By Heather Callaghan
The UN’s World Food Program, funded by world governments, NGOs and corporations like Yum! Brands and Cargill, finds that there’s just too much hunger in the world, so no one should protest a novel form of genetic engineering that involves blipping out genes which in effect can modify plant, animal and human genomes.
That’s right – just like in the last five decades WFP has been around to receive billions for aid, there’s a crisis of hunger and overpopulation that requires urgent action – no time for testing. This time it is genome sequence alteration in order to…feed the hungry? They know it is dangerous but they want the rest of the globe to accept their experimentation of it on the world’s ecology and humanity.
People do not stop and think much about the contradictory nature of a UN relief group’s open repulsion toward population and their insistence on helping people (that they don’t want) – even though the countries they help tend to further devolve into destabilization, displacement, and impoverishment. But I digress…
WFP has dispensed an urgent press release in order to promote a heretofore unused form of genetic engineering. They cite vague fears of unprecedented population growth, increasing conflict and displacement, natural calamities, emergence of major epidemics that will compound future fears of “complexities of global food security.” They mention “recent natural disasters in food-exporting Asian and African countries” and even throw the California drought in for good measure.
To buttress their headline of Can gene editing provide a solution to global hunger? they actually say:
In the face of these facts, any technique that can improve food production would be a welcome development. To counteract the coming problem, it is imperative to try novel and daring solutions across the agricultural food chain, including the gene modification of crops.
And then as an afterthought, mention a necessary “regulatory framework” – still waiting on that myself.
But “novel and daring” is more like it…
How does gene editing work?
Conventionally, the production of genetically modified organisms involves inserting desired foreign genes into the genome of a plant or animal. But a different technique known as gene editing modifies plant, as well as animal and human, genomes without the introduction of foreign genetic materials.
Gene editing uses biological catalysts called transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) that can be engineered to bind to any DNA sequence. Scientists can introduce these enzymes into living cells where they cut out unwanted pieces of DNA, in effect editing the genome. This technique, known as TALEN-mediated genome engineering, is also referred to as Genome Editing with Engineered Nucleases.
Don’t want some pesky form of DNA? Just cut it out and edit the entire genome…no worries, there. That’ll feed the world, right? Isn’t that what we were told in the 1990s when it was equally urgent to accept plant injections of foreign DNA through GMOs? Did it help yet?
But how novel can it be when regulatory agencies continue to usher its use? (emphasis added)
Genome editing is not a new idea. It has been used to create gene edits in human stem cells as well as in worms, fish, mice and cattle with varying degrees of success. In the laboratory, TALENs have also been used to successfully correct the genetic error underlying diseases such as sickle cell anemia.
In crop science, gene editing has been used to make Cellectis’s less sugary potato, as well as a soybean containing high levels of omega-3. The first commercial application of this technology in a plant for human consumption was approved this spring, when the US company Cibus announced an edited version of canola. The new canola plant is designed to grow well even when farmers apply particular herbicides that are used to control glyphosate-resistant weeds. Now there is talk of using this technique to manipulate photosynthesis to produce more food. Researchers at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines have engineered rice plants to extract energy from sunlight far more efficiently than they do now.
On a side note, the omega-3 soybean oil was not what it was cracked up to be and Filipinos did not want the golden rice fields. The press release lauded the newly approved GE potatoes, but as GMO-expert Jeffrey Smith pointed out, there is legitimate concern for hundreds of human genes simply being turned off – and no one knows the long-term consequences.
Even this threatening/cheery endorsement cannot deny the threat of something going terribly wrong:
Techniques for genetic engineering are not perfect. Significant genetic errors have been produced by the commonly applied techniques of genome editing, including TALENs, in the past. In laboratory models, off-target events that produce unwanted mutations, sometimes with fatal results, have been described in plants, fish and human cells.
For now, there remain many uncertainties about the impact of gene-edited organisms on the environment and health. While gene editing may not introduce foreign genetic material, the technology definitely changes the composition of the product at a very fundamental level. Research is currently under way to improve these techniques, reduce the frequency of unwanted mutations and improve the safety of genome editing.
It simply is not reassuring that even while the technique is approved for human consumption – more research and improvements are needed, as unwanted mutations have been the previous results. This press release is nothing more than an endorsement for shoddy, dangerous techniques to test on human beings that the UN doesn’t want “because population.” So they start with urgency and then attempt to get you to accept unstable gene scrambling. Otherwise known as cruel and unusual human experimentation and assault.
Again – they claim the world is overpopulated but that we must all lay back and accept this unstable form of genome editing so that the people that they wish were gone can be fed… All in the name of humanity, all for the children…yet they are openly telling us that they are putting them in uncertain danger. Then they say, “Despite biotech company Syngenta offering the license to grow golden rice free of charge for humanitarian use, its approval has been stalled in most settings.” But…but…it’s free – for “humanitarian use.” (It’s funny how that same concept does not apply when a U.S. individual wants to feed the hungry homeless.)
Instead of buying and parroting industry lines about apocalyptic urgency so that sponsored upper-echelon scientists can use the world ecology and human race as their own personal genetic playground – it’s really time to level an index finger at them, reminding them that with all their billions over the decades, their miraculous solutions – which are actually tests – have led to more human suffering.
Case in point, when the Philippines people rejected the Gates-Rockefeller-funded IRRA “aid” they wouldn’t leave – they force it, because it’s never about helping them, especially if it involves a GE testing ground.
It isn’t possible to both wish for eradication of people and legitimately help them at the same time – at least not without contempt or some ulterior motive.
TLB recommends you visit Zen Gardner for more great/pertinent articles.