Related or contrasting ideas may be found in the sections on Animal Rights, Knowledge, Life, Medical Ethics, Nature, Progress, and Science




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Genetic engineering is bad for agriculture

Genetic engineering won’t end global food shortfalls

Paul R. Ehrlich (prof. of population studies, department of biological sciences, Stanford Univ.) and Anne M. Ehrlich (associate director and policy coordinator, Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford Univ.), The Population Explosion, 1990, p. 108-109

“So biotechnology, whatever its long-term promises, is very unlikely to improve agriculture fast enough to help humanity through the next few critical decades. It is no immediate panacea for the food problem.”


The “central dogma” that underlies genetic engineering has been refuted

Barry Commoner (founder and senior scientist, Center for the Biology of Natural Systems at Queens College, New York; professor emeritus of plant physiology, Washington Univ., St. Louis), “Unraveling the DNA myth: the spurious foundation of genetic engineering,” Harper’s Magazine, February 2002, p. 39-40

“Known to molecular biologists as the ‘central dogma,’ the premise assumes that an organism’s genome — its total complement of DNA genes — should fully account for its characteristic assemblage of inherited traits. The premise, unhappily, is false. Tested between 1990 and 2001 in one of the largest and most highly publicized scientific undertakings of our time, the Human Genome Project, the theory collapsed under the weight of fact. There are far too few human genes to account for the complexity of our inherited traits or for the vast inherited differences between plants, say, and people. By any reasonable measure, the finding (published last February) signaled the downfall of the central dogma; it also destroyed the scientific foundation of genetic engineering and the validity of the biotechnology industry’s widely advertised claim that its methods of genetically modifying food crops are “specific, precise, and predictable” and therefore safe. In short, the most dramatic achievement to date of the $3 billion Human Genome Project is the refutation of its own scientific rationale.”


The theoretical justification for engineering food crops has collapsed

Barry Commoner (founder and senior scientist, Center for the Biology of Natural Systems at Queens College, New York; professor emeritus of plant physiology, Washington Univ., St. Louis), “Unraveling the DNA myth: the spurious foundation of genetic engineering,” Harper’s Magazine, February 2002, p. 45

“The fact that one gene can give rise to multiple proteins also destroys the theoretical foundation of a multibillion-dollar industry, the genetic engineering of food crops. In genetic engineering it is assumed, without adequate experimental proof, that a bacterial gene for an insecticidal protein, for example, transferred to a corn plant, will produce precisely that protein and nothing else. Yet in that alien genetic environment, alternative splicing of the bacterial gene might give rise to multiple variants of the intended protein — or even to proteins bearing little structural relationship to the original one, with unpredictable effects on ecosystems and human health.”


The soybean example shows that single gene alterations affect the whole plant

Barry Commoner (founder and senior scientist, Center for the Biology of Natural Systems at Queens College, New York; professor emeritus of plant physiology, Washington Univ., St. Louis), “Unraveling the DNA myth: the spurious foundation of genetic engineering,” Harper’s Magazine, February 2002, p. 39

“Despite the biotechnology industry’s assurances that genetically engineered soybeans have been altered only by the presence of the alien gene, as a matter of fact the plant’s own genetic system has been unwittingly altered as well, with potentially dangerous consequences. The list of malfunctions gets little notice; biotechnology companies are not in the habit of publicizing studies that question the efficacy of their miraculous products or suggest the presence of a serpent in the biotech.”


Technical difficulties have inhibited genetically modified animals in agriculture

Ann Bruce (Senior Research Fellow at the ESRC Innogen Centre at the University of Edinburgh, and scientific administrator at Roslin Institute), “GM animals — another GM crops?” Genomics, Society and Policy, Vol. 3, No. 3 (December 2007), p. 4

“The relatively weak uptake of GM technology in animal agriculture has been attributed by some scientists to a number of technical issues. The techniques for genetic modification have been very inefficient in terms of the number of animals required in order to successfully obtain a genetically modified animal, and this makes the technique expensive. Suitable target genes for transfer are not immediately obvious as it is not clear what new traits it would be possible and desirable to introduce. Exceptions include pigs produced in Canada that produce less environmental pollution.”


