Confirmed: DNA From Genetically Modified Crops Can Be Transferred Into Humans Who Eat Them


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DNAIn a new study published in the peer reviewed Public Library of Science (PLOS), researchers emphasize that there is sufficient evidence that meal-derived DNA fragments carry complete genes that can enter into the human circulation system through an unknown mechanism. (0) I wonder if the scientists at these biotech corporations have already identified this method? In one of the blood samples the relative concentration of plant DNA is higher than the human DNA.  The study was based on the analysis of over 1000 human samples from four independent studies. PLOS is an open access, well respected peer-reviewed scientific journal that covers primary research from disciplines within science and medicine.  It’s great to see this study published in it, confirming what many have been suspecting for years.

When it comes to genetically modified crops and foods, we really have no idea of what the long term effects will be on the public. The very first commercial sale of genetically modified foods was only twenty years ago in the year 1994. There is no possible way that our health authorities can test all possible combinations on a large enough population, over a long enough period of time to be able to say with certainty that they are harmless. Geneticist David Suzuki recently expressed his concern, saying that human beings are part of a “massive genetic experiment” over many years, as thousands of people continue to consume GMO’s, and it makes sense.

Advances in genome science over the past few years have revealed that organisms can share their genes. Prior to this, it had been thought that genes were shared only between individual members of a species through reproduction. Geneticists usually followed the inheritance of genes in what they would call a ‘vertical’ fashion, such as breeding a male and female -you follow their offspring and continue down the road from there. Today, scientists recognize that genes are shared not only among the individual members of a species, but also among members of different species.

“Our bloodstream is considered to be an environment well separated from the outside world and the digestive tract. According to the standard paradigm large macromolecules consumed with food cannot pass directly to the circulatory system. During digestion proteins and DNA are thought to be degraded into small constituents, amino acids and nucleic acids, respectively, and then absorbed by a complex active process and distributed to various parts of the body through the circulation system. Here, based on the analysis of over 1000 human samples from four independent studies, we report evidence that meal-derived DNA fragments which are large enough to carry complete genes can avoid degradation and through an unknown mechanism enter the human circulation system. In one of the blood samples the relative concentration of plant DNA is higher than the human DNA. The plant DNA concentration shows a surprisingly precise log-normal distribution in the plasma samples while non-plasma (cord blood) control sample was found to be free of plant DNA.” (0)

It’s not like a human being mates with an apple, banana or a carrot plant and exchanges genes. What biotechnology and biotech corporations like Monsanto have done, is they have allowed for the transfer of genes from one to the other without any regard for the biological limitations, or constraints. The problem with this is that it is based on very bad science. The conditions and biological ‘rules’ that apply to vertical gene transfer, at least those that we are aware of, do not necessarily apply to horizontal gene transfer. Biotech science today is based on the assumption that the principles governing the inheritance of genes are the same when we move genes horizontally as they are when they are moved vertically. It just goes to show that GMO’s should be subjected to much more experimentation and rigorous research before we continue to consume them.

How can our governing health authorities approve these as safe? It’s almost as if they told us they were safe, and we just believed them without questioning it. We seem to be a very gullible race, but things are changing and more are starting to question the world around them.

“One small mutation in a human being can determine so much, the point is when you move a gene, one gene, one tiny gene out of an organism into a different one you  completely change its context. There is no way to predict how it’s going to behave and what the outcome will be. We think that we design these life forms, but it’s like taking the Toronto orchestra prepared to play a Beethoven symphony and then you take some random drummers from “here” and flip them in with the Toronto symphony  and you say play music. What comes out is going to be something very very different. Publicists say that there is good intention behind GMOs, but the fact of the matter is it’s driven by money.” – David Suzuki

I personally believe the intentions go beyond money, but that’s another story.

It’s also pretty clear that DNA from food can and does end up in animal tissues and the milk products that people eat. (4)(5)

There are studies that show when humans or animals digest genetically modified foods, the artificially created genes transfer into and alter the character of the beneficial bacteria in the intestine. Researchers report that microbes found in the small bowel of people with ilestomy are capable of acquiring and harboring DNA sequences from GM plants.(1) Genetically modified crops have infiltrated animal feed since 1996, and it’s normal for them to have a complete GM diet. Studies have linked GMO animal feed to  severe stomach inflammation and enlarged uteri in pigs.

It’s also important to note that gene transfer among genetically engineered agricultural crops and surrounding native species has given rise to a highly resistant species called super weeds. According to the world health organization, gene transfer and the movement of genes from GM plants into conventional crops or related species may have an effect on food safety and food security. “This risk is real, as was shown when traces of maize type which was only approved for feed use appeared in maize products from human consumption in the United States.” (3)

The truth is, genetic engineers have never taken the reality of gene transfer into consideration when they produce these things and introduce them into the environment. As a result, we are now starting to see the consequences of genes that are engineered, particularly how they spread and alter other organisms in various environments. Watrud et al (2004) found that the herbicide-resistance transgene spread via pollen to an area up to 21 km beyond the control area perimeter and had pollinated wild creeping bentgrass.(2)

Prior to this year, governments concluded that transfer of DNA from GM crops/foods is unlikely to occur. Now we can see that they are wrong, or perhaps they had knowledge of this already? Regardless of the fact that DNA from GM foods can be transferred to humans and animals, very little is still known today and what is known does not look good. There are studies linking GMO’s and pesticides to various ailments. We’ve presented and written about them on our website numerous times, this is another article to add to the growing amount of evidence to suggest we need to halt the production of GMO’s until we conclusively know that they are safe for human consumption.

