Transgenic Wheat and Ethics

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Information about Transgenic Wheat and Ethics
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Published on October 4, 2007

Author: Alfanso

Source: authorstream.com

Transgenic Wheat and Ethics:  Transgenic Wheat and Ethics Dennis R. Cooley History and Religious Studies North Dakota State University 22 March 2004 Wheat in North Dakota:  Wheat in North Dakota 2002 Rank Among States Percent of Nation's Production . . . #1 Spring Wheat 42% Durum Wheat 61% #2 All Wheat 13% http://www.nass.usda.gov/nd/rank03.htm VALUE OF CROP PRODUCTION 2001 2002 Wheat, All $812,938,000 $864,828,000 Durum $157,794,000 $202,313,000 Other Spring $647,496,000 $652,540,000 Winter $ 7,648,000 $ 9,975,000 http://www.nass.usda.gov/nd/febcrval.txt Wheat comprised over 29% of the value of ND’s crop production in 2002. How to Make Transgenic Wheat:  How to Make Transgenic Wheat Transformation “Transformation involves the introduction of genes into a plant from some outside foreign source, such as a fungal pathogen. The pathogen can carry the trait into the parent plant.” The use of known DNA markers. “The use of DNA markers allows a gene to be inserted into a plant using what is already known about the chromosomes of a plant through the mapping process. It also allows the "pyramiding" of one trait or another.” http://filebox.vt.edu/cals/cses/chagedor/wheat.html Transgenic Wheat: Background:  Transgenic Wheat: Background Difficulties: Wheat is a low-value crop compared to cotton, rice, and soybeans. It is an open question whether a costly genetic approach to wheat can be justified. The genome of wheat is 10 to 20 times larger than crops like cotton or rice. Improving wheat by biotechnology will be a far more complex and time-consuming challenge. http://filebox.vt.edu/cals/cses/chagedor/wheat.html Transgenic Wheat: Background continued:  Transgenic Wheat: Background continued New Features: Round-up Ready wheat. Wheat that might grow back faster following grazing. Wheat with more overall forage vigor. More leaf rust resistant wheat. (Anti-fungal gene from alfalfa and one from rice.) More drought tolerant wheat. (Bacterium that manufactures a sugar alcohol, mannitol. The alcohol is known to protect cellular membranes under drought stress.) http://filebox.vt.edu/cals/cses/chagedor/wheat.html Moral Principle:  Moral Principle A Pragmatic Theory An action is morally right if Reasonable Person Utilitarianism (RPU)- a reasonable person would reasonably believe that the action will have at least as much utility as any alternative action, Utility =df. The result of subtracting all of the evil produced by an action from all of the good produced by the action, AND Quasi-Categorical Imperative (QCI)-in doing the action, the agent does not treat anyone as a mere means. Behavior, intentions, motives, attitudes, feeling respect, and other mental states. Reasons For:  Reasons For Increases crop yields-feeds more people and increases profits. Allows producers more alternatives from which to choose. Reduces pesticide use-good for the environment and increases profits. Reduces time producers must spend in their fields; thereby, freeing them for other activities, such as jobs off of the farms. Sets the stage for Second Generation Technology, which will be even better. Allows U.S. and other developed countries to maintain control of the markets. Qualifications:  Qualifications Conflicting studies on crop yield increase. The increase in alternatives is not intrinsically good. Generally, the higher the quantity of a product, then the lower the price paid. The Developed World’s control of the market is not necessarily a good thing. Reasons Against:  Reasons Against Unnatural. Poses serious risks to humans, animals, or the environment. Uncertainties not found with current wheat crops. Technology Agreements violate ethical bounds. Loss of alternatives from which to choose. Loss of Markets. Cost of maintaining purity throughout production and distribution system. Legal Problems from loss of purity. Increased productivity leads to lower prices. Monopolies. Qualifications:  Qualifications Unnatural- No definition of word will prove transgenics are inherently/intrinsically bad. Studies performed to date have not shown risks. Also, if the standard is this for transgenics, then it should be the same for any new technology? It is not prudent to sign the Tech Agreements, but people have autonomy, which must be respected. The loss of alternatives is not inherently/intrinsically bad. Moral Reasons:  Moral Reasons FOR Reduces pesticide use-good for the environment and increases profits. Reduces time producers must spend in their fields; thereby, freeing them for other activities, such as jobs off of the farms. Sets the stage for Second Generation Technology, which probably will be better. AGAINST Loss of Markets. Cost of maintaining purity. Legal Problems from loss of purity. Increased productivity leads to lower prices. Monopolies. Evaluation Time:  Evaluation Time To introduce or not to introduce? The Pragmatic Theory RPU – A reasonable person would believe that the best thing to do is to wait, until it is clearer what the markets will accept and if it is practical to maintain purity. QCI – Waiting for the information required above respects people. FINI:  FINI

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