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Assessing Ecological Risks of Biotechnology - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780409901993, 9781483289489

Assessing Ecological Risks of Biotechnology

1st Edition

Editor: Lev R. Ginzburg
eBook ISBN: 9781483289489
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 8th November 1990
Page Count: 432
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Assessing Ecological Risks of Biotechnology presents a comprehensive analysis of ecological risk assessment for biotechnology as viewed predominantly by scientists doing research in this area, but also by regulators, philosophers, and research managers. The emphasis is on the ecological risks associated with the release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment.
The book contains 17 chapters that are organized into four parts. Part I discusses the ecological experience gained from previous biological introductions. Part II explores the ecology and the genetics of microbial communities. Emphasis is given to the transport of microorganisms since one of the major ecological concerns about biotechnology is the danger of the spread of genetically engineered organisms to ecosystems other than the one to which they are released. Part III reviews mathematical models that can be used for ecological risk assessment at four different levels. Part IV concerns the regulation of biotechnology, current research trends, and social values.

Table of Contents


Part I. Experience with Introduced Organisms

1. Keystone Species and Community Effects of Biological Introductions

1.1 Quantitative Estimates

1.2 Determinants of Major Ecological Effects

1.3 Species that Constitute New Habitats

1.4 Species that Modify Existing Habitat

1.5 Keystone Species that Do Not Initially Change Habitats

1.6 Synergisms and Invasions by Entire Communities

1.7 Conclusions


2. Planned Introductions in Biological Control

2.1 Classical Biological Control

2.2 Environmental Impact of Introduced Biological-Control Agents

2.3 Concluding Remarks


Part II. Ecology and Genetics of Microbial Populations

3. Surface Transport of Microorganisms by Water

3.1 Role of the Application Form

3.2 Runoff Effects

3.3 Microorganism-Release Characteristics

3.4 Case Studies

3.5 Buffer Areas and Vegetative Filters

3.6 Modeling Microorganism Movement

3.7 Summary


4. Soil and Groundwater Transport of Microoganisms

4.1 Overview of Issues Relating to the Survival of GEMs

4.2 Transport of Microorganisms in Soil and Subsurface Environments

4.3 Summary


5. Aerial Dispersal of Bacteria

5.1 Sources and Take-off

5.2 Aerial Transport

5.3 Deposition

5.4 Fate of Deposited Bacteria

5.5 The Overall Process


6. Factors Affecting the Transfer of Genetic Information Among Microorganisms in Soil

6.1 The Soil Ecosystem

6.2 Microbial Interactions

6.3 Monitoring GEMs in Soil

6.4 Gene Transfer in Soil

6.5 Effects of Physicochemical Factors of Soil on Gene Transfer

6.6 Conclusions


7. Genetic Exchange and Genetic Stability in Bacterial Populations

7.1 Sexuality in Bacteria

7.2 The Possibility of Genetic Exchange Between Species

7.3 Interspecific Gene Transfer and Its Consequences

7.4 Conclusions


Part III. Mathematical Models in Biotechnology Risk Assessment

8. Models for the Population Dynamics of Transposable Elements in Bacteria

8.1 Background and Terminology

8.2 Models

8.3 Conclusions


9. Quantifying Fitness and Gene Stability in Microorganisms

9.1 General Principles

9.2 Methodological Issues

9.3 Specific Methods for Estimating Parameters

9.4 Caveats and Assumptions

9.5 Summary and Conclusions


10. Quantifying the Risks of Invasion by Genetically Engineered Organisms

10.1 Risk Assessment Using Extreme Value Distribution

10.2 Discussion


11. Quantifying the Spread of Recombinant Genes and Organisms

11.1 Review of Spread Models

11.2 Using Field Data to Simulate Short-Term Spread

11.3 Some General Lessons from Existing Theory on Spread

11.4 The Nature of the Data Available from Field Releases

11.5 Final Remarks


Part IV. Regulation, Research Trends, and Social Values

12. Regulation of Biotechnology by the Environmental Protection Agency

12.1 Background

12.2 Statutory Arguments

12.3 Specific EPA Changes for Regulating Biotechnology

12.4 Regulatory Considerations for the Future

12.5 Conclusions


13. Ecological Considerations in EPA's Review for Field Tests of Genetically Engineered Organisms

13.1 Regulation by the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP)

13.2 Regulation by the Office of Toxic Substances (OTS)

13.3 Case Studies of 12 Applications

13.4 Evaluation of the Case Studies

13.5 Emphasis on Ecological Considerations by the EPA

14. Regulation and Oversight of Biotechnological Applications for Agriculture and Forestry

14.1 Present Organizational Structures and Coordination

14.2 Historical Perspective on Research Guidelines

14.3 Development of USD A Research Guidelines

14.4 USDA Regulations for Biotechnology

14.5 Summary


15. Ecological Risk Assessment and European Community Biotechnology Regulation

15.1 Approaches to Regulation in European Countries

15.2 Toward Community-Wide Regulation

15.3 Involvement of the EC in the Regulation of Biotechnology

15.4 A Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology

15.5 Regulation of Deliberate Releases

15.6 Conclusions and Recommendations


16. Ecological Risk Analysis of Biotechnological Waste Decontamination

16.1 Applications of Biotechnology to Waste Treatment

16.2 The Need to Identify and Assess Environmental Risks

16.3 Scientific Issues

16.4 EPRI's Risk Analysis Research Strategy

16.5 Conclusion


17. On Making Nature Safe for Biotechnology

17.1 The Effects of Domesticated Species

17.2 The Effects of Biotechnology on Wild and Natural Ecosystems

17.3 New Fish for Old

17.4 Biotechnology and the Return of Land to Nature

17.5 Ecological Science and the Fate of Nature

17.6 The Policy Issues

17.7 Another View of Risk




No. of pages:
© Butterworth-Heinemann 1991
8th November 1990
eBook ISBN:

About the Editor

Lev R. Ginzburg

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