controversies & ethics

Phandaal ez006804 at peseta.ucdavis.edu
Mon Jan 30 14:59:15 EST 1995

I've been asked to give a lecture to upper-division college students on
the controversies and ethical considerations in producing transgenic
organisms, especially transgenic plants.  It's been a while since I gave
this lecture, and so I was wondering if anybody had any good examples of
controversies or ethical considerations that I could incorporate into the 

Two I can think of off-hand are:

1) introducing insecticidal proteins (such as the Bacillus thuringiensis
protein) into plants may create resistant insect populations (under the
force of heavy selection pressure), which could then overrun the resistant
plants and make worthless the efforts by conventional growers who *use* Bt
protein as a topical pesticidal spray. 

2) altering fatty acid metabolism in oil-crops (like canola) so that they 
produce oils found chiefly in palm and coconut could severely damage the 
palm oil and coconut oil industries in Third World countries... thus 
severely depressing the economies of these already struggling countries.

If you are aware of any other similar cases, or simply have a point which 
you think would be useful for the lecture, I'd appreciate hearing from 


Peter Schuerman
plschuerman at ucdavis.edu

/>>/>>/>>      In nature there are neither rewards nor       <<\<<\<<\
\>>\>>\>>      punishments--there are consequences.          <</<</<</
<<\<<\<<\                                                    />>/>>/>>
<</<</<</                          - Robert G. Ingersoll     \>>\>>\>>

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