Saturday, March 07, 2015

How Safe Is GM/GE food?

                                         Comments due by March 15, 2015
Robert Goldberg sags into his desk chair and gestures at the air. “Frankenstein monsters, things crawling out of the lab,” he says. “This the most depressing thing I've ever dealt with.”
Goldberg, a plant molecular biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, is not battling psychosis. He is expressing despair at the relentless need to confront what he sees as bogus fears over the health risks of genetically modified (GM) crops. Particularly frustrating to him, he says, is that this debate should have ended decades ago, when researchers produced a stream of exonerating evidence: “Today we're facing the same objections we faced 40 years ago.”
Across campus, David Williams, a cellular biologist who specializes in vision, has the opposite complaint. “A lot of naive science has been involved in pushing this technology,” he says. “Thirty years ago we didn't know that when you throw any gene into a different genome, the genome reacts to it. But now anyone in this field knows the genome is not a static environment. Inserted genes can be transformed by several different means, and it can happen generations later.” The result, he insists, could very well be potentially toxic plants slipping through testing.
Williams concedes that he is among a tiny minority of biologists raising sharp questions about the safety of GM crops. But he says this is only because the field of plant molecular biology is protecting its interests. Funding, much of it from the companies that sell GM seeds, heavily favors researchers who are exploring ways to further the use of genetic modification in agriculture. He says that biologists who point out health or other risks associated with GM crops—who merely report or defend experimental findings that imply there may be risks—find themselves the focus of vicious attacks on their credibility, which leads scientists who see problems with GM foods to keep quiet.
Whether Williams is right or wrong, one thing is undeniable: despite overwhelming evidence that GM crops are safe to eat, the debate over their use continues to rage, and in some parts of the world, it is growing ever louder. Skeptics would argue that this contentiousness is a good thing—that we cannot be too cautious when tinkering with the genetic basis of the world's food supply. To researchers such as Goldberg, however, the persistence of fears about GM foods is nothing short of exasperating. “In spite of hundreds of millions of genetic experiments involving every type of organism on earth,” he says, “and people eating billions of meals without a problem, we've gone back to being ignorant.”
So who is right: advocates of GM or critics? When we look carefully at the evidence for both sides and weigh the risks and benefits, we find a surprisingly clear path out of this dilemma.
Benefits and Worries
The bulk of the science on GM safety points in one direction. Take it from David Zilberman, a U.C. Berkeley agricultural and environmental economist and one of the few researchers considered credible by both agricultural chemical companies and their critics. He argues that the benefits of GM crops greatly outweigh the health risks, which so far remain theoretical. The use of GM crops “has lowered the price of food,” Zilberman says. “It has increased farmer safety by allowing them to use less pesticide. It has raised the output of corn, cotton and soy by 20 to 30 percent, allowing some people to survive who would not have without it. If it were more widely adopted around the world, the price [of food] would go lower, and fewer people would die of hunger.”
In the future, Zilberman says, those advantages will become all the more significant. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that the world will have to grow 70 percent more food by 2050 just to keep up with population growth. Climate change will make much of the world's arable land more difficult to farm. GM crops, Zilberman says, could produce higher yields, grow in dry and salty land, withstand high and low temperatures, and tolerate insects, disease and herbicides.
Despite such promise, much of the world has been busy banning, restricting and otherwise shunning GM foods. Nearly all the corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified, but only two GM crops, Monsanto's MON810 maize and BASF's Amflora potato, are accepted in the European Union. Eight E.U. nations have banned GM crops outright. Throughout Asia, including in India and China, governments have yet to approve most GM crops, including an insect-resistant rice that produces higher yields with less pesticide. In Africa, where millions go hungry, several nations have refused to import GM foods in spite of their lower costs (the result of higher yields and a reduced need for water and pesticides). Kenya has banned them altogether amid widespread malnutrition. No country has definite plans to grow Golden Rice, a crop engineered to deliver more vitamin A than spinach (rice normally has no vitamin A), even though vitamin A deficiency causes more than one million deaths annually and half a million cases of irreversible blindness in the developing world.
