Essay on The FDA Should Prohibit Genetic Engineering

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Abstract:  Recent developments in genomic research have enabled humans to manipulate the genes of living organisms with genetic engineering.  Scientists have used this momentous technology in environmental and most recently, agricultural spheres.  However, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require that genetically altered foods be labeled as such.  As a result, there is no protection against humans' ability to construct organisms that nature never intended to exist and to threaten nature's carefully balanced environment.  Is it ethically responsible for the government to allow scientists to continue with these advances if they do not understand their consequences?

Consider the following: tomatoes are sensitive to frost, which shortens their growing seasons.  Fish, in contrast, survive in very cold water.  Scientists have found the specific gene that enables fish to resist cold in a flounder, and used genetic engineering to incorporate it into the DNA of a tomato [1].  By what moral authority do humans have the power to make this transformation?


In a life of technological advancement, we are faced with many ethical issues regarding the natural world.  Humans have become capable of scientifically manipulating genes to create organisms that nature never intended to exist.  Although scientists have the technology at their disposal, is it ethical to change living organisms to better satisfy our own needs?  Do scientists know enough about the process of genetic engineering to determine if it is safe and environmentally sound?  Many companies have made large profits on genetically altered materials.  Tomatoes are bigger and corn is golder.  Consumers are happier.  The United States Food and D...

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[5]  Sterling, John.  "Why Patagonia?  Why now?"  From the Early Spring 2001 Patagonia

Catalog.  Reno:  Patagonia, 2001.  23.




[7], cited from Washington Times, 1997.


[8], cited from Bergelson, 1998.


[9]  Henkel, John.  "Genetic Engineering:  Fast Forwarding to Future Foods.", 1998.


[10]  "FDA Falls Short in Refining Genetic Engineering Regulations."


[11]  Ballinger, Josey.  "The Flip Side of Genetically Modified Food.", 1999.

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