What Are the Disadvantages of Recombinant DNA Technology?

The disadvantages of recombinant DNA technology are broadly grouped into commercial and environmental concerns. Issues like the creation of a monoculture and the control of modified organisms by corporate interests are widespread and complex.

A great deal of concern exists with respect to the ownership of genetically modified organisms by corporate entities. These entities in many cases hold patents to the genetic information of said organisms, raising questions about the ability to own and legislate the building blocks of life. That control rests in the corporate sector also opens many questions about ethics, economic incentives and other practices.

A monoculture is a population of organisms which is made up of, effectively, copies or clones. These organisms are rendered vulnerable in the exact same ways, meaning that a single disease or pest could potentially wipe them out entirely. It is considered vital to create and hold in reserve backup crops that could serve, in such an instance, to replenish stores and salvage production.

Other concerns pertaining to the usage of recombinant DNA include the persistent fear of cross-contamination and the migration of proprietary DNA between organisms. Resilient plants could, theoretically, lead to resilient weeds which could be very difficult to control. Recombinant organisms contaminating natural environments is another concern.