Unraveling the DNA Myth: The Spurious Foundation of Genetic Engineering

Barry Commoner argues that the central "dogma" of genetic engineering, that DNA alone controls protein synthesis in a one-to-one correspondence between genes and proteins, is highly questionable. If the relationship between DNA and its cellular consequences is not as simple as genetic engineers claim (due to "alternative splicing"), then the result of modifying the genome of plants, animals, or humans is not predictable. This is an attack on the widespread application of genetic engineering (although it is not against research in this field). This is the most recent salvo in the most important scientific policy war of our time. While most molecular biologists would concede that the central dogma is incomplete, Commoner's conclusions about the implications for genetically modified crops are widely disputed.

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Barry Commoner

Publication Date: 
Friday, February 1, 2002