Aftermath of 522

 The Independent has an excellent summary of the state of the art on gene splicing … the REAL issues behind 522 …. Washington State’s failed initiative to label any food containing genomes that have been modified using the tool set of molecular genetics.

I votes against this because it was anti science.  There are many ways to modify the genetic code … intentional breeding, radiation, virus, drugs …. these also produce “GMO.”  The difference with the modern tools is that we can be very selective in the modifications.  It is hard to argue that knowing what you are doing when you make a change is worse than proceeding by guesswork.

WE, humans, now have miraculous, godlike, powers to alter our genetic code or to do the same in crops, plants, etc. The public, I think, is frightened that somehow codes taken across species are bad.  That is not the case …DNA is DNA, adding some code from a tomato to a dog’s genome is no different than going into the genome directly and changing what is there.  The question for society is how do we regulate these powers?  I think the first step is educating the public so they can understand “genetic engineering.” Here is the article from The Independent

‘Jaw-dropping’ breakthrough in genetics hailed medical milestone

What is new?  What is new is specificity.  Rather than crude tools of breeding or the use of mutation anfd viruses to change codes, now we can be precise.

My guess is that the average person finds this scary.  So do I.  We can do this, we must do this for the reasons discussed n the Independent .. to cure and even eliminate diseases.  My concern is scientific oversight in an era of science denial.  How do we assure that great care is taken to understand any changes and introduce them carefully into the environment?

Your Comment