Wednesday, February 23, 2011

News Flash: GMO Crops and Roundup are Dangerous

This just in from the wider Internet: GMO crops and the Roundup weed killer that they are designed to withstand may be breeding a new class of pathogen. This organism is capable of causing disease in both plants and animals, and has been implicated in livestock miscarriages, infertility, and several corn and soybean diseases. There is reason to believe that it could affect humans as well.

This, of course, is not a surprise. The notion that we could bypass eons of evolution and make a shortcut crop that would be able to thrive in a biological vacuum devoid of soil life and organic nutrients is pure folly. It was destined to fail, because it fails to account for the fact that all plant and animal life is interdependent, and even tiny changes in the relationships may have vast and unknowable consequences. The hubris exhibited by directly installing a new feature via genetic manipulation instead of allowing it to develop through a selection process (as in traditional plant breeding) is mind boggling. All other organisms on Earth have developed as a part of their environment -- even highly bred garden vegetables. There are a nearly infinite number of variables involved with how a plant or animal interacts with its environment; everything from co-adapted bacteria and fungi to the size, shape, and growth rate of roots has to work together properly. What GMO crops have done is completely ignore all of the other interrelated properties necessary for life to exist, placing foreign genetic material and toxic chemicals directly into the mix with no natural selection process. It is only natural that this left a vast, echoing void of ecological niches. The natural process of selection makes minor changes to genomes, or crosses ecologically viable genomes, over the course of eons. Genetic manipulation can make huge changes in a single generation, and can make changes that would never occur naturally (such as adding genetic material from an animal to a plant's genome). The new plant has so many new properties that were unknown in the past that it practically represents a new and empty ecosystem for other organisms to adapt into. That one of those niches was filled with a new class of pathogenic organism is unfortunate but not surprising.

Hopefully it's not too late, and we can turn it around with our real food revolution. We certainly can't depend on the authorities or the industrial agriculture world to do it for us. The solution to such problems is here now, and always has been. Real food is the answer.

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