According to the World Health Organization, Genetically Modified Organisms(GMOs) are "organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in such a way that does not occur naturally."
It is also referred to as "genetic engineering", "biotechnology" or "recombinant DNA technology" and consists of randomly inserting genetic fragments of DNA from one organism to another, usually from a different species.
What it is Not :
Natural breeding processes have been safely utilized for the past several thousand years.
In contrast, "GE crop technology abrogates natural reproductive processes, selection occurs at the single cell level, the procedure is highly mutagenic and routinely breeches genera barriers, and the technique has only been used commercially for 10 years."
Because of an increasing body of scientific evidence that GM foods have a multitude of health consequences, many countries have banned the use of GM foods.
"....several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system." (from a Position Paper by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine)
You can read the whole Paper addressed to physicians everywhere here
This section summarizes the health risks of genetically modified foods and serves as a forum for a global discussion and debate. It is organized around the 65 main point summaries presented on the left side of the two-page spreads in Part 1 of Genetic Roulette. Each section linked below offers the opportunity for people to submit updates, corrections, challenges and responses. Before making a submittal, please review the full content in that section of the book.
Contents at a Glance:
Part 1: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods
Section 1: Evidence of reactions in animals and humans.
1.3 Rats Fed Bt Corn had multiple health problems
1.4 Mice Fed GM Bt Potatoes had intestinal damage
1.5 Workers exposed to Bt cotton developed allergies
1.6 Sheep died after grazing in Bt cotton fields
1.7 Inhaled Bt corn pollen may have triggered disease in humans
1.8 Farmers report pigs and cows became sterile from GM corn
1.10 Mice fed Roundup Ready soy had liver cell problems
1.11 Mice fed Roundup Ready soy had problems with the pancreas
1.12 Mice fed Roundup Ready soy had unexplained changes in testicular cells
1.13 Roundup Ready Soy Changed Cell Metabolism in Rabbit Organs
1.14 Most offspring of rats fed Roundup Ready soy died within three weeks (see full content)
1.15 Soy allergies skyrocketed in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced
1.16 Rats fed Roundup Ready canola had heavier livers
1.17 Twice the number of chickens died when fed Liberty Link corn
1.18 GM peas generated an allergic-type inflammatory response in mice
1.19 Eyewitness reports: Animals avoid GMOs
1.20 A GM food supplement killed about 100 people
Section 2: Gene insertion disrupts the DNA and can create unpredictable health problems.
2.1 Foreign genes disrupt the DNA at the insertion site.
2.2 Growing GM crops using tissue culture can create hundreds or thousands of DNA mutations.
2.3 Gene insertion creates genome-wide changes in gene expression.
2.4 The promoter may accidentally switch on harmful genes.
2.5 The promoter might switch on a dormant virus in plants.
2.6 The promoter might create genetic instability and mutations.
2.7 Genetic engineering activates mobile DNA, called transposons, which generate mutations.
2.8 Novel RNA may be harmful to humans and their offspring.
2.9 Roundup Ready soybeans produce unintentional RNA variations.
2.10 Changes in proteins can alter thousands of natural chemicals in plants, increasing toxins or reducing phytonutrients
2.11 GM crops have altered levels of nutrients and toxins.
Section 3: The protein produced by the inserted gene may create problems.
3.1 A gene from a Brazil nut carried allergies into soybeans.
3.2 GM proteins in soy, corn and papaya may be allergens.
3.3 Bt crops may create allergies and illness.
3.4 The Bt in crops is more toxic than the Bt spray.
3.5 StarLink corn’s built-in pesticide has a “medium likelihood” of being an allergen.
3.6 Pollen-sterilizing barnase in GM crops may cause kidney damage.
3.7 High lysine corn contains increased toxins and may retard growth.
3.8 Cooking high lysine corn may create disease-promoting toxins.
3.9 Disease-resistant crops may promote human viruses and other diseases.
Section 4: The foreign protein may be different than what is intended.
4.1 GM proteins may be misfolded or have added molecules.
4.2 Transgenes may be altered during insertion.
4.3 Transgenes may be unstable, and rearrange over time.
4.4 Transgenes may create more than one protein.
4.5 Weather, environmental stress and genetic disposition can significantly change gene expression.
4.6 Genetic engineering can disrupt the complex relationships governing gene expression.
Section 5: Transfer of genes to gut bacteria, internal organs, or viruses.
