Analysis: As Observation-Based Biology Evolves Into Actionable Biotechnology, It Enters The Realm Of Politics
Biology is an especially volatile source of sensitivities. The old biology was mainly observational, but the new biology, or biotechnology - including stem cells, embryo research, synthetic biology and reproductive technology - has unprecedented power to change basic life processes.
Such sensitivities are understandable. People rightly feel that high stakes are involved when science challenges our customary and largely workable moral framework.
[T]here is, of course, hyperbole associated with biotech. But even if only some of the predictions bear fruit, the new biology will challenge everything in its path, including our understanding of ourselves, our relationship with the world, our social arrangements and values and our political systems.
The new biology is thus becoming part of political life. Candidates for national political office need to have staked out positions on these issues.
While I disagreed vehemently with President Bush’s policies on embryonic stem cells at the time they were enacted, I have to wonder if some of the progress that has been made in creating stem cells from skin and blood would have been made if embryonic stem cells were plentiful…
(via Biotech is thrusting us into new political territory - opinion - 28 August 2012 - New Scientist)