Gene Drives: A Scientific Case for a Complete and Perpetual Ban

Latham, Jonathan
Date Written:  2017-02-18
Publisher:  Truthout
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20361

One of the central issues of our day is how to safely manage the outputs of industrial innovation. Novel products incorporating nanotechnology, biotechnology, rare metals, microwaves, novel chemicals, and more, enter the market on a daily basis. The majority of products receive no regulatory supervision at all.



Regulation of the products of industrial processes comes in quite diverse forms. At one extreme is the US airline industry. Commercial airplanes are intensively regulated throughout their lives, from design to production, maintenance and operation. When plane accidents occur, an intensive and independent investigation is carried out and little expense is spared searching for the parts, which may even be retrieved from the bottom of the ocean.

When the investigation is concluded, recommendations are made. Not infrequently, aircraft design or maintenance is subsequently altered and planes already manufactured may be recalled.

This regulatory process is thus characterized by extensive and continuous feedback between all parts of the system: aircrew, regulators, maintenance crews, manufacturers, etc. This iterative type of regulatory supervision is widely viewed as successful and uncontroversial. Indeed, the airline industry has proportionately few deaths given the inherently hazardous and unnatural nature of flight.

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