BIOETHICS IN ANIMAL GENETIC ENGINEERING
There are some serious issues related to genetic modification of animals using animal genetic engineering techniques. One is not sure of the consequences of these genetic modifications and the further interaction with the environment. Proper clinical trials are also necessary before one can use it for commercial purposes. In the recent past people have raised objections on some of the methods used e.g. the transfer of a human genes into food animals, use of organisms containing human genes as animal feed. Some religious groups have expressed their concern about the transfer of genes from animals whose flesh is forbidden for use as food into the animals that they normally eat. Transfer of animal genes into food plants that may be objectionable to the vegetarians.
Besides this, there are several other aspects of this issue have to be sorted out.
a) What will be the consequences, if a modified animal will breed with other domestic or wild animals thereby transferring the introduced genes to these populations?
b) What are the health risks to human on consumption of genetically modified animals and their products?
c) With the production of disease resistant animals, what will be the effect on ecology?
d) There is also wide spread concern about the risks of human recipients getting infected with animal viral diseases after a xenotransplantation., which might infect the population at large.
e) There are also concerns about the risk that drug resistance gene markers used in genetic engineering procedures might inadvertently be transferred and expressed.
The need of the hour is to formulate clear guidelines which should be followed while using genetic engineering techniques in bio-medical research. e.g. products from transgenic organisms should be clearly marked to give choice to people who follow dietary restrictions due to religious beliefs. In fact all the ethical and moral issues raised by some aspects of biotechnology should be addressed by open discussion and dialogue.