Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne GEMS in the environment
Name: de tar
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993

How many years will it be before Genetically Engineered Microorganisms are released into the environment?

Some already have been in controlled and government-approved tests. So have some non-micro organisms, mainly some food crop plants and cattle strains.


In addition to the previous response, I might add that although there are several examples of GEMS which have been released for beneficial purposes, caution must be exercised in order that a potentially harmful organism does not escape into the environment without extremely careful supervision and complete control over its spread. An example of this is the engineered bacteria which make use of crude oil as a carbon source, patented for use on oil spills. Although spraying a solution with these organisms in it can help clean up spills and decrease the OIL'S impact on the environment, you have to be careful about knowing in advance what the organisms will turn to for food once the oil is gone -- will it attack the hydrocarbons of other living organisms?


Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory