The Long Term Dangers of Genetic Engineering
March 28 2012
The long term dangers of genetic engineering
Did you know that the very vehicle currently used to transfer genetic material for the purpose of genetic engineering is a virus? Genetic engineering, simply put is taking genetic material from one organism and transferring it to another to produce desired results. This can encompass anything as benign as changing the color of a rose, or as dangerous as creating more deadly bio-weapons. While the practice of genetic engineering has been around for well over 30 years we still have little knowledge of its long term effects. We should take care in how we proceed with genetic engineering, learning more of its long term dangers and effects before we continue actually practicing it.
According to some, genetic engineering is what will allow us to survive the future. We already genetically engineer our crops, building in disease resistance, increasing yield, and even adding natural pesticide properties. We do all this to allow our crops to grow better in more diverse environments. For example, in the 1990’s Hawaii’s papaya crops were in danger from an insect borne virus that was wiping them out. After traditional plant breeding methods failed to produce a plant resistant to the virus they turned to genetic engineering. “After a few years of research, they met with success and by 1998 the farmers were planting the new virus resistant seeds” (Bren, 2003). It sounds like genetic engineering is the answer to our world’s food problems. But let’s consider this, according to research by Prof. Hans-Hinrich Kaatz from the University of Jena, genes that were genetically engineered into transgenic crops have been found in the bacteria and yeasts in the gut of bees from the same area. What does this mean to us? Well, to me it means that the vehicle that allowed scientists to transfer certain desired genetic constructs into the base...