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GM animals could threaten environment

US NAS report says GM animals pose greater threat to environment than to human health.

Tabitha Powledge(tam@nasw.org)

A special committee of the US National Academy of Sciences agrees with long-time critics of biotechnology that transgenic animals could threaten the environment. Genetic manipulation of the food supply, however, is unlikely to pose serious direct hazards to human health, it said yesterday (Wednesday August 21).

In a just-released report that was supposed to focus exclusively on scientific concerns about genetic manipulation and cloning of animals, the committee also touched on several policy issues. It concluded that the nation's current regulatory framework might not be equipped to deal with animal biotechnologies, especially regulations administered by the Food and Drug Administration, which requested the report. It urged labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods, a measure long opposed by industry. And it pleased animal activists by describing possible adverse effects on the health and welfare of transgenic animals.

The committee said the greatest potential adverse impact of GM animals was likely...

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