Traditional Breeding (Gary Comstock, Bioethicist)

Gary Comstock is a bioethics professor at Iowa State who wrestles with ethical issues surrounding genetically engineered organisms.

Transcript: Traditional Breeding

Biotechnology is in many ways simply an extension of traditional breeding methods. We have to say right up front that there's one obvious way in which it's not simply an extension of traditional breeding methods. The problem is, obviously, that traditional breeding can't take genes from humans and put them into pigs, and current techniques do allow us to isolate the gene for human growth hormone and insert it into hogs. That's not possible through traditional breeding. It's not possible in traditional breeding to take a gene from a fish and insert it into a tomato. So there is a new power here that is quite different. But that said, traditional breeding methods have always tried to conduct experiments where a whole range of new kinds of plants or proteins or animals are produced and then you select the one that fits your purposes best. And in that sense biotechnology is simply a continuation of selective breeding.

Tags: bioethics biotechnology breeding ethics Explore More Gary Comstock genetic engineering genetically modified organisms genetics policy viewpoints




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Explore More: Genetic Engineering
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