jueves, agosto 18, 2005


Dr. Mae-Wan Ho told the People's Health Assembly that GM is proving bad for health because it goes against the grain of the new genetics science

A GMO or genetically modified organism is one whose natural genetic material has been modified by having synthetic genetic material inserted into it. That is how we have GM crops grown for food and feed, for fibre and for a range of pharmaceuticals and industrial products in the latest offering, if we don't manage to stop it.

Maybe you have heard the mantra from certain scientists that GM food is perfectly safe because the technology is so very precise and wonderful and the regulation the strictest in the world; that GM is good for biodiversity, increases yield, reduces pesticide use, and so on. All of the claims have been falsified, with data collected by the US Department of Agriculture and by independent scientists .

So what's wrong with GMOs?

First, new genes and combinations of genes made in the laboratory, which have never existed in billions of years of evolution, are being introduced into our food chain.

Allergies and other toxicities come to mind. In fact, 22 out of 33 proteins incorporated into GM crops were found to have similarities to known allergens, and are therefore suspected allergens.

The synthetic genetic material are introduced into the cells of organisms with invasive methods that are uncontrollable, unreliable and unpredictable, and far from precise.

It ends up damaging the natural genetic material of the organism with many unpredictable, unintended effects, including gross abnormalities that you can see, and metabolic changes that may be toxic that you can't see.

Many foreign synthetic genes are copies of those from bacteria and viruses that cause diseases.
They also contain antibiotic resistance marker genes to help track the movements of the foreign gene inserts and select for cells that have taken up the foreign genes.

Right from the beginning, in the mid1970s, geneticists themselves have worried that releasing those synthetic genetic material runs the risk of creating new viruses and bacteria that cause diseases, and spreading antibiotic resistance to make infections untreatable. As the result of the Asilomar Declaration, a moratorium was imposed. Unfortunately, the moratorium was short-lived, as geneticists were in a hurry for commercial exploitation of genetic engineering.

The dangers arise because the genetic material persists long after the cells or organism is dead, and can be taken up by bacteria and viruses that are in all environments

This process - called horizontal gene transfer and recombination - is the main route to creating dangerous pathogens.

Genetic engineering is nothing if not greatly enhanced horizontal gene transfer and recombination, and nasty surprises have already been sprung.

Researchers in Australia ‘accidentally' transformed a harmless mousepox virus into a lethal pathogen that killed all the mice, even those that were supposed to be resistant to the virus. Headlines in the New Scientist editorial: “The Genie is out, Biotech has just sprung a nasty surprise. Next time, it could be catastrophic.”

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