Evaluating the risk of releasing genetically engineered organisms

Lone Simonsen*, Bruce R. Levin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article considers the question of a priori assessment of the safety of releasing recombinant DNA engineered organisms. Now and for the foreseeable future, decisions to release such an organism must be based on the results of limited, case-by-case risk assessment studies. The criteria calling for the termination of release programs must be agreed upon in advance of these studies. There is no justification for excluding classes of release organisms from risk assessment. Theory is useful in suggesting a hierarchy of risks, raising the questions that have to be addressed in case-by-case risk assessment and providing protocols for the standardization and execution of these studies. We do not believe that theory can be used to argue categorically for or against the safety of specific releases of recombinant DNA engineered organisms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)S27-S30
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1988
Externally publishedYes

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