Political Science 633 – International Biotechnology Policy

Spring 2009

Andrea Bonnicksen    Zulauf 401 815-753-7059; albcorn@niu.edu

 

Biotechnology is the manipulation of living organisms for human use. While basic techniques, such as the cross-breeding of animals, have long been a part of human history, in recent decades novel discoveries have elevated biotechnology to an increasingly important place in world affairs. In this seminar we will focus on the international dimensions of two broadly different types of biotechnology: (1) the development and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for human consumption and (2) the use of biological organisms as potential or actual instruments of warfare. The seminar will pose and examine questions about each. About GMOs, for example, what accounts for the striking differences of opinion about the desirability of genetically modified food crops? What regulatory structures are in place for resolving issues that arise with the growing use of GMOs, such as food labeling?  Regarding biological warfare, for example, how significant a risk do bioweapons pose to international security? What agreements relate to biological weapons and why are they difficult to enforce? What strategies and underlying premises ought to govern control of biological weapons in the future?  A background in science is not necessary for this seminar.

 

REQUIRED BOOKS:

Guillemin, Jeanne. Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored

            Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism. New York: Columbia University Press,

            2005.

Weirich, Paul, ed. Labeling Genetically Modified Food: The Philosophical and Legal

            Debate. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Material on electronic reserve is noted as ER below.

Adjustments may be made, if necessary, to the schedule of topics and dates if it appears that some topics will require more time and others will require less. 

 

JANUARY 15, 22      BIOTECHNOLOGY AND INTERNATIOAL RELATIONS  

Manning, Francis C.R. “Biotechnology: A Scientific Perspective.” In Alan Russell and

            John Vogler, eds., The International Politics of Biotechnology. Manchester:

            Manchester University Press, 2000, pp. 13-29. ER

Dyer, Hugh. “Biotechnology and International Relations: The Normative Dimensions.”

            In Alan Russell and John Vogler, eds., The International Politics of

            Biotechnology. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002, pp. 30-43.  ER

Russell, Alan, and John Vogler. “Conclusion: The Implications for International

            Relations.” In Alan Russell and John Vogler, eds., The International Politics of

            Biotechnology. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002, pp. 213-26. ER

Wiegele, Thomas C. Biotechnology and International Relations: The Political

            Dimensions. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1991, pp. 1-20, 164-80. ER

 

JANUARY 22            GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMOs)

Background

Thomson, Jennifer A. Genes for Africa: Genetically Modified Crops in the Developing

            World. University of Cape Town Press, 2002, pp. 5-27. ER

World Health Organization. “20 Questions on Genetically Modified Food.” Available at

            www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/print.html

 

Advocacy (example)

Thompson, Paul B. Food Biotechnology in Ethical Perspective. London: Blackie

            Academic & Professional, 1997, pp. 18-38. ER

Kellow, Aynsley. “Risk Assessment and Decision-Making for Genetically Modified

            Foods.” IPA Biotechnology Backgrounder 1:1-11 (1999). ER

 

Resistance (example)

Rees, Andy. Genetically Modified Food: A Short Guide for the Confused. London: Pluto

            Press, 2006, pp. 1-20. ER

Browse Friends of the Earth International www.foei.org/en/campaigns/gmo/publications

 

JANUARY 29            POLICY CASE STUDY: LABELING GMO FOOD (I)

Background

Pariza, Michael W. “A Scientific Perspective on Labeling Genetically Modified Food.”

            In Weirich, ed., pp. 3-9

Roberts, Michael R. “Genetically Modified Organisms for Agricultural Food

            Production.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 10-16.

Degnan, Fred H. “Biotechnology and the Food Label.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 17-31.

 

European regulatory approaches

Grossman, Margaret Rosso. “European Community Legislation for Traceability and

            Labeling of Genetically Modified Crops, Food, and Feed.” In Weirich, ed., pp.

            32-62.

 

Food labeling and genetically modified animals

“Genetically Engineered Animals.”  One-page diagram. Available at

            http://www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/ge_animals_diagram091808.html

Streiffer, Robert, and Alan Rubel. “Genetically Engineered Animals and the Ethics of

            Food Labeling.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 63-87.

 “FDA Issues Draft Guidance on Regulating Genetically Modified Animals.” 18

            September 2008. Available at

            http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01887.html

Anthony, Raymond, and Paul B. Thompson. “Biosafety, Ethics, and Regulation of

            Transgenic Animals.” In Sarad R. Parekh, ed. The GMO Handbook: Genetically

            Modified Animals, Microbes, and Plants in Biotechnology.  Totowa NJ: Humana

            Press, 2004, pp. 183-206. ER

 

FEBRUARY 5, 12      POLICY CASE STUDY: LABELING GMO FOOD (II)

Consumer interests

Markie, Peter. “Mandatory Genetic Engineering Labels and Consumer Autonomy.” In

            Weirich, ed., pp. 88-105.

