Academic journal article Human Ecology

Technology and Human Ecology

Academic journal article Human Ecology

Technology and Human Ecology

Article excerpt

TECHNOLOGY SURROUNDS us and touches every aspect of our lives. We can safely predict that technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology will continue to drive an ever-increasing rate of change in the new millennium. What Foods we eat, how we access information from all over the world instantaneously, how we communicate from any place at any time, what health care is available to us, how information about us is communicated to marketers, health care providers, the government, and others, and how we interface with our environment will continue to be changed by evolving technology. For the innovators among us, each change will be anticipated and eagerly incorporated into our lives. For the resisters among us, each change will be viewed with concern and a longing for the "good old days" when the telephone and television were new. For most of us, technological change will mean adaptation and thoughtful discussion on what quality of life we want.

In this issue of Human Ecology, you will read how biotechnology is impacting, and will continue to impact, our health, our food, and our consumer policies. Genomics and nutrition will fundamentally alter what foods each of us will choose to eat as we come to know our own individual genetic risks for chronic disease and nutritional needs. Patrick Stover is researching the interactions of folate, iron, and genes to understand their impact on cancer and heart disease. Genetically engineering plants to produce more nutritious foods, reduce the pesticides needed to produce foods, and create novel vaccines through foods is now possible, making biotechnology a part of our food supply. Jennifer Wilkins and colleagues are examining how consumers view these genetically modified foods and what their disparate views will mean to outreach education to enable consumers to make informed food choices. Beyond biotechnology are other food technologies such as irradiation, which is now approved for raw meat, meat products, and shell eggs. …

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