Transgenic organisms are genetically modified (GM) organisms that have been engineered to express a gene from a different species. A classic example is transgenic corn containing a gene from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. A toxin, known as (Bt) toxin, is inserted from the bacterium into the corn’s genome acting as a biological pesticide. Spores and crystalline insecticidal proteins produced by B. thuringiensis have been used to control insect pests since the 1920s. Quickly reading though what is written about the (Bt) toxin technology, most of the past and present material states that it is environmentally friendly and has little to no effect on humans, wildlife or beneficial insects.
I came across an article on ScienceDaily entitled, Lethal Effects of Genetically Modified Bt Toxin Confirmed On Young Ladybird Larvae. The article summarizes a paper in the science journal Environmental Sciences Europe on February 15, 2012 published by Angelika Hilbeck and a team of Swiss researchers. The paper original is entitled, A controversy re-visited: Is the coccinellid Adalia bipunctata adversely affected by Bt toxins? The study finds that (Bt) toxin is deadly to the larvae of lady bugs, one of the beneficial insect species it was proported not to effect. Some may shrug at the death of lady bugs, the point is that all life is connected and that we as humans do not have immunity.
“Swiss researchers of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich confirm earlier findings that the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin Cry1Ab produced for pesticidal purposes by genetically modified (GM) Bt maize increases mortality in the young ladybird larvae (Adalia bipunctata L., two-spotted ladybird) in laboratory tests. These ladybird larvae are typical ‘non-target’ environmental goods which are not supposed to be harmed by the GM maize.”
By no means the only conclusion of the academic paper, the study also addresses a previous study by a different research team whose methods were found to be faulty. The poor methods yielded a false negative giving a green light of safety for the (Bt) toxin technology. The point is there are valid scientific studies showing the harmful effects of ingesting genetically modified food. The studies exist.
Considering that monsters like Monsanto do not permit their patented seeds and plants to be tested without their supervision, the US does have a pathetically small library of data about GMOs in regards to human and animal health. With few studies to prove or disprove the safety of GM crops, the PR machines of biotech corporations can simply poo-poo foreign studies and encourage the mass media to continue their mediocre coverage. More studies are underway and will continue to surface about the hazards and shortcomings of current biotech foods. I hope that in the future, sustainable, well thought out and tested biotechnology will lead the way uniting science with nature. It is not that biotechnology is bad, it is a relatively young science taken over by the greedy motivation and lack of vision that funds it.
The debate about genetically modified foods is hotter than I have seen it. The US public is still waking up to what “GM” even means, it is not an automobile company. Slowly but surely, people are realizing the true costs of industrial agriculture and are educating themselves about GMOs. Listening to what Indian and many European countries have already learned is of increasing value to Americans.
By no means does being against the current genetically modified agricultural methods mean benign again science or biotechnology all together. Improving crop efficiency and creating sustainable practices that nourish our bodies and the land on which the food is grown is common sense. The pros of producing and eating crap GM foods (high fructose corn syrup, sugar beets for white table sugar or allergy ridden wheat proteins) does not outweigh its multitude of cons.
The ongoing statement that growing GM food is the only way to feed the world is one of the grandest deceptions of our time. The corporations that benefit, continue to blare this and other manipulations over their loud-speaker, brainwashing the consumer over and over like high-pitched Chinese propaganda in occupied Tibet.
By avoiding GMOs you support local, organic chemical-free food. This is good for you, your community and the land. GM crops do not support life, the technology is created around poisons…literally.
The big problem is that in just a few decades, GM foods have taken over. They hide unlabeled in so many of our day to day foods. Some 70% of products, on an average American supermarket shelf, contain genetically modified ingredients. Labeling food that contains GMOs is a powerful way to put the brakes on this steamroller. What you don’t know won’t hurt you? It will slowly toxify the body, cause allergies, autoimmune responses, cancer, diabetes, obesity and general dis-ease.
Can anyone respond with a solid, thoughtful rebuttal defending genetically modified crops? I am serious, I would like to read it…