It’s not a mystery why most countries around the world have completely banned GMO’s.

 SOURCES:

(0) http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0069805

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14730317

(2) http://natureinstitute.org/nontarget/reports/bentgrass_001.php

(3) http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/

(4) http://www.food.gov.uk/policy-advice/gm/gmanimal#.UsxuFPbXFGH

http://www.mindfully.org/GE/2004/Transgenes-Human-Gut1feb04.htm

Lipton, H Bruce, The Biology of Belief. United States: Hay House INC. 2006


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CE provides a space for free thinkers to explore and discuss new, alternative information and ideas. The goal? Question everything, think differently, spread love and live a joy filled life.

  1. Rickinreallife

    I don’t think I have read something more insulting to my intelligence since the GMO Free USA article about ge source insulin causing Type II diabetes [http://kfolta.blogspot.com/2014/06/when-liars-cross-line-gmo-insulin.html] ( Not able to link to the original post since GMO Free USA took their post down when their own readers complained how bad it was). I have to give both the Billy Madison award — if you have not seen that movie, there is a line where a moderator responds to a nonsensical answer the main character gives to a question thus “We are all now dumber for having heard it.” I am not a geneticists or have any training in relevant disciplines of science, but even to a layman like myself, the logical fallacies and sloppiness of thinking are readily apparent. Other comments below more than adequately expose this article, but I’ll add these points.

    “DNA From Genetically Modified Crops Can Be Transferred Into Humans Who Eat Them”

    Not sure what you mean by “transferred into”. The first sentence of your article is reasonably accurate. In fact, it is the only sentence in this article that is consistent with the evidence of the study. Virtually every word of the rest of your article, first and foremost its title, are not only not supported by the study or any of the others you cited but are exposed for the wreckless conjecture that they are in the comments that follow. If your title is meant to imply or lead the reader to infer that the study proves not only that potentially complete gene sequences can survive digestion but are being incorporated into our bodies cells as functioning dna, then I don’t know how to describe that other than journalistic malpractice. Fortunately, several of the commenters have a higher regard for your reader’s intellect and have explained how these inferences are nonsensical.

    You do know that the study looked for chloroplast dna. Chloroplast DNA is unique because it is separate from the DNA found in the nucleus of plant cells. It is circular and there are multiple copies of chloroplast DNA in each plant cell and it is entirely possible that larger sequences of chloroplast DNA might remain intact than nuclear DNA where transgenic sequences are inserted because of its relative abundance and circular nature. The study did not look for or find any nuclear DNA, let alone any recombinant DNA sequences. Also, the references you cited to support your statement “It’s also pretty clear that DNA from food can and does end up in animal tissues and the milk products that people eat,” actually come to the exact opposite conclusion, that it is very unclear this happens. As one commenter points out, the study referenced in the Mindfully article (I think you meant to reference it (5)) only found intact recombinant DNA sequences in patients without fully functioning digestive systems, and also found that the amount of sequences detected did not increase with consumption of foods containing that sequence, suggesting the detections may have been contamination. Your references do not make it “pretty clear”, at best they support a conclusion that it might be plausible.

    I am surprised you did not cite Zhang, et al [http://www.nature.com/cr/journal/v22/n1/full/cr2011158a.html] as it would be the most damning evidence. Zhang and colleagues claimed to find that plant miRNAs are present in the sera and tissues of various animals and that these exogenous plant miRNAs are primarily acquired orally, through food intake. Furthermore, the Zhang study claimed to find that a particular miRNA from rice was regulating the expression of certain genes in mammals. (this miRNA was from non-gmo rice by the way, which if true would make me all the more concerned about the non-gmo solanine gene scenario I describe below)Perhaps you overlooked it because a handful of attempts to replicate the study findings have failed to do so and the authors of the original study also later said they could not rule out that the miRNA detections may have been contaminants on the detection equipment.

    You do know what solanine is don’t you. The authors of the study your article is about find high levels of tomato and potato DNA in all their samples. From Wikopedia “Solanine is a glycoalkaloid poison found in species of the nightshade family (Solanaceae), such as the potato (Solanum tuberosum) and the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). It can occur naturally in any part of the plant, including the leaves, fruit, and tubers. . . . Solanine poisoning is primarily displayed by gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, burning of the throat, cardiac dysrhythmia, nightmare, headache and dizziness. In more severe cases, hallucinations, loss of sensation, paralysis, fever, jaundice, dilated pupils, hypothermia and death have been reported. . . Ingestion of solanine in moderate amounts can cause death. One study suggests that doses of 2 to 5 mg per kilogram of body weight can cause toxic symptoms, and doses of 3 to 6 mg per kilogram of body weight can be fatal.” So, when you are eating a tomato or potato, even heirloom, organically grown, you are consuming an amount of solanine, and if you eat enough, it could kill you.

    I certainly would not want the right genetic sequences from potatoes and tomatoes I eat to somehow be incorporated into my cells or those of my stomach flora and start producing solanine with any abundance. Even if we accepted that every conjecture you make here is true, your naturalistic assumption does not give me great comfort that I wont be killed by solanine producing genes long before I am killed by recombinant DNA sequences.

    • Rickinreallife

      I would temper my comment above to the extent that it is perceived as condescendingly dismissing the concept that dna fragments in food could survive digestion and end up in blood or perhaps even in tissue. In fact, I do not dismiss at all that this is plausible and if verified may have some relevance to assessing ge food safety, though probably still little practical consequence to actual safety.