Globally, only a tenth of the world's cropland includes GM plants. Four countries—the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Argentina—grow 90 percent of the planet's GM crops. Other Latin American countries are pushing away from the plants. And even in the U.S., voices decrying genetically modified foods are becoming louder. At press time, at least 20 states are considering GM-labeling bills.
The fear fueling all this activity has a long history. The public has been worried about the safety of GM foods since scientists at the University of Washington developed the first genetically modified tobacco plants in the 1970s. In the mid-1990s, when the first GM crops reached the market, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Ralph Nader, Prince Charles and a number of celebrity chefs took highly visible stands against them. Consumers in Europe became particularly alarmed: a survey conducted in 1997, for example, found that 69 percent of the Austrian public saw serious risks in GM foods, compared with only 14 percent of Americans.
In Europe, skepticism about GM foods has long been bundled with other concerns, such as a resentment of American agribusiness. Whatever it is based on, however, the European attitude reverberates across the world, influencing policy in countries where GM crops could have tremendous benefits. “In Africa, they don't care what us savages in America are doing,” Zilberman says. “They look to Europe and see countries there rejecting GM, so they don't use it.” Forces fighting genetic modification in Europe have rallied support for “the precautionary principle,” which holds that given the kind of catastrophe that would emerge from loosing a toxic, invasive GM crop on the world, GM efforts should be shut down until the technology is proved absolutely safe.
But as medical researchers know, nothing can really be “proved safe.” One can only fail to turn up significant risk after trying hard to find it—as is the case with GM crops.
A Clean Record
The human race has been selectively breeding crops, thus altering plants' genomes, for millennia. Ordinary wheat has long been strictly a human-engineered plant; it could not exist outside of farms, because its seeds do not scatter. For some 60 years scientists have been using “mutagenic” techniques to scramble the DNA of plants with radiation and chemicals, creating strains of wheat, rice, peanuts and pears that have become agricultural mainstays. The practice has inspired little objection from scientists or the public and has caused no known health problems.
The difference is that selective breeding or mutagenic techniques tend to result in large swaths of genes being swapped or altered. GM technology, in contrast, enables scientists to insert into a plant's genome a single gene (or a few of them) from another species of plant or even from a bacterium, virus or animal. Supporters argue that this precision makes the technology much less likely to produce surprises. Most plant molecular biologists also say that in the highly unlikely case that an unexpected health threat emerged from a new GM plant, scientists would quickly identify and eliminate it. “We know where the gene goes and can measure the activity of every single gene around it,” Goldberg says. “We can show exactly which changes occur and which don't.” [For more on how GM plants are analyzed for health safety, see “The Risks on the Table,” by Karen Hopkin; Scientific American, April 2001.]
And although it might seem creepy to add virus DNA to a plant, doing so is, in fact, no big deal, proponents say. Viruses have been inserting their DNA into the genomes of crops, as well as humans and all other organisms, for millions of years. They often deliver the genes of other species while they are at it, which is why our own genome is loaded with genetic sequences that originated in viruses and nonhuman species. “When GM critics say that genes don't cross the species barrier in nature, that's just simple ignorance,” says Alan McHughen, a plant molecular geneticist at U.C. Riverside. Pea aphids contain fungi genes. Triticale is a century-plus-old hybrid of wheat and rye found in some flours and breakfast cereals. Wheat itself, for that matter, is a cross-species hybrid. “Mother Nature does it all the time, and so do conventional plant breeders,” McHughen says.
Could eating plants with altered genes allow new DNA to work its way into our own? It is theoretically possible but hugely improbable. Scientists have never found genetic material that could survive a trip through the human gut and make it into cells. Besides, we are routinely exposed to—we even consume—the viruses and bacteria whose genes end up in GM foods. The bacterium B. thuringiensis, for example, which produces proteins fatal to insects, is sometimes enlisted as a natural pesticide in organic farming. “We've been eating this stuff for thousands of years,” Goldberg says.
