New Book Examines Impact of Biotechnology on Society

Looks at implications of controlling one’s evolution




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A. Sue Weisler

Sean Sutton

A new book seeks to explore the impact of biotechnology on society and its incorporation in numerous fields including medicine, agriculture and drug development.

Biotechnology: Our Future as Human Beings and Citizens by Sean Sutton, assistant professor of political science at Rochester Institute of Technology, features leading scholars in the fields of science, engineering, theology, philosophy and political science discussing the impact controlling our own evolution has on public policy, disease treatment and even what it means to be human.

“Through new cures for disease, the cloning and improvement of plants for food production and literally the creation of life through in vitro fertilization, biotechnology has had significant positive impacts that have made people healthier and safer,” notes Sutton. “However, the implications of gene manipulation and biotechnological development, including who controls it and who benefits from it, are massive and impact nearly every theological, political and economic debate currently under way in society.”

The book, published by SUNY Press, includes sections on cloning, stem cell research, fertility treatments and genetically engineered foods and presents a wide variety of opinions on these issues from varying perspectives.

“Many citizens believe that changing human biology is morally wrong on principle, while others see biotechnology’s positive advances as limited with the negative impacts, many of which are still unknown, being greater in the long run,” Sutton says.

“But, many in the scientific community argue that if through biotechnology we have the ability to cure cancer and eliminate famine those benefits outweigh the risks. Through this book I hope to provide information on all of these perspectives to improve understanding of the issues and ultimately enhance policies related to biotechnology’s use in society.”

200909/sutton.jpg

A. Sue Weisler

Sean Sutton