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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Why GMOs Will Only Make the Global Food Crisis Worse

When genetic engineering of plants and animals began in the mid-1970s, scientists were secure in the belief that the characteristics of organisms are simply hardwired in their genome. But geneticists soon discovered that the genome is actually remarkably dynamic and fluid.

Genetic engineering in the laboratory is crude, imprecise and invasive. The rogue genes inserted into a genome to make a GMO can land anywhere, scrambling and mutating the host genome. Ultimately, genetic modification doesn’t work and is also dangerous.

After 30 years of GMO’s, the case against them grows ever stronger according to this excellent article by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho of the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS):

  • No increase in yields: GM soy decreased yields by up to 20 percent compared with non-GM soy, and up to 100 percent failures of GM cotton have been recorded in India.
  • No reduction in pesticide use: USDA data showed that GM crops increased pesticide use by 50 million pounds from 1996 to 2003 in the United States.
  • Roundup herbicide: This product is lethal to frogs and toxic to human placental and embryonic cells. It is used on more than 80 percent of all GM crops planted in the world.
  • GM crops harm wildlife: Wastes from GM corn impairs the growth of aquatic insects.
  • GM food and feed have been linked to deaths and sicknesses: Both in the fields of India, and in lab tests around the world.
Growing GM crops will not counteract the soaring rates of hunger, poverty, food prices and environmental disasters that are occurring, the author concludes. What’s needed is a fundamental change in farming practice that eliminates GM crops and supports small-scale organic farms instead.

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