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FYS paper 2 - How Biotechnology is Regulated Today Chapter...

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How Biotechnology is Regulated Today Chapter 11 begins explaining that there are different approaches to regulating biotechnology. They range from self-regulation by industry with minimal government oversight to formal regulation by a statutory agency (Fukuyama 195). Both of these may be ways to restrict biotechnology advancement and differ quite a lot. Genetic engineering is an example during the text. A researcher at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York wanted to combine the genes from a monkey virus into a common bacterium, E.Coli, in order to better understand their function (Fukuyama 196). Because of this a dispute broke out fearing that this could lead to the creation of a new and highly dangerous microbe. The result of this was the Asilomar Conference which the leading researchers in the field met to devise controls over experiments in the burgeoning field of rDNA. A ban was put into place until the risk could be better appreciated, and a DNA Advisory Committee was established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It turned out that fears that rDNA would lead to the creation of dangerous “superbugs” proved unfounded. Fukuyama next discusses the current system for regulating agricultural biotechnology. The more the public understands the U.S. regulatory agricultural biotechnology, the more confidence people will have in the government’s ability to protect the food supply and the environment (Lambert). It was based on the Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology. This confronted the issue of whether new laws and institutions were necessary to oversee the emerging biotech industry. This group decided that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) did not represent dramatic new dangers and that the existing regulatory framework was sufficient for dealing with them (Fukuyama 196-197). Oversight was parceled out to three different agencies. These include The Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental
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Protection Agency, and the Department of Agriculture. The Food and Drug Administration
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