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Common Dreams

Is Monsanto's Gene-Silencing Weapon Next?

As biotech giants move forward with the technology, specialists warn it could be dangerous

by
Common Dreams staff

News that biotechnology corporations are developing new technology that can allegedly kill insects and pathogens by silencing their genes has some environmentalists and scientists worried.

“To attempt to use this technology at this current stage of understanding would be more naïve than our use of DDT in the 1950s,” the National Honey Bee Advisory Board said in comments submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency before a Tuesday meeting to discuss the risks of this technology, according to the New York Times, which reported on this new development.

Developers of the technology say they are able to target the genetic sequences of specific species and silence them through RNA interference technology.

Yet, some specialists warn that "releasing gene-silencing agents into fields could harm beneficial insects, especially among organisms that have a common genetic makeup, and possibly even human health," according to the New York Times.

Monsanto is currently seeking regulatory approval for corn that uses gene-silencing to kill the western corn rootworm.

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