Thursday, May 3, 2012

Human Genes In Rice: Opening up Pandora's Box?

Rice engineered to contain human genes will be grown for the first time outdoors instead of in a laboratory, bringing it one step closer to commercial production, according to The Washington Post. The genes that the California-based biotechnology company Ventria Bioscience has infused into rice enable the plant to produce bacteria-fighting proteins found in human breast milk and saliva. "We can really help children with diarrhea get better faster," Scott E. Deeter, the company's president and chief executive, explained of the product.

But many consumer groups are worried the engineered rice will do more harm than good. Genetically modified (GM) plants have a history of migrating out of their target plots and contaminating other plants, critics note, and it would be difficult to control the doses of human proteins that people purposely or inadvertently take in. "This is not a product that everyone would want to consume," Jane Rissler of the Union of Concerned Scientists told the Post. "It is unwise to produce drugs in plants outdoors."  More..

Human Genes In Rice: Opening up Pandora's Box? -- Science & Technology --

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