Lack of transparency on environmental risks of genetically modified micro-organisms in industrial biotechnology

W.L.M. Tamis, A. van Dommelen, G.R. de Snoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

For the sustainable development of technological innovations the involvement of non-specialist stakeholders is crucial, which requires transparency of the knowledge base of the risks and benefits concerned. This paper evaluates the basic assumptions of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development regarding the environmental risks of genetically modified micro-organisms, in industrial biotechnology under Good Industrial Large-scale Practice. A clear factual basis for these assumptions could be only partially traced, if at all, and when facts were found they proved to provide only limited support, if any. In addition, several assumptions appeared to be questionable when contrasted with knowledge from chemical and ecological sciences. There remain a number of open questions with respect to risks, most of them relating to improvement and extension of procedures, through greater attention to baselines, safety limits and further standardisation. The necessity of transparency in stakeholder communication is discussed and possible ways of improving such communication are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-592
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume17
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • horizontal gene-transfer
  • modified organisms
  • engineered microorganisms
  • transgenic plants
  • escherichia-coli
  • ecological risks
  • wild-type
  • soil
  • survival
  • chemicals

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