Genetically Modified Organisms: An Indian Ethical Dilemma

  • Amanpreet Kaur
  • R. K. Kohli
  • P. S. Jaswal
Review Paper


In today’s rapidly merging technological realms, basic necessity and morality of the society is often overlooked. Genetic Engineering, a great leap in human understanding of life sciences with possible impacts on every facet of life, is one such advancement. A technology which tampers with the nature at the DNA level and has the prowess to shuffle genes between distantly or even non-related organisms is bound to have gravid moral implications. Tagged with ecological, economic and bio-safety issues, it is being termed as an imprecise tool, which may cause irreversible damages. Apparently, it has shaken the age old, deeply entrenched ideologies of people around the globe leading to a massive uproar in the society. This synthesis is an attempt to dissect and analyze the ethical and moral repercussions of Genetic Engineering with special reference to Indian scenario.


GMOs Genetic Engineering Society Ethics 


  1. Acosta, A. (2000). Transgenic foods: Promise or peril? Americas, 52, 14–15.Google Scholar
  2. Aris, A., & Leblanc, S. (2011). Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Reproductive Toxicology, 31, 528–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boylan, M., & Brown, K. E. (2001). Genetic engineering: Science and ethics on the new frontier. USA: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  4. CBD. (2000). Cartagena protocol on biosafety to the convention on biodiversity. July 19, 2012. Accessed August 1, 2012.
  5. CICR. (2010). Cotton database, Central Institute for Cotton Research, Indian Council for Agriculture Research. Accessed April 13, 2012.
  6. Dorhout, D. L., & Rice, M. E. (2010). Intraguild competition and enhanced survival of western bean cutworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on transgenic Cry1Ab (MON810) Bacillus thuringiensis corn. Journal of Economic Entomology, 103, 54–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Einstein, A. (1941). Science, philosophy and religion, a symposium, the conference on science, philosophy and religion in their relation to the democratic way of life. New York: Inc.Google Scholar
  8. Ewen, S. W., & Pusztai, A. (1999). Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalislectin on rat intestine. Lancet, 354, 1353–1354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. FAO. (2001). Ethical issues in food and agriculture. FAO Ethics Series. Food and agriculture organization of the United Nations, Rome.Google Scholar
  10. Glenn, L. M. (2004). Ethical issues in genetic engineering and transgenics. American Institute of Biological Sciences. Accessed January 23, 2011.
  11. Godfrey, J. (2000). Do genetically modified goods affect human health? Lancet, 355, 414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gupta, A. K., & Chandak, V. (2005). Agricultural biotechnology in India: Ethics, business and politics. International Journal of Biotechnology, 7, 1/2/3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jamieson, D. (2000). Discourse and moral responsibility in biotechnical communication. Science and Engineering Ethics, 6, 265–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Koepsell, D. (2007). The ethics of genetic engineering. Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  15. Macer, D. R. J. (2001). Bioethics: Perceptions of biotechnology and policy implications. International Journal of Biotechnology, 3, 116–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Malatesta, M., Boraldi, F., Annovi, G., Baldelli, B., Battistelli, S., Biggiogera, M., et al. (2008). A long term study on female mice fed on genetically modified soybean: Effects on liver ageing. Histochemistry and Cell Biology, 130, 967–977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Marvier, M., McCreedy, C., Regetz, J., & Kareiva, P. (2007). A meta-analysis of effects of Bt-cotton and maize on non target invertebrates. Science, 316, 1475–1477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mepham, B. (2000). A framework for the ethical analysis of novel foods: The ethical matrix. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 12, 165–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mesnage, R., Clair, E., Gress, S., Then, C., Szekacs, A., & Seralini, G-E. (2012). Cytotoxicity on human cells of Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac Bt insecticidal toxins alone or with glyphosate –based herbicide. Journal of Applied Toxicology. Accessed July 30, 2012.
  20. Nandula, V. K., Reddy, K. N., Duke, S. O., & Poston, D. H. (2005). Glyphosate-resistant weeds: Current status and future outlook. Outlooks on Pest Management, 16, 183–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Polkinghorne, J. C. (2000). Ethical issues in biotechnology. Trends in Biotechnology, Nr.18, 8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Preston, R. (2007). An error in the code. Annals of Medicine, VV(000), 30.Google Scholar
  23. Riguad, N. (2008). Biotechnology: Ethical and social debates. OECD international futures project on “The bioeconomy to 2030: Designing a policy agenda” 1, 89. Accessed January 13, 2012.
  24. Smith, J. (2009). Genetic roulette: the documented health risks of genetically engineered foods. USA. Yes ! Books. Indian Edition.Google Scholar
  25. Thompson, P. B. (2000). Discourse ethics for agricultural biotechnology: Its limits and its inevitability. Science and Engineering Ethics, 6, 275–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tierney, J. (2007). Are scientists playing god? It depends on your religion. The New York Times, November, 20, 2007. Accessed July 15, 2012.
  27. Zwart, H. (2000). A short history of food ethics. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 12, 113–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environment StudiesPanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia
  2. 2.Panjab UniversityChandigarhIndia
  3. 3.Rajiv Gandhi National Law UniversityPatialaIndia

Personalised recommendations