QIsn't it true that the endeavor of biotechnology is basically well meaning but subject to the myopia of the widely accepted philosophy that humans can do things better than nature? Stated differently, when these organisms are removed from controlled condi

Isn't it true that the endeavor of biotechnology is basically well meaning but subject to the myopia of the widely accepted philosophy that humans can do things better than nature? Stated differently, when these organisms are removed from controlled conditions and released into a conditionless state (ie reality) is it possible the perceived superiority of these organisms may become null and void?

AExpert Answer

Humans do many things better than nature. Human medicine attacks huge numbers of naturally existing microbes, insects, worms and pets that kill and maim us and our plants and animals. Nature is not always wise--the world can be a very nasty environment for our children and us. If we are going to live on the planet we will have to intervene and alter it to some extent to survive.
 
Still it is true that in trying to alter nature one of the biggest threats is the unexpected spread of an altered or artificially introduced species‹think of the havoc kudzu, Asian chestnut blight, zebra mussels and sea lampreys among others have done. In fact, introduced species (not including humans) are a greater threat to natural biodiversity than pollution or diseases.  So in engineering nature we do need strict controls over release, auditing, and labeling of engineering genes to allow traceability and liability and sometimes engineering in lethal genes that will cause engineered animals and plants to die after a few generations. International agreements are not as strong as they should be in this regard.

Posted on September 5, 2017
While there might be some institutions with the capability to make these transgenic watermelon and coconut plants for you, that does not mean that you would be able to actually plant them out. First, the institution would need to have a Biological Use Authorization to work with recombinant DNA to make the vectors to transfer the genes. Then they would need to be able to do the tissue culture required to transfer the genes and regenerate whole plants again, which can sometimes be difficult.... Read More
Posted on August 5, 2017
I’m a genetic engineer. I’ve spent 30 years participating as a member of teams of genetic engineers, and I love your question. Most of us do indeed spend a lot of time inside the lab, but we’re not always sitting. Sometimes we dance!   Genetic engineering starts with an idea for a way to solve a problem, so I guess it starts with an understanding of the problems. In agriculture, for example, that means spending time to understand what’s happening on farms and... Read More
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Posted on August 5, 2017
Other than research, our work starts at the design of a plasmid vector that contains a gene cassette that we want to introduce in a plant genome. Once the plasmid vector design is completed, it is synthesized by bringing together several DNA components together thru a bio-chemical reaction. When the plasmid vector is made, the several components are verified by restriction endonuclease digestion reactions and/or thru DNA sequencing. After this verification is completed, the plasmid... Read More
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