Genetic Engineering on Steroids

Along the same lines as my earlier post about new and ''improved'' genetically modified corn is a must-read feature about the newest and, perhaps, most alarming scientific field: The study of building living things from raw chemicals called synthetic biology.

The first signs of this growing trend were identified some four years ago when scientists developed an effective polio virus only with chemicals and without an active strain of the disease present. That was after two years of research. The following year, a different group of scientists created another virus from scratch in just three weeks.

Just imagine where this all this may be heading, especially when these discoveries are driven by scientists, the article rightly argues, who are ill equipped to grasp the ethical problems that can and will arise from their work.

With corporations sniffing around synthetic biology in pursuit of "the next big thing," I have little doubt we'll be facing health-harming scientific dilemmas sooner than later. Also, I suspect the responsibility for putting the breaks on such "innovations" will rest on us one day.

Let's hope and pray common sense and rational thinking prevails.

Rachael's Democracy and Health News, No. 836, December 29, 2005 Free Full Text Article

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