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Select one important sustainability issue of global significance and express this issue in no more than one short sentence

Discuss about the Institute for Independent Impact Assessment in Biotechnology.

Cloning, biotechnology and nanotechnology are some of the major sustainability issues which has significant global impact. Cloning involves producing an exact copy of an animal or plant from its cells (Brown, 2016). According to Brumfiel (2013), biotechnology involves the use of living cells and bacteria in industrial and scientific processes. Finally nanotechnology is a branch of technology that deals with structures that are not more than 100 nano-metres long, scientists frequently develops these structures using substance of individual molecules (Bhushan, 2017).  They all involve the creation or development of new species, organism by using genes and molecules from the existing living things. The aim of all these scientific processes is to improve, develop and create new organisms, products and species that will help to improve the conditions of human beings and animals. Even though the processes have a positive objective they also come with their own share of disadvantages that affects the environment, the social and economic factors that are associated with the living things. They consist of unethical factors that affect the ecosystem as a whole.

Cloning has affected the environment in different ways. Cloning will affected the environment by wiping out the entire population of cloned species when they are vulnerable to a certain disease. According to Cortegano at el. (2004), cloning involve copying the DNA of a particular organism either a plant or an animal to produce similar organisms. The population that is cloned would have the same DNA and genetic structure making their immune system same, this implies that the population would be weak to a particular disease. Once the disease affects the original animal, all the cloned animals will also suffer and this may lead to the extinction of the species. For example when a country has a large number of identical cloned cows, a certain virus such as a pressure of mad cow disease could have impact on the whole cloned population which will lead to food shortage in the country due to the decrease in cow produce.

Biotechnology poses some of the environmental threats such as genetically modified crops or plants frequently infect butterflies and other insect species. According to Krimsky and Wrubel (2014), genetic engineering has gone beyond boundaries of reproduction by combining genes of different species that are not related. Reproduction between species with different genes will lead to hazardous outcome, more so it will increase the risk of harming other species.

Describe the main environmental elements of your chosen global sustainability issue

The silver nano particles that are used as the anti- microbial agents may damage the important microbes that are in the environment. Materials that enter the bottom of a food chain have the habit or characteristics of the organism that are sufficient in the food chain.

Nano contains certain particles that can destroy the lung tissues and cause chronic breathing problems when people breathe in the particles.  There are some of these particles that can find a way into bloodstream from the lungs and from the blood flow system and enter the brain. Exposure to a lot of Nano-particles can lead to brain disorder (Adams& at el, 2013). Also the amount of Nano-particles entering the human body will cause a lot of damage I the immune system. The Nano-particles present in the human body will cause body alteration thus causing gene mutation, this is because the Nano-particles will bond with the DNA of a person and deform its structure.

Biotechnology causes threat to the health of human beings, this happens when the genetic materials from different viruses are used in the production of transgenic crops, the virus genes and the crops genes will combine to produce hazardous viruses (Ammann, 2005). The consumption of such crop can be dangerous to human health and can lead to loss of lives, cancer and malignant.

The main disadvantage of cloning is that it is unnatural by all the necessary means. Human beings are experiencing the negative outcomes for interfering with nature in form of hazardous climate change, pollution and health issues (Brown, 2016). Taking part in creation or reproduction of an organism without knowing the final outcome can be dangerous to the life of human beings and to all mankind at large.                                 

According to 90% attempts of human cloning has failed, this implies that currently scientist do not possess the required technology relating to cloning. Therefore an experiment conducted to produce human species without sure final outcome can be very dangerous to human kind.

Cloning is a very expensive procedure that needs high and better technology. Developed countries are the only one that can afford the cloning process and this heightens inequality and widens a big gap between the developed and developing countries. Therefore there will be economic imbalance because the government will provide chunk of budget to the scientists involved in the research while the common man will not benefit.

Development in nanotechnology will lead to loss of jobs in traditional farming and manufacturing industries (Georghiou, 2013). Therefore the economy will decrease because people will not be earning incomes due to loss of jobs. Also the improvement of nanotechnology will lead to development of atomic weapons which will be easily accessible and can be made powerful and be more hazardous.

Describe the critical social elements of this global sustainability issue

Currently the process of nanotechnology is very expensive which makes it difficult to be manufactured (Syedmoradi & at el, 2017). Since the procedure of nanotechnology is very expensive the products produced using this method are very expensive and not affordable to everyone. Biotechnology is very expensive, this is because genetic engineering is an essential part of biotechnology and it requires high cost. Moving genes from one organism to other organisms is costly and needs huge investments of capital.  

The two major ethical problems that are as a result of cloning and biotechnology as a global sustainability issues include the following:

  1. Protecting human subjects in the clinical tests and trials
  2. There is a loss in the meaning of being a parent

Cloning has the major ethical implication as the scientists in the laboratories destroy the young embryos they use as the experimental specimens.  Embryonic stem research also has detrimental effects on life as the cells are face destruction (Manzar et al. 2013).  Scientists during cloning create new embryos categorically for tests and destroy them in the investigations. The use of the cells over a short life span implies that their significance is to act as an aid to facilitate the wellbeing of others. The other implication is that they are lesser humans for sacrifice during research.

The utilitarianism in this issue is the use of the embryos to enhance advancement in disease treatments and other medical benefits. Despite the projections of improving the medical services, the process signifies that other humans are expendable and have no right to life.

There is a disparity in the scientific conception and the reproduction through sexual intercourse and procreation.  Cloning selects and controls the genotype of the children and may make individuals to view the cloned children as objects. The virtue ethics dictates the right and moral thing for humans to do.  The essence of parenthood will lose the meaning due to the cloned children.  The cloned children can complicate the issue of parenthood and family relations (Rigaud, 2008). Either parent of the child whose genes are missing will have no emotional attachment. Giving birth also promotes the parenthood due to the emotional and psychological perception and attachment to the child.

