Monday, 12 July 2010

Government Regulations Biotechnology

Governments impose regulations to avert the costs associated with mitigating adverse effects expected to result from the use of the technology. But, developing regulations is difficult when a technology is new and the risks associated with it are uncertain or poorly understood. Because there have been no examples of adverse effects caused by biotechnology, projecting potential hazards rests on extrapolations from problems that have arisen using naturally occurring organisms. The consensus among scientists is that risks associated with genetically engineered organisms are similar to those associated with nonengineered organisms or organisms genetically modified by traditional methods, and that they may be assessed in the same way. Where similar technologies have been used extensively, past experience can be an important guide for risk assessment.

Many countries, in addition to the United States, have adapted existing laws and institutions to accommodate advances in biotechnology. However, it is no simple matter to base scientifically sound biotechnology regulation on legislation written for other purposes. The differences in approach from nation to nation, particularly through their effects on investment and innovation, will influence the ability of the United States to remain competitive in biotechnology on the international scene.