Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and environment on earth. #4

What will genetic engineering (GE) of foods do to the environment? Our world and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).


The Environment and Environmental Concerns. Genetic Engineering A Series

Rob McLean

Genetic contamination cannot be cleaned up or contained. We are letting a powerful genie out of the bottle with very little knowledge of what this genie can do and no way to stop it! GMO: What is it?

We have learned that genetic engineering is a modern form of biotechnology. Although some forms of biotechnology such as crossbreeding, plant hybridization, and fermentation have been used by humans for many thousands of years, genetic engineering (GE) is new. GE focuses on the manipulation of DNA–by scrambling, blocking, or adding genetic material. The result has been dubbed a genetically modified organism or GMO.

Powerful Genie

As you read this, remember that genetic contamination cannot be cleaned up or contained. We are letting a powerful genie out of the bottle with very little knowledge of what this genie can do and no way to stop it!

Potential Risks to Environment.

A look at history here: DDT. Some of the corporations behind GMOs are the companies that were behind the development of such deadly pesticides as DDT. Instead of helping our environment, as we were promised at the time, pesticides such as DDT were disasters to our planet earth.

Over and above the potential risks to humans who eat these Frankenfoods, there are grave risks to the environment from the growth and potential spread of these foods.

Again, unlike other kinds of waste, genetic contamination cannot be cleaned up or contained.

What are some of the concerns about GMOs and the environment?

1. Growth of Pesticide Pollution and Kill.

Roundup Ready Soybeans (from Monsanto) and some other GE crops were manipulated to allow farmers to use heavier doses of pesticides on their land.

The populations of Europe are more GMO aware than the American people. Malcolm Kane, former head of food safety at Sainsbury’s, a supermarket chain, and one of Britain’s leading safety experts, disclosed that the limits of pesticide residues in soy has been increased 200% to help the GE industry.

These pesticides will add to environmental pollution as they find their way into our water and food supply. This will further endanger humans and wildlife.

These pesticides can, and often will, kill beneficial plants, insects, and animals in addition to targeted kills.

2. Potential Superweeds.

Some scientists fear that newly created "transgenes" will spread unintentionally from target crops to related weed species. They fear this will lead to a new class of "superweeds."

3. Risks to Biodiversity.

Scientists estimate we have already lost 95% of the genetic diversity present in agriculture 100 years ago. GE crops pose an increased threat to the small biodiversity that we have left.

4. Genetic Contamination.

There is always the danger that genetically modified organisms will "escape" into the wild. A fish, for example, that grows four times as fast as a normal fish but escapes into the wild, could destroy the existing natural balance of our planet.

Many scientists are concerned about the widespread release of genetically modified organisms into our world. They fear GE crops will be spread by natural means, such as birds, insects, and wind. In fact, that is already happening.

"Terminator Seeds and Trees."

"Terminator seeds" could destroy the world’s food supply and force over a billion farmers worldwide to buy seeds from the giant agribusinesses that sold them the sterile seeds in the beginning.

"Terminator trees," engineered not to flower but to grow rapidly, would grow faster than traditional trees, potentially shading out the natural tree. The flowerless trees would not support butterflies, bees, birds, and animals that depend on the pollen, seeds, nuts, and nectar of traditional forests.

If biotech companies add insect resistance to the leaves, too, we can have vast tracts of land that won’t support animal life at all.

Monarch Butterfly.

Monarch butterflies migrate between Mexico and Canada. US farmers have planted millions of acres of GE corn, right in the migratory path of the butterflies.

Cornell University researchers have found that nearly half of the Monarch caterpillars that ate milkweed leaves dusted with GE corn pollen died within four days. The surviving butterflies were much smaller and had smaller appetites than the control butterflies. The control butterflies ate normal corn pollen or no pollen at all.

Although this came as a shock to many biotech advocates, the experiments continue. Scientists and concerned people everywhere wonder what other surprises are in store and what will happen 10, 25, or 50 years from now. There is NO way for ANYONE to gauge the consequences of GMOs to our planet.

Glow-in-the-Dark Spuds.

Scientists inserted jellyfish genes into potatoes, creating a potato that glows when it needs watering. The spuds are used sparingly, not for human consumption, but to monitor need for water. What would happen if the these GE potatoes got mixed in with regular spuds and were consumed by your family?

Impossible to be included in regular harvests? Impossible to be eaten by your family? You know the answer!

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