BIOTECHNOLOGY AND BIOSAFETY: A HOLISTIC VIEW
By Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero
Concerns about the negative impacts of modern biotechnology are scientifically valid and thus do not deserve to be dismissed as ignorance or fear of the unknown. It is quite rare to find spaces, like GenØk, in which the subject of biosafety can be discussed with solid scientific foundations and free of industry pressure. Misgivings about GM foods and products do not constitute opposition to all biotechnology, as the industry claims. What institutions like GenØk advocate is a very cautious and precautionary approach to modern biotechnologies so as to harness the benefits and adequately assess and minimize the risks.
GenØk "provides a more holistic perspective on the issue (of modern biotechnology) than other institutions and sets the core gene ecology science in context with some of the underlying technical, economic and social drivers influencing biotechnology and biotechnology regulation", says Peter Johan Schei, leader of Norway's delegation in international biosafety negotiations and GenØk board member. "This is a very ambitious and challenging task, yet one highly needed in a global discourse which often is highly fragmented and where the motives behind argumentation are not always fully obvious."
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety http://www.cbd.int/biosafety/
Convention on Biological Diversity http://www.cbd.int/
Lim Li Lin, "Progress After Tough Talks on Liability Regime for GMOs," South-North Development Monitor, May 23, 2008, http://www.biosafety-info.net/ article.php?aid=520.
Lim Li Ching and Terje Traavik, eds. Biosafety First: Holistic Approaches to Risk and Uncertainty in Genetic Engineering and Genetically Modified Organisms, Tapir Academic Press, 2007. Includes collaborations from Lim Li Lin, Arpad Pusztai, Susan Bardocz, David Quist, Tewolde Egziabher and Anne Ingeborg Myhr.
RALLT. Network for a GMO-Free Latin America http://rallt.org/
Smith, Jeffrey, "Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods," Yes! Books, 2007.
Union of Concerned Scientists. "Gone to Seed: Transgenic Contaminants in the Traditional Seed Supply". 2004. http://www.ucsusa.org/food_ and_agriculture/science_and_ impacts/impacts_genetic_ engineering/gone-to-seed.html