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 say no to genetic engineering

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anirudhmalpe



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Join date : 2009-09-12

PostSubject: say no to genetic engineering   Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:36 pm

Say No to Genetic Engineering

Say No to Genetic Engineering

How far are we from biting into Genetically Manipulated Organisms (GMO)?
Genes are the basic building blocks of life that carry the basic blueprint of an organism. Genetic Engineering (GE) is a technology through which new life forms are created by adding foreign genes from unrelated plants and animals to perform a desired function. These “engineered” plants and animals are referred to as Genetically Manipulated Organisms (GMO). GE techniques are used to artificially confer, plants with qualities such as longer shelf-life, saline resistance, higher nutrient content, pest resistance and so on. More on understanding GE.
Everytime we are sitting across the table debating Genetic Engineering (GE) with a government scientist from the Department of Biotechnology, we end up agreeing that there are risks associated with creating Genetically manipulated Organisms (GMO) but where we differ is that he thinks that we need to "manage" the risk and at Greenpeace we think we don't need to take the risk! His eagerness to play with GE comes from the fact Chinese scientists are racing ahead with the technology; wouldn't missing out on GE leave India behind?

Our reluctance comes from the fact that we know for a fact that GE is not cutting edge technology. This profound insight comes from the findings of the human genome project published in 2001 that disproved the very basis of Genetic Engineering. The incomplete understanding of how genes work was what resulted a whole range of unpredictable changes in GMOs. There have been quite a few. You engineer an organism to do one thing and it does another. In terms of the crops that have been released, the effects that we have seen vary from soy beans whose stems crack in the heat because of the unpredictable increase in lignin content to cotton plants whose bolls drop off for no apparent reason. There's corn pollen that kills monarch butterfly larvae and probably other related larvae. And corn plants that exude pesticide into the soil. It's been shown that the pesticide then remains in the soil for over 200 days. That wasn't predicted and wasn't tested for.

For most of us "risk" can only be translated into questions like "will my child break into rashes if she eats Genetically Manipulated food?" Unfortunately there is no one who could reassure us one way or the other. Even Monsanto (the world largest producer of GMOs) isn't sure! In 1999, the caterers at Monsanto- _ UK's main offices banned GE food at the staff restaurant in response to "concern raised by our customers". The customers in this case being Monsanto staff themselves!

You might find (dis)comfort in the fact that in 1999, numerous food products that were contaminated with a variety of GE maize called Starlink not approved for human consumption because of scientific concerns that it might cause human allergic reactions. Kraft, Kellogg, Azteca Foods and Mission Foods responsible for Starlink settled a class action consumer lawsuit for $9 million to customers who said they suffered allergic reactions. These companies had to make sure that all their Starlink products were taken off their shelves. So what do you do when you have a whole bunch of food your consumers refuse to eat? You dump it in a country that can't feed itself. In 2003 food aid suspected to contain Starlink found it's way to India and had to be denied entry. In the same year Bayer Crop Science was experimenting in Delhi with the same allergenic gene in Cauliflower and Cabbage!

Greenpeace activists chain themselves to Bayer headquarters in Mumbai, demanding answers to critical questions on GM crops and food safety - 10:45am

Like a new drug with potential side effects, GE crops undergo field trials to test their economic and agronomic viability; their impact on the environment and on health. Some people think that field trials can be contained and hence less risky than commercial release into the market. But field trials are not contained because of at the end of the growing season the crop is generally plowed into the soil. There's no effort to get rid of every single trace of a GMO. In 2004, Greenpeace found untested GE papaya being sold from a government field trial site in Thailand. In 2005 GE Rice in China still under field trials was being sold in the market. In India there are over 18 food crops including rice, corn and a host of vegetable crops. The questions remain as to what is being done with all the seed after testing? Is it being sold in our markets?

The halo around GE is gradually fading with the growing market rejection by consumers across the world. It first started when the European Union imposed a ban on GM crops in 1999. The EU ban was subsequently lifted in 2004; however, due to consumer rejection the EU food market remains closed to GMOs. Due to widespread consumer rejection in the EU leading to stringent import laws, countries like the US found their GE contaminated shipments being sent back. The situation provoked the US government to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the European Union's de facto ban on GMOs.

Today Basmati Rice exporters have woken up to the reality that they could lose invaluable markets in the EU and the Middle-East if India were to commercialise GE Rice.

GREENPEACE is against the irreversible, uncontrolled, and potentially dangerous release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment. Greenpeace believes that the burden of proof that GMOs are environmentally safe and ecologically viable, before they are released into the markets, rests with the large corporations and the Governments that plan to introduce them.


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PostSubject: Re: say no to genetic engineering   Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:09 pm

we all know that genetic organisms have so many side effects and they are threat to socity n mankind.....but they can be used for the wellfare....the thing is how ppl use this knowledge for the better .....gud thread....wishes

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