No matter how you slice it, "Franken-foods" are highly questionable products, and no amount of assurances from the industry that created them is going to change that. Biotech corporations have made many promises about the good their GMO crops will do for the world, but so far all they've managed to do is create superweeds and destroy the planet with agrochemicals.
The biotech industry is advertising a bevy of new fruits and vegetables that may soon hit stores. Peach-flavored strawberries, seedless tomatoes and other curiosities are no doubt a ploy to get consumers on "their" side of the gene-editing game.
Evidence has shown that gene editing techniques are not as "exact" as Big Biotech wants people to believe. The industry portrays gene editing as "superior" to GMOs for one reason: GMOs rely on the addition of new genes from other species or sources, while gene editing relies on the alteration of a specimen's existing genes.
This, they say, should make gene editing, as a concept, easier for the masses to swallow. The overwhelmingly negative response to GMOs has forced the industry to look for another, more palatable way to coerce the masses into eating fake, bio-engineered food.
The CRISPR-CAS9 technology used to conduct gene editing has been heralded by the media and industry professionals for its "accuracy" over more "conventional" techniques. But recently published research has shown that gene editing with CRISPR can cause hundreds of unforeseen consequences to the target's genome.
And as Natural Health 365 explains, many of these changes are "off-target," which means that genes not selected for editing are still being altered by the CRISPR-Cas9 technology.
CRISPR-Cas9 is often called the "find and replace" of gene editing. CRISPR is used to locate and identify the target gene, while Cas9 cuts it away. But Cas9 can be unruly. Sometimes it cuts the wrong gene, other times it remains active for too long and continues making unintended cuts to DNA. It can take up to 24 hours for Cas9 to break down -- which means it can do a lot of accidental damage.
Many experts have spoken out about the potentially hazardous effects this new technology may have. As Natural Health 365 reports:
Molecular geneticist and GMO expert Dr. Michael Antoniou points out even tiny changes could cause unintended effects. For example, a disruption in the function of an enzyme could lead to unpredictable biochemical reactions.
Dr. Antoniou has also said that "entire genome sequences of gene-edited organism should be submitted to biosafety authorities – and that long-term toxicity studies should also be performed."
There are many concerns about what the effects of consuming gene-edited food may have on humans. Some experts have said that the rise of CRISPR-Cas9 technology may be setting the stage for an entire generation of cancer-sufferers.
Evolution has taken millennia, and it is a bit fool-hardy for anyone to think that science can circumvent the natural processes which produce life on Earth and face no consequences.
See more coverage of the latest biotechnology controversies at GMO.news.
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