Chapter 24

Emergent Problems and Possible Solutions

Robert E. Smith


Many new phenomena emerge at higher levels of organization. One possible emerging problem is the likelihood that the virus that causes the flu in birds or pigs will mutate to a form that can easily infect and kill people. As global warming continues, several tropical diseases could appear in colder regions. Global climate change is projected to significantly increase the range conducive to the transmission of both dengue and yellow fevers. Another possible problem is the re-emergence of the poliovirus or smallpox virus, even though these diseases have almost been eradicated. Scientists are creating new, genetically altered life forms, to what some consider an emergent solution, while others consider this genetic engineering to be a terrible problem. It is also known as genetic modification (GM), biotechnology, gene splicing and recombinant DNA technology. Nanotechnology has the potential to turn relatively inactive molecules into potent drugs. Another technology that could provide many medical benefits is stem cell technology. Another emergent problem is a shortage of certain medicines. This can happen if a major producer has problems in manufacturing and has to stop for a while, or if there is not enough profit to be made. As a result, patients are experiencing unacceptable delays in receiving 210 different medicines for cancer, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, osteoporosis and organ failure.

Total Pages: 582-598 (17)

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