In any case, proponents say, people have consumed as many as trillions of meals containing genetically modified ingredients over the past few decades. Not a single verified case of illness has ever been attributed to the genetic alterations. Mark Lynas, a prominent anti-GM activist who last year publicly switched to strongly supporting the technology, has pointed out that every single news-making food disaster on record has been attributed to non-GM crops, such as the Escherichia coli–infected organic bean sprouts that killed 53 people in Europe in 2011.
Critics often disparage U.S. research on the safety of genetically modified foods, which is often funded or even conducted by GM companies, such as Monsanto. But much research on the subject comes from the European Commission, the administrative body of the E.U., which cannot be so easily dismissed as an industry tool. The European Commission has funded 130 research projects, carried out by more than 500 independent teams, on the safety of GM crops. None of those studies found any special risks from GM crops.
Plenty of other credible groups have arrived at the same conclusion. Gregory Jaffe, director of biotechnology at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a science-based consumer-watchdog group in Washington, D.C., takes pains to note that the center has no official stance, pro or con, with regard to genetically modifying food plants. Yet Jaffe insists the scientific record is clear. “Current GM crops are safe to eat and can be grown safely in the environment,” he says. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Medical Association and the National Academy of Sciences have all unreservedly backed GM crops. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with its counterparts in several other countries, has repeatedly reviewed large bodies of research and concluded that GM crops pose no unique health threats. Dozens of review studies carried out by academic researchers have backed that view.
Opponents of genetically modified foods point to a handful of studies indicating possible safety problems. But reviewers have dismantled almost all of those reports. For example, a 1998 study by plant biochemist Árpád Pusztai, then at the Rowett Institute in Scotland, found that rats fed a GM potato suffered from stunted growth and immune system–related changes. But the potato was not intended for human consumption—it was, in fact, designed to be toxic for research purposes. The Rowett Institute later deemed the experiment so sloppy that it refuted the findings and charged Pusztai with misconduct.
Similar stories abound. Most recently, a team led by Gilles-Éric Séralini, a researcher at the University of Caen Lower Normandy in France, found that rats eating a common type of GM corn contracted cancer at an alarmingly high rate. But Séralini has long been an anti-GM campaigner, and critics charged that in his study, he relied on a strain of rat that too easily develops tumors, did not use enough rats, did not include proper control groups and failed to report many details of the experiment, including how the analysis was performed. After a review, the European Food Safety Authority dismissed the study's findings. Several other European agencies came to the same conclusion. “If GM corn were that toxic, someone would have noticed by now,” McHughen says. “Séralini has been refuted by everyone who has cared to comment.”
Some scientists say the objections to GM food stem from politics rather than science—that they are motivated by an objection to large multinational corporations having enormous influence over the food supply; invoking risks from genetic modification just provides a convenient way of whipping up the masses against industrial agriculture. “This has nothing to do with science,” Goldberg says. “It's about ideology.” Former anti-GM activist Lynas agrees. He recently went as far as labeling the anti-GM crowd “explicitly an antiscience movement.”
Persistent Doubts
Not all objections to genetically modified foods are so easily dismissed, however. Long-term health effects can be subtle and nearly impossible to link to specific changes in the environment. Scientists have long believed that Alzheimer's disease and many cancers have environmental components, but few would argue we have identified all of them.
And opponents say that it is not true that the GM process is less likely to cause problems simply because fewer, more clearly identified genes are switched. David Schubert, an Alzheimer's researcher who heads the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., asserts that a single, well-characterized gene can still settle in the target plant's genome in many different ways. “It can go in forward, backward, at different locations, in multiple copies, and they all do different things,” he says. And as U.C.L.A.'s Williams notes, a genome often continues to change in the successive generations after the insertion, leaving it with a different arrangement than the one intended and initially tested. There is also the phenomenon of “insertional mutagenesis,” Williams adds, in which the insertion of a gene ends up quieting the activity of nearby genes.
