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Threats of unintended gene transfers
Engineered genes may offer vast potential improvements, but they are also more mobile than scientists had suspected. Viral genes used to modify crops can be transferred to infecting viruses (Greene and Allison, 1994). Genes inserted in crop plants by genetic engineering can be transferred rapidly to wild weedy relatives, even over considerable distances, and thus escape from control (Mikkelsen et al., 1996; Timmons et al., 1995). Similar concerns have been expressed about genetically altered animals such as 'super salmon' (MacKenzie, D., 1996). There have been concerns for potential environmental or health disasters caused by genetically modified organisms (Independent Panel on Sustainable Development, 1996). Extra care will thus be required in planning genetic alterations and releasing the resulting organisms. In response to these concerns, government-designated experts adopted the UNEP International Technical Guidelines for Safety in Biotechnology in December 1995.
can also have economic and social impacts. The use of genetically modified
temperate crops such as rapeseed in developed countries to replace tropical
crop products such as coconut and palm oils could eventually threaten
the exports and thus the economies of poor developing countries (Kleiner,
Aileen, Eileen O'Brien, Yvonne Charters and Mike Wilkinson. 1995. (Scottish
Crop Research Institute) Quoted in Coghlan, Andy. "Far-flung pollen
raises spectre of superweed." New Scientist, 11 November 1995, p.
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