What is in this article?:
Andrew Kimbrell, founder and executive director of the Center for Food Safety, shares his insights and knowledge about GMOs, from regulations to public safety and the latest science.
Fault GMO science
“There’s a very good reason we haven’t seen these promises come about,” Kimbrell explained. “The theory behind genetic engineering, which is the understanding of what a gene is and what a gene is not, has changed dramatically over the last decade. The idea that DNA—and particularly the part of DNA that we call a gene, which is a little above 1.5 percent of DNA—somehow controls traits is now not scientifically valid. Today most major scientists realize that DNA is not an actor, but is acted upon. There are millions of what are called epigenetic markers—various proteins and chemicals—that control how DNA is expressed in the cell. This idea that the DNA contains a trait such as drought resistance, size or nutrition is naive—and it was wrong. That’s the reason GMOs have been limited to herbicide resistance or tolerance, because those are relatively easy traits to develop. As a matter of fact, a number of companies have developed herbicide tolerance even without genetic engineering.
“They’ve tried over a thousand different ‘events,’ as they call them—a thousand different traits—and those are just the ones that have made the field-trial stage. We don’t know how many failures they’ve had, but they estimate 99.5 or 99.6 percent failure. So genetic engineering is not really even a technology; it’s a fiddling with nature, with one little piece of what makes cells and heredity, called DNA—and it’s a little piece of DNA.”