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GMO's and what it means for your family.

Posted by [email protected] on February 27, 2014 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)

What is GMO?

February 27, 2014 at 12:27PM- Written by: Evee Kameya


I needed to put this out there for people to understand whatthey are eating. I don’t know why no one even knows this stuff, but I’m goingto show it to you. I will then post what stores sell this stuff in food. I willgive you one: The Real Canadian SuperStore. I actually went on their website tofind out about it, and their facebook page too. They don’t admit it in directwords, they say “You can choose from anyone of our organic foods section, itwouldn’t have GMO in it, that would go against what Organic means” I will sharethe facts, you can choose what to with the information. I hope you make theright choice, as I have and not eat this poison!

GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals createdthrough the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called geneticengineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from differentspecies, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viralgenes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

For consumers, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date on food ingredientsthat are at-risk of being genetically modified, as the list of at-riskagricultural ingredients is frequently changing. As part of the Non-GMOProject’s commitment to informed consumer choice, we workdiligently to maintain an accurate list of risk ingredients.

Agricultural products are segmented into two groups: (1) those that are high-riskof being GMO because they are currently in commercial production, and (2) thosethat have a monitored risk because suspected or knownincidents of contamination have occurred and/or the crops have geneticallymodified relatives in commercial production with which cross-pollination (andconsequently contamination) is possible. For more information on the Non-GMOProject’s testing and verification of risk ingredients and processed foods,please see the Non-GMO Project Standard.

High-Risk Crops (in commercial production; ingredientsderived from these must be tested every time prior to use in Non-GMO ProjectVerified products (as of December 2011):

Alfalfa (first planting 2011)Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)Listed inAppendix B of the Non-GMO Project Standard are a number ofhigh-risk inputs, including those derived from GMO microorganisms, the abovecrops or animals fed these crops or their derivatives.

MonitoredCrops (thosefor which suspected or known incidents of contamination have occurred, andthose crops which have genetically modified relatives in commercial productionwith which cross-pollination is possible; we test regularly to assess risk, andmove to “High-Risk” category for ongoing testing if we see contamination):

Beta vulgaris (e.g., chard, table beets)Brassica napa (e.g., rutabaga, Siberian kale)Brassica rapa (e.g., bok choy, mizuna, Chinese cabbage, turnip, rapini, tatsoi)Cucurbita (acorn squash, delicata squash, patty pan)FlaxRiceWheatCommonIngredients Derived from GMO Risk Crops

Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, CitricAcid, Sodium Citrate, Ethanol, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”),High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid,Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured VegetableProtein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.

You mayalso be wondering about…

Tomatoes: In 1994, genetically modified Flavr Savr tomatoes became the first commercially produced GMOs. They were brought out of production just a few years later, in 1997, due to problems with flavor and ability to hold up in shipping. There are no genetically engineered tomatoes in commercial production, and tomatoes are considered “low-risk” by the Non-GMO Project Standard.Potatoes: Genetically modified NewLeaf potatoes were introduced by Monsanto in 1996. Due to consumer rejection by several fast-food chains and chip makers, the product was never successful and was discontinued in the spring of 2001. There are no genetically engineered potatoes in commercial production, and potatoes are considered “low-risk” by the Non-GMO Project Standard.Salmon: A company called AquaBounty is currently petitioning the FDA to approve its genetically engineered variety of salmon, which has met with fierce consumer resistance. Find out more here.Pigs: A genetically engineered variety of pig, called Enviropig was developed by scientists at the University of Guelph, with research starting in 1995 and government approval sought beginning in 2009. In 2012 the University announced an end to the Enviropig program, and the pigs themselves were euthanized in June 2012.GMO Mythsand Truths

·        Anevidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety

·        andefficacy of genetically modified crop

Geneticallymodified (GM) crops are promoted on the basis of a range of far-reaching claimsfrom the GM crop industry and its supporters. They say that GM crops:


● Are an extension of naturalbreeding and do not pose different risks from naturally bred crops

● Are safe to eat and can be morenutritious than naturally bred crops

● Are strictly regulated for safety

● Increase crop yields

● Reduce pesticide use

● Benefit farmers and make theirlives easier

● Bring economic benefits

● Benefit the environment

● Can help solve problems caused byclimate change

● Reduce energy use

● Will help feed the world.


However,a large and growing body of scientific and other authoritative evidence showsthat these claims are not true. On the contrary, evidence presented in thisreport indicates that GM crops: Are laboratory-made, using technology that istotally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks fromnon-GM crops


● Can be toxic, allergenic or lessnutritious than their natural counterparts

● Are not adequately regulated toensure safety

● Do not increase yield potential

● Do not reduce pesticide use butincrease it

● Create serious problems forfarmers, including herbicide-tolerant “superweeds”, compromised soil quality,and increased disease susceptibility in crops

● Have mixed economic effects

● Harm soil quality, disruptecosystems, and reduce biodiversity

● Do not offer effective solutionsto climate change

● Are as energy-hungry as any otherchemically-farmed crops

● Cannot solve the problem of worldhunger but distract from its real causes – poverty, lack of access to food and,increasingly, lack of access to land to grow it on.


Based onthe evidence presented in this report, there is no need to take risks with GMcrops when effective, readily available, and sustainable solutions to theproblems that GM technology is claimed to address already exist. Conventionalplant breeding, in some cases helped by safe modern technologies like genemapping and marker assisted selection, continues to outperform GM in producinghigh-yield, drought-tolerant, and pest- and disease-resistant crops that canmeet our present and future food needs.