True, the number of genes affected in a GM plant most likely will be far, far smaller than in conventional breeding techniques. Yet opponents maintain that because the wholesale swapping or alteration of entire packages of genes is a natural process that has been happening in plants for half a billion years, it tends to produce few scary surprises today. Changing a single gene, on the other hand, might turn out to be a more subversive action, with unexpected ripple effects, including the production of new proteins that might be toxins or allergens.
Opponents also point out that the kinds of alterations caused by the insertion of genes from other species might be more impactful, more complex or more subtle than those caused by the intraspecies gene swapping of conventional breeding. And just because there is no evidence to date that genetic material from an altered crop can make it into the genome of people who eat it does not mean such a transfer will never happen—or that it has not already happened and we have yet to spot it. These changes might be difficult to catch; their impact on the production of proteins might not even turn up in testing. “You'd certainly find out if the result is that the plant doesn't grow very well,” Williams says. “But will you find the change if it results in the production of proteins with long-term effects on the health of the people eating it?”
It is also true that many pro-GM scientists in the field are unduly harsh—even unscientific—in their treatment of critics. GM proponents sometimes lump every scientist who raises safety questions together with activists and discredited researchers. And even Séralini, the scientist behind the study that found high cancer rates for GM-fed rats, has his defenders. Most of them are nonscientists, or retired researchers from obscure institutions, or nonbiologist scientists, but the Salk Institute's Schubert also insists the study was unfairly dismissed. He says that as someone who runs drug-safety studies, he is well versed on what constitutes a good-quality animal toxicology study and that Séralini's makes the grade. He insists that the breed of rat in the study is commonly used in respected drug studies, typically in numbers no greater than in Séralini's study; that the methodology was standard; and that the details of the data analysis are irrelevant because the results were so striking.
Schubert joins Williams as one of a handful of biologists from respected institutions who are willing to sharply challenge the GM-foods-are-safe majority. Both charge that more scientists would speak up against genetic modification if doing so did not invariably lead to being excoriated in journals and the media. These attacks, they argue, are motivated by the fear that airing doubts could lead to less funding for the field. Says Williams: “Whether it's conscious or not, it's in their interest to promote this field, and they're not objective.”
Both scientists say that after publishing comments in respected journals questioning the safety of GM foods, they became the victims of coordinated attacks on their reputations. Schubert even charges that researchers who turn up results that might raise safety questions avoid publishing their findings out of fear of repercussions. “If it doesn't come out the right way,” he says, “you're going to get trashed.”
There is evidence to support that charge. In 2009 Nature detailed the backlash to a reasonably solid study published in the Proceedingsof the National Academy of Sciences USA by researchers from Loyola University Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. The paper showed that GM corn seemed to be finding its way from farms into nearby streams and that it might pose a risk to some insects there because, according to the researchers' lab studies, caddis flies appeared to suffer on diets of pollen from GM corn. Many scientists immediately attacked the study, some of them suggesting the researchers were sloppy to the point of misconduct.
A Way Forward
There is a middle ground in this debate. Many moderate voices call for continuing the distribution of GM foods while maintaining or even stepping up safety testing on new GM crops. They advocate keeping a close eye on the health and environmental impact of existing ones. But they do not single out GM crops for special scrutiny, the Center for Science in the Public Interest's Jaffe notes: all crops could use more testing. “We should be doing a better job with food oversight altogether,” he says.
Even Schubert agrees. In spite of his concerns, he believes future GM crops can be introduced safely if testing is improved. “Ninety percent of the scientists I talk to assume that new GM plants are safety-tested the same way new drugs are by the fda,” he says. “They absolutely aren't, and they absolutely should be.”
Stepped-up testing would pose a burden for GM researchers, and it could slow down the introduction of new crops. “Even under the current testing standards for GM crops, most conventionally bred crops wouldn't have made it to market,” McHughen says. “What's going to happen if we become even more strict?”
That is a fair question. But with governments and consumers increasingly coming down against GM crops altogether, additional testing may be the compromise that enables the human race to benefit from those crops' significant advantages.
(Scientific American 2013)