Engineered organisms will unpredictably alter the ecosystem

Michael W. Fox (director, Institute for the Study of Animal Problems), “Genetic Engineering: Cornucopia or Pandora’s Box?” The Futurist, January-February 1986, p. 14

“With genetically engineered bacteria, risks include not only the accidental release of harmful organisms, but also problems arising from the deliberately released organisms such as bacterial pesticides. These problems include the survival, multiplication, and dispersal of such bacteria with long-term adverse ecological consequences that cannot be effectively predetermined.”


Transgenic plants can upset the farm ecosystem

Renee Twombly (Department of Journalism, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), “Super Weeds,” Technology Review, August-September 1989, p. 15

“Corn that repels insects, tomatoes that stay firm on the vine — the age of the super vegetable is coming. But as the commercial use of genetically engineered seeds approaches, some researchers warn that altered plants could upset the agricultural ecosystem.”


Alien DNA in plants disrupts the cellular balance that has evolved over centuries

Barry Commoner (founder and senior scientist, Center for the Biology of Natural Systems at Queens College, New York; professor emeritus of plant physiology, Washington Univ., St. Louis), “Unraveling the DNA myth: the spurious foundation of genetic engineering,” Harper’s Magazine, February 2002, p. 46

“In an ordinary unmodified plant the reliability of this natural genetic process results from the compatibility between its gene system and its equally necessary protein-mediated systems. The harmonious relation between the two systems develops during their cohabitation, in the same species, over very long evolutionary periods, in which natural selection eliminates incompatible variants. In other words, within a single species the reliability of the successful outcome of the complex molecular process that gives rise to the inheritance of particular traits is guaranteed by many thousands of years of testing, in nature. In a genetically engineered transgenic plant, however, the alien transplanted bacterial gene must properly interact with the plant’s protein-mediated systems. Higher plants, such as corn, soybeans, and cotton, are known to possess proteins that repair DNA miscoding; proteins that alternatively splice messenger RNA and thereby produce a multiplicity of different proteins from a single gene; and proteins that chaperone the proper folding of other, nascent proteins. But the plant systems’ evolutionary history is very different from the bacterial gene’s .As a result, in the transgenic plant the harmonious interdependence of the alien gene and the new host’s protein-mediated systems is likely to be disrupted in unspecified, imprecise, and inherently unpredictable ways. In practice, these disruptions are revealed by the numerous experimental failures that occur before a transgenic organism is actually produced and by unexpected genetic changes that occur even when the gene has been successfully transferred.”


Altered organisms will have their natural diseases change

Bernard E. Rollin (prof. of philosophy, Colorado State Univ.), “The Frankenstein Thing: Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering,” USA Today, November 1990, p. 72

“Second, even if one were changing the animal in non-immunilogical ways, one could be altering the pathogens to which it is host indirectly by changing the microenvironment where they live. This, in turn, could result in these pathogens becoming dangerous to humans or other animals. Thus, for example, in altering agricultural animals such as cattle by accelerated genetic means, one runs the risk of affecting the pathogenicity of the microorganisms that inhabit the organism in unknown and unpredictable ways.”


The altered pathogen profile will imperil humans and animals

Bernard E. Rollin (prof. of philosophy, Colorado State Univ.), “The Frankenstein Thing: Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering,” USA Today, November 1990, p. 71-72

“A third set of risks arises out of the fact that, in certain cases, when one changes animals, one can thereby alter the pathogens to which they are host. This can occur in two conceivable ways. First, in genetically engineering for resistance to a given pathogen in an animal, one unwittingly could be selecting for new variants among the natural mutations of that microbe to which the modified animal would not be resistant. These new organisms then could be infectious to these or other animals, or humans. (Society already has witnessed such untoward consequences as a result of its indiscriminate use of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture.)”