1.1 Myth: Genetic engineering is justan extension of natural breeding

Truth: Geneticengineering is different from natural breeding and poses special risks


GMproponents claim that genetic engineering is just an extension of natural plantbreeding. They say that GM crops are no different from naturally bred crops,apart from the inserted foreign GM gene (transgene) and its protein product.But this is misleading. GM is completely different from natural breeding andposes different risks. Natural breeding can only take place between closelyrelated forms of life (e.g. cats with cats, not cats with dogs; wheat withwheat, not wheat with tomatoes or fish). In this way, the genes that carryinformation for all parts of the organism are passed down the generations in anorderly way. In contrast, GM is a laboratory-based technique that is completelydifferent from natural breeding. The main stages of the genetic modification processare as follows:


1.      In a process known as tissueculture or cell culture, tissue from the plant that is to be geneticallymodified is placed in culture.

2.     Millionsof the tissue cultured plant cells are subjected to the GM gene insertionprocess. This results in the GM gene(s) being inserted into the DNA of a few ofthe plant cells in tissue culture. The inserted DNA is intended to re-programmethe cells’ genetic blueprint, conferring completely new properties on the cell.This process would never happen in nature. It is carried out either by using adevice known as a gene gun, which shoots the GM gene into the plant cells, orby linking the GM gene to a special piece of DNA present in the soil bacterium, Agrobacteriumtumefaciens. When the A. tumefaciens infects a plant, the GM gene is carriedinto the cells and can insert into the plant cell’s DNA.

3.     At thispoint in the process, the genetic engineers have a tissue culture consisting ofhundreds of thousands to millions of plant cells. Some have picked up the GMgene(s), while others have not. The next step is to treat the culture withchemicals to eliminate all except those cells that have successfully incorporatedthe GM gene into their own DNA.

4.     Finally,the few cells that survive the chemical treatment are treated with planthormones. The hormones stimulate these genetically modified plant cells toproliferate and differentiate into small GM plants that can be transferred tosoil and grown on.

5.     Once theGM plants are growing, the genetic engineer examines them and eliminates any thatdo not seem to be growing well. He/she then does tests on the remaining plantsto identify one or more that express the GM genes at high levels. These areselected as candidates for commercialisation.

6.      The resulting population of GMplants all carry and express the GM genes of interest. But they have not beenassessed for health and environmental safety or nutritional value. This part ofthe process will be discussed later in this document.


The factthat the GM transformation process is artificial does not automatically make itundesirable or dangerous. It is the consequences of the procedure that givecause for concern.


Muddyingthe waters with imprecise terms


GMproponents often use the terminology relating to genetic modificationincorrectly to blur the line between genetic modification and conventionalbreeding. For example, the claim that conventional plant breeders have been“genetically modifying” crops for centuries by selective breeding and that GMcrops are no different is incorrect (see 1.1). The term “genetic modification”is recognised in common usage and in national and international laws to refer tothe use of recombinant DNA techniques to transfer genetic material betweenorganisms in a way that would not take place naturally, bringing aboutalterations in genetic makeup and properties.

The term“genetic modification” is sometimes wrongly used to describe marker-assistedselection (MAS). MAS is a largely uncontroversial branch of biotechnology thatcan speed up conventional breeding by identifying genes linked to importanttraits. MAS does not involve the risks and uncertainties of geneticmodification and is supported by organic and sustainable agriculture groups worldwide.


Similarly,the term “genetic modification” is sometimes wrongly used to describe tissueculture, a method that is used to select desirable traits or to reproduce wholeplants from plant cells in the laboratory. In fact, while genetic modificationof plants as carried out today is dependent on the use of tissue culture (see1.1), tissue culture is not dependent on GM. Tissue culture can be used formany purposes, independent of GM. Using the term “biotechnology” to meangenetic modification is inaccurate. Biotechnology is an umbrella term thatincludes a variety of processes in which biological functions are harnessed forvarious purposes. For instance, fermentation, as used in wine-making andbaking, marker assisted selection (MAS), and tissue culture, as well as geneticmodification, are all biotechnologies. Agriculture itself is a biotechnology,as are commonly used agricultural methods such as the production of compost andsilage.

GMproponents’ misleading use of language may be due to unfamiliarity with thefield – or may represent deliberate attempts to blur the lines betweencontroversial and uncontroversial technologies in order to win publicacceptance of GM.


1.2 Myth: Genetic engineering isprecise and the results are predictable

Truth:Genetic engineering is crude and imprecise, and the results are unpredictable


GMproponents claim that GM is a precise technique that allows genes coding forthe desired trait to be inserted into the host plant with no unexpectedeffects. The first step in genetically engineering plants, the process ofcutting and splicing genes in the test tube, is precise, but subsequent stepsare not. In particular, the process of inserting a genetically modified geneinto the DNA of a plant cell is crude, uncontrolled, and imprecise, and causesmutations – heritable changes – in the plant’s DNA blue print. These mutationscan alter the functioning of the natural genes of the plant in unpredictableand potentially harmful ways. Other procedures associated with producing GMcrops, including tissue culture, also produce mutations. In addition to theunintended effects of mutations, there is another way in which the GM processgenerates unintended effects. Promoters of GM crops paint a picture of GMtechnology that is based on a naïve and outdated understanding of how geneswork. They propagate the simplistic idea that they can insert a single genewith laser- like precision and insertion of that gene will have

