Things haven’t been going well for the genetic planners at Monsanto.
Genetically modified corn led to genocide for lab rats in a key study released last month. Meanwhile, Monsanto cash seems unable to extinguish the popularity of a ballot initiative in California that would mandate label transparency for GMO products.
This summer also saw the release of GMO Myths and Truths (Antoniou et al.), a study of the claims biotech companies make about the safety and benefits of their lab creations. Among the conclusions:
“Genetic engineering is completely different from natural breeding and entails different risks. The genetic engineering and associated tissue culture processes are imprecise and highly mutagenic, leading to unpredictable changes in the DNA, proteins, and biochemical composition of the resulting GM crop that can lead to unexpected toxic or allergenic effects and nutritional disturbances.”
“The process of inserting a genetically modified gene into the DNA of a plant cell is crude, uncontrolled, and imprecise, and causes mutations — heritable changes — in the plant’s DNA blueprint. These mutations can alter the functioning of the natural genes of the plant in unpredictable and potentially harmful ways.”
“Manipulating one or two genes does not just produce one or two desired traits. Instead, just a single change at the level of the DNA can give rise to multiple changes within the organism. These changes are known as pleiotropic effects. They occur because genes do not act as isolated units but interact with one another, and the functions and structures that the engineered genes confer on the organism interact with other functional units of the organism. Because of these diverse interactions, and because even the simplest organism is extremely complex, it is impossible to predict the impacts of even a single GM gene on the organism. It is even more impossible to predict the impact of the GMO on its environment — the complexity of living systems is too great.”
“These unexpected changes are especially dangerous because they are irreversible. Even the worst chemical pollution diminishes over time as the pollutant is degraded by physical and biological mechanisms. But GMOs are living organisms. Once released into the ecosystem, they do not degrade and cannot be recalled, but multiply in the environment and pass on their GM genes to future generations.”
More in our next post.