Biotechnology and Public Opinion
Biotechnology And The Public Opinion
Biotechnology, described as “the manipulation of microorganisms to perform certain processes,” is developing very quickly, but public opinion and acceptance of it may not be evolving as fast.
Public attitudes towards biotechnology and biotechnological research are quite varied within the geographic scope. However, some common elements appear which are:
1. GM crops and GM food
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating or natural recombination. The technology is often called “modern biotechnology” or “gene technology,'' sometimes also “recombinant DNA technology” or“genetic engineering”. It allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another, also between non-related species. Foods produced from or using GM organisms are often referred to as GM foods.
Genetically modified foods (or crops) also called bioengineered foods (or crops) are foods (or crops) produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering techniques allow for the introduction of new traits as well as greater control over traits when compared to previous methods, such as selective breeding and mutation breeding.
One of the objectives for developing plants based on Genetic Modified Organisms was to improve crop protection. The GM crops currently on the market are mainly aimed at an increased level of crop protection through the introduction of resistance against plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased tolerance towards herbicides where by herbicide tolerance is achieved through the introduction of a gene from a bacterium conveying resistance to some herbicides with the aid of biotechnology.
2. Biomass Energy and Biofuel
Biomass is a plant or animal material used for energy production (electricity or heat), or in various industrial processes as raw material for a range of products. However, the energy stored in biomass can be released to produce renewable electricity or heat. A biofuel is a fuel that is produced through contemporary processes from biomass, rather than a fuel produced by the very slow geological processes involved in the formation of fossil fuels, such as oil.
Biomass is defined as living or recently dead organisms and any byproducts of those organisms, plants or animals. The term is generally understood to exclude coal, oil, and other fossilized remnants of organisms, as well as soils. In this strict sense, biomass encompasses all living things. In the context of biomass energy, however, the term refers to those crops, residues, and other biological materials that can be used as a substitute for fossil fuels in the production of energy and other products.
A number of transportation fuels can be produced from biomass, helping to alleviate demand for petroleum products and improve the greenhouse gas emissions profile of the transportation sector. Example; ethanol from corn and sugarcane, and biodiesel from soy, rapeseed, and oil palm.
Bioprospecting can be defined as the systematic search for and development of new sources of genes, micro-organisms, macro-organisms, and other valuable products from nature. It entails the search for economically valuable genetic and biochemical resources from nature. These resources are useful in many fields, including pharmaceuticals, agriculture, bioremediation, and nanotechnology, among others.
Bioprospecting is about looking for these special plants, fungi, animals, bacteria and plenty of other organisms that may contain chemical compounds that could be of benefit for us. The search is also on for important genes that can be used to our benefit. More recently, bioprospecting has also included research conducted into indigenous knowledge about the use of biological resources
In brief, bioprospecting means looking for ways to commercialize biodiversity.
Modern genetic technology has been used to modify the genomes of living organisms. This process is also known as genetic engineering.
Genes of one species can be modified, or genes can be transplanted from one species to another. Genetic engineering is made possible by recombinant DNA technology aiding biotechnology. Organisms that have altered genomes are known as Transgenic.
Transgenic is the genetic material that has been transferred naturally, or by any of a number of genetic engineering techniques from one organism to another. The introduction of a transgene (called "transgenesis") has the potential to change the phenotype of an organism. A transgenic animal is one whose genome has been altered using biotech which involves the transfer of a gene or genes from another species or breed.