a single,predictable effect on the organism and its environment. But manipulating one ortwo genes does not just produce one or two desired traits. Instead, just asingle change at the level of the DNA can give rise to multiple changes withinthe organism. These changes are known as pleiotropic effects. They occurbecause genes do not act as isolated units but interact with one another, andthe functions and structures that the engineered genes confer on the organisminteract with other functional units of the organism. Because of these diverseinteractions, and because even the simplest organism is extremely complex, itis impossible to predict the impacts of even a single GM gene on the organism.It is even more impossible to predict the impact of the GMO on its environment– the complexity of living systems is too great. In short, unintended,uncontrolled mutations occur during the GM process and complex interactionsoccur at multiple levels within the organism as a result of the insertion ofeven a single new gene. For these reasons, a seemingly simple geneticmodification can give rise to many unexpected changes in the resulting crop andthe foods produced from it. The unintended changes could include alterations inthe nutritional content of the food, toxic and allergenic effects, poor crop

performance,and generation of characteristics that harm the environment. These unexpectedchanges are especially dangerous because they are irreversible. Even the worstchemical pollution diminishes over time as the pollutant is degraded byphysical and biological mechanisms. But GMOs are living organisms. Oncereleased into the ecosystem, they do not degrade and cannot be recalled, butmultiply in the environment and pass on their GM genes to future generations.Each new generation creates more opportunities to interact with other

organismsand the environment, generating even more unintended and unpredictableside-effects.

How canthese unintended, unexpected and potentially complex effects of geneticengineering

bepredicted and controlled? Promoters of GM crops paint a simplistic picture ofwhat is needed

forassessing the health and environmental safety of a GMO. But the diversity andcomplexity of

theeffects, as well as their unpredictable nature, create a situation where even adetailed safety

assessmentcould miss important harmful effects.


1.3 Myth: GM is just another form ofmutation breeding and is nothing to worry about

Truth:Mutation breeding brings its own problems and should be strictly regulated


Proponentsoften describe GM as just another form of mutation breeding, a method of plant

breedingwhich they say has been successfully used for decades and is not controversial.They argue that mutation breeding is regulated no differently than conventionalbreeding, that genetic

modificationis just another form of mutation breeding, and that therefore, geneticmodification

shouldnot be regulated any more stringently than conventional breeding. However,scientific evidence exposes flaws in this logic.


1.3.1.What is mutation breeding?


Thephysical form of an organism’s genetic blueprint is the sequence of the four“letters” of

thegenetic alphabet structured within the DNA molecules. Mutations are physicalalterations in

thesequence of letters within the DNA. Mutation breeding is the process ofexposing plant seeds

toionizing radiation (x-rays or gamma rays) or mutagenic chemicals in order toincrease the rate

ofmutation in the DNA. Just as you can change the meaning of a sentence bychanging the sequence of letters in the sentence, you can change the “meaning”of a gene by changing the sequence of letters within the genetic code of theDNA of an organism. A mutagen is a physical or chemical agent that causes suchchanges. This process of change in the DNA is known as

mutagenesis.Mutagenesis can either completely destroy the function of a gene – that is,“knockout” its function, or it can change the sequence of letters of the geneticcode in the gene, causing it to direct the cell to produce one or more proteinswith altered function. The resulting plant is called a mutant.


1.3.2.Where did radiation-induced

mutationbreeding come from?


Mutationbreeding using radiation was first seriously investigated in the 1950s, afterthe US

atomicbombing of Japan at the end of World WarII in 1945. In the wake of thedevastation, there was a desire to find uses for the “peaceful atom” that werehelpful to humanity. Atomic Gardens were set up in the US and Europe with theaim of creating high-yielding and disease-resistant crops. They were laid outin a circle with a radiation source in the middle that exposed plants and theirseeds to radiation. This would cause mutations in the plants that it was hopedwould be beneficial. To the lay population this was euphemistically describedas making the plants “atom energized”. The results were poorly documented –certainly they do not qualify as scientific research – and it is unclearwhether any useful plant varieties emerged from Atomic Garden projects. Today,radiation-induced mutation breeding is carried out in laboratories, but thisbranch of plant breeding retains strong links with the nuclear industry. Themain database of crop varieties generated using radiation- and chemically- inducedmutation breeding is maintained by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation andthe International Atomic Energy Agency. Many studies and reports that recommendradiation- induced mutation breeding are sponsored by organizations thatpromote nuclear energy.

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1.3.3. Ismutation breeding widely used?


Mutationbreeding is not a widely used or central part of crop breeding, though a fewcrop varieties have apparently benefited from it. A database maintained by theUN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the International Atomic Energy Agencykeeps track of plant varieties that have been generated using mutation breedingand by cross-breeding with a mutant plant. There are only around 3,000 suchplant varieties. This number includes not only crop plants but also ornamentalplants. It also includes not only the direct mutant varieties, but alsovarieties bred by crossing the mutants with other varieties by conventionalbreeding. Thus the actual number of primary mutant varieties is significantlylower than 3000. Some commercially important traits have come out of mutationbreeding, such as the semi-dwarf trait in rice, the high oleic acid trait insunflower, the semi-dwarf trait in barley, and the low- linolenic acid trait incanola (oilseed rape). But conventional breeding, in contrast, has producedmillions of crop varieties. The Svalbard seed vault in the Arctic contains over400,000 seed varieties, which are estimated to represent less than one-third ofour most important crop varieties. So relatively speaking, mutation breeding isof only marginal importance in crop development. The reason mutation breedingis not more widely used is that the process of mutagenesis is risky, unpredictable,and does not efficiently generate beneficial mutations. Studies on fruit fliessuggest that about 70% of mutations will have damaging effects on thefunctioning of the

organism,and the remainder will be either neutral or weakly beneficial. Because of theprimarily harmful effects of mutagenesis, the genetic code is structured tominimize the impacts of mutations and organisms have DNA repair mechanisms torepair mutations. In addition, regulatory agencies around the world aresupposed to minimise or eliminate exposure to

manmademutagens. In plants as well as fruit flies, mutagenesis is a destructiveprocess. As one textbook on plant breeding states, “Invariably, the mutagenkills some cells outright while surviving plants display a wide range ofdeformities.” Experts conclude that most such induced mutations are harmful,and lead to unhealthy and/or infertile plants. Occasionally, mutagenesis givesrise to a previously unknown feature that may be beneficial and can beexploited.