      However, I do stand by my challenge to your statement “It’s also pretty clear that DNA from food can and does end up in animal tissues and the milk products that people eat,” as the current state of knowledge is anything but pretty clear. In fact, it just became even less clear. I wanted to draw your attention to the review of the published study that is the topic of your article recently published in the same source that makes a strong argument and presents evidence that the findings of potential for whole gene sequences from food in this study, may be explained by contaminant error. [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141029141214.htm] In the article you draw conclusion from as well as other studies finding dna sequences from ingested plants, the amounts claimed to be detected are exceedingly small, parts per trillion, making the possibility that they have merely detected environmental remnants contaminating samples or testing equipment and only misinterpreted the source of the detections.

      If instead of your statement quoted above, you had said “Although not entirely clear, there is an intriging body of research that suggests DNA from food can end up in milk and animal tissues”, then that would have been truthful and responsible, and I don’t think it would have even undermined the gist of the points you made. If your title had said something like “New Research Adds Evidence that DNA Sequences From Food Can Survive Digestion and Be Absorbed in Blood — Are There Implications for Safety of GMOs?” that would have been a far more responsible title. It would have avoided inferences, (which I am not sure you refute when pressed by other commenters) that functioning whole genes could be incorporated into our cell DNA which is a far more exponential and implausible leap from the evidence of this study than just that the DNA may survive digestion and wind up in the bloodstream.

      Again, I don’t dismiss that DNA from ingested food is a phenomena that could be plausible. In fact, the broader scientific community took this and the Zhang study I cited above seriously, and there would be a lot of economic and health interests that would be delighted if it were true. But, am still not comforted by your simplistic naturalistic assertions that only recombinant ge sequences could be harmful in some manner. If the possibility of whole gene absorption from food is real, and has always occurred, I question whether safety is determined by whether or not the gene has been historically in our diet. There are all kinds of nasty genetic sequences in the food we eat even if our diet were confined entirely to heirloom food sources, that are as much or greater concern than recombinant sequences. I propose that the following link provides a better explanation of safety regardless of the manner and degree of human directed intervention in the genetic endowment of the food source and the technology utilized to achieve it. Any dna sequences from any food, ge or not, that are absorbed (if we someday reach an undisputable confirmation of this phenomenon) are of such minute amounts and there is no mechanism by which they could affect health or function in any meaningful way.
      [ http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/08/12/why-novel-dsrna-molecules-in-gm-food-are-of-little-to-no-concern/

  2. Naked DNA in the blood stream…how exactly is that going to do anything without RNA and ribosomes?

  3. Sarwar Jahangir

    The study you referred to did not support that DNA from GM food was of significance and causing any harm.

    • I get the feeling this isn’t about fact, it’s about how you “feel” about it.
      Do you want normal naked DNA in your blood stream or the icky bio-engineered DNA.

      • Janusz Nauki

        There is no difference between these two…

  4. Horrified Biochemist

    Dear God. Just because large strands of DNA enter your bloodstream doesn’t mean it’s going to start being expressed in your cells or anything. The DNA is MUCH to large and negatively charged to enter any cell let alone a nucleus by itself. Even if it got in, non-human DNA in a cell is likely to be targeted as if it were a virus and destroyed. Even if the DNA somehow survived, it would have no way of recruiting the proper transcription factors to be expressed as RNA. The very much hypothetical RNA also lacks any of the proper processing signals to make a functional protein.

  5. Nicola

    Just got back from work and gave the article a read – it sounded far too “plot theory” like, and erroneous in certain parts (control food supply, blah blah blah ( there is already a huge overproduction of food and farmer are paid not to produce more)) so I checked some of the sources and most of what the guy says is manipulation of information.

    For instance in the PubMed article
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14730317

    it is stated that
    “As this low level of epsps in the intestinal microflora did not increase after consumption of the meal containing GM soya, we conclude that gene transfer did not occur during the feeding experiment.”

    Or in the Mindfully.org article
    http://www.mindfully.org/…/Transgenes-Human-Gut1feb04.htm
    it says that “They propose that the gene transfer events from transgenic plants to gut microflora for which they provide evidence are highly unlikely to alter gastrointestinal function or endanger human health”

    Or the conclusion of the PLOS ONE paper:
    http://www.plosone.org/…/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal…

    “The analysis of all the publicly available circulating cell-free DNA sequencing data of over 1000 human subjects confirms our hypothesis that the presence of foreign DNA in human plasma is not unusual. It shows large variation from subject to subject following strikingly well a log-normal distribution with the highest concentration in patients with inflammation (Kawasaki disease, IBD). These findings could lead to a revision of our view of degradation and absorption mechanisms of nucleic acids in the human body.”

    Basically, the author of the article is taking the peer-reviewed research, ignoring the conclusions and just using bits and pieces to make up a fuss-generating, conspiracy-theory article.

    • The conclusions from the studies are directly in the article and quoted. There is a lot to read, and there are points you can pick out on either end. But the conclusion is pretty much final, that DNA from GMOs enters our circulation system through an unknown mechanism.

      No conspiracy here, just information, and sources, and sources within the sources:) Lots of great information, and A LOT is said within those sources that make it clear and support the conclusion that GMOs (we don’t know enough about them, they are young) are not completely safe to consume.

      • Nicola

        Sure – the studies conclude that DNA from food enters the organism, but as the PubMed article states, it could not be traced directly to the consumption of GM foods, and as the other articles say, it has most likely been going on forever, we just happen to notice it now.
        In addition to the studies not having found it hazardous for health (again, quoting the actual conclusion of the studies and not making up my own), non-GM foods appear to also transfer genes – physically speaking these genes are exactly the same from non GM and GM foods (not like the GM on carries RNA recombinant proteins along) and there is therefore no reason to point the GM out as a threat.

