Caution advised in release of genetically modified organisms

June 8, 2001 | Source: ScienceDaily

Scientists and governments should proceed with caution as they release genetically modified organisms into the environment, according to researchers at the Ecological Society of America.

Researchers are concerned that an organism can persist without human intervention and exchange genetic material with unaltered organisms. Other concerns include creating new or more vigorous pests and pathogens, exacerbating the effects of existing pests through hybridization with related transgenic plants or animals, harm to non-target species, such as soil organisms, non-pest insects, birds and other animals, disruptive effects on biotic communities, and irreparable loss or changes in species diversity and genetic diversity within a species.