Re: NZ: Secretive GE Salmon Operation Uncovered
Bob MacGregor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thu, 13 May 1999 11:27:17 -0400
I wonder... if there were a way to induce polyploidy in salmon without use of a transfer agent (eg virus), would it be OK? A number of common food plants have been produced via induced polyploidy. They are not transgenic. Some are sterile (like seedless watermelons),; while others are self-propagating. I'm trying to focus in on exactly what is the key objectionable thing about GE; is it the introduction of genetic material from the transfer agent (usually a virus), as Puztai supporters seem to be claiming, or to the introduction of genes across species barriers? If the former, then lets get some research going on the impact of adding more viral genes to various plant and animal genomes (there are a lot of them there already). [The rhzobium with the doubled N-fixation gene is objectionable because it wasn't a natural mutation, right?]
If the latter is the concern, then does the same objection hold when plants or animals are hybridized to create new varieties (eg tricale, or, for that matter, wheat itself -- centuries ago)? Or (again) do we need research to determine whether harmless bacterial genes (for example) become harmful when expressed in the genome of another species? What kind of evidence would convince the skeptics -- or prove their fears to be well-founded, as opposed to unfounded? Would the same level of effort/research/vigilance be needed for each new GMO introduction, forever, even if no evidence of harm was evident from prior releases?
Often, I get the feeling that a lot of opponents of GE are visceral opponents who fundamentally believe the technology is a wrong thing to do regardless of whether it is safe, or capable of enhancing the production, shipping, processing or nutritional characteristics of foods. That is, even if it could be shown that GMOs were not harmful (and Ann is right to complain that we don't seem to be trying very hard to show whether this is true or not), quite a number of people would still find them unacceptable.
So find a non-GE source of insulin, beer, yogurt, cheese, etc. There will always be a market for these special products. And, WHEN we finally get the research done to show, convincingly whether these things are harmful or not, either the producers of the special, non-GE products will suddenly have the entire world market in the palm of their hand, or, they'll forever be a niche.
Start with the research and the labelling.
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