Such an amusement

Matthew Bishop was told there was no treatment that could save his vision. But now scientific breakthroughs in gene therapy have given him, and others, hope

There’s an argument against genetic manipulation. I understand it even if disagree with it. There’s one in favour as well. But how do we construct an argument that’s in favour of doing it to humans and not to rice?

16 comments on “Such an amusement

  1. Having your genes altered is personal choice.

    Genetically altered rice can escape in to the wild from supply chains and therefore you could find yourself unknowingly eating it.

    I think that’s bollox, but that’s the argument they’ll make.

  2. Because the germ line isn’t (yet) the target of human gene therapy.

    Not that I agree with the argument, but that’s what it is.

  3. My theory is that people chose their position on this because of George Bush. I remember a long while back he came out with statements on GM food and stem cells, quite close together – in favour of the former, against the latter. This was peak Bush Derangement Syndrome time and people went beserk, fixed their tiny minds forever.

  4. Relate to what BiND says, but people reproduce a lot slower than rice, and it’s easier to round them up and nobble them if they turn out to be dangerous mutants.

  5. Ben – but if they were dangerous mutants the chances are they would have alreayd evolved by themselves and taken over the world…

  6. @BiG
    Good point, but that can be true of GM food as well. Haven’t Monsanto been vilified for making their Roundup-resistant strains infertile, so the farmers have to buy new seed every year?

  7. The trouble is that companies are manipulating rice to either be poisonous to pests (with a toxic bacteria inserted) or to be able to withstand heavy applications of herbicide (which is generally poisonous). This introduces poison into the food chain, which could hurt people if they eat enough of it. It also introduces poison into the environment, which could damage cropland and hurt future farming efforts.

  8. Just begs the question how many children need to go blind before GreenPeace [spit] will open their eyes?

    Do they realise these are brown children. I mean obviously if they were white it wuldn’t matter but they’re not.

  9. dearieme: James Watson’s detractors certainly do.

    I wonder if this is why Life Story has never been repeated (the Horizon docudrama about W&C+F&W working out the structure of DNA).

  10. Genetic manipulation of food is perfectly legal and done all the time.

    It’s just that we have to do it the old-fashioned way by random brute force, rather than use the delicate techniques of modern science. The seed companies haven’t stopped introducing new varieties.

    You’re not dodging any risk by opposing GM.

    Like the Japanese having a nuclear accident because they opposed upgrading their old facilities, you may well be increasing risk.

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