Synthetic Biology Can Kill

The Institute for Responsible Technology

Jan 16, 2020

So with synthetic biology we use that term to where we turn micro organisms into factories. So, I’ll give you a stark example that in the 1980s a chemical company in Japan called Showa Denko, K.K. took bacteria and the bacteria produced L-Tryptophan, which they sold on the American market. But after the bacteria produced stuff, they’d have to add other things into the mixture. So he said, let’s just genetically engineer the bacteria by adding a different gene that produces something that we wanted to add to the VAT anyway. And then a year later let’s do another gene and let’s do another gene. And they weren’t aware that the number one result of genetic engineering is surprise side effects. And it ended up having contaminants, very small amounts 0.1% 0.01%, five or six contaminants. The L-Tryptophan past the U S pharmacological standard of purity, but it also killed about a hundred Americans and caused 5 to 10,000 to become sick or permanently disabled.

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