Biotechnology has changed the way the way we produce food, treat disease, and produce products such as plastics that impact every area of our lives. Genetically engineered corn has reduced the need for pesticides, and bioengineered bacteria have made synthetic insulin available safely and relatively cheaply compared to natural sources. Modified bacteria have been used to produce drugs more efficiently than traditional methods and have enabled the production of entirely new drugs. A less dramatic area where biotech has impacted my life, and the daily lives of most Americans, is in the development of biodegradable plastics. (Tokiwa, 2009). These plastics break down over time to reduce the impact plastic waste has on our environment.
Cloning animals to reproduce economically valuable traits is here to stay. There is simply too much money to be made by ensuring that production animals have exactly the traits the producer wants. (Animal Cloning, 2015) That cloning exists and is used at all proves that there are differences between cloned and “traditional” animals. Cloning is new and expensive, and it would be cheaper to produce animals conventionally, so cloned animals must possess traits that are impossible or impractical to obtain through traditional methods. When people discuss the differences between cloned and traditional animals I think they are really asking if there is a difference in safety, one that renders the cloned animal less safe than traditional livestock.
I don’t think that cloned animals are unsafe to eat, especially when you consider that the animals sold to consumers are actually the offspring of clones as opposed to clones themselves. Natural reproduction can serve as a sort of safeguard by requiring that any changes to animals result in an animal that is healthy enough to reproduce. I wouldn’t worry about eating modified plants either, I think that most people’s concerns about biotech products are actually worries about the unknown and things they don’t understand than rational fears about actual risks associated with biotechnology.