Anonymous said...

This was a lengthy but worth while read, it seems that from a purely scientific short term understanding, GM crops, from what I now understand, are "natural" in the terms that this form of gene cross breeding between organisms is completely natural and happens quite often.
But it does raise the question, that even though this gene cross breeding does happen in nature, we can clearly see the changes in the plants. With GM crops, these are such minute changes that we cant see their effect on the plant, nor can we be completely sure of the outcome of time and environment on the plant with the climate and globe changing as it is.
Though, as of now I am convinced that GM crops are safe, but it raises my concern because I do not know what genes where spliced into the crop, and what the alteration was. Where the genes came from, and what their intended purpose is when used in to modify the crop.

Beverly Levine

Anonymous said...

From this article I am generally understanding that GM crops are widely considered safe and backed by much testing to be safe. Also that there exists doubt, which is not backed by as much science and testing. The world has so many problems with health and huger that there is a huge need for GM foods, so I definitely support the use of such foods.
Yet I also understand the doubt. Even going against so much science, doubt is important because, in this case, no matter how many tests are done there is no way to be 100% sure on the safety of GM crops. As the article states, "medical researchers know, nothing can really be 'proved safe.' "
This debate reminds me of that over DDT. This pesticide was found in trace amounts in the producers level of the food chain. Yet ever level up the food chain, DDT amounts were magnified. Upper level consumers would consume so many lower level consumers that DDT became harmful in these upper level consumers. To relate to GM foods, I wonder if after generations of reproduction if GM products will remain safe, or develop into more harmful versions of themselves. Or if later generations of human offspring will be subjected to harmful mutations as a result of current human GM crop consumption. I don't think this will be the case as mutations happen all the time in nature. Organisms evolve purely because of random gene mutations, so it is hard for me to believe GM crops could become too harmful. However, there is always a chance so doubt should be welcomed rather than attacked as this doubt will keep radical GM ideas in check.
Currently, the world's need for GM crops and current beliefs of the safety of GM crops outweighs the doubts of such safety so I am definitely for the use of GM crops.

-Chris Magnemi

Anonymous said...

Vermont recently passed a law to label all GMOs, claiming that we have a right to know what we are putting in our bodies. Yet this article proves that we truly don't know what we are putting into our bodies and what the potential risks of GMOs could have on us and our surroundings. Yet this also does not mean that GMOs are inherently bad for us, but it also does not mean that they are inherently good and should be widely accepted internationally. I think that Vermont is aiming to keep stride with many European countries that have banned GM foods from being imported for fear of health risks. This law that Vermont passed is the first GMO-labeling law to be passed in the United States, which doesn't come as much of a surprise because the U.S. appears to produce the majority of GM food, especially because of the large corporations producing it such as Monsanto.
Labeling GMOs is the first step towards changing the way we look at food. If we are all more aware of the quantity of our food that is actually genetically modified, we might begin to think twice about what we are putting into our bodies and we might begin to make smarter choices about what we eat. However I agree with the article in that there needs to be much more research done on the subject of GM foods and the potential benefits and risks associated with them, if there even are any. This goes back to the article we read last week about the GM apples that do not brown - are GMOs bad for us? Does the fact that these new apples do not brown pose a serious concern for the masses, or do the benefits to the sellers and consumers outweigh the risks?

-Marrina Gallant

Anonymous said...

I do agree that we have a right to know what we are putting in our bodies and we should definitely care about it. However, I also believe that GMO's pros outweigh the cons. For example, with GMO products there is more food, less stress on the environment and better products (GM crops prevent harmful naturally occurring mold). I definitely do believe that there is a need for GM crops because of this reason. I also do completely agree with Marrina's point that we should label GMOs to change the way we look at food and know exactly what we are consuming.

- Victoria Kusy

Anonymous said...

I feel like people have every right to be concerned about GM foods. I think that it's mainly because we kind of link together the change in DNA of the foods to the change in DNA that happens in pests when exposed long enough to the stuff farmers spray to get rid of them. People start thinking, 'Well, if it happens to pests, it can happen to food, and soon enough, things will get out of control and the world might end up like the world in the story Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.' Even though that's highly improbable, that's what some people's thoughts might lead towards. More tests and studies should be done on GM foods.

-E. Piper Phillips

Sulana Robinson said...

This is really interesting, first, because I'm one of the people who have believed GM foods to be bad (with little research) mostly based on the fact that they aren't exactly natural. Therefore, they aren't pure and shouldn't be put in your body among countless articles of "food" that we (in America) eat regardless of health risks. I heard something last year that made me dislike this movement even further: that an apple today has approximately five times less nutrients than one grown in 60's (decades ago, can't recall). What I do see though, is that this does have the potential to be good. But only good for an already existing problem: overpopulation. At this point in human history we are so beyond the sustainable feeding capacity for so many hungry mouths. Which actually, doesn't feed many mouths beyond Americans which is disappointing knowing how many people overeat without thought. From the article, “In Africa, they don't care what us savages in America are doing,” I think its possible that many others are in that state of mind and don't really take us seriously another. Especially in terms of health.

Anonymous said...

The argument for GMO food has good points on both sides of the problem. The pro GMO scientists argue that plants have been genetically modified for thousands of years. Scientists against GMO argue that changing a gene outside of nature can cause the production of toxins within a plant. I agree with the argument against GMO's. When GMO happens naturally without the use of science, plants naturally accept the change that is happening. This allows the plants to keep all the good properties as well, such as proteins that fight insect pests.
It is a part of natural selection in that over many years plants will evolve and some might adopt changes that provide benefits for the type of climate that the plant is growing in. By using science to change genes we are causing a change in the DNA that the plant would probably not have developed within nature. This can cause future problems, such as the production of toxic proteins within the new plant. Also the plants could be more susceptible to disease.
The worst type of GMO in my opinion is the Gene that allows plants to be sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. This gene might not cause any negative effects to the actual plant; but by spraying the plant with so many chemicals, we are making the plant toxic.

