Denise Caruso, a legendary NY Times technology columnist from the 80s and 90s (who recently started a new column at the paper called RE:Framing) and founder of the Hybrid Vigor Institute, isn't so sure about this whole genetic engineering thing. Are industry players moving ahead too quickly, without proper risk assessments? Is something amiss in the way funding is handed out and approved for biotech projects? How should we go about assessing the risks involved in new technologies?
These questions and more are discussed in Denise's book, Intervention: Confronting the Real Risks of Genetic Engineering and Life on a Biotech Planet, which she successfully self-published in November after refusing to make the book more Crichton-esque for her original publisher. The content, she said, was scary enough without any hype.
She told Salon: "We need to train our culture to understand that there are things we don't know. And we need to build learning into the process of doing these assessments, so that you don't have to undo a regulation when you find out that something has turned out to be risky. You need a way to accept input while you're moving along. The [analytical deliberative] process makes risk assessment very -- porous..."
"It's very difficult to train people to go into the places where it's dark. But people like us, who have to eat and drink and breathe these products -- I'm happy to sail into those dark places."