Risks of Releasing Wild-Type and Genetically Engineered Biocontrol Organisms into the Ecosystem

  • Milton N. Schroth
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 230)

Abstract

Many subjects in science become highly controversial, particularly when research findings are politicized, impinge on strongly held philosophical ideas, or challenge personal beliefs. The ecosystem is such a topic; it seems that many hold strong options about what is “best” for the ecosystem and are willing to put forth theories by critical studies. With these considerations in mind, a discourse on the risks of using wild-type and genetically engineered biological control agents (bcas) in various environments is destined to be controversial. Fortunately, much of the fear and emotional rhetoric about releasing wild-type or genetically altered organisms into the ecosystem has dissipated with time and the observation that these organisms have caused no problems in the laboratory or the environment. Nevertheless, many of the regulations and procedural steps that affect experimentation with both innocuous and genetically altered organisms seriously obstruct the efficient and effective administering of research projects. These and a steadily increasing conglomeration of regulations are causing a major shift of resources from “bench science” to administration and service personnel concerned with the processing of paper-work. Any analysis of the conduct of research in United States universities over the last 20 years would find that administrative costs and the sizes of offices have increased dramatically and that scientists have tended to become managers spending less time in their laboratories. The question is -can society afford the very high costs associated with the many regulations that impact on all aspects of science?

Keywords

Biological Control Agent Crown Gall Bacterium Promote Plant Growth Scientific Precedence Bench Science 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milton N. Schroth
    • 1
  1. 1.Plant Pathology DepartmentUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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