The Tao of Biotechnology

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Mighty Pea

I guess we can chalk one up for Nature: after ten years of research, scientists in Australia have abandoned efforts to genetically modify a pea, because the GM version caused lung inflammation in mice. Some might say, well the system worked. It eliminated the pea before it got into the food supply. Yes, that’s true. But the pea was eliminated because it caused lung inflammation. What about more subtle side effects, ones not so easily recognized? Some might argue that GMOs in the food we eat are bound to have long term effects on the people eating them, and that it is impossible to know what those long term effects are. This possibility is one reason why I am against genetically modifying our food.

Health Notes
We’ve had a lot of talk recently about avian (bird) flu. Some nations want to genetically modify the world’s chickens (see below) and there is a lot of hoopla over developing a vaccine (which wouldn’t be available, in sufficient quantity, for 3-5 years I think). In this article, a scientist suggests more practical methods for preventing a human pandemic.

The number of AIDS cases has hit 40 million, and seems to be rising rapidly. And Russian drug users account for the growth of the AIDS epidemic in Europe.

The Pope weighs in on genetic testing of fetuses.

Britain’s Tony Blair calls for action to reduce global warming? He would do well to talk to his pals in Washington. On second thought, that probably wouldn’t do any good.


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