GM is Dangerous and Futile

ISIS Press Release 06/10/08

We Need Organic Sustainable Food and Energy Systems Now

New genetics research invalidates the science underpinning the $73.5 billon global biotech industry and confirms why genetic modification is futile and dangerous; we must implement organic sustainable food and energy systems now Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

Invited Lecture at Conference on Future of Food: Climate Change, GMOs and Food Security, 1-2 October 2008, India International Centre, New Delhi

I am deeply and doubly honoured to be part of this important conference on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, because it was Vandana Shiva and Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher who inspired me and turned me from an ivory tower academic into a science activist. Consequently, I was thrown out of my university and liberated to join civil society in fighting corrupt science and protecting good independent science.

“Change to gene theory raises new challenges for biotech” The headline appeared in the business section of the International Herald Tribune 3 July 2007 [1]. The article went on to say: “The $73.5 billion global biotech business may soon have to grapple with a discovery that calls into question the scientific principles on which it was founded.”

It was referring to the findings of project ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA elements), organised by the US National Human Genome Research Institute. A consortium of 35 research groups went through 1 percent of the human genome with a fine-tooth comb to find out exactly how genes work.

To their surprise, researchers found that the human genome might not be a “tidy collection of independent genes” after all…Instead, genes appear to operate in a complex network, and interact and overlap with one another and with other components in ways not yet fully understood.”

The Human Genome Research Institute said that these findings will challenge scientists “to rethink some long-held views about what genes are and what they do.”

The author of the article Denis Caruso commented that, “the report is likely to have repercussions far beyond the laboratory. The presumption that genes operate independently has been institutionalized since 1976, when the first biotech company was founded. In fact, it is the economic and regulatory foundation on which the entire biotechnology industry is built.” She went on to point out that gene patents and safety assessment based on the same paradigm are also in trouble.

She is right on all counts. I pointed that out 10 years previously when a plethora of findings in molecular genetics had already invalidated the genetic determinist paradigm underpinning the biotech industry. In fact, the paradigm had begun to unravel almost as the industry was starting up twenty years earlier.

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