Kalaitzandonakes, Nicholas, et al. “Consumer Response to Mandated Labeling of

            Genetically Modified Foods.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 106-27.

 

Regulatory approaches in U.S.

McGarity, Thomas O. “Frankenfood Free.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 128-150.

Peters, Philip G., and Thomas A. Lambert. “Regulatory Barriers to Consumer

            Information about Genetically Modified Foods.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 151-77.

Wolf, Clark. “Labeling Genetically Engineered Foods.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 178-200.

Cranor, Carl. “Different Conceptions of Food Labels and Acceptable Risks.” In Weirich,

            ed., pp. 201-21.

Weirich, Paul. “Using Food Labels to Regulate Risks.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 222-45.

Browse http://usbiotechreg.nbii.gov/lawsregsguidance.asp for laws and regulations.

 

FEBRUARY 19    GMOs AND QUESTIONS OF BENEFIT

Safety and control

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Browse for signatories, history, and other information:

            http://bch.cbd.int/protocol; text of the protocol http://bch.cbd.int/protocol/text

Browse European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies. 2008. “Life

            Sciences and Biotechnology: A Strategy.” Available at

            http://ec.europa.eu/biotechnology/pdf/com2002-27_en.pdf

 

Richer and poorer nations

Thomson, Jennifer A. Genes for Africa: Genetically Modified Crops in the Developing

            World. University of Cape Town Press, 2002, pp. 106-116, 154-75.  ER

African Union. “Freedom to Innovate: Biotechnology in Africa’s Development.”

            Available at www.nepadst.org/doclibrary/pdfs/biotech_africarep_2007.pdf

Qui, Jane. “Is China Ready for GM Rice?” Nature 455:850-52 (October 16, 2008).

Friends of the Earth International. “Who Benefits from GM Crops?” Available at

            www.foei.org/en/campaigns/gmo.    Read pp. 5-6 and 38-41.

 

FEBRUARY 26          BIOTECHNOLOGY AND HUMAN HEALTH

International policies relating to human genetic alterations

Council of Europe. Parliamentary Assembly. 1982. “Recommendation 934: On Genetic

            Engineering.”  In Albert R. Jonsen et al., Source Book in Bioethics. Washington

            DC: Georgetown University Press, 1998, pp. 296-98. ER

Council of Europe. Parliamentary Assembly. 1986. “Recommendation 1046 (1986) On

            the use of human embryos and foetuses for diagnostic, therapeutic, scientific,

            industrial, and commercial purposes.” Available at

http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=http%3A//assembly.coe.int/Documents/AdoptedText/ta86/EREC1046.htm.

 

Policies relating to human reproductive cloning         

Browse UNESCO. “Human Cloning: Ethical Issues.” See links on p. 20. Available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001359/135928e.pdf     

 

FEBRUARY 26          MIDTERM TAKE-HOME EXAMS DISTRIBUTED

 

MARCH 5                  MIDTERM TAKE-HOME EXAMS DUE

 

MARCH 5, 19            BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS: HISTORY

Guillemin, Jeanne. Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-‘Sponsored

            Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism. New York: Columbia University Press,

            2005. Entire book.

Lockwood, Jeffrey A. Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War. New

            York: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 1-5, 9-25, 85, 287-97, 311-13. ER

 

MARCH 26, APRIL 2           BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS: TYPES           

History

Ryan, Jeffrey R., and Jan F. Glarum. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism. Amsterdam: Elsevier,

            2008, pp. 23-38. ER

 

Next generation bioweapons

Ainscough, Michael J. “Next Generation Bioweapons: Genetic Engineering and

 Biological Warfare.” In Jim A. Davis and Barry R. Schneider, eds., Gathering

Biological Warfare Storm. Westport CT: Praeger, 2004, pp. 165-86. ER

Ryan, Jeffrey R., and Jan F. Glarum. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism. Amsterdam: Elsevier,

            2008, pp. 299-314. ER

 

APRIL 9                     BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS: REGULATION

Kellman, Barry. Bioviolence: Preventing Biological Terror and Crime. Cambridge:

            Cambridge University Press, 2008, pp. 87-100, 101-131, 222-246. ER

 

APRIL 16                   BIOWEAPONS, PUBLIC HEALTH, AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Public health management

Inglesby, Thomas V., et al. “Plague as a Biological Weapon: Medical and Public Health

            Management.” JAMA 283(17): 2281-90 (May 3, 2000). ER

Inglesby, Thomas V. et al. “Anthrax as a Biological Weapon: Medical and Public Health

            Management.” JAMA 281(18): 1735-45 (May 12, 1999). ER

 

Human rights and bioterrorism

Hodge, James G., Jr. and Lawrence O. Gostin, “Protecting the Public’s Health in an Era

            of Bioterrorism: The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act.” In Jonathan D.

