GENTECH archive 8.96-97


Re: Final Cloning Position Paper

Date: Tuesday, March 18, 1997   
Source: Ronnie Cummins, National director, Pure Food Campaign.   
Section: COMMENTARY   
Column: Voice of the people (letter).   
Parts: 12   
Dateline: WASHINGTON    
Copyright Chicago Tribune


   An editorial and various commentaries appearing in the Tribune on the
cloning of animals, and possible cloning of humans, have neglected to mention
the many horrific failures associated with genetic engineering.
   For all of the successes in this area of research, it should be noted that
things can also go terribly wrong, producing disastrous results. Here are
only a few examples of the ugly side of genetic engineering:
   - The creation of freak, gigantic cows by gene engineers. The wombs of
mother cows had to be split open to allow the horribly oversized, cloned
calves to be born.
   - U.S. government gene engineers spliced human growth genes into the
permanent genetic code of pigs--hoping to create a "super" pig. Instead of
becoming larger, pigs were born arthritic, bowlegged and cross-eyed.
   - Researchers conducting experiments at Michigan State University found
that genetically splicing plants can cause viruses to mutate into new, more
virulent forms that could seriously damage the ecosystem.
   - A batch of genetically engineered L-tryptophan, an anti-depressant,
anti-insomnia drug produced in Japan, killed 29 Americans and permanently
injured more than 1,500 more. Given that these are but a few of many gene and
cloning experiments gone awry, it's not surprising that insurance companies
refuse to provide liability coverage for genetic engineering experiments. The
unpredictable risks of catastrophic damages from a "biotech Chernobyl" are
simply too high a risk.
   For these and similar reasons most Americans are highly suspicious of
genetically engineered products. A recent Time/CNN poll found that 93 percent
of Americans oppose human cloning, and 66 percent oppose animal cloning.
There needs to be an immediate ban on the cloning of animals or humans,
including the insertion of human genes into animals and animal organ
transplants into humans.  Until there has been a full public debate on the
ethical, human health and environmental consequences of this presently
out-of-control technology, moving ahead is reckless, immoral and possibly
quite dangerous.
GRAPHIC: John Overmyer.   

Document ID: S707701d