Genetic Engineering — страница 6

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viruses. Gene Pollution Cannot Be Cleaned Up Once genetically engineered organisms, bacteria and viruses are released into the environment it is impossible to contain or recall them. Unlike chemical or nuclear contamination, negative effects are irreversible. DNA is actually not well understood. Yet the biotech companies have already planted millions of acres with genetically engineered crops, and they intend to engineer every crop in the world. The concerns above arise from an appreciation of the fundamental role DNA plays in life, the gaps in our understanding of it, and the vast scale of application of the little we do know. Even the scientists in the Food and Drug administration have expressed concerns. Unknown Harms As with human health risks, it is unlikely that all

potential harms to the environment have been identified. Each of the potential harms above is an answer to the question, "Well, what might go wrong?" The answer to that question depends on how well scientists understand the organism and the environment into which it is released. At this point, biology and ecology are too poorly understood to be certain that question has been answered comprehensively. Any pros? Certainly, there should be some. Still, most of them are connected with commercial gains for genetic engineering companies. A popular claim, that farmers will benefit, is simply not true. It is just the same thing with consumers. No one is going to feed the poorest with GE products for the famine in many underdeveloped countries is simply the matter of inability

to buy food, not lack of it. So today, at the present stage of development, we hardly need GE expanding on food products, needless to say about animal and human cloning. Incidentally, some daydreaming proponents of GE really believe that mankind will not be able to survive without it. According to them, we will certainly have to genetically upgrade ourselves in response to governmental activities. The humans will be able to hibernate – just like some animals – to cover long distances without aging, and, probably, will become immortal… Still, what about the present need of GE? Where can GE particularly be used now without a threat to the humans and the environment? So, scientists say that genetic engineering can make it possible to battle disease (cancer, in particular),

disfigurement, and other maladies through a series of medical breakthroughs that will be beneficial to the human race. Moreover, cloning will be able to end the extinction of many endangered species. The main question is whether we can trust genetic engineering. The fact is that even genetically changed corn is already killing species. The recent research showed that pollen from genetically engineered corn plants is toxic to monarch butterflies. Corn plants produce huge quantities of pollen, which dusts the leaves of plants growing near corn fields. Close to half the monarch caterpillars that fed on milkweed leaves dusted with Bt corn pollen died. Surviving caterpillars were about half the size of caterpillars that fed on leaves dusted with pollen from non-engineered corn.

Something is wrong with the engineered products – they are different, so we cannot be sure about the effect they will bring about. So, is the technology trustworthy? I suppose not. Conclusion So, do we need it? There are far too many disadvantages of GE and far too many unpredictable things may happen. The humans are amateurs in this area, in fact, they are just like a monkey taught to press PC buttons. We have almost no experience, the technology has not yet evolved enough. I believe, we should wait, otherwise we may give birth to a trouble, which would be impossible to resolve. References David Heaf ‘Pros and Cons of Genetic Engineering’, 2000, ifgene; Ricarda Steinbrecher, 'From Green to Gene Revolution', The Ecologist, Vol 26 No 6; ‘Genetic Engineering Kills Monarch

Butterflies’, Nature Magazine, May 19,1999; ‘Who's Afraid of Genetic Engineering?’ The New York Times August 26, 1998; Sara Chamberlain ‘Techno-foods’, August 19, 1999, The New Internationalist; W French Anderson, 'Gene Therapy' in Scientific American, September 1995; Nature Biotechnology Vol 14 May 1996; Andrew Kimbrell 'Breaking the Law of Life' in Resurgence May/June 1997 Issue 182; Jim Hightower ‘What’s for dinner?’, May 29, 2000. Contents Introduction 1 What is genetic engineering? 1 Techniques 1 The history of GE 2 Selective breeding and genetic engineering 3 What are the dangers? 3 Fundamental Weaknesses of the Concept 3 Health Hazards 4 Potential Environmental Harms 6 Any pros? 8 Conclusion 9 References 10