5.1 In spite of industry claims, transgenes survive the digestion system and can wander.
5.2 Transgene design facilitates transfer into gut bacteria.
5.3 Transgenes may proliferate in gut bacteria over the long-term.
5.4 Transgene transfer to human gut bacteria is confirmed.
5.5 GM foods might create antibiotic-resistant diseases.
5.6 The promoter can also transfer, and may switch on random genes or viruses.
5.7 If Bt genes transfer, they could turn our gut bacteria into living pesticide factories.
5.8 Genes may transfer to bacteria in the mouth or throat.
5.9 Transfer of viral genes into gut microorganisms may create toxins and weaken peoples’ viral defenses.
Section 6: GM crops may increase environmental toxins and bioaccumulate toxins in the food chain.
6.1 Glufosinate-tolerant crops may produce herbicide “inside” our intestines.
6.2 Herbicide-tolerant crops increase herbicide use and residues in food.
6.3 Tiny amounts of herbicide may act as endocrine disruptors.
6.4 GM crops may accumulate environmental toxins or concentrate toxins in milk and meat of GM-fed animals.
6.5 Disease-resistant crops may promote new plant viruses, which carry risks for humans.
Section 7: Other types of GM foods carry risks.
7.1 Milk from rbGH treated cows may increase risk of cancer and other diseases.
7.2 Milk from rbGH-treated cows likely increases the rate of twin births.
7.3 Food additives created from GM microorganisms pose health risks.
Section 8: Risks are greater for children and newborns.
8.1 Pregnant mothers eating GM foods may endanger offspring.
8.2 GM foods are more dangerous for children than adults.
Monsanto in trouble?
Good News – Evil Monsanto Finally Reaping Its Just Desserts!
Monsanto was named "company of the year" by Forbes Magazine in December. Last week, television stock market commentator Jim Cramer said it "may be the worst stock of 2010," the Times said.
According to the New York Times, weeds are becoming immune to Monsanto's herbicide Roundup, and its latest genetically modified, 8-gene corn is a flop, producing yields no higher than the company's less expensive corn, which contains only three foreign genes.
"Monsanto has already been forced to sharply cut prices on SmartStax and on its newest soybean seeds, called Roundup Ready 2 Yield, as sales fell below projections," the Times said. "And the Justice Department is investigating Monsanto for possible antitrust violations."
"Until now, Monsanto's main challenge has come from opponents of genetically modified crops, who have slowed their adoption in Europe and some other regions. Now, however, the skeptics also include farmers and investors who were once in Monsanto's camp." New York Times Oct. 5,2010
However it would be prudent not to become too optimistic.
For one thing the deputy commissioner for foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is Michael Taylor. Who is Michael Taylor? He is a former vice president of public policy and chief lobbyist at Monsanto Company . He is the person who "oversaw the creation of GMO policy," according to Jeffrey Smith, the leading spokesperson on the dangers of GM foods. Smith continues:
"If GMOs are indeed responsible for massive sickness and death, then the individual who oversaw the FDA policy that facilitated their introduction holds a uniquely infamous role in human history. That person is Michael Taylor. He had been Monsanto's attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Soon after, he became Monsanto's vice president and chief lobbyist."
And then there is former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, now the Secretary of Agriculture, also widely regarded as a shill for bio-tech giants like Monsanto (he even reportedly often travels in Monsanto's jet). There are other less noticeable connections too, such as Sharon Long, a former member of Monsanto's board of directors who was part of Obama's scientific advisory team during the election/campaign.
This could be the beginning of the end for Monsanto … if we can continue to drive the momentum that's forming against the creation and proliferation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Remember the Europeans ar ahead of us on this one .
The first step you have already done, and that is to get informed. You can continue to spread the word further by sharing this article and the links, with your friends and family.
Next, hit Monsanto where it counts ... their bottom line. By boycotting all GM foods and instead supporting organic (and local) farmers who do not use Monsanto's GM seeds, you are using your wallet to make your opinions known.