The dangers of using GE on Algae

Genetic engineers are also involved in efforts to produce biodiesel from microalgae.

Such fuel production would obviate the need to take farmland production away from food crops, and GE proponents promise huge fuel yields from engineered algae.

But despite more than 100 companies already founded to produce biodiesel from algae, not a single commercial facility has been built. Indeed, like the wild plants proposed for plant seems particularly resistant to engineering. cellulosic biofuels, genetic experiments on algae are in very early stages, and so far, the

Finally, genetic engineers have re-branded their technology as “synthetic biology.” Called “genetic engineering on steroids,” and risks of the traditional GE approach, the difference being added complexity through attempting to insert simultaneously many DNA sequences for a variety of traits.

Synthetic biology proponents suggest the technology will produce unlimited quantities of fully lab-created biofuels, from enhanced microbes that will more efficiently produce ethanol, butanol or biodiesel.

But like earlier GE creations, products of synthetic biology will likely suffer unpredictable side-effects due to the unpredictable nature of the living organisms used as raw materials. Likewise, products of synthetic biology are created without regard to the influence of genetic factors outside of DNA (proteins, RNA and other genetic material), and may face unforeseeable problems.

Like earlier biotech promises of high yielding crops grown with fewer pesticides, the promises of life from fully inert materials will prove equally false, and potentially even more dangerous.

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