Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are the organisms whose DNA has been modified in the laboratory through genetic engineering. The organisms are selectively bred for generations to obtain the organism with desired traits.
Most of the genetically modified organisms are used as ‘models’ in laboratory researches to study the function of specific genes. However, there are a lot of ethical issues related to genetically modified organisms. Let us have a look at a few of them.
Also Read: Transgenic Animals
Ethical Issues Related to Genetically Modified Organisms
Following are the major ethical issues related to genetically modified organisms:
- The genetically modified organisms introduced into the ecosystem could have unpredictable results.
- Claiming the patent rights is another problem that has cropped up for the genetically modified organisms which are created for meeting food and medicinal requirements.
- 27 varieties of Basmati are cultivated in India. This variety is known for its unique flavour and long grains. An American company cross-bred their semi-dwarf varieties with the Indian Basmati and claimed it to be a ‘new’ variety. The company even got the patent rights for the new variety without giving any compensation to the respective country or the farmers. This is known as biopiracy. This would severely affect the biodiversity of the concerned areas and harm the indigenous livelihoods.
- The developing and the underdeveloped parts of the world such as India, Africa, etc. have traditional knowledge of their bio-resources. On the contrary, the industrially developed nations have poor biodiversity. Hence, laws should be made by the developing nations to prevent the exploitation of their resources.
- An initiative was taken by the government in this aspect by setting up the GEAC (Genetic Engineering Approval Committee) under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. This body makes laws and rules for the creation, use, import and export and storage of genetically modified organisms.
Also Read: Bt-Crops