GMO

GMO

maizOur body feeds itself with “food”, that is mixed up with liquids and gases, most commonly with “water and oxygen”. What would happen to us if it got transformed into toxins? So let’s have a look at what is called “Transgenic Food”. A transgenic or Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is a living organism that has been artificially created by modifying its genetic sequence. The genetic manipulation consists of isolating some DNA sequences from a living organism (virus, bacteria, plant, animal or human) to include it into another living organism. For instance, the transgenic corn that is cultivated in Spain contains bacteria genes that are responsible for the production of an insecticide.

It is important to understand that it is impossible to insert directly alien genes into a cell due to the effect of natural barriers that would break or deactivate foreign DNA. Therefore scientists firstly incorporate the genes into a virus that will act as a vehicle (vector) to transfer these genes to the target cell. The use of intruding vectors to insert genes is one of the many reasons why the process of genetic manipulation poses a risk to nature. From the 70’ till the 80’ these experimental organisms have been kept in microbiological laboratories, but since the 90’ this responsible behaviour has been abandoned due to the rush for commercialisation of this technology and the implementation in agriculture and medicine. They presented to us a “Happy World” where new plants would be resistant to drought, insects and weeds. The vegetables would become better, the crops more secure and world-wide famine would become a rarity. However, statistics show us that the countries where they have cultivated transgenic plants in a massive way are the poorest ones and people still die from starvation although the land produces twice the amount that these people would need. Famine still exists because production and distribution of food is controlled by private companies and corporations that monopolised the use of transgenic seeds. The ecological imbalance that is caused by monoculture results in a reduction in biodiversity which reduces the security for food and which increases the vulnerability of these crops against illnesses, plagues and weeds. Farmers try to fight this phenomenon by using ever increasing doses of pesticides which results in a vicious circle of exhaustion and destruction. The only target of genetic engineering is to increase the use of chemicals and transgenic plants. The scientists who work for the biotech corporations are crossing the natural borders between species by using aggressive vectors that many times originate from viruses that cause illnesses and that can re-combine with other viruses from the environment to form new pathogenic live forms. The genetic modification of crops has exploded since then and this without thorough analysis on the short and long term effects on public health and environment. And thus it is better not to eat genetically modified foodstuff and not to increase the turnover of those corporations that are using us as guinea pigs. However, the actual European legislation obliges the labelling of products that contain GMO and/or ingredients made of them. This is a first fundamental step towards providing information that allows consumers to choose. But… so far no labelling has been found on products that does contain this information. In order to help out on this lack of information, Greenpeace has created a list (www.greenpeace.es) that provides this info.

 

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