Bio-Ethics By: Travis Redman 4/3/00 The issue of bio-ethics presents a myriad of new dilemmas; all of which have arisen in the recent past, and must be addressed in the near future. The majority of these questions stem from the introduction of new, genetically-engineered organisms. These organisms, or at least many of them, are created in laboratories, by gene splicing, swapping, etc. and essentially, these scientists are playing god, creating biological entities as they want them. This is the main source of the controversy. In more developed countries where genetically engineered disputes may ensue, the trend is total protection through patents and other regulatory and monitoring agencies.
These problems come about from identification of the new bio-engineered organisms, and this approach allows the industries and entrepreneurs to recover the enormous costs involved in the research and development of genetic engineering. It promotes the development of products to benefit society, and it allows access for a larger genetic bank for analyses, experimentation, and investigation. There is a second side to this coin-it means that the researchers can assert an excessive price to their 'product' while eliminating any competition for a given period of time. It allows for copies of living things to be made easily and inexpensively.
This happens outside the United States, where strict regulations are not in continuity with those pirating compact discs in Japan, bottling Coca Cola in India, etc. No countries spend any monetary amount comparable to the over 300 million dollars to run the patent and trademark office, as the U. S. does. Another observation can be made that because of the time involved and the cost that the free flow of information is inhibited between researchers. These arguments all take place under the umbrella that 'Life forces can be controlled by ownership.' Many countries take the view that these genetic products are not intellectual property, and as such, not subject to the conventional patent laws.
These properties should not be protected and belong to society as much as any organism which has naturally evolved through normal processes. GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariff) has attempted to address this issue through a larger commercial / trade package; however, this is a position in which very little agreement among parties is found. In this case, the outcome will most likely be the elimination of the issue in favor of reaching a trade agreement which has acceptability throughout the economic community. No matter which aspect of the bio-ethical issue is being analyzed, the controversy continues throughout the field. The numbers of these problems mounts exponentially as science evolves; however, it is not soon that we will see the resolution of but a very small percentage of these problems regardless of the constantly augmenting quantities of them.