The Fruits of Civilization (81-6) GMO continued


GMO is certainly an uncontrolled experiment in genetic drift, as artificial modifications inevitably make their way to other plants, animals, and microbes. Transgenic traits spread through populations that sexually reproduce, such as with flowering plants and animals.

To say that genes don’t cross the species barrier in Nature, that’s just simple ignorance. ~ American plant geneticist Alan McHugen

Genetic engineering is like letting an unknown genie out of the bottle. All outcomes propagate.

Any GM aimed at targeted pests has a limited lifespan, as adaptive evolution weighs in to grace the besieged with survival. How such evolutionary gyres may play out is unknown.

After 3 decades, it may be too soon to adjudge the long-term environmental consequences of this unnatural naturalization. But the health implications of GMO are not sanguine, despite innumerable studies which spuriously contend that GM foods are safe. These studies universally rely upon phony statistics which confuse correlation with causation, and that is after positing statistically specious premises.

Italian biotechnologist Alessandro Nicolia and associates published in 2013 a meta-review of the previous decade of GMO research, including 770 studies which related to animal safety.

So far, there is no reason for concern. ~ Alessandro Nicolia

Such confidence is false. Meta-studies are simply compilations of studies: an abuse of statistics in which addition cannot yield a clearer result; nor can statistics ever assign causality (only correlation).

Despite the mountain of studies and assurances, suspicion lingers, as most research is funded by interests disposed to deploying genetic modifications.

Whether it’s conscious or not, it’s in their interest to promote this field, and they’re not objective. ~ David Williams

For instance, Nicolia’s team was unscientifically biased, as evidenced by their celebratory tone of GMO.

The technology to produce genetically engineered (GE) plants is celebrating its 30th anniversary and one of the major achievements has been the development of GE crops. ~ Alessandro Nicolia et al

Suspected bias has spelled continuing concern; with good reason. The data about GMO is invariably subject to interpretation.

Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food. Genetically modified foods pose a threat to consumers’ health. ~ American physician Amy Dean, American Academy of Environmental Medicine

The heavy-duty herbicides sprayed onto and pesticides built into GM crops are ingested by consumers. There is no disputing that these are toxins, not food, fed directly to the gut microbiome: the little ones responsible for digesting our food. No testing has been done on how GM food affects human gut flora. Results to date have been damning to GMO advocates.

Various health ills have been attributed to eating the produce of GM crops. The most common complaint is allergic reaction: a sure sign of bodily rejection. Numerous animal studies and events indicate that consuming, or even being near, GM crops can be bad for one’s health.

Long-term health effects can be subtle, and nearly impossible to link to specific environmental changes. Scientists have long believed that cancers and many other debilitating diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, are more than mere genetic destinies. Instead, they have ecological components which often have been devilishly difficult to spot.

You’d certainly find out if the result is that the plant doesn’t grow very well. But will you find the change if it results in the production of proteins with long-term effects on the health of the people eating it? ~ David Williams

Beyond bias, a primary problem with GMO is inadequate testing. Bt is exemplary.

Documenting the full range of impacts on the environment and public health associated with Bt plants remains a challenging and largely ignored task. ~ American agricultural economist Charles Benbrook

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) stores multiple toxic proteins. The Bt DNA sequences inserted into transgenic crops are altered from their natural state to make insecticidal action more vigorous. In many instances, the amino acid sequence of the toxin is altered to make the compound more soluble in a plant cell. As these are unnatural genes, GM plants have no adaptation for mitigating introduction of this DNA into their cells. These essentially parasitic genes alter plant growth to include generating alien proteins that do nothing but be toxic.

Tests related to Bt crops in North America have been done on the toxicity to mammals of the natural Bt toxins, but not on the synthetic genes in GM crops. Regulators naïvely allowed the assumption that the 2 were the same.

As the different Bt toxins invoke their own individual actions on animal cells, that assumption is ill-founded. Studies show retention of Bt toxins in the body of animals that consume Bt food crops, and cellular damage to mammals from certain Bt toxins produced in transgenic plants.

GM crops are the insidious introduction of poison into food. To pretend that such practice can be healthy for food consumers is absurd. One thing is certain about GM crops: they do nothing to improve yields. Genetic modification has proven a waste of resources as well as a peril.