinction.
- Harm caused to the subject. When working with animals and species with advanced nervous systems, there is the possibility that stress or discomfort is caused when modifying their genetic code. The new protein synthesised as a result of the modification to the organism's genetic code could cause adverse effects in the organism, leading to stress or even pain.
These are some of the main points of argument for people opposed to genetic modification. What are your opinions on this matter, do the positives outweigh the risks outlined above? Are there any other arguments against genetic modification that I failed to address?