new breed·ing tech·nique (n. pl.)
Lay people get queasy over the creation of genetically modified organisms and other forms of genetic engineering that, to some ears, sound like the modern-day equivalent of Dr. Frankenstein’s creepy creations. Some genetic engineers are trying to dodge the stigma of genetic engineering with the gentler term “new breeding techniques,” or NBT. Yet the fresh label might not dispel Franken-phobia and the pesky regulations that sometimes follow. Insofar as it suggests a blase attitude toward genetic modification, the new term could even backfire. Writing in The Ecologist, authors Helena Paul, Elisabeth Bücking, and Ricarda A. Steinbrecher argue that, whatever the process is called, “Living organisms are being re-imagined as data and software platforms.” Better just to call genetic engineering what it is.