Week 6: Biotech and Animals

Biotechnology is defined by the United Nations as “Any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, or make or modify products or processes for specific us” What exactly does that mean[1]? This means that scientist are trying to alter natural organism in such a way that it will either make it an ideal tool for humans. Scientist today are working to genetically alter human DNA, they have already cloned animals, and they have created transgenic animals but at what extent?

Natural Selection is the process of species adapting to their environment and due to that adaptation the species is able to reproduce[2]. Animals need to adapt, they need to change their being in order to survive while the animals that do not adapt are left behind and die off. Survival of the Fittest is one of the biggest ideas of the natural world, “the idea that the species adapt and change by natural selectiuntitledon with the best suited mutations becoming dominant.[3]” However as biotechnology has become popular the idea of Survival of the fittest is being tampered with. Various animals are now extinct, such as the Atlantic Grey Whale, Madagascan hippopotamus, Red Gazelle, and tretretretre, however they died for a reason. These animals were not able to adapt to their environment, even if the problem was caused by humans, all animals should go through this struggle and fit into this idea. Biotechs are working hard to alter various animals for whatever reasons they may have.

The transformation and mutation of animals can be compared “to the worst cases of genocide”  and it express the “respect” humans have for their animals.[4]  Dolly the sheep was born in 1996 and was the first cloned mammal and was euthanized in 2003 because she had progressive lung disease[5]. While it is not specified that this was caused by cloning it could have actually been because of that. Cloned animals  tend to be weaker anokabead have rather short life spans than the original animals and many of the cloned animals tend to have a insufferable life full of illnesses such as arthritis, lung disease, blood conditions and more.  Moreover, transgenic animals are more commonly used for testing medical discoveries on them. The most common transgenic animals are mice; mice  are used  for many different things but the most cruel is that they were used to cure polio. These mice were altered so that they may be infected by the polio virus so that scientist could experiment on them, and as such mice developed paralysis and other characteristics of polio[6]. Mice were naturally immune to polio however, scientist decided that they would be inexpensive forms of experimentation and chose to make them suffer.

Biotechnology is giving human beings the right to use animals as mere experimental subjects when they themselves are living creatures. What gives us the right to genetically and physically alter their being? How far do we have to go in order to save ourselves from the natural process of surviving? The idea of natural selection does not only apply to animals but it also applies to human beings. We were meant to survive to the best of our abilities and the human race has lost various types of people to natural selection the Romans, Greeks, Kings, and Queens. However, as we may be an intellectual bunch there is no need to use less intelligent creates as test subjects when they merely belong in the food chain. I think that with the technological power we now have we could do so much better than using living creatures as our canvases.


Dafne Luna

[1] http://www.cbd.int/convention/convention.shtml


[3] http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/340400.html

[4] http://www.culture24.org.uk/science+%2526+nature/animals/art15679

[5] http://www.culture24.org.uk/science+%2526+nature/animals/art15679

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