Main title slide - Mothers are Demystifying Genetic Engineering

butterbeanscubaBiotechnology

Dec 12, 2012 (4 years and 4 months ago)

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Do we want a Genetically
Modified future?



Greg Revell

gregr@geneethics.org


Gene Ethics Network



What is Genetic Engineering?


A technology that allows for the insertion of genes from
one organism into the DNA of another possibly unrelated
organism.



A GM food has been created using Genetic Engineering
technology.



Genetically Modified = Genetically Engineered

How are genes transferred?

*
Gene cassette

Blasted by
particle
gun

A T C G

Effect on the DNA


Mutations (2
-
4% of DNA)


Deletion of genes


Permanently on or off


Altered gene expression
(up to 5%)

What could go wrong?


Pigs engineered with human gene: some born
with no anus or genitals.



GM tobacco: created toxic compound not
normally found in tobacco.



GM yeast: unintentionally increased natural toxin
40 to 200 times.



A GM potato: accidentally had its starch content
boosted.

FDA (in U.S) declares GMOs
no different

“The agency is not aware of any
information showing that foods derived
by these new methods differ from other
foods in any meaningful or uniform
way.”


“Statement of Policy” May 29, 1992

Secret FDA documents
revealed that the
statement was a lie

Agency scientists warned of:


Allergens


Toxins


New diseases


Nutritional problems

Who overruled the scientists?

Michael Taylor


In charge of FDA policy


Former Monsanto lawyer


Later Monsanto vice president


Why is the American experience
important?


Australian authorities adopted American
protocols for safety testing


Australian approvals granted based on
“evidence” from U.S


“Evidence” dates back to early 90s.

First GM crop

FlavrSavr Tomato

Rats refused to eat the tomato

Rats were forced fed through
gastric tubes and stomach
washes.

After 28 days


7 of 20 rats developed stomach
lesions and bleeding


Another 7 of 40 died within 2
weeks


Tomato was approved
1

Industry funded study


a

GM potatoes damaged rats


Rats developed


Potentially precancerous cell
growth in the digestive tract


Smaller brains, livers and testicles


Partial atrophy of the liver, and


Immune system damage


Lancet,
1999

Intestinal Wall

Non
-
GM GM

Stomach Lining

Non
-
GM


GM

Russian Academy of Sciences

Mice fed GM soy



Altered young sperm
cells


Embryos had altered
gene expression

GM soy fed


Control


GM
-
soy: disturbance of blood stream




Control


Mice testicles




GM crop approvals vs hospital
admissions

Anaphylaxis Admissions vs
GM Crop Approvals

GM Crop Approvals
Safety assessment in
Australia

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)

Is FSANZ really protecting public
health?


Does not perform any of its own testing.


Merely assesses data from GM companies


Does not require any animal feeding studies.


No clinical trials required.


No post
-
market surveillance.

FSANZ: The great rubber
-
stamper


Monsanto’s MON863 corn


BANNED

in Austria
1


Approved by FSANZ
1



Syngenta’s A
-
A GM corn


BANNED

in Sth Africa
1


Approved by FSANZ
1



Bt63 GM rice


ILLEGAL

in EU
1


NO ACTION by FSANZ
1



Syngenta’s Bt10 corn


ILLEGAL

in EU, Japan
1


Approved by FSANZ
1


a





a



a



a

“But I’ll just read the labels!”


GM foods do not have to be labeled if:


Sold in restaurant or food outlet


Food is derived from animals fed GM
fodder.


If GM product is an oil, enzyme or
processing agent.


If less than 1.0% “accidental”
contamination.

Environmental contamination is
inevitable


Pollen & bees


Wind


Flood


Farm operations


Storage & Handler


Transport


Seed cleaning


Contaminated Seed

West

Nov 2002: Winds of 100 km/hr or more

Australia experiences dust storms regularly


WA

NSW

Canola crop blown away

Mythbusters


“GM will feed the world”
1


“GM uses less pesticides”
1


“We’ve been genetically modifying plants for
years”
1


“GM has been adopted all over the world”
1


“GM is rigorously tested”
1











What the experts say



We are concerned that FSANZ may be comfortable with the possibility of a
significant number of people suffering a hepatitis
-
like illness as a result of a
food that FSANZ has assessed to be safe.”



Public Health Association of
Australia

“The number of scientists who are not convinced about the safety of GM foods
is substantial enough to prevent the existence of a general recognition of
safety. I am not aware of any study in the peer
-
reviewed scientific literature
that establishes the safety of even one specific GM food let alone the
general class”


Geneticist and Emeritus Professor Richard Lacey M.D.,
Ph.D

“The real threat to the future is the irresponsible and premature release of
GMOs that are full of unsound scientific assumptions, rife with careless
science, and arrogantly dismissive of valid concerns. The technology is
inadequately developed to ensure its safety.” Professor Patrick Brown,
College of Agriculture and Environmental Science, UCLA.

The final word …

“Any politician or scientist who tells you
that these [GM] foods are safe is
either very stupid or lying.”





Dr. David Suzuki

www.geneethics.org



www.madge.org.au



www.truefood.org.au



www.non
-
gm
-
farmers.com

More information …