Theprocess of screening out undesirable traits and identifying desirable ones forfurther breeding has been likened to “finding a needle in a haystack”. Theproblem is that only certain

types ofmutations, such as those affecting shape or colour, are obvious to the eye.These plants can easily be discarded or kept for further breeding as desired.But other more subtle changes may not be obvious, yet may nonetheless haveimportant impacts on the health or performance of the plant. Such changes canonly be identified by expensive and painstaking testing. A report by the UKgovernment’s GM Science Review Panel concluded that mutation breeding “involvesthe production of unpredictable and undirected genetic changes and manythousands,

evenmillions, of undesirable plants are discarded in order to identify plants withsuitable qualities for further breeding.” In retrospect, it is fortunate thatmutation breeding has not been widely used because that has reduced thelikelihood that this risky technology could have generated crop varieties thatare toxic, allergenic, or reduced in nutritional value.


1.3.4.How does GM create mutations?


Just asmutation breeding is highly mutagenic, so is the process of creating a GMplant. The GM

transformationprocess involves three kinds of mutagenic effects: insertional mutagenesis, genome-widemutations, and mutations caused by tissue culture – described below.




Geneticmodification or genetic engineering of an organism always involves theinsertion of a foreign gene into the genome (DNA) of the recipient organism.The insertion process is uncontrolled, in that the site of insertion of theforeign gene is random. The insertion of the GM gene (transgene) disrupts thenormal sequence of the letters of the genetic code within the DNA of the plant,causing what is called insertional mutagenesis. This can occur in a number ofdifferent ways:

● The GM gene can be inserted intothe middle of one of the plant’s natural genes. Typically

thisblocks the expression of (“knocks out”) the natural gene, destroying itsfunction. Less

frequentlythe insertion event will alter the natural plant gene’s structure and thestructure

andfunction of the protein for which it is the blueprint.

● The GM gene can be inserted intoa region of the plant’s DNA that controls the expression

of one ormore genes of the host plant, unnaturally reducing or increasing the functionof those genes.

● Even if the GM gene is notdirectly inserted into a host gene or its control region, its mere

presencewithin an active host gene region can alter the ability of that region of theplant’s

DNA toform chromatin (the combination of DNA and proteins that make up the contents

of a cellnucleus) structures that influence the ability of any gene in that region to beexpressed. The inserted gene can also compete with host genes for geneexpression control elements (comparable to switches that turn the expression ofa gene on or off) or regulatory proteins, resulting in marked disturbances inthe level and pattern of gene expression. Since the insertion of the GM gene isan imprecise and uncontrolled process, there is no way of predicting orcontrolling which of the plant’s genes will be influenced – or the extent ofthe changes

caused bythe inserted gene.




In most cases,the insertion process is not clean. In addition to the intended insertion,fragments

of the GMgene’s DNA can be inserted at other locations in the genome of the host plant.Each of these unintended insertional events may also be mutagenic and can disruptor destroy the function of other genes in the same ways as the full GM gene. Itis estimated that there is a 53 66%  probabilitythat any insertional event will disrupt a gene. Therefore, if the geneticmodification process results in one primary insertion and two or threeunintended insertions, it is likely that at least two of the plant’s genes willbe disrupted. Research evidence also indicates that the GM transformationprocess can also trigger other kinds of mutations – rearrangements and deletionsof the plant’s DNA, especially at the site of insertion of the GM gene– whichare likely to compromise the functioning of genes important to theplant.


Mutationscaused by tissue culture


Three ofthe central steps in the genetic modification process take place while the hostplant cells are being grown in a process called cell culture or tissue culture.These steps include:


(i)Theinitial insertion of the GM gene(s) into the host plant cells

(ii) Theselection of plant cells into which the GM gene(s) have been successfullyinserted

(iii) Theuse of plant hormones to induce cells selected in (ii), above, to develop into

plantletswith roots and leaves.


Theprocess of tissue culture is itself highly mutagenic, causing hundreds or eventhousands

ofmutations throughout the host cell DNA. Since tissue culture is obligatory toall three steps

describedabove and these steps are central to the genetic engineering process, there isabundant

