By Lori Wiley
Genetic engineering is a technique scientist use to change the DNA of a living organism. DNA is considered to be the blue print of an organism’s individuality. An organism’s life, growth, and unique features come from its DNA.
Scientist have discovered that some enzymes can change the structure of DNA in a living organism. These enzymes can cut and join strands of DNA. Genetic Engineers believe they can improve the foods by doing this. For example, tomatoes are sensitive to frost, but fish thrive in cold water. They were able to take and identify the gene that causes a flounder to resist the cold and insert it into the tomato. Thus extending the growing season of tomatos.
This may sound and look good to some, but to others there are serious dangers.
Serious Dangers include: * Imprecise Technology- by taking a gene from one organism and inserting it into another can cause imprecise technology. This risk disrupting the functioning of genes essential to the life of that organism. * Side effects- scientist do not understand the living systems completely enough to perform DNA surgery without creating mutations. Mutations can be harmful to the environment and our health. Scientist are experimenting with powerful forces of nature without the full knowledge of the consequences. * Widespread crop failure- they intend to profit by patenting genetically engineered seeds. When a farmer plants these seeds this means they’ll all have identical genes. If there is a fungus or a virus this can cause a widespread crop failure. * Entire food supply is threatened- insects, birds, and wind can carry genetically altered seeds. All crops will then be vulnerable to cross contamination.
Health hazards include no long term safety testing, toxins, allergic reactions, decreased nutritional values, antibiotic resistant bacteria, problems are untraceable, and side effects can kill. Environmental hazards can cause increased use of herbicides, more pesticide use, ecology may be damaged, and gene pollution cannot be cleaned up.
DNA is actually not well understood yet. 97/% of all human DNA is labeled as “junk” because scientist don’t know the function of it yet. A single cell is so complex that no one knows the entirety of it as a whole. Biotech companies are already planting fields of genetically altered crops, and intend to alter every crop in the worlds DNA.
One might as if the government scientist are even remotely concerned. Below are some quotes from the lawsuit against the FDA that the alliance for bio-integrity are preparing for.
"The process of genetic engineering and traditional breeding are different, and according to the technical experts in the agency [FDA], they lead to different risks."
"I wonder if part of the problems associated with this approach - using scientific issues to set the stage for the policy statement - are due to the fact that the scope of technical experts assigned to the project did not include any whose usual job is risk analysis."--Dr. Linda Kahl, FDA compliance officer (mothers for natural law).
"Unexpected Effects - This is the industry's pet idea, namely that there are no unintended effects that will raise the FDA's level of concern. But time and time again, there is no data to backup [sic] their contention, while the scientific literature does contain many examples of naturally occurring pleiotropic effects. When the introduction of genes into plant's genome randomly occurs, as is the case with the current technology (but not traditional breeding), it seems apparent that many pleiotropic effects will occur. Many of these effects might not be seen by the breeder because of the more or less similar growing conditions in the limited trials that are performed. Until more of these experimental plants have a wider environmental distribution, it would be premature for the FDA to summarily dismiss pleiotropy as is done here."--Dr. Louis J. Pribyl, in comments