Oh, Pu-shaw, a little bit of DNA never hurt anyone.......

david52_gwJanuary 23, 2013

" - snip - In the course of analysis to identify potential allergens in GMO crops, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has belatedly discovered that the most common genetic regulatory sequence in commercial GMOs also encodes a significant fragment of a viral gene (Podevin and du Jardin 2012). This finding has serious ramifications for crop biotechnology and its regulation, but possibly even greater ones for consumers and farmers. This is because there are clear indications that this viral gene (called Gene VI) might not be safe for human consumption. It also may disturb the normal functioning of crops, including their natural pest resistance.

What Podevin and du Jardin discovered is that of the 86 different transgenic events (unique insertions of foreign DNA) commercialized to-date in the United States 54 contain portions of Gene VI within them. They include any with a widely used gene regulatory sequence called the CaMV 35S promoter (from the cauliflower mosaic virus; CaMV). Among the affected transgenic events are some of the most widely grown GMOs, including Roundup Ready soybeans (40-3-2) and MON810 maize. They include the controversial NK603 maize recently reported as causing tumors in rats (Seralini et al. 2012).

The researchers themselves concluded that the presence of segments of Gene VI "might result in unintended phenotypic changes". They reached this conclusion because similar fragments of Gene VI have already been shown to be active on their own (e.g. De Tapia et al. 1993). In other words, the EFSA researchers were unable to rule out a hazard to public health or the environment.

In general, viral genes expressed in plants raise both agronomic and human health concerns (reviewed in Latham and Wilson 2008). This is because many viral genes function to disable their host in order to facilitate pathogen invasion. Often, this is achieved by incapacitating specific anti-pathogen defenses. Incorporating such genes could clearly lead to undesirable and unexpected outcomes in agriculture. Furthermore, viruses that infect plants are often not that different from viruses that infect humans. For example, sometimes the genes of human and plant viruses are interchangeable, while on other occasions inserting plant viral fragments as transgenes has caused the genetically altered plant to become susceptible to an animal virus (Dasgupta et al. 2001). Thus, in various ways, inserting viral genes accidentally into crop plants and the food supply confers a significant potential for harm. - snip - " end quote

Here is a link that might be useful: link

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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Well about time. For more than a decade independent researchers have been reporting these same concerns but have been ignored by regulatory agencies at the behest of the corporate breeders of gmo crops. The quickest way to professional oblivion is to have worked with or in these independent projects.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:34AM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

I fiind myself taking the report quoted above with a huge grain of salt. Some of the anti GMO people are not known for their scientific veracity, such as Seralini who reported round up ready corn caused tumors in rats.

If you read the actual study, not the press release, what you discover is that he couldn't find round up residues in round up ready corn, so in the study he added round up to the rats drinking water. Using that methodology, I could feed an uberorganic ddiet to rats and get the same tumors. I'm pretty sure that round up already has a warning on the label that says don't drink this stuff.

GMO regulations already require allergy testing. That's what caught the well reported GMO soybean with a nut gene. That soybean was never released.

What protein does this snippet of DNA encode for that is causing allergies?

I'm not saying companies like Monsanto or Syngenta are angels, far from it. But I like to see good science rather than scare tactics.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 12:25PM
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Factotem

kimka wrote,

I'm not saying companies like Monsanto or Syngenta are angels, far from it. But I like to see good science rather than scare tactics.

Well said. I second your position.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 12:58PM
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steve2416

Good post, David.
The part that bothers me the most is not knowing. We all know (those of us into gardening) that most corn, soybeans, etc. in a store are GM unless labeled organic. Now they are about to approve GM salmon.
Everything that has been GM'd should be labeled as such. I hate to have to give up salmon too. I can't raise fish in my back yard.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 1:31PM
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david52_gw

Admittedly, the OP is putting together conclusions from several papers whose methods have been questioned. Clicking through the links in the OP, you can find the original articles they quote, and some of the attacks. Example is the link below of the rat study where GM maize treated with Roundup led to messed up mice. But its unclear if its the roundup or the GM mice that caused the issue. Of interest are the letters to the editor, which try to destroy the work. See link below.

Back to the abstract for the main work in question:

" Multiple variants of the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter (P35S) are used to drive the expression of transgenes in genetically modified plants, for both research purposes and commercial applications. The genetic organization of the densely packed genome of this virus results in sequence overlap between P35S and viral gene VI, encoding the multifunctional P6 protein. The present paper investigates whether introduction of P35S variants by genetic transformation is likely to result in the expression of functional domains of the P6 protein and in potential impacts in transgenic plants. A bioinformatic analysis was performed to assess the safety for human and animal health of putative translation products of gene VI overlapping P35S. No relevant similarity was identified between the putative peptides and known allergens and toxins, using different databases. From a literature study it became clear that long variants of the P35S do contain an open reading frame, when expressed, might result in unintended phenotypic changes. A flowchart is proposed to evaluate possible unintended effects in plant transformants, based on the DNA sequence actually introduced and on the plant phenotype, taking into account the known effects of ectopically expressed P6 domains in model plants."

