Biotechnology

Scientific Advancement Versus Public Safety

Non-Fiction - Social Issues
480 Pages
Reviewed on 11/18/2022
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Author Biography

Dr. Conrad B. Quintyn is associate professor of biological anthropology at Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA.17815, U.S.A. He was educated at Baylor University (B.A., 1991), University of Michigan (M.A., 1993), and University of Michigan (Ph.D., 1999). From 2000 to 2001, he taught at Iowa State University. From 2001 to 2002, he worked as a biological anthropologist for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command [JPAC] Laboratory (currently called Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency [DPAA]) located on Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, Hawaii. There he conducted search, recovery, and identification of the remains of U.S. soldiers listed as missing-in-action from World War II and the Vietnam War. Occasionally, he assists the Pennsylvania State Police in the recovery and identification of human remains His interests include worldwide postcranial variation (i.e., osteometric analysis of skeletal collections in various domestic and international museums), evolutionary biology, the problem of species, evolution of human diseases, and forensic anthropology. Genetic engineering and medical genetics have been an interest (and concern) of Dr. Quintyn since his postgraduate studies in biological anthropology. Dr. Quintyn has collected human skeletal data from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; the Natural History Museum, London, UK; the Museum National D’ Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France; and the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. He is the editor of an academic text titled Readings in Evolutionary Theory, Genetics, and the Origins of Modern Morphology (San Diego: Cognella Academic Publishing) published in summer 2021.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Author and scholar Conrad B. Quintyn weaves together a thorough representation of biological modification, its positives, and its potential for abuse in the non-fiction scientific academic book Biotechnology: Scientific Advancement Versus Public Safety. Ethical ramifications are the primary focus in Quintyn's work as he provides a non-chronological timeline of advancements as they apply in principle, theory, and fact to the primary argument of the dossier: there is irrefutable evidence that the ethical regulations and direct oversight in the field of biotechnology are significantly lagging behind the rapidity of genetic development. Questions are raised on the probability of further disenfranchisement of entire populations, and even countries, as the race to modify everything to a 'potential best' runs in opposition to the original premise that scientific advancements are to educate, help, and heal.

As a child, if you asked my family patriarch what his religion was he would answer, “Academic.” We had entire meals enlivened, and sometimes ruined, by conversations on a lot of the material Conrad B. Quintyn consolidates into Biotechnology: Scientific Advancement Versus Public Safety. The data speaks for itself so a review of what that is can only be relevant in order to evaluate the effectiveness of how it is conveyed. My true understanding of the subject is embarrassingly inadequate and, in that respect, it could be said that this makes me the perfect reader for Quintyn's book. My mother had several years added to her life as the result of a successful stem-cell replacement for advanced metastasized breast cancer. But could my grandmother's pregnancies have been saved if a genetically modified embryo was the seedling and was crafted instead of the standard organic model? If the answer is yes then you haven't been reading. The issue isn't survival, it's survival at what cost. Who draws the line? Are we already too far past it to turn back now? Nobody can know that for sure but Quintyn has collated exactly what's needed to get an unknowing public into the conversation. Very highly recommended.

Asher Syed

Biotechnology: Scientific Advancement Versus Public Safety by Conrad B. Quintyn is a non-fiction scientific text that broadens the author's previous book on biological modification called The New Eugenics, expanding on the ethics of modified life forms. The context is relatively straightforward even where the driving evidence Quintyn provides is both exhaustive in the scope of research and fact-based examples given and academic in how it is presented. Quintyn does employ arguments that include opinions but they are framed in a similar fashion to a defended dissertation. Broken down into fifteen distinct and interconnected chapters, Quintyn covers topics that include, but are certainly not limited to, the human genetic modification that extends beyond the boundaries of pure health, cloning and genome editing, the bioethics of 'playing God' and synthetic biology, and the benefits and risks of the practice as a whole.

As a person of color who was born and raised in the immediate first generation aftermath of post-colonial rule, Biotechnology: Scientific Advancement Versus Public Safety by Conrad B. Quintyn touches on points that are deeply personal from this unique perspective. Secretive sterilization by a colonizing government was real and experienced within the lifetime of my own parents. This is compounded by my religious beliefs where the line between what is necessary and what is immoral has almost no grey area. This is in contrast to the perspective of my wife who was raised in a family where science and the belief that advancement should not be inhibited in any way, that the subjective nature of ethics meant it was wholly flawed, and that even in its synthetic forms genetic modification is the next inevitable stage of human and planetary evolution is almost universal. What's fascinating is that her grandmother was also raised under colonization by a different Western country and was the matriarch of this point of view. I did learn quite a lot from what is presented and was able to add some excellent talking points to a point of view that is in line with the author. Quintyn is thorough and the writing of the book is tight, although its accessibility outside the STEM community will likely be limited. That said, the urgency of education is intense and based on what is available and as extensive as this volume, Biotechnology: Scientific Advancement Versus Public Safety is the best place to start.