Seeds and pollen disperse

Renee Twombly (Department of Journalism, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), “Super Weeds,” Technology Review, August-September 1989, p. 15

“Last year, Norman Ellstrand, an ecological geneticist at the University of California at Riverside, showed that up to one-fifth of the genes of wild radishes could be exchanged between fields as much as 3,000 feet apart. This refutes the long-held belief that pollen from wild radishes couldn’t move more than 300 feet.”


Pollen and seeds from forest species could disrupt the environmental balance

Carol A. Hoffman (assistant research scientist, Institute of Ecology at the Univ. of Georgia), “Ecological risks of genetic engineering of crop plants,” BioScience, June 1990, p. 436

“Genetically engineered food crops, however, are not the only plants that present potential environmental risks (Raffa 1989). Genetic manipulation of important commercial forest species, such as pines and poplars, which are wind pollinated and disperse pollen and seeds over relatively long distances (Lanner 1966), could have an even greater potential to disrupt natural community dynamics.”


Engineered plants will crossbreed with wild relatives

Renee Twombly (Department of Journalism, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), “Super Weeds,” Technology Review, August-September 1989, p. 16

“A conference held in late 1987 at Boyce Thompson found that of the fifteen major U.S. crops, sorghum, sunflower, and tobacco could be endangered because they breed with wild relatives. And while the eleven others have no weedy cousins in the United States, such relatives exist elsewhere.”


Transgenic material from genetically modified crops could migrate to other organisms

Mae-Wan Ho (director of the Institute of Science in Society), “How to be an organism,” Synthesis/Regeneration, Winter 2003, p. 14

“Let me return to some practical issues about GM crops. UK government scientists already pointed out that there are dangers from pollen, and from plant debris that could be allergenic and also contain transgenic DNA that could be transferred horizontally to bacteria living in the mouth and respiratory tract of people. So the farm workers and the food processors are the first line of defense for these kinds of hazards. ISIS, my institution, was one of the first to call for GM-free food aid. And the reason why is because populations that are malnourished have their immune systems compromised, and therefore they are especially susceptible to the kinds of hazards that genetically engineered crops could pose. These hazards can come in the form of antibiotic-resistant genes being passed on to bacteria in the environment and in people’s guts. If these happen to be dangerous bacteria, infections could be untreatable. Transgenic DNA is made from viruses and bacteria that cause diseases and they can actually recombine, or exchange genetic material with viruses and bacteria that are in the environment to create new ones.”


Plants will transfer herbicide resistance to weeds

David Pimentel (professor of insect ecology, Cornell University), “Down on the farm: genetic engineering meets ecology,” Technology Review, January 1987, p. 27

“Scientists know, largely from laboratory studies, that engineered microorganisms can transfer genes to plants. Therefore, some of the genetic characters added to crop plants could possibly be transferred to weeds. If a gene added to a cereal grain to enable it to resist a plant pathogen were transferred to a weed species of the same family, the weed would resist the pathogen and be able to spread faster. The odds of this happening are extremely small, but such an occurrence could alter the ecosystems of both natural lands and farms.”


Gene transfer can create super-weeds

Renee Twombly (Department of Journalism, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), “Super Weeds,” Technology Review, August-September 1989, p. 15

“Would crops designed to resist droughts, disease, insects, or herbicides pass those traits to weedy relatives nearby? The result could be super weeds. Recent findings both support this concern and provide some reassurance.”


Pollen dispersal can create super-weeds

Renee Twombly (Department of Journalism, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), “Super Weeds,” Technology Review, August-September 1989, p. 16

“Similarly, Texas A&M biologist Hugh D. Wilson has found that wild squash pollen can soar up to 4,300 feet, three times farther than previously thought. According to his gene analysis, a single bee helped carry the pollen, and up to five percent of the plant progeny were new hybrids. Given the extent of pollen transfer, he worries that ‘the prospect of creating a super weed is there, because we just don’t know enough about gene exchanges between cultivated and wild plants.’”


