In article <Pine.SOL.3.91.950209231506.19239H-100000 at corona> Patrick O'Neil <patrick at corona> writes:
>From: Patrick O'Neil <patrick at corona>
>Subject: Re: controversies & ethics
>Date: Thu, 9 Feb 1995 23:28:35 -0700
>On Mon, 30 Jan 1995, Phandaal wrote:
>> I've been asked to give a lecture to upper-division college students on
>> the controversies and ethical considerations in producing transgenic
>> organisms, especially transgenic plants. It's been a while since I gave
>> this lecture, and so I was wondering if anybody had any good examples of
>> controversies or ethical considerations that I could incorporate into the
> I spent a year working in a plant molec bio lab that was being partially
>funded by a private company to produce a more fungal resistent
>sugarbeet. Technically, it would be a transgenic in that a gene, VERY
>closely related to an already present gene, from Arabidopsis was/is to be
>introduced into the sugarbeet and overexpressed, thus bolstering the
>sugarbeet's fungal resistence. I enjoyed the work very much and saw
>absolutely nothing wrong with it. It was making use of an already
>existent defensive gene that resides in many plants and simply increasing
>its output by using an easy to maniplate gene from a common lab plant.
>This sugarbeet will allow, hopefully, less use of chemical fungicides.
> You could argue that it will simply apply selective pressure for fungi
>to evolve resistence...but then, so does the use of fungicides or natural
>defenses. A more resistent fungi will, conversely, select for more
>fungal-resistent plants. This can be applied to your first point below too.
>>>> Two I can think of off-hand are:
>>>> 1) introducing insecticidal proteins (such as the Bacillus thuringiensis
>> protein) into plants may create resistant insect populations (under the
>> force of heavy selection pressure), which could then overrun the resistant
>> plants and make worthless the efforts by conventional growers who *use* Bt
>> protein as a topical pesticidal spray.
>The use of the spray itself puts selective pressure on insects to develop
>resistence. The point is moot.
>>>> 2) altering fatty acid metabolism in oil-crops (like canola) so that they
>> produce oils found chiefly in palm and coconut could severely damage the
>> palm oil and coconut oil industries in Third World countries... thus
>> severely depressing the economies of these already struggling countries.
>If business was nice, then companies would never be put out of business.
>It may be tough but I could not support artificially supporting a
>weakly-based economy by ignoring a possible economic boon here. Any
>economy that ties itself to one commodity is *automatically* doomed to bite
>it pretty hard. Look at Louisiana and the effects of it having placed
>all its economic eggs in the oil business basket -- the state is only now
>beginning to recover from over a decade of depressed economy and hard times.