Originally published February 6 2014
My, your field smells fishy: GM scientists try to grow fish oils in flax
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Springtime could bring rolling fields of fish-infused flaxseed to Great Britain this year if genetic manipulators are successful in convincing regulators to approve this latest genetically modified (GM) monstrosity. The Telegraph in the U.K. reports that GM flax could end up in outdoor soils in as little as three months, the first step toward eventually cultivating the "Frankenflax" commercially.
Like its ill-famed cousin "Golden Rice," a fraudulent GM rice variety currently being pushed in the Third World as a solution to vitamin A deficiency and malnutrition, this new GM flax is already being hailed as the solution to widespread omega-3 deficiency. This is because it reportedly contains the genes of marine algae, which cause the plant to produce much higher levels of omega-3s than it otherwise does in natural form.
"The researchers hope to produce the world's first sustainable plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, normally found in oily fish, by 'cutting and pasting' genes taken from marine algae," writes Miranda Prynne for The Telegraph. "Permission could be given within just three months for the team to start sowing the seeds at the same high-security research site in Hertfordshire where GM wheat trials have successfully taken place in the last two years."
GM flax, the solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are numerous and ever-growing, which helps explain the stated rationale behind the project -- researchers are simply trying to fill a need for more heart-protecting fish oil, they say. Or are they? Like all other GM crops, GM flax is just another unnecessary "solution" to a problem that technically does not even exist, at least not as a result of nature's doing.
If anything, GM flax is a proposed solution to a problem created by the very same types of people currently developing GM flax. Farmed fish, it turns out, another product of industrialized agriculture, are intended to be the primary targets for the omega-3 oils soon to be derived from GM flax, as they lack the appropriate levels of omega-3s typically found in wild fish.
"By substituting synthetic versions of up to seven genes from marine algae, the researchers have engineered Camelina [flax] plants to produce two key omega-3 fatty acids normally obtained from oily fish, EPA [eicosapentaenoic acid] and DHA [docosahexaenoic acid]," adds Prynne.
ALA in natural flax converted to EPA, DHA by body But flaxseed already contains naturally high levels of omega-3s in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. Contrary to claims made by the research team working on the GM flax that ALA is inadequate, this important omega-3 nutrient is naturally converted by the body into both EPA and DHA, which means that there is no real need for GM flax.
"The biochemistry is a bit complex but the C18 alpha-Linolenic acid in flax seed oil is converted in the body (up to 25%) to C20 EPA and C22 DHA," explains one knowledgeable Telegraph commenter about the issue. "Why not just eat oily fish now and then and grow unmodified flax?"
If approved, open-air field trials of GM flax will take place behind large high-wire fences with 24-hour closed-circuit security monitoring to ensure that they are not destroyed by angry members of the public who are fed up with the government's obvious coddling of the biotechnology industry. Within the next 10 years, omega-3 fish oil from the GM flax could make its way into farmed fish feed.
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