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Scientists Warn: Insects With Capacity to Perform Genetic Engineering in the Environment Could Be Easily Weaponized

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Story at-a-glance -

  • Scientists and legal scholars question the rationale for the use of insects to disperse infectious GE viruses engineered to edit the chromosomes in plants, warning that the technology could very easily be weaponized
  • A new DARPA program is the first to propose and fund the development of viral horizontal environmental genetic alteration agents with the capacity to perform genetic engineering in the environment
  • The $27 million project, called “Insect Allies,” is trying to take advantage of insects’ natural ability to spread crop diseases, but instead of carrying disease, they would spread plant-protective traits
  • The opinion paper “Agricultural Research, or a New Bioweapon System?” argues that if plant modification were really the ultimate goal, a far simpler and more targeted agricultural delivery system could be used
  • There are also serious concerns about environmental ramifications, as the insects’ spread cannot be controlled. It would also be impossible to prevent the insects from genetically modifying organic crops

Genetic engineering (GE) is being used in myriad ways these days, despite the fact we know very little about the long-term ramifications of such meddling in the natural order.

For example, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an arm of the U.S. Department of Defense, is now planning to use insects to deliver GE viruses to crops, with the aim of altering the plant’s genetic traits in the field.


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