        I fail to see how you can deny the “conspiracy theory part” after writing things about controlling the food supply: food supply is controlled, it is kept far lower than what is necessary for one reason: allowing everyone to grow as much as they can would both deplete resources in no time and lower the price of the crops so much that it would become impossible to keep harvesting them without a scale economy, sending tons of small farmers into unemployment.

        We may not know much about the GMOs, and yes they TOO, and I repeat, they TOO seem to follow the same exact unknown mechanism that regular food does when passing in our gastro-intestinal tract = they behave exactly as other food sources.

        • The tracing doesn’t matter, whether you eat GM food or not, the DNA enters the circulation system and the dan from GM foods is different. Yes it has been going on forever, but GMOs are very young, so it hasn’t gone on forever with GM foods.

          Dozens upon dozens of studies point out that GM food should be considered a threat, that’s why most countries around the world have completely ban them, including the pesticides that go with it…..

          Again, no conspiracy about the controlling food part :)

          • Nicola

            Good, so now that you admit that GM food DNA behaves just as does regular food DNA in the body (and of course it does, since it’s the same exact compound), let’s move on to the next point.

            There are two reasons why some countries banned GM foods – one is protectionism (GM food leads to much higher production and ROI, therefore promoting further economies of scale), second is the fear that the autochthon crops would interbreed with the GM ones.

            Now, you argument could stand if you said “GM foods may evolve in such a way that they may become harmful to the “original” environment, or if you said that “because of their evolution they might develop enzymes and toxins we cannot control, your point might stand. But since your whole article is predicated upon the idea that GM plant DNA being found outside the gastro-intestinal tract can be harmful, while the sources you use to support your point say the exact opposite, means your argument has no legs to stand on, other than appealing to gullible people who do not read the original sources.

            Equally, the title is misleading – there is no actual gene transfer from the food DNA to the human one into he creation of a hybrid DNA, but rather a concentration of the food DNA in the bloodstream, which then may or may not affect the microflora; even when this does happen, there is no sign that anything different than when non GM food (and again, this means no food that was genetically modified in the lab, the one we grow was genetically modified in a much more rudimentary manner, but was modified just as much) is consumed.

            And again, I fail to see why GM food DNA in the organism seems to be such a big deal.
            It’s made of the same nucleotides as the regular DNA. It does not constitute a virus but itself, it does not carry recombinant enzymes which would allow it to interact with the human DNA in the cells, it is in no way a different compound than the “natural” DNA – it’s exactly the same chemical and it therefore behaves in the exact same way (if it did not it would not be possible to engineer it, let alone make it work in a lifeform.

          • If you say there are dozens upon dozens of studies, why did you only use two peer-reviewed studies? One of which was from 2004, and used ileostomists, who don’t have complete digestive systems and therefore of course some of the DNA wouldn’t be degraded. Seriously.

            Also, just FYI, when you eat any type of natural food it is covered in bacteria and viruses. Those genes also end up in your body. And the genes in GM foods, for example, cry proteins that produce Bt toxin as a pesticide, do not affect humans because humans DO NOT possess those biochemical pathways. Seems to me like you’re science background is dubious at best, so stop spreading misinformation just because you don’t understand it.

            Anyone who wants a scientific analysis can read more here:
            http://sciprose.blogspot.ca/2014/02/i-havent-had-much-ofa-chance-to-do-much.html
            http://sciprose.blogspot.ca/2014/03/gmo-take-2-stop-using-bad-science-to.html
            http://sciprose.blogspot.ca/2014/03/gmos-take-3-what-does-roundup-actually.html

        • Bruce Ledger

          Well put Nicola. But we are all failing to address one common-sense question. If it is so safe why is Monsanto ploughing millions of $$ into stopping the labelling of GMO foods? Just answer that one single burning question. They are denying the world of a basic right. Freedom of choice. On the basis that they are also peddling some of the most dangerous pesticieds on earth, I don’t trust them. I would like to choose which foods I eat. Farmers would like to choose which seeds they plant. Monsanto is determined that THEY will do the decision-making. That is BS. I say MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO. Insist on your rights which they have taken away.

  6. Bruce Ledger

    We, the ordinary members of the public, who are not scientists, do not know the truth about GMO. But one thing I DO know, I DON’T TRUST MONSANTO.!!! They are too secretive, and put too much money into fighting against the GMO labelling issue for me to trust their motives. MY gut feel (pardon pun) tells me they are hiding something. I say BAN GMO until we find out the truth. If the technology is dangerous, why should we find out too late? Let’s trust Nature and err on the side of caution. I don’t want to be part of some secret global genetic food experiment thank you! If you screw up, I don’t want your apology. But this I do know: YOU WANT MY MONEY.

  7. Yuky

    Conclusion we are what we eat. That simple eat unnatural gmo foods that cause cancer tumours and infertility and lack of nutrients . Cheers for those who want it . Thanks for such a good article

    • GMO foods do not cause tumors. That one study that found tumors in rats who were fed GMO foods was retracted on the basis that they did not use sound science: they used a line of rats that is known to have a naturally high prevalence of tumors. Read about it here: http://sciprose.blogspot.ca/2014/03/gmo-take-2-stop-using-bad-science-to.html

      • Misleading Media Reporting. A key pattern with risk-finding studies is that the criticisms voiced in the media are often red herrings, misleading, or untruthful. Thus, the use of common methodologies was portrayed as indicative of shoddy science when used by Seralini et al. (2012) but not when used by industry (see refs above and Science Media Centre, 2012). The use of red herring arguments appears intended to sow doubt and confusion among non-experts. For example, Tom Sanders of Kings College, London was quoted as saying: “This strain of rat is very prone to mammary tumors particularly when food intake is not restricted” (Hirschler and Kelland, 2012 ). He failed to point out, or was unaware, that most industry feeding studies have used Sprague-Dawley rats (e.g. Hammond et al., 1996, 2004, 2006; MacKenzie et al., 2007).

