| Are Recombinant Bacteria Safe? |
Concerns about the safety of recombinant bacteria were voiced as the technology was developed. Some fear that new, untreatable human pathogens could be inadvertently generated. In 1974 prominent researchers self-imposed a moratorium on certain experiments until they could assess the hazards. After much discussion, the researchers developed biological containment procedures. These include generating recombinant DNA only in bacteria that have mutations to prevent them from surviving outside of the laboratory. The release of recombinant microbes into the environment remains controversial.