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Cardinal urges caution on biotechnology

Biotechnology should be used to fight world misery and hunger, but "rigorous criteria of caution" are needed to ensure it does not get out of control, according to the Vatican Secretary of State.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano told an Italian association of agricultural workers that the that the "new resources of science" should be used "to improve the production of foods that are necessary especially in poor areas of the world".

He warned that the use of such technology calls for "rigorous criteria of caution and control", in order to avoid "risks to human health". He said agriculture must be conscious of the need to preserve biodiversity, which is indispensable for "the men of today and tomorrow, as well as for the beauty of the universe and the balance of the ecosystem."

Cardinal Sodano emphasised that "states and the international community will have to be provided with adequate legislative norms in the perspective of a new phase of law, defined as bio-law, which, above all, must defend human life and preserve the biosphere."