opportunityfor tissue culture to induce mutations in the plant cells. Given the fact thathundreds of genes may be mutated during tissue culture, there is a significantrisk that a gene important to some property such as disease- or pest-resistancecould be damaged. In another example, a gene that plays a role in controllingchemical reactions in the plant could be damaged, making the crop allergenic orreducing its nutritional value. The effects of many such mutations will not beobvious when the new GM plant is growing in a greenhouse and so geneticengineers will not be able to select them out. In the process of insertion of aGM gene into the plant host DNA (step i, above), the GM gene is linked with anantibiotic resistance “marker” gene, which will later enable the geneticengineer to identify which plant cells have successfully incorporated the GMgene into their genome. The host plant cells are then exposed simultaneously tothe GM gene and the antibiotic resistance gene in the hope that some willsuccessfully incorporate the GM gene into their genome. This is a veryinefficient process because genomes are designed to exclude foreign geneticmaterial – for example, invading viruses. So out of hundreds of thousands oreven millions of host plant cells exposed to the GM gene, only a few willsuccessfully incorporate the GM gene. In order to identify and propagate theplant cells that have successfully incorporated the GM gene (step ii, above),biotechnologists usually use antibiotic resistance marker genes. This isbecause a cell that has successfully integrated the antibiotic resistancemarker gene into its genome and expressed that gene is likely also to haveintegrated the GM gene into its genome and expressed that gene. Therefore, whenthe population of plant cells is exposed to the antibiotic, the vast majorityof recipient plant cells die, leaving only the few cells that have incorporatedand expressed the antibiotic resistance marker gene. In almost all cases thesecells have also incorporated the GM gene. Interestingly, this antibiotic-basedselection

processrelies on the expression of the marker gene. This expression is required tomake the plant

resistantto the antibiotic. If this gene does not express its protein, it will notconfer resistance to

theantibiotic. However, not all regions of the plant cell DNA are permissive forthe gene expression process to take place. In fact, the vast majority of anycell’s DNA is

non-permissive.Because the process of inserting the DNA that contains the GM gene and

theantibiotic resistance marker gene is essentially random, most insertions willoccur in non-

permissiveregions of the plant cell DNA and will not result in expression of either themarker gene or the GM gene. Cells in which such insertions have occurred willnot survive exposure to the antibiotic. Only when the antibiotic resistancemarker gene happens to have been inserted into a permissive region of the plantcell DNA will the cell express the marker gene and be resistant to theantibiotic. Permissive regions are areas of DNA where genes important to thefunctioning of the recipient plant cells are present and active. Thus,selection for antibiotic resistance also selects for recipient cells in whichthe antibiotic marker gene (and by default the GM gene) have inserted intopermissive regions of DNA. The consequence of this is an increased likelihoodthat the insertion of the GM gene and antibiotic marker gene may

causemutational damage to the structure or function of a gene or genes that areimportant to

thefunction and even the survival of the recipient plant cell. This means that theGM procedure maximises the likelihood that incorporation of the GM gene willresult in insertional mutagenesis to – damage to– one or more genes that areactive and important to the functioning of the plant host. We conclude fromthis analysis of the mechanisms by which the GM process can cause

mutationsthat it is not the elegant and precisely controlled scientific process thatproponents claim but depends on a large measure of good fortune as to whetherone obtains the desired outcome without significant damage.


1.3.5. IsGM technology becoming more precise?


Technologieshave been developed that can target GM gene insertion to a predetermined sitewithin the plant’s DNA in an effort to obtain a more predictable outcome andavoid complications that can arise from insertional mutagenesis. However, theseGM transformation methods are not fail-safe. Accidental mistakes can still occur.For example, the genetic engineer intends to insert the gene at one particularsite, but the gene might instead be inserted at a different site, causing arange of side-effects. More importantly, plant biotechnologists still

know onlya fraction of what there is to be known about the genome of any crop speciesand about the genetic, biochemical, and cellular functioning of our cropspecies. That means that even if they select an insertion site that they thinkwill be safe, insertion of a gene at that site could cause a host of unintendedside-effects that could:


● Make the crop toxic, allergenicor reduced in nutritional value

● Reduce the ability of the GM cropto resist disease, pests, drought, or other stresses

● Reduce the GM crop’s productivityor compromise other agronomic traits, or

● Cause the GM crop to be damagingto the environment.


Moreover,because tissue culture must still be carried out for these new targetedinsertion

methods,the mutagenic effects of the tissue culture process remain a major source of unintendeddamaging side-effects. These newer methods are also cumbersome and time- consuming,so much so that to date no GM crop that is currently being considered byregulators for approval or that is in the commercialisation pipeline has beenproduced using these targeted engineering methods.


1.3.6.Why worry about mutations caused ingenetic engineering?


GMproponents make four basic arguments to counter concerns about the mutagenicaspects of genetic engineering:

“Mutationshappen all the time in nature”


GM proponentssay, “Mutations happen all the time in nature as a result of various natural

exposures,for example, to ultraviolet light, so mutations caused by genetic engineeringof plants

are not aproblem.”In fact, mutations occur infrequently in nature. And comparing naturalmutations with those that occur during the GM transformation process is likecomparing apples and oranges. Every plant species has encountered natural mutagens,including certain types and levels of ionizing radiation and chemicals,throughout its natural history and has evolved mechanisms for preventing,repairing, and minimising the impacts of mutations caused by such agents. But plantshave not evolved mechanisms to repair or compensate for the insertionalmutations that occur during genetic modification. Also, the high frequency ofmutations caused by tissue culture during the GM process is likely to overwhelmthe repair mechanisms of crop plants. Natural recombination events that movelarge stretches of DNA around a plant’s genome do occur. But these involve DNAsequences that are already part of the plant’s own genome, not DNA that is foreignto the species.


