GENTECH archive


Re: Safety


Sorry for my hasty answer this morning. Thank you for the reference, it is 
useful. This article to which you refer is a study of the toxicity of the 
pesticide itself. It is not a study of the toxicity of a genetically 
engineered food crop. 

The working assumption of the FDA and the EPA are that the only 
considerations needed are whether the invading organism itself creates 
toxicity or allergenicity. They do not ask the questions of what other 
effects are created when expression viruses, antibiotic resistance markers, 
novel proteins, and so forth are introduced during the process of the genetic 
alteration, nor what are the long term effects of consuming a food whose 
genetic material has been invaded, altered, weakened or damaged. For example, 
how much energy does the plant consume in coping with an alien element in its 
genetic material, one that naturally has no place there? What are the effects 
of the ongoing expression of a gene that happens when a virus is introduced 
to ensure that nonstop expression? Does it drain the rest of the plant of its 
nutritional value or vitality? 

In the software industry, one ~starts~ with the assumption that if something 
can go wrong, it will. Any change whatsover in the computer code, however 
small, requires "regression testing" of the entire system. The impact of a 
small change can be felt thousands of miles of code away. And these are 
human-made systems. All the zeroes and ones are known. We know about 5-10% of 
the mapping of the human genome, and when we are done mapping it, we will 
find out how little we know about the rest of it! Just as we used to think we 
knew all about the atom, and now we know that the more we learn about it, the 
less we understand how it really works. This is basic quantum mechanics. The 
genome is far more complicated than the atom, because it is living stuff. Who 
are these people who think they can shoot a gene into a genome, track where 
it lands, and assume a priori that the altered system needs no regression 

- Nina Moliver

In a message dated 5/11/1999 5:57:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< You can sort through the lingo, but the safety data is there.
 Bill Brooks >>