  8. Jason, your explanation is not correct.

    Genes = biological.
    One can see some chemical structure but a view does not mean knowledge.
    More the start and end of a gene and their interconnections are unknown.
    No one knows sufficiently the properties of a gene.
    So you cannot manipulate or edit a gene without harming.
    You can compare it with water, the chemistry is H2O which is deadly and you have potable water which is H2O + unknown biological properties.
    For this reason no one can produce potable water or change the biological properties without harming.
    Conclusion: GMO and their patents are illogical

  9. Tom CHHC

    I think there is enough evidence to warrant caution with GMOs, particularly where the genetic alterations are designed to make crops more resistant to the increased application of pesticides. If there are people in the world who don’t mind consuming glyphosate (Roundup), that’s their choice although I certainly don’t want to participate in that experiment. Nature allows genetic modification through cross-breeding but there are limits to what is possible. Biotech science is mixing DNA in ways that are not possible in nature, and I seriously doubt the idea that it is “safe” to consume such biologically altered foods despite the reassurances given to us by the corporations that profit from producing them. Again, if there are people in the world who want to consume unnatural foods it is their right to do so, but it is criminal for a government to proclaim that there is “no difference” between GMO and non-GMO foods, and to allow GMO foods to be marketed without being labeled as such. People have the right to know. The fact that so many other countries have either banned GMOs outright or require them to be labeled clearly shows that the level of corruption in the U.S. government goes right to the top.

  10. djonlard

    He who controls FOOD controls the WORLD .. this is scariest thing I could imagine when genetic modification will be the rule and limited variety of food sources are made available. Patent owners will be in control of food supply.

  11. djonlard

    Tampering with nature has always its advantages and disadvantages and GMO is one such tampering. Maybe in a generation or two we could see very undeniable evidence on the effect of GMO consumption on humans. Whether that effect is good or bad that still had to be seen. On the meantime, I’ll be on the safer side I stay away from GMO. But one thing for sure introduction of GMO to the market is a good business venture to possibly monopolized food production in the future.

  12. P-O Jean

    No point in adding other hard-science arguments. But I may state that, as a mather of fact, I’d rather eat organic-grown-GMOs, than non-GMOs. Arjun, I’m glad there are people like you wanting to change the world but I think you’re focussing on the wrong battle.

    Genetic engineering is mostly aimed at finding ways to change the world in a good way; feed people on reduced surfaces of land, reduce the amount of pesticides/herbicides sprayed, synthetize medication, digest garbage… the list can go on and on. The fact that genetic engineering serves commercial purposes doesn’t mean that it is fundamentaly wrong. We artificially select for useful phenotypes since forever, and the fact that genetic engineering is a new way of artificially select for useful phenotypes in plants or livestock doesn’t make it fundamentally wrong. And the fact that companies use genetic engineering to make money doesn’t make them fundamentaly right either.

    And for the record, because some scientists said so, It doesn’t mean that conclusions are irrefutable, in both sides. But most anti-GMO studies I read are wrought with caveats and omissions, and most anti-GMO bloggers I read doesn’t even bother to actually read the articles. The articles you cite (0) and (1) are a good ones, but I think you misunderstood the implications, as other commented.

    @everybody: Historically, researchers like myself tended to stay in their labs without commenting or explaining their work. And they let everybody else discuss the implications. Maybe it is time for a major change in that mentality.

    • It’s hard to believe that genetic engineering is aimed at changing the world in a good way, I think it’s obvious it’s done mainly for profit and controlling the entire food supply. We could easily feed the world organically, in fact, there is lots of evidence to suggest that GM farming is not sustainable anyway.GM crops are not guaranteed, as promised by company advertising. They still fail to produce promised yields, and farmers are not permitted to save seeds due to the company’s patent. As a result, entire communities can be pushed to the brink of starvation.

      Every person on the planet can feed themselves with just 100 square feet of well managed land. In 2008, the UN Conference of Trade and development supported organics, saying that organic agriculture can be more conducive to food security in Africa than most conventional production systems, and is more likely to be sustainable in the long term.

      I am aware that because some scientist say so, does not mean a conclusion, but the studies are there and there are plenty of them.

      Thanks for the polite comment :) Thanks for reading.

      • “Every person on the planet can feed themselves with just 100 square feet of well managed land” Look I’m trying my best to be polite here but if this is what you believe you have absolutely no business commenting on agricultural production.

      • it’s the uncontrollable GREED that feeds corruption…the only thing we, the people, CAN do is keep ourselves INFORMED and act accordingly.. until a new Cesar Chavez comes along and is brave enough to work for us, THE PEOPLE

    • P-O Jean, in your attempt to white-wash (or should I say ‘green-wash’) GMOs, you wrongly call genetic engineering just another form of artificial selection, when in reality it’s entirely a new — and potentially catastrophic — ball game. As you know, the most critical difference between natural and GM breeding is that natural breeding crosses only organisms that are already closely related — two varieties of corn, for example — whereas, in contrast, GM breeding slaps together genes from up to 15 wildly different sources.