K.C. Finn

Biotechnology: Scientific Advancement Versus Public Safety is a work of non-fiction in the social issues and genetic engineering subgenres. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience and those with an interest in ethics, public safety, and biotechnology, and was penned by author Conrad B. Quintyn. As the title suggests, the work discusses a wide variety of biotechnology issues that humanity faces in the near future, offering a balanced view of pros and cons and some controversial opinions. Covering much-debated topics such as CRISPR, designer babies, and cloning, the work puts the focus on responsibility to the public, safety, and due consideration as science and public health go hand in hand.

Doctor and author Conrad B. Quintyn puts forward a fascinating case for the scientifically minded and has clearly put a lot of deep thought and prescient research into this in-depth book. I found the narrative to be clear and accessible, though some of the terms used will be less familiar to those currently outside of the scientific sphere. Students and those with a keen interest in the future of bioengineering should find it easy to dive right into Quintyn’s informative style. There is also a perceptive nature to the work as it relates to the general public, and I found the arguments to be balanced and well-considered. Overall, I would say that Biotechnology: Scientific Advancement Versus Public Safety is an intelligently penned and wisely balanced scientific work wherein students and scholars alike will find much to consider.

Rabia Tanveer

Biotechnology: Scientific Advancement Versus Public Safety by Conrad B. Quintyn is a non-fiction book reflecting on what could happen if we keep tinkering with biotechnology. Detailing how biotechnology can change the face of the future and how it can affect future generations, author Conrad B. Quintyn makes sure his readers understand what they stand to lose. The author shares the history of biotechnology and details how it has created a ripple effect that will change our future and do irreversible damage to future generations. The time for a change is now; if not, we are in a dire situation.

I appreciate how Conrad B. Quintyn made sure his words and his work were easy to understand for a person with no biotechnological knowledge. The main focus of this body of work is gene therapy and gene editing which can affect the natural order of things and cause havoc if not stopped before it is too late. The author explained technical topics clearly such as CRISPR and made sure readers were with him until the end. I had my highlighter and a pen and notebook handy to take notes. By dividing the topic into 15 chapters and then multiple subchapters, Dr. Quintyn gave depth to a topic that will be much appreciated by students of biotechnology or people who are looking into researching the topic further. By pacing the narrative to suit all kinds of readers, this gem will hopefully bring a change. The narrative serves as educational material as well as a warning for the future that looks very bleak!

Vincent Dublado

The breakthroughs and milestones in biotechnology have led to cures for some diseases and have contributed to improving the quality of life, but repairing biological defects does have unintended consequences. Conrad B. Quintyn takes a broad look at the matter in Biotechnology: Scientific Advancement Versus Public Safety. The motivation for writing this book stems from his concerns about biotechnology. He reviews actual experiments and posits questions about what he believes are major issues that must be addressed. He stresses that scientists believe that cloning mammals will result in the genetic improvement of livestock and produce human proteins to treat diseases. One problem is that cloning, whether by blastomere isolation, splitting of preimplantation embryos, or nuclear transplantation, results in animals with birth defects that could modify the resultant human protein. He addresses similar concerns about designer babies, the CRISPR System, elective enhancement, and murky regulations.

While biotechnology has been developed to improve and save human lives, Conrad B. Quintyn gives us an eye-opener on the ramifications that go with these scientific advances. He writes in a way that any layman can understand, and the scientific and medical terms he uses are delivered in a context that doesn’t confuse the reader. He intends to create awareness concerning the safety and security of biotechnology research. As a result of the case studies he has presented, he believes that there is a pressing need to balance risk mitigation with breakthroughs. As biotechnology continues to remain instrumental in developing food products, biochemicals, beverages, pharmaceuticals, water purification, and waste management, the important questions and challenges that this book provides remain unanswered. By reading his book Biotechnology, we become aware of the price we are paying in exchange for the scientific marvels in this field. It doesn’t have to be that way if we understand how to put the brakes on runaway science.