Why do we do biotechnology?

Biotechnology is used in a wide range of applications in food science, medicine, the environment and agriculture. Research is rapidly expanding the possibilities of where it will be used next.

Any technology brings with it risks as well as benefits, and gene technology is no exception. These risks need to be carefully assessed before a genetically-modified (GM) plant, animal or microorganism is released.

Government regulatory authorities assess the risks, which may include:

  • how readily the released organism could cross-breed with similar organisms in the environment
  • whether the modification gives the organism extra survival advantages
  • whether these advantages could upset a balanced ecosystem.