controversies & ethics

George McKee mckee at starbase.neosoft.com
Sun Feb 5 10:25:32 EST 1995


Howard M. Bomze (hb10+ at andrew.cmu.edu) wrote:
:    Steve Bonne has been saying that there are no new ethical
: considerations for agricultural biotechnologies.  However, he has been
: missing one very important one, that is the possibility of an engineered
: gene to be transfered to a different species.  The transgenic plant not
: only has the sequences of the desired gene, it also contains the
: sequences which are necesary to insert the gene into the genome.

This is one of those "ethical" problems that are really biological
problems in disguise.  Injecting new genes into the genomes of other
organisms is precisely what retroviruses such as HIV have been doing
for eons longer than biologists.  To consider genetic engineering
per se to be unethical is the same as considering crossbreeding
unethical.
	The ethical considerations come into play when the new
variety, however it was created, is being considered for introduction
into the ecosystem.  Introducing the gypsy moth into North America
as a silk producer was far more disastrous than any frost-free
tomato is likely to be.

	- George McKee
--
Internet: mckee at neosoft.com
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