• Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering and Transgenics:

Linda MacDonald Glenn, a healthcare ethics educator and consultant, examines
the issues surrounding engineered and altered species used for medical

  • Genetically modified foods:

Are they a risk to human/animal health
By  Arpad Puztai

  • The ecological Impacts of Agricultural Biotechnology 

  • Biotechnology in crops

Issues for the developing world
By Laura  Spinney

  • What should be the role and focus of biotechnology in the agricultural research agendas of developing countries

    Biotechnology Forum website http://www.fao.org/biotech/forum.asp

     Summary Document of the above mentiones e-mail conference   can be asessed in that link
    It was Conference 8 of the FAO Electronic Forum on Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture, and it ran from 13 November to 16 December 2002.  The aim of the 14-page document is to provide a summary of the main arguments and concerns discussed during the moderated e-mail conference, based on the messages posted by the participants. During the 5-week conference, 347 people subscribed and 128 messages were posted, about 60% from people living in developing countries.The document comprises an Executive Summary, an Introduction, information on conference participation and, the main part, a section providing a summary of the main discussions.

  • Genetic variabity in cultivated plants: their conservation and exploration in relation to MGO
    A comment by Nagib Nassar

    The use of GM crops as food must be approached with caution, for two important reasons. The first is that natural variability in our crops is abundant. When we have made use of this, it has saved crops from many diseases and significantly improved nutritional content, which has been of great benefit to humans. It is absurd to ignore this variability or allow it to fade away. And look at the variation in bacteria and viruses. Who knows the consequences of this in genetic engineering? Has it been examined? The answer is not yet . not at all.

    Take Bt cotton. All the aspects of it studied so far have shown harmful effects on soil and ecosystems. What has not yet been examined may prove worse. For example, many people in developing countries depend on cotton oil for food and on cottonseed for fodder. If Bt cotton proved fatal for soil bacteria, imagine what might happen to humans and animals who consume  products made from it. Has any systematic study focused on this subject?

    The second reason is the potential effect on the environment. Discussion has centred on the validity of techniques used to measure contamination of wild maize by GM plants, but everybody knows that an allogamous plant like maize must hybridise in nature with wild relatives.What happens to the ecosystems that are contaminated in this way? Isn't it possible that these bacterial genes appeared as mutations in the past, and were eliminated by natural selection because they were harmful to plants, humans and ecosystems? Now we are forcing nature to accept what it has already eliminated. Who pays the price?


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