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The New York Times this morning reports that it has difficult, if not impossible, to get many major corporations to invest in biotechnology and the genetic engineering of animals because the US government has been largely disinterested in drafting regulations that would govern what companies what can do – and perhaps more importantly, what they cannot.

“Some scientists and biotechnology executives say that by having the Food and Drug Administration spell out the rules of the game, big investors would finally be willing to put up money to create a market in so-called transgenic livestock,” the Times writes. On the other hand, “some experts caution that even if the FDA clears the regulatory path in coming months, investors and agribusiness companies might still shy away. Many fear that consumers would shun foods from transgenic animals, sometimes referred to as genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.”

One other interesting note from the story: “The FDA considers clones to be less biologically radical than genetically engineered animals — which instead of being mere replicas of naturally occurring animals are given foreign DNA, usually from another species.” The Times points out that the FDA only is considering GMO regulations – without offering a deadline by which point it will issue any rules – now that it has tentatively declared food from cloned animals safe to eat.
KC's View:
I’m surprised that the government would see GMOs as more threatening or worrisome than cloning, but then again, maybe I’ve just seen too many science fiction movies in which cloning-run-amok causes enormous problems.

I think that guidelines should be set up in all these areas, but that scientists should be encouraged to move forward with their research. We only learn as a culture through experimentation and testing…not through restrictions and denial.