GMO – GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM

May 9, 2017

GMO - genetically modified organism is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal.  The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.

Because this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as "transgenic" organisms.  This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.    http://responsibletechnology.org/gmo-education

 

 

How Is Genetic Engineering Done?

Because living organisms have natural barriers to protect themselves against the introduction of DNA from a different species, genetic engineers must force the DNA from one organism into another. Their methods include:

  • Using viruses or bacteria to “infect” animal or plant cells with the new DNA.

  • Coating DNA onto tiny metal pellets, and firing it with a special gun into the cells.

  • Injecting the new DNA into fertilized eggs with a very fine needle.

  • Using electric shocks to create holes in the membrane covering sperm, and then forcing the new DNA into the sperm through these holes.

 

But haven’t growers been grafting trees, breeding animals, and hybridizing seeds for years?

Genetic engineering is completely different from traditional breeding and carries unique risks.

  • In traditional breeding it is possible to mate a pig with another pig to get a new variety, but is not possible to mate a pig with a potato or a mouse. Even when species that may seem to be closely related do succeed in breeding, the offspring are usually infertile—a horse, for example, can mate with a donkey, but the offspring (a mule) is sterile.

  • With genetic engineering, scientists can breach species barriers set up by nature. For example, they have spliced fish genes into tomatoes. The results are plants (or animals) with traits that would be virtually impossible to obtain with natural processes, such as crossbreeding or grafting.  http://responsibletechnology.org/the-ge-process/

 

IN YOUR FOOD!     (may differ in different countries/continents)

 

They were first introduced into the food supply around the mid 1990’s.  GMO’s are now in vast majority of processed foods around the world.

Although there have been attempts to increase nutritional benefits or productivity, the two main traits that have been added to date ate:

  • Herbicide tolerance and

  • The ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide

These results have no health benefits, only economic benefit.

 

The Big Four: 

Soy, maize, cotton and rapeseed account for almost all commercial GMO production.  GM plants are grown mainly in North and South America, but increasingly also in India, China and South Africa.     http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/agri_biotechnology/gmo_planting/

 

 

What combinations have been tried?

It is now possible for plants to be engineered with genes taken from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Scientists have worked on some interesting combinations:

  • Spider genes were inserted into goat DNA, in hopes that the goat milk would contain spider web protein for use in bulletproof vests.

  • Cow genes turned pigskins into cowhides.

  • Jellyfish genes lit up pigs’ noses in the dark.

  • Arctic fish genes gave tomatoes and strawberries tolerance to frost.

 

Field trials have included:

  • Corn engineered with human genes (Dow)

  • Sugarcane engineered with human genes (Hawaii Agriculture Research Center)

  • Corn engineered with jellyfish genes (Stanford University)

  • Tobacco engineered with lettuce genes (University of Hawaii)

  • Rice engineered with human genes (Applied Phytologics)

  • Corn engineered with hepatitis virus genes (Prodigene)

  • Potatoes that glowed in the dark when they needed watering.

  • Human genes were inserted into corn to produce spermicide.

http://responsibletechnology.org/the-ge-process/

 

 

Herbicide tolerance lets the farmers spray weed-killer directly on the crop without killing it.

 

Why should we care?

Did you know that over 70% of foods in your grocery store contain Genetically Modified (GM) ingredients?

  • The most common foods that are genetically modified, or engineered,” include corn, soy, canola, sugar beet, and cottonseed oil, which can be found as ingredients in almost all non-organic packaged foods, and even in the food in most restaurants.

  • Additionally, the vast majority of GM corn and soybeans are grown to feed livestock—meaning the GMOs are incorporated into animal tissue and ingested at a much higher rate by humans than if we ate the corn or soybeans directly.

  • So, unless you eat organic all the time, without food labelling, you will inevitably participate in the great Genetic Modification experiment being perpetuated on us all, whether we like it or not.

http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/why-label-genetically-modified-foods

  • GMOs are banned in 27 and labelled in 61 countries. There must be a reason for this.

  • GMOs have been recently linked to cancer, leukaemia, autism, obesity, sterility and birth defects, and a ton of other health issues.  Do your research online.

  • Furthermore, GMOs have a very negative effect on the environment. The herbicides used by Monsanto and other similar companies to grow these crops, sometimes run off into neighbouring farms, streams and populated areas, which is poisoning our environment and us as well. They have been also linked to the recent bee colony collapse.

http://organics.org/what-is-gmo-monsanto-and-why-you-should-care/

 

 

What can I do?

  • Avoid any products that contain GMOs.

  • Do your research and shop smart

  • Buy organic food that’s grown closest to you.

 

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