The Need for Greater Regulation and Control of Genetic Engineering

need for greater regulation of genetic engineering

This is a statement by some prominent natural scientists involved in studying the implications and impacts of genetic engineering. Among them are molecular biologists, microbiologists, theoretical biologists, biophysists, ecologists and agricultural scientists.

The statement reflects the concerns of these scientists that the rapid recent and current expansion of genetic engineering has not been matched by official efforts, nationally or internationally, to assess, monitor, regulate or control the technology and its application.

It presents some policy conclusions and recommendations, including the need to consider a moratorium on the commercial release of genetically-engineered organisms into the environment; an international biosafety protocol; the adoption of the precautionary principle in biotechnology policy and activities; and the mandatory maintenance of national and international registers of genetic engineering activities as part of an early warning system for adverse outcomes.

With the tremendous expansion of genetic engineering activities, and rapidly accumulating evidence of risks and hazards, the need for caution, regulation and control of the technology has become much more urgent.

This statement by a generation of scientists who are concerned about the ecological and health risks of genetic engineering is thus most timely as well as critically important, as the world crosses the treshold to a new biotechnology era.

The warnings and policy recommendations of these scientists are worthy of serious consideration.

Third World: US$3.00; Others: US$4.00