“Conventionalbreeding is more disruptive to gene expression than GM”


GMproponents cite studies by Batista and colleagues and Ahloowalia andcolleagues10 to claim that “conventional” breeding is at least as disruptive togene expression as GM.24 They argue that if we expect GM crops to be testedextensively because of risks resulting from mutations, then governments shouldrequire conventionally bred plants to be tested in the same way. But they do not,and experience shows that plants created by conventional breeding are nothazardous. Therefore crops generated by conventional breeding and by geneticengineering present no special risks and do not require special testing. Thisargument is based on what appears to be an intentional misrepresentation of thestudies of Batista and Ahloowalia. These studies did not compare conventionalbreeding with GM, but gamma-ray-induced mutation breeding with GM. The researchof Batista and colleagues and Ahloowalia and colleagues actually provides strongevidence consistent with our arguments, above, indicating that mutationbreeding is highly disruptive – even more so than genetic modification. Batistaand colleagues found that in rice varieties developed through radiation-inducedmutation breeding, gene expression was disrupted even more than in varietiesgenerated through genetic modification. They concluded that for the ricevarieties examined, mutation breeding was more disruptive to gene expressionthan genetic engineering. Thus, Batista and colleagues compared two highlydisruptive methods and concluded that genetic engineering was, in the casesconsidered in their study, the less disruptive of the two methods. The GMproponents used the work of Batista and colleagues and Ahloowalia andcolleagues to argue that, since mutation breeding is not regulated, geneticmodification of crops should not be regulated either. The amusing part of theirargument is that they represent the mutation- bred crop varieties as“conventionally bred”, not even mentioning that they were generated throughexposure to high levels of gamma radiation. They then argue that, since these supposedly“conventionally bred” varieties are disrupted similarly to the GM varietiesstudied, it was not justified to require GM crop varieties to be subjected tosafety assessment when “conventionally bred” varieties were not. Their argumentonly carries weight if the reader is unaware of the biotech proponents’ misrepresentationof mutation bred varieties as “conventionally bred”. When this fact comes tolight, it not only causes their argument to disintegrate, but also exposes whatappears to be a willingness to bend the truth to make arguments favouring GMtechnology. This in turn raises questions regarding the GM proponents’ motives andadherence to the standards of proper scientific debate.

Interestingly,the GM proponents’ conclusions were diametrically opposite to the conclusions thatBatista and colleagues drew from their findings. The researchers concluded thatcrop varieties produced through mutation breeding and crops produced through geneticengineering should both be subjected to rigorous safety testing. In contrast,the GM proponents ignored the conclusions of Batista and colleagues and concludedthe opposite: that as mutation-bred crops are not currently required to beassessed for safety, GM crops should not be subjected to such a requirementeither. We agree with the conclusions of Batista and colleagues. Although theirstudy does not examine enough GM crop varieties and mutation-bred cropvarieties to make generalised comparisons between mutation breeding and geneticengineering, it does provide evidence that both methods significantly disruptgene regulation and expression, suggesting that crops generated through thesetwo methods should be assessed for safety with similar levels of rigour. Thefact that the risks of mutation breeding have been overlooked in theregulations of some countries does not justify overlooking the risks of GMcrops. We recommend that regulations around the world should be revised totreat mutation-bred crops with the same sceptical scrutiny with which GM cropsshould be treated. In fact, the Canadian government has reached a similarconclusion and requires mutation-bred crops to be assessed according to thesame requirements as GMOs produced through recombinant DNA techniques.


“Mutationsoccurring in genetic modification are no different from those that occur innatural breeding”


GMproponents say that in conventional breeding, traits from one variety of a cropare introduced into another variety by means of a genetic cross. They point outthat the result is offspring that receive one set of chromosomes from oneparent and another set from the other. They further point out that, during theearly stages of development, those chromosomes undergo a process (sister chromatidexchange) in which pieces of chromosomes from one parent are recombined withpieces from the other. They suggest that the result is a patchwork that containstens of thousands of deviations from the DNA sequences present in thechromosomes of either parent. They imply that these deviations can be regardedas tens of thousands of mutations, and conclude that because we do not requirethese crosses to undergo biosafety testing before they are commercialised, weshould not require GM crops, which contain only a few genetic mutations, to betested. But this a spurious argument, because sister chromatid exchange (SCE)is not the random fragmentation and recombination of the chromosomes of the twoparents. Exchanges occur in a precise manner between the corresponding genesand their surrounding regions in the chromosomes donated by the two parents.SCE is not an imprecise, uncontrolled process like genetic modification. Naturalmechanisms at work within the nucleus of the fertilized egg result in precise recombinationevents between the copy of the maternal copy of gene A and the paternal copy ofgene A. Similarly, thousands of other precise recombination events take placebetween the corresponding maternal and paternal genes to generate the genomethat is unique to the new individual. This is not an example of randommutations but of the precision with which natural mechanisms work on the levelof the DNA to generate diversity within a species, yet at the same timepreserve, with letter-by-letter exactness, the integrity of the genome. When afertilised ovum undergoes sister chromatid exchange as part of conventional breeding,the chromosome rearrangements do not take place in a random and haphazard way,but are precisely guided so that no information is lost. There can be defectsin the process, which could lead to mutations. But the process works against defectsoccurring by employing precise cellular mechanisms that have evolved overhundreds of thousands of years to preserve the order and information content ofthe genome of the species. Genetic engineering, on the other hand, is anartificial laboratory procedure that forcibly introduces foreign DNA into the cellsof a plant.

Once theengineered transgene is in the nucleus of the cells, it breaks randomly intothe DNA of the plant and inserts into that site. Furthermore, GM plants do notcontain only a few mutations. The GM transformation process produces hundreds orthousands of mutations throughout the plant’s DNA. For these reasons,conventional breeding is far more precise and carries fewer mutation-related risksthan genetic engineering.


