Gene manipulation - the debate
Genetic manipulation is not a new science - it has been practised by plant and animal breeders for centuries. What is new is that, with techniques developed in molecular biology, scientists can now manipulate genes much more precisely, cutting and slicing DNA almost at will. They also have a much bigger gene pool to draw on, making it possible to insert into organisms genes collected from bacteria, viruses or totally unrelated plants and animals. Creating 'transgenic' organisms in this fashion has its controversies. Opinion research commissioned by CSIRO found that many people have concern about genetic engineering. Some, including scientists, are concerned about the impact of genetic engineering on world agricultural trade.