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Chapter 17 : Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society

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Abstract:

This chapter provides guidance on identifying and evaluating societal issues derived from biotechnology applications, a few tips on how to think about these issues, and an example of how these critical thinking skills can be applied to analyzing complicated issues that arise from biotechnology. It explains critical steps in objectively evaluating societal issues associated with an application of biotechnology. The risks of biotechnology laboratory research, small-scale field testing, and large-scale commercial use and manufacturing differ from each other both qualitatively and quantitatively. Nuclear transfer from embryonic cells is a relatively recent development that bears a resemblance to both embryo splitting and adult cell cloning. The chapter focuses only on the health risks associated with reproductive cloning via nuclear transfer from adult cells. The societal issues raised by advances in biotechnology are often not unique to biotechnology but are the same issues raised by other technologies. However, other issues result solely from the new powers of biotechnology. In charting a course for thoughtful biotechnology development, societies should avoid blaming biotechnology for mistakes of earlier technologies that may or may not apply to biotechnology. Critical analysis of biotechnology applications requires clarity, specificity, and emotional detachment.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17

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Figures

Image of Figure 17.1
Figure 17.1

Technology life cycle. In 1981, Arthur D. Little, Inc., developed a simplified model of the economic impacts of a technology during its life span. During the emerging stage, product and process research and development expenditures are high, as is uncertainty about the technology's eventual success. Product commercialization initiates the growth phase. As the technology-based product or process is adopted by various industrial sectors, product sales increase and process improvements reduce the costs of producing the technology. In the mature phase, the technology is well accepted, sales are stable, and cost reductions from process improvements have reached a plateau. In the final stage of a technology's life span, growth and acceptance of newer technologies (dotted line) displace the older technology.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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Image of Figure 17.2
Figure 17.2

Factors that affect technology development.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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Image of Figure 17.3
Figure 17.3

Technology development. Basic scientific research leads to discoveries that give rise to ideas about possible technological solutions to problems. For technical and economic reasons, only a few of those ideas become realized as possible products or processes. Of those feasible products and processes, only some receive government regulatory approval. Additional attrition occurs during the scale-up phase because a sufficient amount of product at a saleable price cannot be produced.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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Image of Figure 17.4
Figure 17.4

Politics and research funding. In 1999, the amounts of federal funding earmarked for AIDS research and cancer research in the United States were essentially equal—$1.6 billion. Funding priorities do not reflect the relative impacts of these diseases on mortality statistics. Lung cancer is distinguished from other cancers because, like AIDS, its primary causes are known and the probability of getting the disease can be significantly reduced by altering behaviors. (Sources, National Institutes of Health [NIH] 1999 annual reports and federal budget requests [for funding] and National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [for mortality statistics]) For reference, the 2002 global statistics on causes of death are also provided. Noncommunicable infectious diseases, such as pneumonia, are caused by microbes but are not directly transmitted from one person to another. (Source, World Health Organization, 2003.)

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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Image of Figure 17.5
Figure 17.5

Dolly and her surrogate mother. (Photograph courtesy of Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.)

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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Image of Figure 17.6
Figure 17.6

Cloning. Cloning is the creation of genetically identical copies. The word clone can refer to DNA molecules, cells, or organisms. Identical twins are clones of each other, as are plants that are propagated from a fully differentiated plant part, such as a leaf or stem. Molecular cloning. Cell cloning. Organism cloning.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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Image of Figure 17.7
Figure 17.7

Somatic cell nuclear transfer. Dolly was produced by a unique type of cloning. The nucleus in a fully differentiated somatic cell from breed A's udder was inserted into the enucleated egg of breed B by fusing the two cells. The resulting egg contained breed A nuclear genetic material and breed A and B mitochondrial DNAs. The egg developed into a blastocyst in tissue culture, and the blastocyst was inserted into the uterus of sheep C, the surrogate mother of Dolly. Note that Dolly's coloring is identical to that of female A, her genetic mother, and does not exhibit any markings of either her surrogate mother or breed B.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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Image of Figure 17.8
Figure 17.8

Genetic improvement of livestock. Livestock breeders have incorporated naturally occurring genes that improve productivity, animal health, and product quality into livestock through unnatural reproductive technologies. These technologies increase the speed of genetic improvement of a herd. A natural mutation of a gene involved in muscle growth leads to double muscling, which increases the productivity of beef cattle and improves the quality of their meat. St.Croix sheep are a hardy breed of sheep that are naturally resistant to certain parasites and have a high tolerance to heat. (Photographs by Keith Weller [A] and U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] Agricultural Research Service staff [B], courtesy of the USDA.)

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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Image of Figure 17.9
Figure 17.9

Sperm sorter. This machine separates sperm carrying X chromosomes from those with Y chromosomes based on a 4% difference in the amounts of DNA they carry. Scientists use a fluorescent dye that binds to DNA. A laser beam causes the dye to emit light in an amount that is proportional to the amount of DNA in the sperm. (Photograph by Scott Bauer, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.)

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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Image of Figure 17.10
Figure 17.10

Embryo transfer. In the United States every year, surrogate mothers give birth to 100,000 calves produced from embryos of other, genetically superior cows. Sylvia, the black and white cow, is the biological mother of all of the calves in the photo. Embryos from Sylvia were implanted into the cows on the left, who served as surrogate mothers of Sylvia's calves. (Photograph courtesy of Colorado State University.)

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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Image of Figure 17.11
Figure 17.11

Cryopreservation and embryo transfer. This sow gave birth to five piglets that had been frozen at the blastocyst stage and surgically implanted in her uterus. Prior to implanting cryopreserved embryos, scientists use sophisticated microscopy to ensure the embryos are healthy. (Photographs by Keith Weller, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.)

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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Image of Figure 17.12
Figure 17.12

Embryo splitting. At early stages of development, scientists use microsurgical blades to separate livestock embryos into separate cells, which they then implant into surrogate females. (Photograph courtesy of George Seidel, Colorado State University.)

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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Image of Figure 17.13
Figure 17.13

Nuclear transfer and nuclear fusion. In both of these cloning techniques, the nucleus is removed from an unfertilized egg. Working at a videomicroscope, the scientist holds the egg steady with a pipette and then inserts a much smaller pipette into the egg to withdraw the nucleus . In nuclear fusion (not shown), the enucleated egg is fused with another cell that still has its nuclear material. Nuclei have been removed from other cells, which may be embryonic or fully differentiated somatic cells. Each nucleus is injected into an egg cell. Note the nucleus in the pipette in the second photograph. In the final photograph the nucleus is barely visible between the egg cell membrane and cellular cytoplasm. (Photographs courtesy of Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.)

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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Image of Figure 17.14
Figure 17.14

Human blastocyst. A fertilized egg develops into a blastocyst in approximately 4 to 5 days whether it is in cell culture or the female reproductive tract. (Photograph courtesy of Michael Vernon, West Virginia University.)

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2005. Moving Science from the Laboratory into Society, p 419-442. In Biology and Biotechnology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816094.ch17
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