The main argument
In this article Richard Sharp et al identify some of problems that can be associated with recombinant DNA and with human genetics. There are several similarities that can be distinguished. In particular, one should speak about the safety of genomic technologies. For instance, one can speak about the production of food which involves the modification of the DNA.
Furthermore, policy-makers should pay attention to those drugs that can be based on the use of genetic technologies. According to the authors, one of the main tasks is to eliminate or at least minimize the health risks that can be posed by these products. Apart from that, scholars believe that in both cases, it is necessary to focus on social responsibility of researchers who should make sure that their experiments do not pose a threat to the community. In this case, one can speak about human cloning.
There are several responses to the potential risks associated with the use of DNA technologies. First of all, much attention is paid to the laws which can prohibit the discrimination against individual or groups on the basis of genetic information. Additionally, researchers and policy-makers stress the importance of regulations that can protect people from the potential hazards of genomic technologies.
For example, policy-makers should uphold the rights of volunteers who take part in the studies related to human genome. On the whole, the proposed strategies include legal changes and ethical restrictions that scientists can impose on themselves. These are the main policies that should be worked out. The authors believe that the regulation of genomic technologies should support the interests of various stakeholders who can be affected by these innovations.
It is possible to critique some of the arguments advanced by Richard Sharp et al. First of all, their strategies that they have worked out are based on the assumption that genomic technologies can pose a danger to the society only in those cases, when scientists or policy-makers underestimate risks or design inadequate policies.
These authors do not take into account the possibility that some people can intentionally violate ethical principles that are established for scientific studies. Thus, one should not suppose that they will always impose ethical restrictions on their research. This is one of the main limitations that should be considered.
Additionally, the recommendations of the authors rely on the idea that various interest groups such as scientists, private companies, or patients have similar views on the role of genomic technologies. It seems that this assumption is not quite accurate because these stakeholders have various needs.
For instance, many companies have to maximize their revenues, and their interests can differ from those ones of scientists or medical workers. Thus, one should find ways of reconciling these interests. This is one of the issues that are not addressed by the authors of this article.
Certainly, one cannot deny the need for regulating the use of genomic technologies. They can be viewed as safeguards that can reduce the risks associated with such research and its applications. Yet, one should take into account that the development of such laws can entail many conflicts of interest. This is the main problem that should be taken into consideration by legislators and researchers who will try to map out new rules.