Originally published January 6 2015
Biotech companies to use "genome editing" to circumvent GMO regulations
by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
(NaturalNews) Before you protest against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and march against everything which they stand for, it's important to know some of the many ways in which companies and their scientists are modifying nature, patenting it, and profiting from it. First, there's the most controversial method of genetic engineering which uses genes from an external, foreign source of DNA which is inserted into the genome of a crop like corn. Monsanto is the multinational corporation leading the way in this category. Some genetic changes are intended to give the corn insecticide-like properties, but by changing the natural properties of corn, scientists have raised several ethical questions. How do these DNA changes affect the ecology of the environment? How do these genetic changes affect humans' DNA when the corn is consumed? How do these insecticide properties affect the corn's nutrition quality and its ability to absorb nutrients from the soil?
Another way to genetically modify crops is to use genes from the same species of crop that is being engineered. This is called cisgenic engineering. One example approved recently through regulatory frameworks was the potato crops developed by the J. R. Simplot Company. The genes are rearranged within the same species of potato to help it resist bruising. This creates less wasted potatoes during harvest and transport, helping feed more people blemish-free potatoes, but how do these genetic changes affect the nutrition quality of the potato, and how are these properties accepted and digested by the microbes in the human gut? How do these genetic shortcuts illicit other mutations in the crop as they grow -- mutations that scientists don't yet understand? How do these scientific shortcuts undermine the importance of agriculture's most important but long forgotten responsibility: maintaining healthy, nutrient-dense soil? There is little discussion about these commonsense questions today in the biotech industry, and that should concern most consumers when they eat this shortcut food.
The corn or potatoes might be blemish- and pest-free more often under the genetic engineering model of farming, but the outer appearance does not make up for the crops lacking nutritional quality. If the genetic makeup of a crop is rearranged solely for greater yields and pesticide resistance, then agriculture has forgotten all about the importance of the physiology of the crop itself and its importance in sustaining the actual health of the human race.
It's the nutrition in the food we eat that matters, not the empty bulk calories it provides. It doesn't matter how perfectly sequenced crops can be made today. It's their nutrient levels that matter most. A plant may naturally be overrun by pests because the soil is depleted of the necessary ingredients that the plant needs to create its own pest-deterrent properties. Genetic modification doesn't necessarily save the crops. These methods are only masks, hiding the real problems with our food supply -- the poor nutrition quality of the soil that passes on to the plants.
Crops can be genetically engineered and forced to mutate faster, but this doesn't provide the crops what they really need inside to function. The health and thriving nature of the human population depend on the ecosystem of the soil and the multi-spectrum nutrition of the crop. If this is being ignored and genetic engineering is being used as a mask to cover up the deficiencies, then humans will continue to suffer tremendously. No safety test can link GMOS directly to disease in humans because the problem with GMOs is that they are fueling a systemic, soft kill of the human race, suppressing immune systems, depleting cellular energy, starving us all of nutrition and healthy gut microbiology.
Biotechnology uses genome editing to skirt regulations, leaving even more questionsTo make matters worse, biotechnology companies are skirting GMO regulations altogether and using a third method to manipulate crop DNA. This method is called genome editing. This is the process by which scientists use foreign genetic material from other plants and insert it with a gene gun instead of using bacteria. The perfect example of this is Scott's Miracle-Gro Company. Under this unregulated method, companies may inactivate a gene in a plant or may make an adjustment in an existing gene. The companies believe these methods are no different from natural mutations and conventional breeding techniques, but they must admit that these changes are achieved much quicker than what could normally happen in nature, potentially impacting the environment around them and the microbiology in the human gut upon consumption.
"The technology is always one step ahead of the regulators," said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, head of biotechnology research at Syngenta, an agricultural chemical conglomerate.
Scotts chief executive Jim Hagedorn is happy that his company is skirting oversight as they edit the genome of nature. "If you take genetic material from a plant and it's not considered a pest, and you don't use a transformation technology that would sort of violate the rules, there's a bunch of stuff you can do that at least technically is unregulated," he said in 2013.
If the name of the game is about skirting regulations to advance agricultural technology, then have we lost sight, as the human race, of what it means to grow food and enjoy its nutrition for quality living? Is it time to slow down and listen to our crops and respond to them without using genetically engineered masks? Soil and nutritional quality is what we should strive toward, not the most profitable seed.
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