By Dr. Mercola
Genetic engineering (GE) of our food supply amounts to a massive science experiment being performed on mankind, without consent or full disclosure. Although the biotech industry continues to claim GE products are safe, the truth is that no one knows what the long-term effects will be, because no one has done the necessary studies.
The loudest proponents of GE are the ones who stand to profit the most, and they don’t seem terribly concerned about the human or environmental costs.
What do we know for certain? We know genetic engineering is riddled with unpredictable effects… so we should expect the unexpected.
You may not realize that this reckless genetic experimentation is not limited to your food supply. Besides being used to create drugs and “Frankenfish,” they’ve also created vaccine-containing bananas, goats that produce spider silk in their milk, venomous cabbage, chemotherapy chicken eggs, and even glow-in-the-dark cats.1
As creepy as some of these things are, the application that may have the greatest potential for global disaster are GE trees created to serve the desires of the paper industry.
Deforestation is already an enormous problem, and the last thing we need is to further stress our precious native forests and the flora and fauna that depend on them.
The documentary featured above discusses how GE trees may adversely impact ecological systems on a grand scale, with potentially catastrophic effects. A Silent Forest: The Growing Threat, Genetically Engineered Trees is hosted by Dr. David Suzuki,2 an award-winning geneticist and author of 52 books. (article continues below video)
Documentary- A Silent Forest. The Growing Threat, Genetically Engineered Trees- Full Movie
‘The Greatest Threat to Native Forests Since the Chain Saw’
As Dr. Suzuki explains, the problem with genetic engineering has to do with the fact that GE plants and animals are created using horizontal gene transfer (also called horizontal inheritance), as contrasted with vertical gene transfer, which is the mechanism in natural reproduction.
Vertical gene transfer, or vertical inheritance, is the transmission of genes from the parent generation to offspring via sexual or asexual reproduction, i.e., breeding a male and female from one species.
By contrast, horizontal gene transfer involves injecting a gene from one species into a completely different species, which yields unexpected and often unpredictable results. Proponents of GE assume they can apply the principles of vertical inheritance to horizontal inheritance, and according to Dr. Suzuki, this assumption is flawed in just about every possible way and is “just lousy science.”
Genes don’t function in a vacuum — they act in the context of the entire genome. Whole sets of genes are turned on and off in order to arrive at a particular organism, and the entire orchestration is an activated genome.
It’s a dangerous mistake to assume a gene’s traits are expressed properly, regardless of where they’re inserted. The safety of GE is only a hypothesis, and in science, initial hypotheses typically end up being wrong. GE foods are promoted as if they’ve been found to be safe, which is the farthest thing from the truth.
Why this rush to apply this science before testing it? The simple answer is, those promoting it stand to profit enormously from it. The timber, pulp, bioenergy, and fruit industries are rushing ahead with GE trees, with only their paydays in mind. As the film states:
“Genetic engineering of trees is the greatest threat to the native forests since the invention of the chain saw.”
Why Genetically Engineer Trees?
Trees as being genetically engineered to give them unnatural characteristics, such as the ability to kill insects, tolerate toxic herbicides, grow abnormally fast, or have altered wood composition. The paper pulp industry has to remove lignin from wood pulp before it can be used to make paper, which is an expensive part of the process. So, the biotech industry is working to create trees with lower lignin content. The problem is, lignin is what gives trees their structural integrity.
It’s what allows trees to stand strong in wind and other weather, and to withstand diseases and damage from insect and animal browsing. Low lignin trees are weaker and less able to withstand these environmental stresses. Dead low-lignin trees also decompose faster, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere more quickly, which contributes to climate change.
The best thing for trees is to not use them for paper. Paper doesn’t need to be made from wood pulp, because there are more Earth-friendly materials such as agricultural wastes, recycled material, hemp, tobacco and even banana leaves.
Fruit trees are being genetically engineered for disease resistance. However, contamination of wild and organic fruit trees by genetically altered DNA has already had devastating consequences on nearby groves. For example, GE papaya plantations have contaminated much of the organic and wild papaya trees in Hawaii.3 Nearly 20,000 papaya seeds from the Big Island and Oahu revealed GMO contamination. Eighty percent of the seeds tested were from organic farms, and the remainder were from wild trees and backyard gardens.
Contamination with GE DNA has caused many organic Hawaiian papaya growers to lose their plantations and/or their organic certification. Hawaiian GE papayas have now begun developing black spot fungus, so they have to be heavily sprayed with toxic fungicides every 10 days. MORE HERE>>