So, in other words, they haven't found any known allergies or toxins, but there sure is the possibility that some are out there.

They mention the promotor region in the DNA - this is something that geneticists 'discarded' as useless for years, however they're now going back and having a second look - seems that mutation/variation in this region play a significant role in expression as well.

As others have mentioned before, there is little public research on the effects of GM products in the diet, state ag schools - who traditionally do this kind of work - are unlikely to fund and support this kind of research because of donor/grant issues, eg the library generously donated by .... and there is very likely political pressure brought to bear as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: link to paper on GM Maize and cancer

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 4:19PM
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elvis

"...consumption of wild salmon must be restricted generally to less than one meal per month...."

Wild salmon is great, but according to this very thorough-sounding paper, watch it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Eating Salman Safely

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 4:53PM
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steve2416

My only point is that Frankenfoods (Genetically Modified) whether veggie or animal, should be clearly labeled so the customer has a choice. To be mixed in a display case and treated as equal is wrong.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 5:54PM
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david52_gw

The problem with that is if they did so, then they wouldn't sell much GM stuff.

Unless they went the NEW, IMPROVED!!! NOW WITH EXTRA GENES!!!! route, and then those salmon would fly off the shelves.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 7:10PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Salmon would fly?

Now that is what I call a genetically modified product!

Kate

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 7:27PM
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elvis

"My only point is that Frankenfoods (Genetically Modified) whether veggie or animal, should be clearly labeled so the customer has a choice. To be mixed in a display case and treated as equal is wrong."

I agree, Steve. Any misleading labelling bothers me. For example, there was a sale billed as "Alaskan pollock". In fine print the package (not the ad) was labelled: "product of China", and the fish was Alaskan brand name. Grrr.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:09PM
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ohiomom

Regulations kill business ... take away labeling and any and all stupid regulations and leave businesses alone so they can create jobs!

Kill the EPA ... drown it in the proverbial "bathtub".

If you leave business alone, they will do the "right" thing.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:15PM
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elvis

You're being silly, Ohio. I've never seen anyone here rail about too much labelling on products.

Now labelling people--that's different, we see that all the time on HT. ;)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:41PM
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mylab123(z5NW)

A great thread, thanks David for it. I hope this thread discussion continues.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:42PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

elvis, weren't you here for the discussions of California's initiative requiring labels identifying GMO foods? The corporate food industry spent much money for an anti-label campaign saying that it would be too expensive to comply with the proposed law.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:00PM
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ohiomom

"it's cruel to mock posters"

Unless, of course, you are doing the mocking.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:15PM
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elvis

"elvis, weren't you here for the discussions of California's initiative requiring labels identifying GMO foods? The corporate food industry spent much money for an anti-label campaign saying that it would be too expensive to comply with the proposed law."

Yes, Nancy--I was:

"RE: California drops the ball, prop 37

Posted by elvis 4b WI (My Page) on Wed, Nov 7, 12 at 18:46

Maybe it's small in the grand scheme of things, but we purchase only non-GMO garden seeds. We feel a lot better about growing (and consuming) organically grown veggies. If the catalog doesn't specifically state they are non-GMO, they might well be GMO. Just sayin'."

No responses to that post.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Bothell

Great thread. I agree with Kimka but I also agree that all food should be accurately labeled with what it has added to it and if it has been modified. The consumer can then choose to make an informed decision or ignore the label.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:55PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Yes, Nancy--I was

Then there's no excuse for you not understanding Ohiomom's comment.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 11:04PM
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elvis

Ohio: "Regulations kill business ... take away labeling..."

me: "...I've never seen anyone here rail about too much labelling on products."

nancy: "elvis, weren't you here for the discussions of California's initiative requiring labels identifying GMO foods?"

me: "Yes, Nancy--I was..."

nancy: "...Then there's no excuse for you not understanding Ohiomom's comment."

What in the world are you talking about, nancy? Excuse for what? not understanding what? Sorry; I have no idea where your mini-lecture is coming from?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 11:19PM
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jodik_gw

As a consumer, I absolutely want to know the processes the foods I'm buying have been through. Clear labeling touting GMO should be a no-brainer. Let the consumer decide.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 4:11PM
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