The role of the court is to interpret laws for the people. Unfortunately, new technologies make it difficult to use precedent to make rulings on brand new products. It seems at times that these things need to be considered on a case by case basis. And with the advent of gene editing tools like CRISPR, oversight is necessary to ensure that genetic modification is used responsibly in the coming years.
The Issue Of GMO Labeling
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have been a hot topic in the agriculture industry as of late. GMOs include grown foods that have been scientifically altered to be better than more traditional versions. Many scientists believe that they can help fight against crop diseases, keep pests away from the crops without the use of pesticides, and a variety of other important characteristics that improve crop yields. The issue making its way through the courts is whether or not these companies must label products that contain GMOs. Those in favor of GMO labeling state that the long term effects of GMOs have not been properly studied in humans and thus they should have the right to know what is being put in their bodies.
The Issue Behind CRISPR
Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, more simply known as CRISPR, is one of the most promising gene editing techniques to date. Scientists are hopeful that this new technique will be able to eradicate diseases that have plagued society of ages. Opponents of using this technique are wary of the long term effects, both medical and social. Their concerns are that, despite the potential of CRISPR to deal with problematic diseases, that the long term effects could be worse than we anticipated. Some point to the possibility of “designer babies” as a consequence of CRISPR, or creating new issues as a result of tampering with genetic code. There have even been cases of consumers self experimenting with the technique and developing health issues as a result of their misunderstanding.
The Importance Of Business Transparency
Both GMO and CRISPR laws are working their way through various courts across the country. The main thing under consideration is business transparency. Many feel that both of these fields are not making enough information available to the public. Businesses who often gain the trust of their customers do so by being clear, concise and open about their business practices. This ensures that consumers are getting exactly what they signed up for when they purchase a product.
It is important that these issues are addressed in a proper court setting, as many have simply not been around long enough for there to be any proper laws about them. Expect to see more court cases in the near future that helps determine responsible usage of these new technologies.