GMOs in pills, brief research for a seventh grade class


We publish the research on GMOs, conducted by John Dongo and Vicet Romano, seventh grade students.


What is a GMO?

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), ‘A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism in which one or more genes (called transgenes) have been introduced into its gene material from another organism using recombinant DNA technology. For example, the genes may be from a different kingdom (such as from a bacterium to a plant) or a different species within the same kingdom (e.g. from one plant species to another)’. That is, a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is an organism in which one or more genes (called trans-genes) have been introduced into the DNA of another organism by means of a special technology. For example, genes from a bacterium and a plant can be ‘re-combined’ by inserting genes from a different species.


What GMOs exist on the planet today?

Hundreds of millions of hectares of land are now cultivated worldwide with GMO seeds (e.g., soybeans, corn, canola, etc.) only to make such plants resistant to spraying with poisonous herbicides (such as glyphosate, which destroys all plants, unwanted and otherwise).

That said, the breadth of research exceeds the limits of imagination, and it is difficult to construct an opinion about what is unknown, in all or most respects. The purposes are innumerable and sometimes extravagant, as are the tools employed. Keeping in mind that to the genetic ‘mix’ that is easier to understand since it is close to traditional reproductive systems-vegetal-vegetal-are added:

– plant-animal (including bacteria). Some of the more unpredictable experiments include the genetic ‘mix’ between chicken and wheat to develop resistance to a fungus (Nebraska), that between chicken and potatoes to boost the latter’s immune system, and the insertion of carp (freshwater fish) hormones into saffron to replicate proteins for pharmaceutical use (North Dakota and Nevada),

– plant-human, reported in connection with so-called ‘pharma-crops’. ‘Last year, the California Rice Commission advised the state Food and Agriculture Department to allow Ventria Bioscience of Sacramento to grow 50 hectares of GM rice near San Diego. Ventria planned to grow two types of rice modified with synthetic human genes-one to make human lactoferrin to treat anemia and the second to produce lysozyme to treat diarrhea’ (Dalton, Rex: ‘California Edges toward Farming Drug-producing Rice,’ Nature 428: 591, 2004),

– animal-human. In the name of science and new horizons of treatment, for example, rats equipped with human chromosomes. For that matter, an American ‘geneticist’ school of thought attributes a hybrid nature to humans, as if to imply an opportunity to explore further mammalian hybridization. With the justification of producing human organs without the need for individual donations, there is reason to believe that various experiments are underway, unknown to the general public as well as policy makers until the research has led to results deemed worthy of notoriety and legislative coverage. What else?

– Animal-animal. The closest genetically modified animal to commercial release is the so-called Aquadvantage salmon, a salmon with genes from a large Arctic fish that allow it to develop rapidly and colossally. French sheep with jellyfish protein, to attribute a green color to its meat (?), whose first specimen was lost in the food chain by a wayward employee. But also the spider-goat and goat-lamprey (marine fish), from Canada to Utah, to extract a durable synthetic silk from its milk.

The concept of synthetic biology-which includes the artificial replication of existing genetic traits, and the construction of new ones-has thus developed with a view to potentially endless applications, from transistors to synthetic meats to human organs… Bionic man in sight!


What GMOs are found on our plates?

The most prevalent biotech plantations include soybeans (90.7 mln ha, 82 percent of planetary soybeans), cotton (25.1 mln ha, 68 percent of global cotton), corn (55.2 mln ha, 30 percent), and canola (36 mln ha, 25 percent). This is followed by potatoes and rice, in smaller shares zucchini and tomatoes, papaya and bananas.

GMO soybeans, corn and rapeseed, the most widespread species in industrial agriculture, are grown in various countries around the world (including the U.S., Brazil, Argentina, India and Canada, the world’s leading producers of these plants) and also used in Italy for the production of flours – intended for the production of feed for so-called ‘livestock’ (e.g., cattle, pigs, poultry) – and oils that are used both as bio-fuels and as food ingredients.

European legislation requires the presence and/or origin of GMOs to be indicated on food and feed labels and commercial documents, and yet:

– the use of GMO feed on livestock farms does not require consumers of products derived from animals fed GMO feed (e.g., meat, milk, eggs) to be informed of this,

– the use of GMO oils in ‘fast-food’ kitchens does not result in an obligation for the relevant operators (e.g., McDonald’s, Burger King, and others) to inform patrons that their dishes were cooked with genetically modified vegetable oils.

So it is, if it seems to you, in the Anno Domini 2016.


Source: ebook ‘GMO the Great Scam’, Dario Dongo, Great Italian Food Trade, 2015 (see https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade .it/sostenibilità/ogm-la-grande-truffa)

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