Certainly, there will always be uncertainty, an element constantly lurking in the background. Uncertainty of one another, our world, and sadly even our food. The need to consume substance to fuel one’s body is only natural, an innate ability to choose to curve what is eaten and what isn’t. That being said, what happens when uncertainty’s murky fog leaves you choiceless, and thus blind? The relatively recent genesis of safety-hazy test tube food makes people wonder what else could appear in an all too approaching future.
Heated GMO debate-war battlegrounds stretch from the White House to college universities where researchers continue to lob arguments after nearly four decades. One pair of feuding scientists actually share a campus, the University of California, as Scientific American reports. Robert Goldberg; a plant molecular biologist, feels GMO concern is bogus saying, “today we’re facing the same objections we faced 40 years ago.” His counterpart, cellular biologist David Williams asserts, “a lot of naive science has been involved in pushing this technology.” He goes on to explain his part in a small minority of scientists willing to actually openly question GMOs.
From their perspective, the scientific community hush-hush epidemic fever is fueled by desires to protect certain “interests”. Top-of-the-line research can not happen without funding, and the most goes to researchers looking to further back GMO development. The powerful corporate entities responsible for unlabeled, untested GM ingredients in our food need as much favorable scientific data as possible, starving the competition streamlines the process. In fact, researchers looking into any possible GMO dangers are attacked, heckled, and risk losing their hard-earned credibility and careers.
Future advancement in genetic engineering may one day lead to even more fantastic circulation-ready mutations. A 2014 New York Times article contributed by Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the center of genetics and society, reports the FDA’s decision to consider “radical biological procedures.” If approved, measures will be taken to produce genetically modified humans. “Mitochondrial manipulation technologies”, as their called, involve removing nuclear material either from an egg or embryo with a genetic disease, thereafter inserting the material into a donor egg/embryo without any material. Essentially, any babies born with by this technique will have genetic material from three people instead of two, a feature some experts find disturbing. Their opponents tote such technology as a way to bypass mitochondrial disease plaguing women wanting to have children, though the intergenerational and social ramifications of such procedures are completely unknown. Darnovsky goes onto call for more careful, thoughtful consideration when deciding whether or not to manipulate human reproductive cells, citing waning international bans on genetic research.
With those closest to genetic technological advancements now silenced under threat of irreparable professional damage, hopes for a balanced conversation and final decision is quickly fading. Researchers at Oregon’s Health and Science University recently produced 5 macaque monkeys using mitochondrial manipulation technology, four are now adults and all are healthy. This recent achievement has prompted new calls for hasty clinical trials; though opponents assert that 1, not enough data has been collected from both the living monkeys and their unborn offspring, and 2, other studies report significant differences between human and monkey zygotes. More than half of human zygotes used in mitochondrial experiments formed abnormalities not observed in the same monkeys.
Why untested, possibly unsafe, technology is being pushed by corporate and government entities is up to individual interpretation, though scientists willing to break their silence believe it revolves around the mirage-mighty dollar. Going beyond compromising the health of people already alive today, the unforeseeable effects on future generations should be enough to prompt more thorough research. Challenging the dogma that GM foods and products, including GM homo-sapiens, are somehow improved artificial variations of naturally existing organisms is much needed. The people deserve a balanced, transparent conversation when decisions are made regarding their health and the continuation of our species as we know it.
– “Shut up” puts us in a rude mood, free free free our food!
I’m Just Sayin!
By Isiah Holmes