      According to Craig Holdrege, director of The Nature Institute:

      “To make a GM plant, scientists need to isolate DNA from different organisms — bacteria, viruses, plants, and sometimes animals (or humans if the target gene is a human gene). They then recombine these genes biochemically in the lab to make a “gene construct,” which can consist of DNA from five to fifteen different sources. This gene construct is cloned in bacteria to make lots of copies, which are then isolated. Next, the copies are shot into embryonic plant tissue (micro-projectile bombardment), or moved into plant tissue via a particular bacterium (Agrobacterium) that acts as a vector. After getting the construct copies into the embryonic plant tissue, whole plants are regenerated. Only a few plants out of many hundreds will turn out to grow normally and exhibit the desired trait — such as herbicide resistance.

      Joe Mendelson, director of the Center for Food Safety, puts it more simply:

      “The difference is pretty large. In regular cross pollination, the species being crossed have to be related . . . basically respecting their common evolutionary origin. But with GMOs, you can take any gene from any species and splice it into a crop. So you get fish genes in tomatoes or the like.”

      • Mr Mendelson needs a lesson in genetics and evolution. Respecting common evolutionary origin would capture every living thing, every living thing is related to every other living thing. Thats why genetic engineering works.

        Wade, can either you or Mr Holdrege provide us with a single example of this construct comprised of DNA from 5 to 15 sources used in farming today? Cheers.

  13. Jeff

    Ok – Let’s stick to a single and specific point, which will give you an opportunity to respond with a specific counterpoint that is reflective of your understanding of the subject. This will give you a chance to not to just simply say something like “well other scientists understand it differently.” Again, be specific.

    Everything about your article, from the title, to the way it’s written, to the image at the beginning, suggests that DNA from GMO crops that could get into our bloodstream is dangerous. Though in fact, the original research suggests that DNA from our food may have been finding it’s way into our bloodstream ever since we, and probably other non-human species – could eat.

    Please explain, specifically, why you think that DNA in our bloodstream from food poses a great threat. If you think that it does, why are you worried about the GMO DNA when it would only represent a tiny fraction of consumed DNA? Why is your article about GMO at all, but about the dangers that eating, in general, pose to us by allowing food-based DNA into our bloodstream?

    Again, take this as an opportunity to answer in a specific way

    • Yes Jeff, DNA from our food has been finding it’s way into our bloodstream for a very long time.

      I think it poses a threat if it’s Genetically Modified! Horizontal gene transfer that we know nothing about. It’s pretty simple, Genetically modified food is different from regular food, this therefore brings up multiple concerns with gene transfer.

      • Jeff

        Arjun – can you understand why the argument that “GMO are different and therefor could be dangerous” is incredibly poor logic? On one level, it’s just stupidly wrong and imprecise. The DNA in GMO is still exactly the same as any other DNA, it’s made of exactly the same atoms, and in exactly the same proportions. Second, almost all of the food that we eat has already been genetically modified through agriculture.

        Imagine how idiotic it would appear to you if I applied the same logic in a different context: Your skin color and name indicate you are not from the US. This appears unnatural to me, because I’m most familiar with caucasian people. Therefore, I’m conclude the possibilities that you pose a greater danger and that I will be unusually cautious around you until I can gather more data. Please know: in almost every meaningful way, this is exactly the logic and strength of reasoning that you apply to the potential hazards of GMO foods.

        Ultimately, the greatest tragedy with people like you is that no amount of evidence or argument can convince you out of the naturalistic fallacy – that is, anything perceived to be unnatural, you treat it with skepticism and danger, even though the very idea of one thing being “natural” while another thing being “unnatural” is such an imprecise categorization that it has literally useless. We could easily make a list, thousand of items long, of wild mushrooms, plants, or animals that could kill you in an instant because of their toxins. It’s just as easy to catalog a thousand seemingly “unnatural” things made in humans laboratories that would readily save your life after of injury or infection.

        If you are truly interested in these subjects, as you claim to be, then you should do yourself the favor and take a few basic classes in genetics, biochemistry biology and agriculture. It might take you a year or two of study. Though given your stated goal of trying to make a change in the world, a year or two of study should be only the tiniest of hurdles and actually shouldn’t feel like a hurdle at all. After all, who wouldn’t want to the learn the very basics of what they write about on a regular basis?

        • No Jeff, saying that something is “GMO and therefore could be dangerous” is not poor logic, given that the statement is backed by a number of scientific studies that prove it..! There has been so much research done, that’s why so many countries have completely banned GMO products! For example, Russia was the latest after government scientists urged at least a 10 year ban due to how unsafe they are….Again, science shows that they are/can be dangerous to human consumption, so again I see no poor logic here.

          I didn’t read the rest of your comment as I feel you continue to push at the same thing. I don’t need to take those classes, you can get that education for free in a library, besides, a number of geneticists, biologists and more have already published all the studies for us to read:)

          Take care Jeff.

          • Arjun,
            Well done you proves that you understands the complexity of the biological system.
            The scientists are looking in the wrong direction.
            One cannot edit the unprecedented biological system without harming.
            One must bring together the different parts of nature on the right places
            For this reason, my invention has results. but my English may be better, I´m studying.

  14. Jeff

    Arjun,

    Again and again, people with expertise have come on and explained exactly, and in detail, why the arguments your making are at best wrong and at worse, nonsensical.

