Page at a Glance – THE BASICS
- What is a GMO(genetically modified organism)? Artificial changes in the DNA made in a laboratory, producing massive collateral damage in the DNA. The number one result is surprise side effects.
- GMO misinformation and myths: GMOs…
- are not the same as traditional breeding;
- are not necessary to feed the world;
- are not an extension of natural breeding; and
- do not reduce the use of agriculture chemicals.
- Roundup-ready crops comprise more than 80% of all GMOs. They are engineered so that farmers can spray Roundup over the field of growing corn or soy to kill the weeds but not the crops.
- Bt Crops- Engineers insert a naturally occurring toxin (Bacillus thuringiensis) into plant cells. The plant then produces the toxin which kills insects when they eat the plant by breaking open their gut.
- Non-browning apple and potato: these may be the most dangerous.
- GE Salmon- Grows faster. Do not eat.
- Genetic pollution persists because it corrupts the gene pool and we have no technology to clean it up.
- The Institute for Responsible Technology has two missions:
1) stop the introduction of GE products into the food supply.
2) prevent the release of living GMOs into the environment.
SUMMARY – THE BASICS
What is a GMO? GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. We can also use genetically modified or genetically engineered.
How are GMOs created? Typically, scientists transfer genes from one species (like bacteria or viruses) and force them into the DNA of other species (like soybeans or corn.) Alternatively, instead of transferring genes, gene-editing equipment rearranges genes in the sequence, take genes out, etc. It’s all artificial changes in the DNA done in a laboratory. All of it produces massive collateral damage in the DNA. You can learn more about in the “Dangers” section.
Much of the information you need to know is unpacking the MISINFORMATION and MYTHS propagated by biotech proponents. Companies like Monsanto, (which was purchased by Bayer) have a long history of misleading the public.
Here are just a few examples:
- Genetic engineering (GE) is the same as traditional breeding. Nobel Prize laureates or independent genetic engineers all agree that GE is not the same as traditional breeding.
- GMOs are necessary to feed the world. The world’s experts at feeding the world determined that GMOs have nothing to offer in reaching that goal. In fact, they eliminated GMOs from their recommendations in the UN-sponsored report written by more than 400 scientists.
- GMOs are an extension of natural breeding. GE is very different and leads to different risks.
- GE reduces the use of agricultural chemicals. Wrong again. Particularly with the herbicide-tolerant crops.
Let’s go over a little of a history of how GMOs were introduced. Monsanto is a big GMO producer, AND they sell Roundup herbicide. They had a patent on glyphosate- the chief poison in Roundup -, that was expiring in the year 2000. So, they genetically engineered crops to withstand the herbicide Roundup. These are called Roundup-ready crops, and they comprise more than 80% of all GMOs. They are engineered so that farmers can spray Roundup over the top of the field of corn or soy, and it will kill the weeds but not the crops. Normally, the Roundup would kill those crops, but the Roundup-Ready crops survive.
These are chemical companies selling crops that can withstand more of their chemicals.
Soy, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets and alfalfa, are genetically modified as Roundup-ready. Over 90% of those crops (except for alfalfa) in North America and in many places around the world, are Roundup-ready crops.
Corn, cotton, and in South America, soy, are also engineered to produce a toxin that’s an insecticide called Bt. It’s named for the bacterium (Bacillus thuringiensis.) that produces this toxin naturally. This toxin kills certain insects by breaking open their guts and killing them. Engineers take the gene from the bacteria (Bt) and make millions of copies.
They get Bt into a cell in two main ways:
- Using a gene gun. They literally put millions of copies of the gene into a gun that coats tungsten or gold particles. They then blast those into a plate of cells hoping that some of those genes make it into the DNA of some of those cells. Then they clone those cells so that now every single cell of that crop contains the altered gene. In this case the Bt toxin gene.
- They use bacteria to infect the cell, carrying the gene with it.
And again, in all these cases, collateral damage occurs as a result. That’s different than the practice of traditional breeding via sexual reproduction.
In addition to herbicide-tolerant crops and the Bt crops, there’s also papaya from Hawaii or China as well as zucchini and yellow squash. Because they have a certain gene inserted, it is unlikely for them to get a certain disease, but this carries specific dangers which you’ll hear about on other pages.
There’s also a non-browning apple and potato, where the sliced the apple or potato won’t turn brown. These may be the most dangerous. You’ll find that out in the “Danger” section.
Lastly, genetically engineered salmon is currently for sale in Canada, and perhaps soon in the United States as well. It grows faster and there are reasons why we recommend not to eat GE salmon.
The Institute for Responsible Technology has two missions.
- To stop the introduction of GE products into the food supply; and
- To prevent the release of living GMOs into the environment. These expose everyone who eats, and also the ecosystem, to a technology whose most common result is surprise side effects.
GE causes numerous environmental problems. One is the fact that genetic pollution persists. It persists because it corrupts the gene pool. If you release a corn that’s genetically engineered and it crosses with a non-GMO corn, it changes the gene pool, and corrupts it. This change is passed onto future generations. We have no technology to clean up a corrupted gene pool.
Right now, gene editing (a form of genetic engineering) is cheap. Biotech wants to introduce genetically engineered and edited bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, plants, animals, insects, fish and birds. They could replace nature. They could eliminate the products of billions of years of evolution and replace it with designer organisms, designed for greater profit and control. All equipped with the technology whose number one result is surprise side effects. Not a smart idea.
IRT is against the widespread introduction in the environment. We’re not against the use of GE in contained laboratories, as a research tool, or to help defective genes in humans that will keep them alive. We don’t want something that’s inheritable, that will change the gene pool. We’re for the RESPONSIBLE use of the technology.
There’s a lot more you can find out about why children are most at risk, the coverups, the fraud, how to protect pets, what to eat and what you can do, all in these pages.