Ecoscript 42

Rosalba Casas. Biotechnology and Environmental Concerns in Mexico:

The development of biotechnology and its implications and
impacts upon the environment is a subject of great concern in
countries such as Mexico. The experiences of agricultural
technologies derived from the Green Revolution and their im-
pact on the deterioration of lands has led to argue that the
impacts of biotechnologies upon the environment will be worse
than those produced by the Green Revolution technologies.

These arguments, plus the weaknesses of the environmental reg-
ulations in Mexico, have led some scholars to argue that bio-
technology does not represent an option for Mexico because it
implies a set of technologies that will affect negatively the
ecosystems of the country.

Given these arguments, and on the basis of previous research
work on the development of plant and agroindustrial biotechno-
logy in Mexico (Casas 1989), this article will concentrate on
the following issues:
a) to present the arguments sustained in Mexico on the impacts
of biotechnology upon the environment;
b) to review the environmental legislation in Mexico with res-
pect to biotechnology and to determine its relevance to
preserve biodiversity and gene banks;
c) to foresee the different contributions that biotechnologies
could offer to contribute to solve environmental problems,
d) to formulate some general issues to orient research work in
Mexico on the potential impacts of biotechnology upon the

It is worth clarifying that arguments included in the follow-
ing sections are still preliminary as the investigation on the
relations between biotechnology and the environment in Mexico
is only starting. These arguments will help to formulate some
general orientations for further research on this subject,
trying to explore on the specific impacts of biotechnology in
Mexico and their implications for the environment.


Introduction 7
1. Arguments on the impact of biotechnology upon the
environment 7
2. Environmental legislation in Mexico 10
.. Preservation of natural resources and ecosystems 11
.. Pollution control of wastes and byproducts 12
.. Protection of the environment from the introduc-
tion of technologies 12
.. General considerations on environmental legislation 12
3. Biotechnology research in Mexico and its relevance
for environmental concerns 13
4. Conclusions and orientations for a research proposal 15
References 16