    And without fail, almost every time you respond with something like “well others disagree” or “I disagree with you”

    First, it’s very, very clear to most of us that you don’t have even the most basic of training or education in the related fields you are talking about. Which easily explains your inability to generate coherent and meaningful responses to some of who clearly and articulately explained why the things you are saying or terribly wrong. It’s also worth noting that not having education or background in what your saying it’s a crime – but it is terribly when people, who obviously know what they’re talking about, offer you a way out of your ignorance and you repeatedly and reliably chose not to take it.

    I think what’s most sad is not that your clearly wrong, but you don’t have the needed skills to every understand why you’re wrong, or even understand why the arguments others are making are correct. Again, being wrong isn’t a crime, but having a way of thinking that systemically brings you to the wrong conclusion and prevents you from understanding good arguments is pretty close.

    • People with experience have also explained how it makes total sense. There are so many scientists and experts that cite this study (and many more) and bring up various cause for concerns from them.

      It’s pretty clear that GMOs are not safe to consume, it just takes a little research :)

      Again, read the study, read the sources in the study, read the sources sourced by the study, read the other studies and the sources they use and it’s pretty clear. Also again, there are many with educational backgrounds in this field who are doing the same, ‘experts’ as you would call them.

  15. Bojan Hnrkas

    Do take a look at the more possible mundane explanation (found in the comments of the original paper): http://www.plosone.org/annotation/listThread.action?root=69577
    It suggests, that at such low concentrations, the possibility of contamination of the samples is extremely high.

  16. As Alexey Surov, a Russian biologist says, “We have no right to use GMOs until we understand the possible adverse effects, not only to ourselves but to future generations as well. We definitely need fully detailed studies to clarify this. Any type of contamination has to be tested before we consume it, and GMO is just one of them.”

    Can Genetically Modified (GM) Food Be Bad for Our Health? please go through the followinh link for details;

    http://www.greenmagz.info/can-gm-food-be-bad-for-our-health/

  17. Pablo

    The PLOS paper says nothing about GMO plant DNA. That’s your own conclusion, with which you entitled this blog post. If the findings in this paper are true, DNA with plant genes has been filtering into our blood for a long, long, long time, much longer than GMO crops have been around. And then, this DNA would have to somehow be sucked into our cells, integrate into the genome in a functional way, and then be expressed for anything to happen, at all, to our organism. The human genome would be riddled with genes derived from our food, but analysis of human genome shows nothing of the kind. Also, there is no basis on why the DNA of a transgene in a GM crop would be more likely to follow this process, if it’s true, than the rest of the DNA we consume daily. You just WANT it to be true, because it suits your beliefs and lifestyle; you want if to be true so badly that you make these fallacious writeups and dump you ill thought out and researched opinions on the rest of the internet.

    • Yes Pablo, the point is that includes GMO plnat DNA…it’s different from the others that have been filtering into our blood for a long long time..

      • Maddy

        But HOW is GMO plant DNA any different from the DNA of the plants from which the genes transferred were taken, and the DNA of the plant that was GMed? It’s still the same nucleotides as regular DNA, the same bases as regular DNA, just maybe some slightly different base sequences here and there. How is this any different than if you’d eaten the two plants in the same meal?

        • I’m not sure they are the same at all Maddy. To genetically modify these plants right of the bad you are dealing with a lot of unknowns when it comes to genetics. A LOT of unknowns :)

          • Richard

            If foreign DNA from foods we consume circulates in our blood, it must have done so throughout evolutionary history. GMO DNA and non GMO DNA are chemically the same, you obviously did not pay attention at school.
            and btw there’s only 26 countries that banned GM food. this article is misleading.

    • Claudio

      I’m glad for the people that thinks like a molecular biologist. i think like you . i am a molecular biologist student, the people need to be educated to understend that new world, just 20 years ago we secuencied the genome of a virus and now we have librarys for many of the biologicals models, and so much thing that i don’t know. I don’t know realy if every thing is a good thing or a bad thing, i’m not a judge but i tolk just for thinks that i know.
      I’m from argentina and i’m sorry for my english

    • saddened

      We have evolved, over millions of years, to withstand and to cope with the infiltration of DNA from dietary sources which occurred naturally in our environment.
      To expect the human organism to adapt to adapt to and welcome infiltration of novel genetic material over the space of 20 years is unrealistic and plays fast and loose with the lives of the whole of humanity for the short term financial benefit of a very few people.
      To be prepred to do, and to support, this is immoral and foolhardy.

      • Transferring dna from one plant to another plant hardly make it ‘novel’.

      • Jason

        This is unscientific nonsense–just like your other comment below. There is absolutely nothing different chemically between genes from GMO organisms and non-GMO organisms. The DNA is handled identically by our body because it is chemically identical. Which is also why your comment below is silly. Of course sodium hydroxide is different than sodium, oxygen and hydrogen separately, because it’s a different chemical. But DNA is DNA is DNA, it’s the same chemical–only the information content is different. So, the only place it makes a bit of difference is in a ribosome, no other aspect of human physiology would distinguish between one gene or the other. Please stop wasting our time with half-baked unscientific jargon that you clearly don’t really understand.

        • donP

          Jason, if there is no difference, as you maintain, how can it be patented and farmers sued for saving seed and/or being unknowingly contaminated

          • Jason

            Good question, but to clarify, I didn’t say there is no difference, I said there is no “chemical” difference. The difference between two genes is one of information content, not chemistry. This is analogous to two different books, which are chemically the same thing (ink, paper, glue…) but contain different information. You can write a book and copyright the information content of it, but not the physical/chemical content of it. Similarly, when genes are patented (which is not something I’m a big fan of), it’s the information (sequence of nucleotides: ATCG…) that is patented.

