It happens more than you think!
It’s not, as many new graduates are led to believe, a myth, but rather an urban legend. Trust of Governments, especially (and I hate to say it), here in
So, and I’m not saying I agree with it… or that I’d risk my career or some jail time to do it, some scientists choose to travel VIP (vial in pocket).
It’s a minor felony, so be careful!
The problem lies in the fact that government officials aren’t to know that (in most cases) the vials only contain bacteria whose DNA has been modified to contain pieces of fruit fly or maize genes.
Take for example, my work: if the genes I’ve created, work as I think they will, they could be worth millions of dollars to the biotechnology business – a protein to help maize resist a high salt content in soil. That’s worth protecting, even while you are transporting them for delivery to a research partner somewhere around the world. But for all the officials know, I might be carrying samples of the Black Death, or Ebola virus!
Firstly, it is illegal to take genetically-modified organisms across a border without declaring them. Further more, many geneticists don’t just transfer DNA; they put the DNA into a special strain of bacteria which they use to pump out the proteins they’ve made from the DNA.
Again, not that those proteins are dangerous.