Superweeds are profoundly risky for the ecosystem

Carol A. Hoffman (assistant research scientist, Institute of Ecology at the Univ. of Georgia), “Ecological risks of genetic engineering of crop plants,” BioScience, June 1990, p. 435

“What might be the environmental consequences of widespread acceptance of new varieties containing traits that confer environmental tolerance or pest resistance? Plants with these traits, acquired either by the escape of the engineered crop or from wild plants that have crossed with the crop, could have serious impacts on man-made plant communities.”


Superweeds would require dangerous herbicides

Carol A. Hoffman (assistant research scientist, Institute of Ecology at the Univ. of Georgia), “Ecological risks of genetic engineering of crop plants,” BioScience, June 1990, p. 435

“The most obvious threat comes from plants that might become more serious weeds in agricultural systems. For example, herbicides considered environmentally safe would no longer be effective against weeds that had captured a gene for herbicide resistance, forcing the use of more dangerous chemicals (Ellstrand and Hoffman, page 438 this issue).”


Engineered life would become a pest problem

Leslie Roberts (staff writer; deputy news editor, 2000-), “Ecologists worry about environmental releases,” Science, March 3, 1989, p. 1141

“Nor are introductions safe just because the modified organism is a native species rather than a non-native from a distant area. Both native and non-native species can become pests, says the committee.”


The medfly analogy demonstrates the pest problem

David Pimentel (professor, New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), et al., “Benefits and Risks of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture,” BioScience, October 1989, p. 608

“The last medfly eradication effort in California required massive amounts of insecticides, costing the government and farmers a total of $174 million (Jackson and Lee 1985).”


The kudzu analogy demonstrates the pest problem

Sheldon Krimsky (associate professor of urban and environmental policy, Tufts Univ.) et al., “Controlling the risk in biotech,” Technology Review, July 1989, p. 66

“When asked about the dangers of field tests, David Baltimore, head of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, has replied, ‘Would corn planted at the edge of a forest take over the forest?’ Yet occasionally, introduced natural organisms do just that, causing widespread damage. Kudzu, for example, was imported to the Southwest for forage and erosion control, but has since become a major weed problem in forests and roadways.”


The pest analogies show the final damage

David Pimentel (professor, New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), et al., “Benefits and Risks of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture,” BioScience, October 1989, p. 608

“The potential costs of damage resulting from a new pest introduced via genetic engineering, or other causes, can be estimated from data on some current U.S. pests. For example, corn rootworms cost the United States approximately $2 billion annually (Pimentel et al. 1988). Similarly, the European gypsy moth causes an estimated $100 million in damage to ornamental trees and shrubs and commercial forests, and it costs the United States an addition $10 million for control each year (Pimentel et al. 1988).”


The historical record suggests that pesticides cannot fix the problem

David Pimentel (professor, New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), et al., “Benefits and Risks of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture,” BioScience, October 1989, p. 608

“Major pests also cost the United States $64 billion annually in crop and livestock destruction, despite the annual application of approximately 500,000 tons of pesticides (Pimentel 1986a).”


Genetic engineering of plants destroys genetic diversity

Bernard E. Rollin (prof. of philosophy, Colorado State Univ.), “The Frankenstein Thing: Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering,” USA Today, November 1990, p. 71

“A second set of risks replicates and amplifies problems already inherent in selection by breeding. These include narrowing of the gene pool, the tendency toward genetic uniformity, the emergence of harmful recessives, the loss of hybrid vigor, and, or course, the greater susceptibility of organisms to devastation by pathogens, as has been shown in some genetically engineered crops.”


