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Sunday, April 24, 2005 

Frankenstein Foods



GM industry puts human gene into rice
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
24 April 2005

Scientists have begun putting genes from human beings into food crops in a dramatic extension of genetic modification. The move, which is causing disgust and revulsion among critics, is bound to strengthen accusations that GM technology is creating "Frankenstein foods" and drive the controversy surrounding it to new heights.

Even before this development, many people, including Prince Charles, have opposed the technology on the grounds that it is playing God by creating unnatural combinations of living things.

Environmentalists say that no one will want to eat the partially human-derived food because it will smack of cannibalism.

But supporters say that the controversial new departure presents no ethical problems and could bring environmental benefits.

In the first modification of its kind, Japanese researchers have inserted a gene from the human liver into rice to enable it to digest pesticides and industrial chemicals. The gene makes an enzyme, code-named CPY2B6, which is particularly good at breaking down harmful chemicals in the body.

Present GM crops are modified with genes from bacteria to make them tolerate herbicides, so that they are not harmed when fields are sprayed to kill weeds. But most of them are only able to deal with a single herbicide, which means that it has to be used over and over again, allowing weeds to build up resistance to it.

Expect the demonization of any progress that may develop from all that we are figguring out from the research performed by those involved in the Human Genome Project and other genetic research.

I believe that we are on the threshold of a whole new age of medicine. Considering DNA makes up pretty much everything that's alive and is one of the mysterious building blocks of all that's biological, as our depth of knowledge continues to expand on those things that make biology tick, tremendous advancements are there to be found. Allowing our manipulation of DNA to create proteins (or enzymes) that can benefit and/or harm our existence here on Earth is going to be an inevitable consequence of this new found knowledge.

Naturally there will be consequences but since the development of these technologies is going to occur like it or not, much like the development of nuclear capabilities earlier in this century, I sure hope that those friendly to humanity and particularly Western Civilization are the ones on the cutting edge of this new found knowledge.

Environmentalist goofballs who want to cast the shadow of 'cannibalism' on these technologies prove they have no idea what they're talking about by virtue of the emptiness of the rhetoric employed to attack such developments and they should probably go back to smoking their brains into obscurity. If only they knew the DNA mutations they were unwittingly performing on themselves!!

Anyway, I personally welcome these advancements provided they're ethically monitored and done in the spirit of goodwill. Considering the time I've spent in biological labs in college and personal studies of biology I believe that this is the case with those currently involved in these recent developments. There has always been obstruction based on well meaning fears, especially throughout the last couple centuries where most of these advancements have taken place. I am confident that the better conscience of man prevails in the long run; all that's needed to prove this is to look around at the lives we currently lead and live and quit taking for granted all that surrounds us.

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