The use of genetically engineered organisms holds considerable promise for environmental management and other purposes, provided appropriate safety standards are established and observed. The problem with much of the debate concerning deliberate releases has been the difficulty in getting down to specifics. Examples can be advanced that give cause for concern, or that demonstrate that introductions can be carried out safely; but none of these has the generality to apply to all cases. Generic arguments for and against the safety of introductions must be rejected, and replaced by consideration of the properties of individual introductions. It is the properties of the introduced organism in relation to the environment that must receive attention, not the method by which the genetic modification was achieved. One must go beyond discussions that lump all possible applications together, and develop criteria that associate individual cases with the risk categories most appropriate to them.
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