“We willselect out harmful mutations”


GMproponents say that even if harmful mutations occur, that is not a problem.They say that during the genetic engineering process, the GM plants undergomany levels of screening and selection, and the genetic engineers will catchany plants that have harmful mutations and eliminate them during this process. Asexplained above, the process of gene insertion during the process of genetic modificationselects for engineered GM gene insertion into active gene regions of the host (recipient)plant cell. This means that the process has a high inherent potential todisrupt the function of active genes present in the plant’s DNA. In many cases,the disruption will be fatal – the engineered cell will die and will not grow intoa GM plant. In other cases, the plant will compensate for the lost function insome way, or the insertion will occur at a location that seems to cause minimaldisruption of the plant cell’s functioning. This is what is desired. But just becausea plant grows vigorously does not mean that it is safe to eat and safe for theenvironment. It could have a mutation that causes it to produce substances thatharm consumers or to damage the ecosystem. Genetic engineers do not carry outdetailed screening that would catch all potentially harmful plants. Theyintroduce the GM gene(s) into hundreds or thousands of plant cells and grow themout into individual GM plants. If the gene insertion process has damaged thefunction of one or more plant cell genes that are essential for survival, the cellwill not survive this process. So plants carrying such “lethal” mutations willbe eliminated. But the genetic engineer is often left with several thousandindividual GM plants, each of them different, because:


● The engineered genes have beeninserted in different locations within the DNA of each plant

● Other mutations or disturbancesin host gene function have occurred at other locations in the plants throughthe mechanisms described above (1.3.4).


How dogenetic engineers sort through the GM plants to identify the one or two thatthey are going to commercialise? The main thing that they do is to verify thatthe trait that the engineered transgene is supposed to confer has beenexpressed in the plant. That is, they do a test that allows them to find thefew plants among the many thousands that express the desired trait. Of those,they pick one that looks healthy, strong, and capable of being bred on andpropagated. That is all they do. Such screening cannot detect plants that haveundergone mutations that cause them to produce substances that are harmful to consumersor lacking in important nutrients.

It isunrealistic for GM proponents to claim that they can detect all hazards basedon differences in the crop’s appearance, vigour, or yield. Some mutations willgive rise to changes that the breeder will see in the greenhouse or field, butothers give rise to changes that are not visible because they occur at a subtlebiochemical level or only under certain circumstances. So only a smallproportion of potentially harmful mutations will be eliminated by the breeder’ssuperficial inspection. Their scrutiny cannot ensure that the plant is safe toeat. Some agronomic and environmental risks will be missed, as well. Forinstance, during the GM transformation process, a mutation may destroy a genethat makes the plant resistant to a certain pathogen or an environmental stresslike extreme heat or drought. But that mutation will be revealed only if theplant is intentionally exposed to that pathogen or stress in a systematic way.Developers of GM crops are not capable of screening for resistance to everypotential pathogen or environmental stress. So such mutations can sit like silenttime bombs within the GM plant, ready to “explode” at any time when there is anoutbreak of the relevant pathogen or an exposure to the relevant environmentalstress. An example of this kind of limitation was an early – but widely planted– variety of Roundup Ready® soy. It turned out that this variety was much moresensitive than non-GM soy varieties to heat stress and more prone to infection.


1.4 Myth: Cisgenics/intragenics is asafe form of GM because no foreign genes are involved

Truth: Cisgenic/intragenicfoods are just as risky as any other GM food


Somescientists and GM proponents are promoting a branch of genetic engineering theyhave termed “cisgenics” or “intragenics”, which they say only uses genes fromthe species to be engineered, or a related species. They say that cisgenic/intragenicGMOs are safer and more publicly acceptable than transgenic GMOs, on theclaimed grounds that no foreign genes are introduced. An article on the pro-GMBiofortified website, “Cisgenics – transgenics without the transgene”, bluntlystates the public relations value of cisgenics: “The central theme is toplacate the misinformed public opinion by using clever technologies tocircumvent traditional unfounded criticisms of biotechnology.”An example of acisgenic product is the GM “Arctic” non-browning apple, which a Canadianbiotechnology company has applied to commercialise in the US and Canada. GMproponents appear to see intragenics/cisgenics as a way of pushing GM foodsthrough regulatory barriers. As two researchers write: “A strong case has beenmade for cisgenic plants to come under a new regulatory tier with reduced regulatoryoversight or to be exempted from GM regulation.” However, in reality, cisgenicsand intragenics are just transgenics by another name. The artificial nature ofthe transgene construct and its way of introduction into the host plant genomemake cisgenics/intragenics just as transgenic as cross-

speciestransfers. The word “intragenic” implies that only genes within the genome of asingle species are being manipulated. But although it is possible to isolate agene from maize, for example, and then put it back into maize, this will not bea purely intragenic process. This is because in order to put the gene back intomaize, it is necessary to link it to other sequences at least from bacteria andpossibly also from viruses, other organisms, and even synthetic DNA.Inevitably, “intragenic” gene transfer uses sequences from other organisms.Thus, though the gene of interest may be from the same species as the recipientorganism, the totality of the genetically modified DNA introduced is not purelyintragenic, but is transgenic, in the sense that some of the genetic elementsthat are introduced into the recipient plant are derived from another species. Thesupposedly intragenic Arctic apple is clearly transgenic, in that sequencesfrom foreign species were part of the DNA construct that was introduced intothe apple. This introduces major uncertainties into the plant’s functioning,because the effects that those foreign sequences might have on the recipientorganism are unknown. The process of inserting any fragment of DNA, whetherintragenic or transgenic, into an organism via the GM transformation process carriesthe same risks. These risks have been discussed in detail, above. Insertiontakes place in an uncontrolled manner and results in at least one insertionalmutation event within the DNA of the recipient organism. The insertional eventwill interrupt some sequence within the DNA of the organism and interfere withany natural function that the interrupted DNA may carry. For instance, if theinsertion occurs in the middle of a gene, the gene’s function could bedestroyed. As a result, the organism will lose the cellular function that thegene encodes. In addition, mutagenic effects on the plant’s DNA caused by thetissue culture process occur with cisgenics/intragenics, just as withtransgenics. In conclusion, cisgenic/intragenic plants carry the sameenvironmental and health risks as transgenic GM plants.