Genetic engineering of livestock destroys genetic diversity

Jeremy Rifkin (president, Foundation on Economic Trends), Declaration of a Heretic, 1985, p. 52

“By reproducing millions of identical copies of a single superior strain or breed, agriculturists hope to increase efficiency and output dramatically. This kind of pure monoculturing is going to result in the almost complete loss of minor strains or breeds, as they will be considered uneconomical and uncompetitive in the open marketplace. The long-term environmental consequences could be profound. Imagine millions of exact cloned replicas of a particular cow being used throughout the country and the world. The spread of one disease to which that particular genotype is not immune could result in the wholesale destruction of an entire herd and the collapse of much of the dairy industry.”


Lost diversity leads to agricultural epidemics

Bernard E. Rollin (prof. of philosophy, Colorado State Univ.), “The Frankenstein Thing: Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering,” USA Today, November 1990, p. 71

“First, there may be unanticipated consequences affecting the organism that is being rapidly changed. The apparent characteristic being genetically engineered may have unsuspected implications. To take an example from plants, when wheat was genetically engineered for resistance to blast, a form of blight, that characteristic was look at in isolation and the genetic basis for this resistance encoded into the organism. The back-up gene for general resistance, however, was ignored. As a result, the new organism was very susceptible to all sorts of viruses which, in one generation, mutated sufficiently to devastate the crop.”


Pesticide-resistant plants increase pesticide use

Deborah Erickson (staff writer), “Putting Down Roots: Genetically Engineered Plants Head For the Harvest,” Scientific American, May 1990, p. 84

“Opponents of genetic engineering are also skeptical of attempts to produce crops that are resistant to certain herbicides. They argue that this is simply a scheme to lock farmers into relying on a particular manufacturer’s product: it will lead to heavier use of agricultural chemicals, the environmentalists say. They also fear that tailoring a large variety of plants to defend themselves against insects will engender the same kind of resistance in the pests that chemicals now do.”


Engineering for herbicide resistance extends the use of dangerous agricultural chemicals

Michael W. Fox (director, Institute for the Study of Animal Problems), “Genetic Engineering: Cornucopia or Pandora’s Box?” The Futurist, January-February 1986, p. 12

“For example, genetically engineering certain crops, such as soybeans, to resist some potent herbicide that kills everything else in the fields is a misuse of our power over the gene. While such a package of herbicide and resistant seed could be highly profitable to the manufacturers, drug-dependent farming ultimately is hazardous to all life.”


Increased pesticide use would be undesirable

Sheldon Krimsky (associate professor of urban and environmental policy, Tufts Univ.) et al., “Controlling the risk in biotech,” Technology Review, July 1989, p. 67

“Meanwhile, other agrochemical and biotechnology companies are genetically engineering crops resistant to harmful side effects of pesticides — a practice that will expand and prolong the chemicals’ use. Pesticides are among the most profitable products of some of these corporations. Yet biotechnology could also be used to develop non-pesticide alternatives that would lessen farmers’ dependence on a few big agricultural companies.”


Genetic tinkering can diminish the net food value of products

Bernard E. Rollin (prof. of philosophy, Colorado State Univ.), “The Frankenstein Thing: Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering,” USA Today, November 1990, p. 71

“Second, the isolated characteristic being engineered into the organism may have unsuspected harmful consequences to humans who interact with the organism — such as people who consume the resultant life form, if it is a food animal. This, one can imagine genetically engineering, for example, faster growth in beef cattle in such a way as to increase certain levels of hormones which, when increased in concentration, turn out to be carcinogens for human beings over a period of years.”


Experience with hybrid crops is irrelevant to proving the safety of engineered organisms

Leslie Roberts (staff writer; deputy news editor, 2000-), “Ecologists worry about environmental releases,” Science, March 3, 1989, p. 1141

“In making their case, the ecologists challenge many of the arguments put forth about the ‘generic safety’ of engineered organisms. An oft-heard argument, espoused by Winston Brill, vice-president of Agracetus and others, is that the long experience with traditional crop breeding, in which genetic traits are recombined, albeit more crudely than with molecular techniques, demonstrates the safety of genetic engineering. Not so, says the ESA committee, because molecular techniques provide the ability to transfer traits among very different species, creating combinations that could not arise from traditional breeding.”


