[Marxism] Marxmailer reports on new genetic modification risks

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jan 28 08:23:08 MST 2014

NY Times Jan. 28 2014
Genetic Weapon Against Insects Raises Hope and Fear in Farming

Scientists and biotechnology companies are developing what could become 
the next powerful weapon in the war on pests — one that harnesses a 
Nobel Prize-winning discovery to kill insects and pathogens by disabling 
their genes.

By zeroing in on a genetic sequence unique to one species, the technique 
has the potential to kill a pest without harming beneficial insects. 
That would be a big advance over chemical pesticides.

“If you use a neuro-poison, it kills everything,” said Subba Reddy 
Palli, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky who is researching 
the technology, which is called RNA interference. “But this one is very 

But some specialists fear that releasing gene-silencing agents into 
fields could harm beneficial insects, especially among organisms that 
have a common genetic makeup, and possibly even human health. The 
controversy echoes the larger debate over genetic modification of crops 
that has been raging for years. The Environmental Protection Agency, 
which regulates pesticides, will hold a meeting of scientific advisers 
on Tuesday to discuss the potential risks of RNA interference.

“To attempt to use this technology at this current stage of 
understanding would be more naïve than our use of DDT in the 1950s,” the 
National Honey Bee Advisory Board said in comments submitted to the 
E.P.A. before the meeting, at the agency’s conference center in 
Arlington, Va.


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