meaning of genetic engineering,

Indu M.

use of technology at the level of genes.

7 replies

John P. 194°

I would say rather that genetic engineering is the use of a technology that we don't yet fully understand.

Written in September 2008

C Robb W. 444°

I would extend that to, the use of technology to extend corporate ownership to the molecular level.

Written in September 2008

2 people think this is a cool reply

John P. 194°

Good point C Robb W, Can someone explain to me why anyone should be allowed to patent a molecule?

It seems to me to be ridiculous. It's like looking through my telescope, observing an arrangement of stars and patenting that arrangement. What's the difference with patenting an arrangement of atoms?

Written in September 2008

C Robb W. 444°

John, the difference is you aren't actually changing the stars and you can't patent the existing arrangement. The companies that modify and patent organisms go to great financial lengths to do so and therefore expect a return on their investment. Not an unnecessarily unreasonable expectation, however when the aim is to control the food supply or the health care of the world and thus profit from what are essentially basic human rights, to sustenance and health, then I have a problem with that.

The psituation is made more pernicious when one, the industrial agriculture model of supplying food to people with high inputs of energy and poison to produce significantly less nutritious food, produces a higher demand for the other, rising health care profits due to increasing levels of the diseases linked with the western diet such as obesity and diabetes. As we become more reliant on engineered foodlike products we become more dependent on engineered pharmaceutical products. Corporate profits soar, we get less healthy and more poor. Check out Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food" for more on this.

Written in September 2008

John P. 194°

Good point(s) C Robb W.

I can understand companies wanting a return on their investment. They have to spend time and money on R&D, but isn't it true that in some cases compounds are patented without any modification.

I just caught the tail end of a report the other day on an existing strain of Nap Hal wheat being patented by Monsanto. They didn't develop that strain, it was developed over centuries in India using natural techniques.

So why should a huge multinational be allowed to restrict the use of this food?

Written in September 2008

C Robb W. 444°

They shouldn't!
I seem to remember something about products developed from rainforest plants being patented. I don't remember the details though. I'm not sure what the law is on this but if these corporations want it they seem to have the where with all to get it.

Written in September 2008

John P. 194°

This discussion was the catalyst for an article sbout some disturbing trends in patenting:

http://www.celsias.com/article/broccoli-set-rew...

Written in October 2008

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