Genetic engineering will force wild alterations in agricultural strategy

Sheldon Krimsky (associate professor of urban and environmental policy, Tufts Univ.) et al., “Controlling the risk in biotech,” Technology Review, July 1989, p. 67

“‘Ice Minus,’ the controversial organism developed by Advanced Genetic Systems in Oakland, Calif., sparked opposition from farmers in Tulelake, Calif., where it was slated for field testing. In addition to their concerns about possible environmental harm, the Tulelake farmers believed that the organism, designed to replace natural bacteria that raise the temperature at which frost forms on plants, might increase the land devoted to potato farming.”


Genetic engineering is likely to depress farmers’ incomes

David Pimentel (professor, New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), et al., “Benefits and Risks of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture,” BioScience, October 1989, p. 610-611

“In contrast to the benefits of genetic engineering, significant social costs may be incurred (Krimsky 1987). For example, higher crop yields will benefit consumers by providing lower food prices, yet farmers’ profit margins will generally decline. On average, for most crop and livestock products, a one percent increase in yield results in a 4.5 percent in market price received by farmers. This relationship can be illustrated with the case of bovine growth hormone (BGH).”


It will bring ruin to the family farm

Sheldon Krimsky (associate professor of urban and environmental policy, Tufts Univ.) et al., “Controlling the risk in biotech,” Technology Review, July 1989, p. 67

“The result, they feared, would be increased competition in what was already a low-profit-margin enterprise. Yet farmers’ economic interests were largely ignored in the debate over safety, even though they could easily have been included and weighed against the new product’s purported benefits.”


Loss of family farms will destroy the U.S. economy

Bernard E. Rollin (prof. of philosophy, Colorado State Univ.), “The Frankenstein Thing: Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering,” USA Today, November 1990, p. 72

“A seventh set of risks concerns the economic impact of patenting life forms. What effects, for example, will this have on small family farmers, already hanging on by a breaking thread; on large agribusiness’ ever-increasing tendency to monopolize the food supply; or, in turn, on consumers and our social fabric?”


Bovine growth hormone (BGH) shows how financial ruin will occur

Julie Ann Miller (staff life sciences writer; subsequently editor in chief), “Barnyard biotech: dissent on the farm,” Science News, April 5, 1986, p. 213

“Introduction of the hormone into dairy farms will produce ‘the single most devastating economic dislocation in U.S. agricultural history,’ Rifkin says. The coalition cites a 1984 economic study by Robert J. Kalter at Cornell University predicting that 25 to 30 percent of U.S. dairy farmers would be forced out of business within three years of the introduction of bovine growth hormone.”


BGH provides a model for economic disaster

Sheldon Krimsky (associate professor of urban and environmental policy, Tufts Univ.) et al., “Controlling the risk in biotech,” Technology Review, July 1989, p. 67

“Or consider the case of bovine growth hormone, which can now be produced using genetically engineered organisms. When injected into cattle, the hormone can increase milk production by up to 30 percent. But what economic impact will the hormone have at a time when milk surpluses are at record levels? The regulatory framework does not take such socioeconomic effects into account.”


BGH provides a model for the collapse of rural America

David Pimentel (professor, New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), et al., “Benefits and Risks of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture,” BioScience, October 1989, p. 611

“All evidence suggests, therefore, that the use of BGH would accelerate the trend toward fewer and larger farms (Buttel 1988) and contribute farther to the loss of cultural diversity in an increasingly urban society (Coen et al. 1987).”


Biotechnology will displace foods currently imported from developing countries

Thomas Kiely (staff contributing editor), “Appropriate Biotech,” Technology Review, August-September 1989, p. 11

“Rudolfo Quintero, general director of the Regional Program of Biotechnology for Latin America and the Caribbean, worries that market-driven technology might eventually even harm the economies of developing nations. Quintero, whose Mexico City lab is funded by two United Nations agencies, believes that bioengineered products could displace some Third World exports. He cites coffee, cacao, and vanilla as examples. ‘You can now produce chili — the hot flavor’ — in a laboratory, he points out. ‘So if the price is right, you don’t have to buy chili from Mexico.’”


