Biotechnology is the integration of engineering sciences and natural sciences in order to apply things like cells, organisms, and molecular analogues for the purpose of services and products.
Huge advancements have been made in recent years, bringing with it many risks and rewards. Here are just a few notable examples.
Risk: Unintended Consequences
There is a great philosophical quote that goes something along the lines of, “we considered whether we could, not whether we should.” Biotechnology offers major potential in healthcare and nature. But there are unintended consequences, too.
Exposure to disease, fire, and spreading said disease are some of the most common unintended risks of biotechnology. Accidents can happen but biotechnological accidents can have major consequences.
Reward: Improved Health
Perhaps the biggest benefit to biotechnology is what it can do for human health. It can start even before birth, with prenatal screening to home pregnancy tests. Antibiotics and immunizations all help to improve life expectancy.
We are just scratching the surface of what biotechnology can do for humankind, whether it be curing deadly diseases or even reversing aging.
The unfortunate part of life is that there are always those who are looking to take something that has beneficial traits and turn it into a weapon. It has happened all throughout human history and biotechnology offers the same risk.
We are already seeing evidence of things like botulism, anthrax, smallpox, yellow fever, and more being weaponized by those who would intend to do serious harm to a lot of people.
Reward: Food Sources
The planet we live on has finite resources. With only so much food to go around, global hunger has become one of the major issues of our time. But with biotechnology, engineered plants are being grown far more rapidly and in climates where they may not have previously grown.
It has the potential to drastically impact the hunger problem facing the globe. These are just a few of the potential benefits that could essentially change humankind for the better.