Conclusionto Section 1


GMproponents claim that genetic engineering of crops is no more risky thannatural/conventional breeding. But in fact, genetic engineering is differentfrom natural/conventional plant breeding and poses special risks. Inparticular, the genetic engineering and associated tissue culture processes arehighly mutagenic, leading to unpredictable changes in the DNA and proteins of theresulting GM crop that can lead to unexpected toxic or allergenic effects. Cisgenicor intragenic GM crops pose the same risks as any other transgenic crop. Thereis nothing “new” about cisgenics/intragenics. These methods only differ fromtransgenic methods with regard to the choice of organism from which the gene ofinterest is taken.

SometimesGM proponents misleadingly compare genetic engineering with radiation- inducedmutagenesis, claiming that the latter is natural or conventional breeding, and concludethat genetic engineering is safer than “conventional” breeding. In fact, while radiation-inducedmutagenesis is occasionally used in conventional breeding, it is not in itself conventionalbreeding. Like genetic engineering, radiation-induced mutagenesis is risky and mutagenic.It is not widely used in plant breeding because of its high failure rate. Someresearchers have called for crops bred through mutation breeding to besubjected to the same kind of safety assessments as GM crops, a measurerequired by Canada’s food safety authority.

Comparinggenetic engineering with radiation- induced mutagenesis and concluding that itis less risky and therefore safe is like comparing a game of Russian Rouletteplayed with one type of gun with a game of Russian Roulette played with anothertype of gun. Neither game is safe. Both are risky. A more useful comparisonwould be between genetic engineering and conventional breeding that does notinvolve radiation- or chemical- induced mutagenesis. In fact, this is themethod that has safely produced the vast majority of our crop plants over thecenturies. It is also the method that is most widely used today.

Inchallenging genetic modification, we are not rejecting science and are notrejecting the most advanced forms of biotechnology, such as marker assistedselection, which speed up and make more precise the methods of conventionalbreeding. We are only challenging the premature and misguided commercialisationof crops produced using the imprecise, cumbersome, and outdated method ofgenetic engineering (recombinant DNA technology). Why use these methods whenthere are better tools in the biotechnology toolbox? It is unnecessary to takerisks with genetic engineering when conventional breeding – assisted by safemodern technologies such as marker assisted selection – is capable of meeting ourcrop breeding needs (see 7.3.2).


So nowyou have the facts, if you’d like more I have the PDF file saved on mycomputer, please message me for the file. What does this mean for you and your family?


GMOs and Your FamilyMake informed choices about what your family is eating 

One of the most common concerns about the prevalence of GMOs (geneticallymodified organisms) in North America is whether they are safe for our childrenand families to be eating.

Are my kids eating genetically engineered food?

The sad truth is many of the foods that are most popular with childrencontain GMOs. Cereals, snack bars, snack boxes, cookies, processed lunch meats,and crackers all contain large amounts of high risk food ingredients. In NorthAmerica, over 80% of our food contains GMOs.  If you are not buying foodsthat are Non-GMO Project Verified, most likely GMOs are present at breakfast,lunch, and dinner.

What if I only buyorganic?

Shopping organic is a great step towards ensuring that your family eats thehealthiest foods possible. The challenge is that although GMOs are an excludedmethod under the National Organic Program, organic certification does notrequire GMO testing. Choosing products that are Certified Organic AND Non-GMOProject Verified is the best way to make sure you are getting the safest,healthiest, highest-quality food for your family.

What arethe most common GMOs?

The mostcommon GMOs are soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya,alfalfa, and squash (zucchini  and yellow). Many of these items appear asadded ingredients in a large amount of the foods we eat. For instance, yourfamily may not eat tofu or drink soy milk, but soy is most likely present in alarge percentage of the foods in your pantry.

GMOs maybe hidden in common processed food ingredients such as: Amino Acids, Aspartame,Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate,Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, HydrolyzedVegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate,Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, YeastProducts.

I amoverwhelmed by the prospect of changing our diet, where should I begin?

Take astep by step approach. For instance, many parents find it is useful to beginwith looking at what their family is eating for breakfast.

There aremany resources available to help you find non-GMO choices:

Use the product search online to find verified products and brandsSocialmedia can also be a great tool to find outabout newly verified products and other people workingto keep GMOs out of their home. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to connectwith others who are committed to eating non-GMO.

I knowthis is probably really hard to read because we were told different from ourgovernment, and there is a lot of us who trust the government and think theyknow better. We also trust Health Canada to do things that are supposed to behealthy for us, you’d think with a name like HEALTH, we would be safe frompoison... But honestly there is nothing safe in our world, you need to knowthat this is all for control. We are being controlled by our government. Theyhave an agenda and we are just the pawns leading to it. You need to take actionin small steps to show these tyranny based puppets don’t kill us and ourchildren. We have to make wise decisions, and research the truth, and alsoprotect ourselves and our family from their sick plans.


Be safeeveryone, and Remember YOU are the GAPP between them and power!


Writtenby: Evee Kameya

[email protected]


YouTubeChannel: Eva Millman (Please subscribe.)