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Why GMOs Can Never Be Safe

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Food Safety Research Center page.

Monsanto and other biotech companies claim genetically modified (GM) crops have no impact on the environment and are perfectly safe to eat.

Federal departments in charge of food safety in the US and Canada have not conducted tests to affirm this alleged "safety," but rather have taken the industry-conducted research at face value, allowing millions of acres of GM crops to overtake farmland.

These foods, largely in the form of GM corn and soy (although there are other GM crops, too, like sugar beets, papaya and crookneck squash), can now be found in the majority of processed foods in the US.

In other words, if you eat processed foods, you're already eating them  and these crops are already being freely planted in the environment. But what if it turns out that Monsanto was wrong, and the GM crops aren't actually safe

This is precisely what a number of scientists have been warning of for years, and the latest to sound the alarm is Dr. Mae-Wan Ho of the Institute for Science in Society, who has concluded that, by their very nature, there is no way GMOs (genetically modified organisms) can be safe.

The Greatest Danger of Genetic Modification

According to Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, genetic modification interferes fundamentally with the natural genetic modifications that organisms undergo in order to survive. Under natural circumstances, this is done in real time as "an exquisitely precise molecular dance of life."

Genetic engineering, which assumes that one protein determines one particular trait, such as herbicide tolerance or insect resistance, and can easily be swapped out with another, with no other effects, is dangerously simplistic or, as Dr. Mae-Wan Ho says, "an illusion."

An organism's genome is not static but fluid, and its biological functions are interconnected with its environment and vice versa, such that trying to control genetic changes via artificial modification is a dangerous game. Dr. Ho explained:

"The rationale and impetus for genetic engineering and genetic modification is the 'central dogma' of molecular biology that assumes DNA (deoxyribose nucleic acid) carries all the instructions for making an organism.

Individual 'genetic messages' in DNA faithfully copied into RNA (ribosenucleic acid), is then translated into a protein via a genetic code; the protein determining a particular trait, such as herbicide tolerance, or insect resistance; one gene, one character. If it were really as simple as that, genetic modification would work perfectly. Unfortunately this simplistic picture is an illusion.

Instead of linear causal chains leading from DNA to RNA to protein and downstream biological functions, complex feed-forward and feed-back cycles interconnect organism and environment at all levels to mark and change RNA and DNA down the generations   Organisms work by intercommunication at every level, and not by control.

In order to survive, the organism needs to engage in natural genetic modification in real time, an exquisitely precise molecular dance of life in which RNA and DNA respond to, and participate fully in 'downstream' biological functions.

That is why organisms and ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the crude, artificial GM RNA and DNA created by human genetic engineers. It is also why genetic modification can probably never be safe. More importantly, the human organism shapes its own development and evolutionary future; that is why we must take responsible action to ban all environmental releases of GMOs now."




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