Your chosen global sustainability issue presents both significant threats and opportunities for business. Discuss these major business threats and opportunities

Biotechnology increases the confidence of the consumers hence maintaining the market share. Agro-business adopting biotechnology for veterinary and diagnosis is having high ability in controlling and monitoring several harmful diseases such as the foot and mouth diseases (Papatryfon et al. 2008). This ability to contain the diseases in animal diseases eliminates safety concerns from the consumers and as such maintains the loyal customers while attracting new markets.

Describe the key economic elements of this global sustainability issue

The adoption of biotechnology in production and agri-business influences the efficiency of production.  This technology reduces the amount of resources necessary at the input level while the maintaining high quantity of products (Then & Tippe, 2010). There is also an improvement in food variety which promotes business as the investors have a wide range of products to attract the customers with various demands and specifications.

Cloning however lacks a defined effect to businesses. The products from cloned animals such as meat and milk lack distinguishing aspects hence no advantage to the consumers and producers and to business in general (Canales, Manson, & Jones, 2017).
Threats of Biotechnology and Cloning to Business

Cloning may lead to the agribusiness projects to focus mainly on restricted number of animals breeds. The homogeneous property makes the animals vulnerable to diseases and as such may reduce production in case of disease outbreaks.

Some consumers will avoid markets which they believe to have products that are as a result of cloning and biotechnology. The lack of trust from sum consumers reduces the sales of the products and as such a challenge to businesses (Papatryfon et al. 2008). The customers avoid such products due to the cultural and religious beliefs towards the cloning and biotechnological processes.

Your chosen global sustainability issue will contain multiple causes of unsustainability and will cause actions which are considered unethical. You are required to propose an ethical and sustainable solution to the problems which underpin this global sustainability issue. This proposed solution should address causes of unsustainability, as well as financial, technological and behavioural barriers to removing these causes of unsustainability  

There is the need to protect the biological diversity from the effects of biotechnology and cloning. The establishment of protocols and policies to regulate the promotion of biotechnological activities helps to monitor the influences on biological diversity (Rigaud 2008). There is need for regulation to ensure that the mutants do not pose a threat to the original breeds.

There is an argument in some states that the governments in democratic states have no right to control the decision that the citizens make concerning procreation. The supporters of cloning and biotechnology also argue that the people have control over why and how they procreate and as such, their liberty and moral interests need to have respect from the authorities. The need for technological advancement in the medical fields for diseases makes it difficult to completely prohibit embryonic tests (Van den Berg, 2012). The experiments need specimens with similar characteristics for efficiency in the products and as such leads to the use of the embryos as the main option with human characteristics.


Adams, R.M., Rosenzweig, C., Peart, R.M., Ritchie, J.T., McCarl, B.A., Glyer, J.D., Curry, R.B.,Ammann, K., 2005. Effects of biotechnology on biodiversity: herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant GM crops. Trends in Biotechnology, 23(8), pp.388-394

Barsanti, L. and Gualtieri, P., 2014. Algae: anatomy, biochemistry, and biotechnology. CRC press.

Bhushan, B. ed., 2017. Springer handbook of nanotechnology. Springer.

Brown, T.A., 2016. Gene cloning and DNA analysis: an introduction. John Wiley & Sons.

Brumfiel, G., 2013. Nanotechnology: A little knowledge...

Canales, C., Manson, N. and Jones, B., 2017. Mzima cow strategy and theory of change–Translating from genetic research in Africa to adoption and social value: The Genetics for Africa–Strategies and Opportunities project workshop report, ILRI, Nairobi, 18–19 January 2017.

Cortegano, I., Civantos, E., Aceituno, E., Del Moral, A., Lopez, E., Lombardero, M., Del Pozo, V. and Lahoz, C., 2004. Cloning and expression of a major allergen from Cupressus arizonica pollen, Cup a 3, a PR?5 protein expressed under polluted environment. Allergy, 59(5), pp.485-490.

Georghiou, L., 2013. Socio-economic effects of collaborative R&D—European experiences. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 24(1), pp.69-79

Jones, J.W., Boote, K.J. and Allen Jr, L.H., 2013. Global climate change and US  agriculture. Nature, 345(6272), p.219.

Krimsky, S. and Wrubel, R.P., 2014. Agricultural biotechnology and the environment: Science, policy, and social issues (Vol. 13). University of Illinois Press

Manzar, N., Manzar, B., Hussain, N., Hussain, M.F.A. and Raza, S., 2013. The ethical dilemma of embryonic stem cell research. Science and engineering ethics, 19(1), pp.97-106

Papatryfon, I., Zika, E., Wolf, O., Gómez-Barbero, M., Stein, A.J. and Bock, A.K., 2008. Consequences, opportunities and challenges of modern biotechnology for Europe. Joint Research Centre–Institute for Prospective Technological Studies

Rigaud, N., 2008. Biotechnology: Ethical and social debates. Paris. OECD International Futures Programmes. Diperoleh September, 16, p.2008

Syedmoradi, L., Daneshpour, M., Alvandipour, M., Gomez, F.A., Hajghassem, H. and Omidfar, K., 2017. Point of care testing: the impact of nanotechnology. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 87, pp.373-387

Then, C. and Tippe, R., 2010. Agro-Biotechnology: Cloned Farm Animals-A ‘Killing Application'? Risks and Consequences of the Introduction of Cloned Animals for Food Production. Munich, Testbiotech. Institute for Independent Impact Assessment in Biotechnology.

Van den Berg, M.E.S., 2012. Human reproductive cloning and biotechnology: Rational, ethical and public concerns. koers, 77(2), pp.1-9.

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