I asked a similar YA question a while back and several MD's responded claiming that we're not doing anything new to our food today that we haven't been doing for thousands of years through selective breeding. Well...I recently found out that is absolutely false. Genetic Selection and Genetic Engineering are two completely different things. One we have been doing since man started farming thousands of years ago, and the other one is brand new, just a couple years old.
So tell me if you think the following are the same:
1.) Grow crops and take the seeds only from the plants that have more of the attributes you want (size, color, vitamins, etc). After doing this for several generations you can get a higher yield and better quality crops.
2.) Take genes from various species of plants and animals, put them into gene guns, and blast millions of genes into a plate of millions of cells, and then clone the result into a plant. (This can cause hundreds or thousands of mutations up and down the DNA chain. Genes can be switched off, switched on permanently, or change their levels of expression – at random.)
Anyone who has ever taken a genetics course in college knows that DNA being shot out of a gun could potentially damage the DNA. Also, fundamental to the discipline is knowledge that just adding a gene to an organism can cause all kinds of things to go wrong - including turning on genes that were previously silent as well as turning others off that were beneficial. There's a famous story about a boy raised in a plastic bubble because of having no immune system. All scientists had to do was change one tiny piece of DNA and then the children with this condition could lead a normal life. They tried this on 10 children and it worked! Unfortunately, because they messed with that little piece of DNA a neighboring gene that was previously silent got turned on. That gene caused all of the boys to develop Leukemia, and they died. This gives us a fresh perspective on how little science knows about how to safely manipulate DNA. They simply can't yet, that's why they put a moratorium on genetic therapy for humans.
So how does this apply to messing with plants DNA? Simple, we eat plants, like corn, and when that plant has an altered genome, it's not going to produce the same stuff as regular corn. Even if the resulting plant LOOKED normal it doesn't mean all of its bionutrients are the same. In fact, some of those nutrients could harm you. Luckily, we are safe in knowing there is no conflict of interest in the scientific studies that have been done to test whether GMO foods are safe. That is, if you believe multi-billion dollar corporations like Monsanto funding their own studies concerning the safety of their own products - putting at stake the company's bottom line if a product is unsafe - presents no conflict of interest in your mind. The CEO of Monsanto has promised us their GMO crops are absolutely safe. So you can feel safe now. Nevermind the fact that allergic reactions to food and a whole host of other conditions and diseases have greatly increased in the last 10 years or so. That must be from someting else I guess. Unfortunately you won't be able to find out because the lobbying forces of the industry caused the FDA to decide that foods don't need to be labeled as GMO, so you won't be able to know where your disease is coming from. But hey, at least we can buy stock in Monsanto safely right? They aren't going to be successfully sued. Hopefully the stock price goes up to keep up with people's medical bills though right?
To reiterate, over thousands of years human's bodies have co-adapted to the adaptations in corn. Now, we're making whole new organisms that produce molecules which is anybody's guess as to what those molecules do in the human body. The director of a large biotech firm came and spoke to an audience at my university. He said "No one knows where a foreign molecule of a drug (or any type of foreign unatural molecule) goes in the body - what that molecule binds to, what cell signal it creates, what cell signal gets blocked, and on which cells it does it to. All we can do in the industry is find out if it treats a certain symptom. We have no idea what it does in the rest of the body." That should apply to GMO food as well, as they are new unnatural proteins that didn't have the benefit of millions of years of evolution. All we can do is animal and human testing. Mice fed GMO corn developed problems, but apparently those studies were re-done by *someone* and now the studies show GMO food is safe. You can all rest easy now that Monsanto and the heavily lobbyied FDA have declared GMO foods are safe. Also rest easy by the fact that members of the Obama's Presidential Cabinet that create food policies are former Monsanto executives. How convenient.
On Mercola.com I read an article about this very subj