Biotechnology destroys critical agricultural-export sectors in developing nations

David Pimentel (professor, New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), et al., “Benefits and Risks of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture,” BioScience, October 1989, p. 611

“The use of microbes to synthetically produce cocoa, coffee, and tea extracts from relatively simple carbohydrates may eventually lead to the elimination of these industries in developing countries (Buttel and Barker 1985).”


This would have devastating economic effects on farmers in underdeveloped nations

David Pimentel (professor, New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), et al., “Benefits and Risks of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture,” BioScience, October 1989, p. 611

“The potential effects of genetic engineering on rural land use have yet to be assessed. This rapidly advancing technology is, however, clearly capable of causing major ecological, economic, and social changes. Small farmers in developing countries, for example, may experience severe negative effects.”


Biotechnology destroys distorts land-use policies in less-developed countries

David Pimentel (professor, New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), et al., “Benefits and Risks of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture,” BioScience, October 1989, p. 611

“For countries such as Ghana, where more than 20% of the work force is employed in cocoa production, this new technology could increase unemployment and reduce income from trade, in addition to stimulating unprecedented and environmentally destructive land-use change, intensifying soil erosion and rapid water runoff (Christian 1985).”


The financial woes of less-developed countries will spread to industrial nations

David Pimentel (professor, New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), et al., “Benefits and Risks of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture,” BioScience, October 1989, p. 611

“Because of the increasing significance of international trade, financial crises in developing countries can affect the economies of the developed world. This effect was clearly demonstrated in 1973-1974 when increased in oil prices caused U.S. grain exports to decline 50 percent (USBC 1987).”


Scientists admit that biotechnology needs strong control

Leslie Roberts (staff writer; deputy news editor, 2000-), “Ecologists worry about environmental releases,” Science, March 3, 1989, p. 1141

“While endorsing the ‘timely development of environmentally sound products,’ such as improved crop varieties and pest control agents, the committee says such development must take place within the contest of a ‘scientifically based regulatory policy’ that will identify the rare exceptions that do post some risk.”


Genetically modified animals have been rarely accepted as food stock

Ann Bruce (Research Fellow, Organisation Research Centre for Social Sciences, School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh, Scotland), “GM animals — another GM crops?” Genomics, Society and Policy, Volume 3, Number 3 (November 2007), p. 4

“The relatively weak uptake of GM technology in animal agriculture has been attributed by some scientists to a number of technical issues. The techniques for genetic modification have been very inefficient in terms of the number of animals required in order to successfully obtain a genetically modified animal, and this makes the technique expensive. Suitable target genes for transfer are not immediately obvious as it is not clear what new traits it would be possible and desirable to introduce. Exceptions include pigs produced in Canada that produce less environmental pollution. These GM pigs produce an enzyme in their saliva that allows them to digest phosphorus from cereals thus, it is claimed, reducing phosphorus content of manure by up to 60%.”


Genetic manipulation of animals undermines ethics by reductionist thinking

Matthew Harvey (manager, Science in Society Programme at the Royal Society, UK), “Animal Genomics in Science, Social Science and Culture,” Genomics, Society and Policy, Vol. 3, No. 2 (August 2007), p. 21

“The central organising principle is that biotechnology and genomics encourages a reductionist view of the animal. Michael argues that ‘off the peg’ genetic design reduces the animal to the sum of its genes, and the knowing of an animal’s genetic make-up becomes enough to comprehensively know that animal. For Bowring, this breaking up of animals into collections of genes and traits, whose relationship to the organism in which they reside is wholly contingent, and then manipulating genetic material accordingly, threatens the integrity and autonomy of animals on which the human-animal social relationship is based.”

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