Isn’t Genetic Engineering the Same as Hybridization? Haven’t we been genetically modifying plants for years?
There is much confusion between the term hybridization and genetic engineering / genetic modification. Hybridization is *not* genetic engineering—though many ag-bio corporations would have us believe that it is, in order to coerce the general public into accepting what they are doing.
Hybridization involves the combination of two related species that are able to be naturally combined.
Genetic modification involves the combination of foreign DNA from unrelated species that can not be combined without artificial manipulation (the instances of combining same-species DNA are rare and technically constitute hybridization done in a laboratory environment).
The “foreign” DNA used in genetic engineering can come from a variety of sources, including bacteria, viruses, insects, animals, and even humans.
Why do you believe the science behind genetic engineering is flawed?
As discovered during the Human Genome Research Project, genes operate in a complex network in ways that is still not fully understood.
Modifying one segment of DNA does not have a single direct result; instead it can cause a spiraling effect of unintended consequences.
As recently as December 2013, scientists discovered that DNA contains a second “hidden” code that allows it to simultaneously write two kinds of information. This new discovery alone completely changes how scientists read the instructions contained in DNA–nearly 20 years after ag-bio companies have been modifying the DNA of our food crops.
How is genetic modification done?
Foreign DNA is inserted into the primary plant species in an entirely random manner using one of three methods:
- E.coli bacteria is combined with a soil bacteria that causes tumors that allows the foreign bacteria to breach the host plant’s cells.
- Electricity is applied to the host plant to rupture its cell walls, thus allowing the foreign DNA to invade; or
- A “gene gun” blasts the engineered DNA directly into the plant’s cells.
Watch this great video explaining the process (description starts at the 1:48 minute mark in the video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAP6ZtfP9ZQ
Aren’t GMOs necessary to feed our world’s growing population?
No. In the U.S. alone, where vast tracts of land are devoted to GMO crops, and the world’s largest and most successful ag-bio corporation responsible for GMOs is based, one in six Americans is facing hunger. Monsanto’s “feed the world” mantra isn’t even succeeding in its own country. Source: http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-facts/hunger-and-poverty-statistics.aspx
The problem with hunger is not a lack of food—the world already produces more than enough food—the problem is poverty. Source: http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm
Corporate control of food dramatically increasrd the cost of food, which widens the poverty gap. Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/goldman-bankers-get-rich-betting-on-food-prices-as-millions-starve-8459207.html
In essence, corporate food control sets up a vicious circle of hunger and poverty. Source: http://www.worldbank.org/foodcrisis/food_price_watch_report_feb2011.html
GM Crops on the market are NOT designed to address hunger (through improved yields or nutrition). The top two genetically modified crop traits do one of two things: resist insects by producing their own internal insecticide, and remain alive when repeatedly sprayed with weedkiller (coincidentally the very weedkillers manufactured by the same companies producing the GM crops). Source: CBAN Report 2014
Does “Natural” and “Organic” mean the same thing?
No, “natural” and “organic” are not interchangeable terms. Additional labeling terms – such as Natural, Cage Free, Free Range, Certified Humane (raised and handled), Vegetarian Diet, Fair Trade, and Locally Grown – have no direct relevance to whether a product is GMO free (genetically modified vegetables can and do get used in animal feed sometimes… particularly corn fed to pigs, cows and chickens). Only foods that are grown and processed according to USDA organic standards can be labeled organic.
If corn and soy are the top two crops that have been genetically modified, is is safe to eat sweet corn and drink soy milk / eat tofu, etc.?
ONLY if you choose USDA Organic-certified or non-GMO Project certified corn and soy. It’s best to avoid any form of corn or soy that has not been certified organic.
What are the Health Risks of GMOs?
Learn more on this page of our website >
What are the Environmental Risks of GMOs?
Learn more on this page of our website >
How Can I Avoid GMOs?
Choose products with the USDA Organic seal, and/or a Non-GMO Project Certification seal.