Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Burden of Proof for GMO Safety

Environmental groups call for tighter regulation of ‘extreme genetic engineering’ by Brian Vastag. The Washington Post, March 13, 2012.

[abstracted] "Led by the environmental advocacy group Friends of the Earth, the coalition also called for stronger government regulations over “extreme genetic engineering” and a moratorium on the commercial use and release of lab-created organisms....

...The White House jumped in, with the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues recommending in 2010 that federal agencies adopt a “middle course” that encouraged enhanced oversight and careful consideration of possible risks but no new laws or regulations.
Environmental groups say those measures don’t go far enough.

“The field is evolving incredibly rapidly in the face of almost no regulation,” said Eric Hoffman of Friends of the Earth. “A moratorium puts the brakes on to allow society time to decide which applications are okay and which aren’t.”

Majia here: I strongly agree that the possible dangers of deliberately or accidentally released gmos are significant enough to warrant enhanced oversight and regulation. 

We have a very poor record as a species considering the environmental and health effects of our innovations. 

We now have the capability of engineering biological organisms that could essentially wipe out humanity. 

Innovation without careful study and consideration of risks by neutral parties is going to result in massive problems.

The burden of proof for the safe development and implementation of gmos must reside with the innovators, not with society. That is, innovators must PROVE that their proposed creations are safe BEFORE developing them. 

The question is are we capable of creating regulatory infrastructures that are immune from corruption and greed? The data suggest not.


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