The word "biotechnology" was introduced in 1919 by a scientist, Karl Ereky, in showing Man's interaction with biology using modern technology. We live in a world where science is advancing so rapidly that it seems unstoppable. Developments in biotechnology have sparked off many controversial debates, and until now, many of these issues have yet to be resolved. The recent brouhaha over stem cell research has led many to ask if Man has gone too far in playing God. Some have regarded this new technology with extreme animosity, and as we thread into even more unknown territories, it is difficult to decide where to stop. Indeed, I agree with George Bush, who once addressed his nation on this issue, that "we must proceed with great care."
Biotechnology is essentially a technology developed with one prime objective - to benefit mankind. We dream of living in a world rid of all diseases, and biotechnology has answered our prayers in more ways than one.
More than two centuries after the English doctor Edward Jenner discovered the vaccine for smallpox, vaccines are being used all over the world to immunise people against life-threatening diseases like tuberculosis and hepatitis B. And it is not stopping here. Research on molecular medicine using recombinant DNA technology is underway all over the world, and scientists are frantically finding vaccines and cures to fatal diseases like AIDS.
This year, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the birth of the world's first test-tube baby, Louise Brown. The development of in-vitro fertilisation techniques has made stem cell science possible, and answered the prayers of many infertile couples. Experts forecast that in the future, eggs and sperms created from embryonic stem cells will end all human infertility.
Scientists have been working hard to develop the technology of xeno-transplantation, which is the...