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from the 1970s until the 1990s introduced genetic modificiations. For example, they engineered plague bacteria to be resistant to sixteen different antibiotic drugs and to produce a toxin that adds paralysis to the list of its effects. International efforts to ban bio-weapon development in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001, might put an end to this subversion of biotechnology. see also Agricultural Biotechnology; Cloning: Ethical Issues; Gene Therapy: Ethical Issues; Genetic Discrimination; Genetic Testing: Ethical Issues; Metabolic Disease; Reproductive Technology: Ethical Issues; Transgenic Organisms: Ethical Issues.

Ricki Lewis


Burgess, Michael M. "Beyond Consent: Ethical and Social Issues in Genetic Testing." Nature Reviews Genetics 2 (Feb., 2001): 147-151.

Dale, Philip. "Public Concerns over Transgenic Crops." Genome Research 10 (Jan., 2000): 1.

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. "The Biotech Death of Jesse Gelsinger." The New York Times Magazine (Nov. 28, 1999): 17.

Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, History of

The term "biotechnology" dates from 1919, when the Hungarian engineer Karl Ereky first used it to mean "any product produced from raw materials with the aid of living organisms." Using the term in its broadest sense, biotechnology can be traced to prehistoric times, when hunter-gatherers began to settle down, plant crops, and breed animals for food. Ancient civilizations even found that they could use microorganisms to make useful products, although, of course, they had no idea that it was microbes that were the active agents. About b.c.e. 7000, the Sumarians and Babylonians discovered how to use yeast to make beer, and wine-making dates from biblical times. In about b.c.e. 4000, the Egyptians found that the addition of yeast produced a light, fluffy bread instead of a thin, hard wafer. At the same time, the Chinese were adding bacteria to milk to produce yogurt.

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