            But from the point of view of human physiology, DNA is DNA and it doesn’t matter what the actual information content is, our bodies will treat it the same. Some DNA (human DNA) has the proper promoter sequences (short codes at the beginning of genes) that allow our cellular machinery (enzymes, ribosomes…) to recognize it, read the information and create a protein. Non-human DNA does not have the right promoter sequences, so we cannot physically recognize or use it. There is all kinds of non-human DNA floating around in our bodies–from the food we eat and the microbes that live within us–but we’ve been eating plants for millions of years and I’m not aware of a single example of a plant gene being read and used by a human–it’s just not really chemically possible because evolution has selected for great specificity in DNA transcription.

            Furthermore, there is no valid scientific reason why a gene from a non-modified plant would be fine for our bodies, but a gene in a GMO plant would present a problem. All of the genes currently used in GMO plants are already present in our diets anyway (in other plants or bacteria), they aren’t artificial, just moved from one species to another (which requires engineering new promoter sequences onto the genes, so the new host can read them).

            Of course, we COULD make a gene that our bodies would recognize and use (many scientists do so all the time, google ‘gene therapy’ if you’re curious) but there would be no reason to put that gene into a plant, because the cellular machinery of a plant wouldn’t be able to read it. If it was possible for humans to get genes from food and use them, our genomes would be full of evidence of this occurring (like they are full of viral DNA), but they are not, because it just doesn’t happen.

      • Rickinreallife

        But it is not novel. The gene that made the papya resisent to ringspot virus was from the ringspot virus. We have been eating the ringspot virus for as long as it has been infecting papaya. The only difference is that when you eat the non gmo papaya, you are ingesting all the genetic code of the ringspot virus, not just a portion of it. The gene that has been shown to prevent citrus greening is from spinach. I was not aware that spinach was a novel food.

  18. Brian

    While the statement is technically true. The journal article doesn’t focus specifically on GMO-based DNA. Their findings show that plant DNA in general shows up in human blood samples. Only one patient, who was diagnosed with an inflammatory disease, irritable bowel syndrome, shows a high concentration of plant DNA in their blood. IBS patients have an intestinal system that is messed up causing them to have a handicap when breaking down and absorbing food in general, thus the nature of the disease. While an interesting finding, it is not alarming and not GMO-specific, as the headline misleads. The article does not even mention a potential health threat due to this finding.

    • Yes non GMO dna transfer…that’s the whole point about GMOs, that we are transferring artificial genes :) That Genetically Modifying these crops it itself is unnatural, and we don’t know enough about them, it’s taking to different species and pretty much cross breeding them. It’s not like natural gene transfer, or anything like the ancients did.

      • No, they are not artificial genes, they are genes that already exists in nature. All our crops have been Genetically Modified. Our crops are the results os thousands of mutations. The diference is that now we know which genes have been modified and we test them in order to check it´s safety.

        It´s the traditional way of creating new crops, the way that involves using the best mutations we found, the way that creates New genes o new DNA sequences.

        • Maddy

          Seeing as the genes inserted come from other, already existing organisms, isn’t this much like eating a meal with more than one ingredient? If I eat something with tomatoes and onions at the same time, I’m eating tomato genes and onion genes. If I ate a tomato that had had some onion genes inserted, same thing (only fewer genes).

          • saddened

            No, Maddy, that does not work.
            What you are sggesting is analogous to saying that taking the sodium (Na) which naturally occurs in table salt (NaCl) and combining it with the hydroxyl (OH) which naturally occurs in alcohol and producing Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) results in an edible form of caustic metal cleaner which is safe to eat.
            Such logic is facile.

        • Discordia

          Yes, and plants are pollinated by non-plant DNA on a regular basis, producing offspring all over the place. It is so common I plan on breeding my own mutant plants so I can have vicious plants guarding my lawn, ready to fight zombies when the zombie apocalypse comes.

          Or do you really think that Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacteria found in soil, can normally be expected to be in the DNA of corn, a grass the same way one can find traces of your grandma’s DNA in you? While these genes exist in nature, their existence doesn’t automatically grant safety. Just because arsenic, an element, is natural and hemlock is organic doesn’t automatically make them safe for human consumption. And, for the record, the “traditional way” of creating new crops was through selective breeding, not gene splicing.

  19. A Real Biologist

    Absorption of ingested DNA into the bloodstream is NOT the same thing as inclusion of ingested DNA into your genome. Horizontal gene transfer only occurs in bacteria.

  20. Didyoureadthestudiesyoucited

    The inclusion of genetically modified (GM) plants in the human diet has raised concerns about the possible transfer of transgenes from GM plants to intestinal microflora and enterocytes. The persistence in the human gut of DNA from dietary GM plants is unknown. Here we study the survival of the transgene epsps from GM soya in the small intestine of human ileostomists (i.e., individuals in which the terminal ileum is resected and digesta are diverted from the body via a stoma to a colostomy bag). The amount of transgene that survived passage through the small bowel varied among individuals, with a maximum of 3.7% recovered at the stoma of one individual. The transgene did not survive passage through the intact gastrointestinal tract of human subjects fed GM soya. Three of seven ileostomists showed evidence of low-frequency gene transfer from GM soya to the microflora of the small bowel before their involvement in these experiments. As this low level of epsps in the intestinal microflora did not increase after consumption of the meal containing GM soya, we conclude that gene transfer did not occur during the feeding experiment.

    • A Real Biologist

      Thank goodness someone else is pointing out this “journalist’s” bullshit.

    • Hahah

      Obvious anti-conspiracist

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