Sunday 16 February 2014

Blog #3 Part 2
Further thoughts on genetic enginery (GE) or genetically modified organism (GMOs). 
February 16, 2014
Food control system specifically referring to Canadian Federal Bill C -18 as reported by National Farmers Union.  As with the last blog in this month please refer to this link and Bill C-18.  Please take the time to read this and refer back to it.

It is important to understand ‘a’ version of what is occurring and who benefits. These GMOs are required when weeds, fungi, pests diminish our food crops. This occurs because man is subduing nature through artificial fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, etc. leading to an unbalanced system.  Nature’s way to clean up the food crops is to destroy the sick plants.  Certain multi-nationals, etc. know this, and their gain is to control the food system to make money. Working with nature creates a well-balanced system where weeds, fungi, pests, etc. will not be such a problem, but of course no bit monies are made. Working with nature is cheaper and beneficial to human kind.

There are number of myths of GEs and some of them are:
-          Genetic engineering is not new – it is just the same as speeded up selected breeding- In fact, GE and selected breeding is world’s apart.  Breeding does not manipulate genes. It involves crossing a selected parents of the same or closely related species, in contrast GE involves extracting selected genes from one organism i.e. animals, plants, insects or bacteria and/or viruses or sympathizing copies and artificially inserting them into another completely different organism ex. Food crops. GE usually employs virus genes to smuggle in and promote the inserted genes and antibiotic resistant genes to act as markers.  All these inserted genes are present in every cell of the plant.

-          Genetic engineering is precise.   The function of only a small proportion of the DNA in a higher organism is known. Modern genetics has shown that genes do not operate in isolation. Rather they interact in a complicated way changing their behavior in response to influences from other genes.  Although a gene can be cut out precisely from the DNA of an organism, it insertion into the DNA of another organism is entirely random. This results in the disruption of the order of the genes and the chromosome and may result in random or unexpected changes in the functioning of the cells. From a case from University scientists that there is such a miserably poor understanding of how the organism develops from its DNA and they would be surprised if we don’t get one rude shock after another.

-          GE foods vary from non GE foods only in the characteristic that has been modified. The random insertion of foreign genes into the genetic material may cause unexpected changes in the functioning of other genes.  Existing molecules may be manufactured in incorrect quantities, at the wrong times, or new molecules may be produced. GE foods and food products contain unexpected toxins or allergenic molecules that could harm our health and that of our offspring.

-          GE food is extensively tested and the GE food at the present in our supermarket shelves is perfectly safe to eat.  No GE food testing is done in America at present.  We rely almost entirely on the testing carried out by the GE biotechnology companies that have spent billions of dollars developing the food and intend to make a profit selling it to us. There are serious doubts of the adequacy of the testing and the validity of the conclusions drawn from the results. Independent long term testing is required before we can be sure that GE food is safe to eat. Another health concern is the possible acceleration of the development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics due to the use of antibiotic resistant genes in the production of GE foods.

-          GE food has improved nutritional value.  No GE food produced to date has been shown to be more nutritious than non GE food.  Most GE crops are only designed to be resistant to specific herbicides to produce their own insecticides or to have an increased shelf life.

There are a number of other myths which I will speak to in the next blog.  Your comments are welcome because of the uncertainties we face.

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