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Saturday, October 13, 2007
Genetic Engineering - Can the UN Set the Standards for Humanity?

The Life Kingdoms

Biologists currently believe that there are six Kingdoms associated with life on our planet. The first two are forms of bacteria (Eurobacteria and Archaebacteria) which are so invisible that most people will never see them, unless they have a microscope. The third is the Protista, these are one-celled living entities like algae and slime moulds. In the fourth kingdom are the Fungi, which are multi-cellular life forms like mushrooms, yeasts, and moulds. The fifth is a huge kingdom called the Plantae, which is made up of trees, herbs, bushes, flowers, and green plants. The sixth is the one where it is believed mankind fits in called Animalia. Human Beings are part of the Animalia (Animal) kingdom, along with other species such as apes, whales, elephants, alligators, hippos and the list is endless.

Many scientists believe that the links between the six kingdoms are absolutely interdependent and form a tree which has evolved over time as one integrated system. They believe that along with the pollution (CO2 and other toxic emissions) that each country is creating and associated global warming, there are huge risks that man has created for itself by interfering with the Tree Of Life (the Six Kingdoms). Many believe that new techniques like invasive genetic engineering where plant-plant, animal-animal and plant-animal genetics are mixed to create impossible natural species can backfire in an uncontrollable way on the whole Tree if the wrong genetic combination gets out. Also, if man causes an original natural species to become extinct, it probably has a huge impact on the Tree as well.

In Europe, the Organic Food industry is becoming a huge profitable business precisely from a concern about the unknown in genetically modified source foods. Scientists also advocate stricter safeguards on GM foods than are currently in place. Consumers are also demanding international labelling and regulatory approval mechanisms before anything can be released to the environment. Others argue a total ban should exist on any species genetic engineering because we are all too ignorant of the impact these techniques can have if released.

The United Nations could assume the governance role in establishing what is ethically correct, and safe, regarding genetic engineering and also the methods to preserve species in the oceans and on the lands. This is because it is made up of all country representation from around the world, who all have diverse interests to maintain and also because the UN has a primary responsibility for the preservation of mankind. Unfortunately, the World's monetary reward system does not recognize preservation of mankind and preservation of all other Kingdoms yet. Preparing for the next quarterly results at one corporation could have a dramatic impact upon the balance of life, if humanity doesn't set its tolerance levels and penalties for what are ethical scientific behaviours and ethical global corporate citizenship standards. The stakes are much higher than any annual report.

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