Die schöne alte Welt der Biotechnologie

Skeptiker verunglimpfen die landwirtschaftliche Biotechnologie als unbewiesen, ungeprüft, unnatürlich und unkontrollierbar. Das ist von der Wahrheit weit entfernt. Das Gegenteil trifft zu: Weder die Biotechnologie noch die Gentechnik sind neu und sowohl Verbraucher als auch Regierungen und die Industrie haben lange, weitreichende und positive Erfahrungen mit beiden Methoden gemacht.

Die frühe Biotechnologie - also die Anwendung biologischer Systeme in technischen und industriellen Prozessen - gab es schon um 6000 v.Chr., als die Babylonier spezielle Mikroorganismen für die Fermentation zur Herstellung alkoholischer Getränke einsetzten. Die Anfänge der Gentechnik reichen zurück bis in jene Zeit, als der Mensch erkannte, dass Tiere und Nutzpflanzen selektiert und gezüchtet werden können, um erwünschte Merkmale in ihnen hervorzubringen. Die ersten Biologen und Landwirte nahmen diese Selektion vor, um erwünschte Merkmale zu erhalten. Damit haben sie Veränderungen im Erbmaterial eines Organismus vorgenommen, ohne diese Veränderungen grundsätzlich zu verstehen.

Anders gesagt: Weder kernlose Trauben, noch Tangelos (eine Kreuzung zwischen Tangerine und Grapefruit) oder pilzresistente Erdbeeren sind ein Produkt der ,,Natur". Das alles haben wir Landwirten und Pflanzenzüchtern zu verdanken. In den letzten fünfzig Jahren hat das bessere Verständnis der Genetik auf molekularer Ebene zur Entwicklung ausgefeilterer Methoden in der genetischen Verbesserung aller Arten von Organismen beigetragen.

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