How Biotechnology Could Benefit Society

For your assigned biotechnology example, provide at least two ways the use of this biotechnology could benefit society, and two ways this biotechnology could be harmful.

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One of the best examples of historic biotechnology could be Mendel’s peas. At that time many pea types had been specially selected and breed to bring about the best type of pea for a specific environment. This is an early form of biotechnology and has lead to very specialized plants and animals. A bacterium was developed in the 1980s which was capable of breaking down crude oil (Biotechnology, 2008). By using this genetically engineered bacterium oil spills could be contained biologically rather than mechanically. 

One harmful example of biotechnology would be Weizmann’s discovery of being able to use corn starch to produce acetone, the main ingredient in explosives. The discovery of this process leads to many deaths during both world wars. Another historic use of biotechnology that has harmed society is lactic acid fermentation. This is the process that turns malted grain into alcohol. Although the harm of this process is arguably situational, this is the first example of humans using biotechnology to turn one food source into another.

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Biotechnology. (2008). Retrieved February 19, 2008, from the Wikipedia Web site:

Pruitt, N. L., & Underwood, L. S. (2006). Bioinquiry: Making connections in biology (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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