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I was going along with the story until this:

Some of these folks are worried about new genes being introduced into plant and animal species. But humans have been selectively breeding plants and animals pretty much since we moved out of caves, manipulating their genes all the while.

Post-caveman humans, until recently, were not even thinking about GM crops on their best day. But, what about the new, new thing: synthetic genomics? The company by that name has this to say about their science:

From rapidly discovering genes and developing advances to sequence whole genomes, to making innovations in synthesizing and constructing whole chromosomes and genomes, Drs. Venter, Smith and their teams are trailblazers in the use and development of these disruptive technologies.

I just do not see the post-caveman, or even the above average student of today, thinking about "synthesizing and constructing whole chromosomes and genomes." What that is talking about is building what doesn't exist in Mother Nature's world using man-made techniques. Here is the Wikipedia definition synthetic genomics:

"...the phrase synthetic genomics which is a scientific discipline of synthetic biology related to the generation of organisms artificially using genetic material.

Real genetic material is used to create what you think you want. Since it is not feasible to predict pathogens from new sequences, every new "creation" comes with its own risks. Plus, what looks great in the lab has a limited world it is living in. When placed in the real world, where it needs to deal with bugs, weather (like lightening), foul water, animal urine and droppings, and everything else that "world" entails, that synthetic lab organism sounds really unprepared for "life." Yet, the science is well funding with the likes of ExxonMobil investing $600 million in Synthetic Genomics.

As the article says (warning, it doesn't use these words), GM products have been human tolerated over the years because GM products are sold widely in the US. US emergency rooms are not filled with patients suffering from the ill effects of The Real Things. Nor are our crematories overflowing with tumor encrusted bodies.

GM products appear to be working just fine. Is the reason for that because the science used only rushes what Mather Nature is slow to do? Isn't synthetic genomics a whole different story? Should we be writing about synthetics now and worrying about them before someone releases one in the real world?

Sorry for the not so pleasant word pictures but...

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