by Alan M. Kapuler PhD Peace Seeds A Planetary Gene Pool Resource and Service Corvallis, Oregon
GMO's constitute an important issue in our lives.
Insertion of genes from one unrelated organism to another (from bacteria to plants, for example) creates chimaeras, living examples of mythical beasts containing pieces from various organisms like the Sphinx of Egypt which is part woman, part bird, part lion. Now we are making organisms that are part virus, part bacterium, part fungus, part plant and part animal.
The idea is both seductive and attractive.
In terms of healing, medicine, aging, wellness there are many reasons for wanting molecular biology to improve our lives and cure our ills.
However, many of the organizations developing biotech are motivated by greed, profit and ego, not the wellbeing and health of humanity. Then the science of gene insertion is underdeveloped. Gene transfer is sloppy, inexact and hence there exists a set of potential dangers including the activation of viruses latent in our own genetic material. We are tampering with Pandora's Helix.
Care and patience are critical as we experiment with life itself. Shallow speed under the aegis of greed rules the introduction of GMO's into our food system.
We are living in the time of technologies; radioactivity, computers, nanotech, biotech. Some were introduced into our lives as great developments in science, like radio-isotopes, which has given us weapons of atomic dust and uncleanable pollution.
Better living thru chemistry was a slogan of my childhood.
Now we are reaping the consequences of misuse of toxic chemicals cancer and other chronic illnesses, poisons in the soil and the food. And now we are asked to accept the genetic manipulation of our food under a wide umbrella of reasons. The often repeated claim that we need GMO's to grow enough food to feed the world is a lie; distribution and access are the reasons for famine and poverty.
And genetic pollution of the biosphere is the unavoidable consequence.
And why are we in such a rush to transgene our foot/plants? Ownership, property and control. Yet the plants pre-existed us, have their own domain and are truly a resource for all of us.
So under the scheme of genetic engineering are another set of agendas that reduce the diversity of the biosphere, the value of our lives and the health of humanity.