            Moreno, ed., In the Wake of Terror: Medicine and Morality in a Time of Crisis.

            Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2003, pp. 17-32. ER

Annas, George J. “Terrorism and Human Rights.” In Jonathan D. Moreno, ed., In the

            Wake of Terror: Medicine and Morality in a Time of Crisis. Cambridge MA: MIT

            Press, 2003, pp. 33-49. ER

Childress, James F. “Triage in Response to a Bioterrorist Act.” In Jonathan D. Moreno,

            ed., In the Wake of Terror: Medicine and Morality in a Time of Crisis. Cambridge

            MA: MIT Press, 2003, pp. 77-93. ER

 

APRIL 23                   PAPERS DUE

 

APRIL 23, 30             PAPER PRESENTATIONS

 

APRIL 30                   FINAL EXAMS DISTRIBUTED

 

MAY 7                        FINAL EXAMS DUE

 

GRADES

Grades will be based upon 2 take-home exams, a research paper, and participation, for a total of 220 points. Grades will be determined on a percentage scale as follows: 180 – 200 = A; 160 – 179 = B; 140 – 159 = C; 120 – 139 = D

 

            ITEM                           DATE DUE     POINTS

Research proposal        February 12     10 points

Midterm exam March 5           45 points

            Research paper            April 23            90 points

            Final exam                    May 7              45 points         

Participation                       -                 20 points

 

The research paper will give you the opportunity to explore in detail a subject that is of particular interest to you.  The paper should be 15-18 double-spaced, typed pages with one-inch margins and regular spacing between paragraphs. It will be due in written form on April 23. Class presentations will be April 23 and 30. More information about the papers will be presented in class.

 

PAPER PROPOSALS

Paper proposals are worth l0 points. The proposal is important because it is a road map for your research. I recommend working on it carefully; a well-formulated proposal will make the research and writing easier. Proposals often have the following problems:  too general, too broad, no clear research question, conclusions already reached, sources not found or read, sources inadequately cited, signs of having been written with great haste. To avoid these problems, please write a proposal of ~ 2 pages that includes the following:

 

  1. Title and outline
  2. 3-4 paragraph summary that answers basic questions: what is your research question, why is it important, how will you examine it, and what is your working hypothesis (what you expect to find)?
  3. A sufficiently narrow research question about which you are genuinely quizzical
  4. A carefully cited list of 6-8 scholarly sources that you have already found. This includes journal articles. Look to the citations in the syllabus for examples. If you take something from the internet, include a detailed enough citation so your reader can find it easily.

 

PAPERS

The paper should relate to a specific issue in biotechnology, preferably one that has an international relations or comparative politics dimension. One way to arrive at a topic is to identify a manageable policy problem. Then ask questions about it until you narrow them down to a paper topic. You may get general ideas from the Wiegele reading on ER from the January 15 session, where general questions relating to biotechnology and international relations are listed on pp. 176-80.

 

EXAMS

The midterm and final exams will be distributed one week before their due dates. It is expected that you will integrate (with APA-style citation) at least 3 different class readings into each essay. To prepare, you are encouraged to take notes on the readings.

 

PARTICIPATION

Participation will be based on attendance (with special attention to the days the papers are presented) and a demonstration that you have read the readings and have synthesized and analyzed them.  When you have been asked to present an article or chapter in class, please do the following:

 

1. Briefly summarize the article or chapter. What is the author’s purpose in writing it? What is the author’s main theme? What is the research question? Keep in mind that everyone will have read the article so we don’t need all the details. Prepare separate notes and do not read directly from the article.

 

2. Next, engage us with the article or chapter. What is unique or important about the article? Does it provoke curiosity? Is it well argued? How does this article further our knowledge about the topic?

 

Plagiarism statement:

“The attempt of any student to present as his or her own work that which he or she has not produced is regarded by the faculty and administration as a serious offense. Students are considered to have cheated if they copy the work or another during an examination or turn in a paper or an assignment written, in whole or in part, by someone else. Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazine, or other sources or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university.” Northern Illinois University Undergraduate Catalog