By Sayer Ji
One of the most disturbing, though commonly overlooked properties of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is their documented ability to transfer genetic information horizontally into those who consume them.
This process actually occurs quite commonly in nature, especially among bacteria, which do not reproduce sexually and therefore have evolved a number of mechanisms through which to transfer genetic information directly between one another directly. Viruses themselves can essentially be described as ‘pieces of genetic information in search of chromosomes,’ their very “infectivity” being examples of horizontal gene transfer between species. The whole field of genetic engineering, in fact, would not exist were it not for the science and technology that harnesses and/or co-opts processes of horizontal gene transfer.
Technically speaking, horizontal gene transfer (also known as “lateral gene transfer”) is the process by which an organism incorporates genetic material from another organism without being the offspring of that organism. Vertical transfer, on the other hand, occurs when an organism receives genetic material from its ancestor, e.g., its parent or a species from which it has evolved.
Animal research published in 2003 in the journal of Environmental Biosafety Research showed that genetically modified lactic acid bacteria are capable of transferring recombinant genes sequences directly (horizontally) into Enteroccous faecalis, another naturally occurring species of digestive tract bacteria found in humans, as well.
Other animal research on orally ingested foreign DNA not only shows it is capable of transferring to, and/or altering genetic information within, the animal consuming it, but is also capable of affecting the genetics of the fetuses and newborn of pregnant mice who were fed it.
The existence of a free flow of genetic information from food to organism, and then transplacentally, to the organism’s future progeny, through horizontal gene transfer, illustrates just how true the age-old phrase “you are what you eat” is — for better and for worse.
Perhaps more importantly is the revelation that there can be no “peaceful co-existence” between genetically modified foods and authentically natural ones, as the former by definition implies the irreversible transformation of the latter into itself. To state, as Whole Foods recently did, that co-existence is possible between GM and non-GM foods, is like saying pregnancy and virginity can co-exist, under natural circumstances.
I believe it is time to openly identify GM food for what it is. Because genetically modified foods can vectorize the dissemination of recombinant DNA sequences throughout the entire biosphere, as well as anyone who would consume them, they embody a virus-like quality of pathogenicity and could, without exaggeration, be identified as bioweapons of potential mass destruction.
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Related: Scientists Discover New Route for GM-gene ‘Escape’ at ISIS.
There can be no harmony between GMO crops & Organic. The GMO’s will contaminate the Organics, this is happening, and has been going on since the introduction of GMO’s. Look at Monsanto ! Their GMO pollen contaminates another farmers crop, and Monsanto brings legal actions and large $$$$ fines against the farmer, like he stole their “legally” owned genetic patent. lol, The last thing an organic farmer wants, is any Monsanto crops within a thousand miles, and that’s to close, to say the least !
Now that the weeds have adapted(super weeds), they(Monsanto) have to come up with new herbicide’s, because of the over use of gylphosate, also known as RoundUp.
A New Way to Control ‘Super weeds’: Two Bacterial Enzymes Confer Resistance to Common Herbicide/Jan. 21, 2011
Monsanto’s Roundup triggers over 40 plant diseases and endangers human and animal health, January 14, 2011
GM crops infecting organic farms, February 21, 2011 In December last year, Kojonup organic grain farmer Steve Marsh found genetically modified (GM) canola plants from a neighbouring farm had contaminated 293 hectares — 63% — of his property.
The farm in Western Australia’s Great Southern region is Australia’s first known case of GM canola contamination. Marsh has had his organic certification revoked as…
IF you think shopping at whole foods is helpful to organic farmers, you’re pretty clueless already. Who cares if WF supports GMO? You shoudlnt shop there anyway.
Sorry but your argument is a misinterpretation of the research. Or is it a deliberate obfuscation? We are NOT E. coli and are in little danger of having our DNA altered by ingesting GMO corn. Or are we all peanuts here?
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That was a nice bit of fear mongering at the end, but you definitely do not fully understand the technology you are talking about. Just because a gene is inserted into a plant does not mean that that same gene will be transferred to the human eating it. Horizontal gene transfer only occurs under a very precise set of conditions that are usually only possible in a laboratory setting, excluding viruses which do this all the time. The most commonly used strategy of gene transfer for plants is using agrobacterium, which you have a diagram for at the top of your article. This inserts the gene into the plant but is then washed away, once the gene is inside the DNA of the plant they are grown to maturity and selected. By the time this food is anywhere near consumers there are absolutely no traces of this agrobacterium left at all, not that they would be very successful at transferring genes to humans anyways. The only difference between this new modified plant and the previous one is the segment of DNA that you inserted, to be afraid that this gene will transfer to you is ridiculous and is no more likely than a non-genetically modified corn’s genes being transferred to you. It just doesn’t work that way.
Source: I work in a university genetic engineering research lab.