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Pharming: Promises and Risks of Biopharmaceuticals Derived from Genetically Modified Plants and Animals

Place of Publication: 
New York

Recent scientific advances have made it possible to produce biopharmaceuticals in genetically modified plants and animals, such as maize, tobacco, goats, and chickens. This new branch of biotechnology is termed pharming, composed of the terms pharmaceuticals and farming. Pharming constitutes an overlap of red and green biotechnology. It offers the prospect of a quicker, cheaper, and more flexible production of biopharmaceuticals compared with current production processes. This is a promising perspective in light of the rapidly growing market of biopharmaceuticals, although the economic competitiveness of pharming remains to be proven. Besides possible benefits for producers, patients and health care systems, pharming also raises a number of complex ecological, social, moral and legal questions that have as yet not been thoroughly discussed.

The present book contains the findings of an interdisciplinary research project that has addressed a large range of questions associated with pharming: An analysis of the state-of-the-art of plant pharming and animal pharming technologies is followed by an assessment of environmental risks related to pharming and welfare risks for pharming animals. Public views and attitudes to pharming are investigated on the basis of a comprehensive survey in 15 countries. Moreover, ethical and legal questions, posed by present and foreseeable future practices of pharming, are analysed. The concluding chapter presents the authors’ main findings and recommendations, addressed to science, industry, politics and general public interested in the chances and risks of this upcoming field of biotechnology. (Publisher)