-Frazer Winsted

Anonymous said...

Scientifically it is important to mention the number of tests performed versus the ones used in the final write-up. As this articles mentions, unless all results are included, readers may be mislead by omitted facts. If 100 tests are performed on a data set, there will be some that are extremely negative and others positive, following a normal curve. Unless scientists on both sides of the argument are willing to be transparent about their processes, the truth will not be communicated to the public.

As Chris mentioned above, a first step to public awareness is the use of labels. Unfortunately, without the background knowledge to understand their meaning, labels may cause more harm than good. The responsibility lies in the scientists who should remain unbiased in the pursuit of fact, and the consumers who should care about the food they feed themselves and their families. As I concluded after the previous article, there have been large over generalizations on both sides of the argument that distort the truth. Until a more clear picture comes into focus, I choose the side of caution as a consumer.

-Nadya Hall

Anonymous said...

Whether or not to support GM foods has been a hard decision for me to make, especially with the evidence provided by this article. Initially I would be against GM foods. Although this article proves that genetical modification does occur naturally, I think that this process is only natural to a degree. The extent that companies like Monsanto are taking it are far greater than anything that could occur in nature, and despite the evidence proving it's safety I am still wary of the implications. It simply feels wrong to support such an abnormal way to make food, especially since I strongly advocate the movement to eat local and simple foods. However, the argument of need is compelling. It is undeniable that there are places in the world which would benefit from the usage of GM foods. Their reduced cost and abundance could make a serious dent in the problem of world hunger, a solution that seriously needs to be explored. I think the best resolution would be to try and find a medium between the two sides. GM foods should exist to some extent, but not be able to take over the food industry, as they very well could if not restrained.

Rachael Pepper

Anonymous said...

After reading this article, my views on GM products have slightly lightened. I have always been against GM products, even though most of the time I don't even realize that I consume these products almost everyday. I understand that there has been many testings on these products in search for any dangerous effect it could have, but we will not be a hundred percent sure till years go by in my opinion. If the consumers were able to tell if it was a GM product or not by the placing of a label I think this would make the people a lot happier. If you let the people see what they are consuming it is their decision if they want to buy the or not. These people may then have much less to choose from in grocery stores but that is just something they would have to configure on their own. But in a sense GM products for less developed countries is a must, due to the fact that they have low education standards where the output can expand. GM products have their pros and cons, but what we don't know is if these products will have a negative effect in the future.

-Katherine Murphy

Joan Podolski said...

i found this article to be quite interesting because it allows us to gain the knowledge of the food we are eating. As far as the question of the safety of GM food... even though there are a lot of critiques about it, it states that there has been over 130 studies regarding the safety of the crop. In the article, it is said that “In spite of hundreds of millions of genetic experiments involving every type of organism on earth,” he says, “and people eating billions of meals without a problem, we've gone back to being ignorant.” this meaning that now that people are becoming aware of what is going on they start to judge the process.

i have to agree that half the time, we do not know what is being done to our food, but we trust it and we eat it. so if these GM tests are going to benefit the environment and not affect us then what is the problem. even though no food can 100% be proved safe, it is still important that we use GM crops to help benefit the existing problems that we are facing in the world.

Christina Cranwell said...

Despite the arguments of this article I am still highly skeptical of GMOs. There is a difference between the selective cross breeding that they have been doing for years and actually inserting and removing genes. With selective breeding the mutations are still occurring naturally. If plants were seen on the same level as humans most people would agree that it is wrong. The majority of the public think that it is wrong to alter the genetic makeup of eggs and sperm in order to create a "preferable human" so why is it not wrong to alter the genetic makeup of plants. The thing that scares me the most is that we really don't know what is going to come from these changes. We shouldn't resort to GMOS to support the amount of people on this planet. Most will agree that overpopulation is a problem so we should work to solve it instead of working to support it. It's great that we found a way to support our species but at the same time it isn't because our species is taking away from the liberties and resources that other species need.

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