A transgenic (or genetically modified organisms, GMOs) is a living organism that has been created artificially by manipulating their genes. Genetic engineering techniques are to isolate segments of DNA (genetic material) from a living organism (virus, bacteria, plant, animal and human) to introduce the genetic material of another. For example, maize that is cultivated in Spain carries genes that allow bacteria to produce an insecticidal substance.
The fundamental difference with the traditional techniques of genetic improvement is to allow cross the species barrier to create living things that did not exist in nature. This is a large-scale experiment based on a scientific model that is at stake. Some of the dangers of these crops to the environment and agriculture are the increased use of toxic chemicals in agriculture, genetic contamination, soil pollution, biodiversity loss, development of resistance in insects and "weeds" or unwanted effects on other organisms. The effects on ecosystems are irreversible and unpredictable.
The long-term health risks of GMOs in our food or that of animals whose products we consume are not being assessed properly and their extent remain unknown. New allergies, toxic appearance of new and unexpected effects are some of the risks.
GMOs reinforce control of the food world by a few multinational companies. They are one of the favorite weapons of these dictators food, and far from being a means to combat hunger, increase food problems. Countries that have adopted the massive use of transgenic crops are clear examples of unsustainable agriculture. In Argentina, for example, the massive entry of transgenic soy has exacerbated the crisis in agriculture with an alarming increase in the destruction of forests, displacement of peasants and rural workers, an increased use of herbicides and the replacement of a serious food production for local consumption.
The solution to hunger and malnutrition is through the development of sustainable technologies and fair access to food and the use of techniques such as organic agriculture and animal husbandry. The GM industry is using its market power and political influence to divert financial resources that require real solutions.
We defend the application of the precautionary principle and therefore we are opposed to any release of GMOs into the environment. On-farm trials, even on a small scale, also presents risks of genetic pollution, it also should be banned.
Instead, Greenpeace is not opposed to basic research laboratory, or is positioned against the applications Medical genetic engineering, even though they generate important ethical issues which must be established a public debate (we should clarify that this research has nothing to do with animal experimentation or other cruel practices).
Did you know…
- Spain to reach 6 million tons of soybeans, of which approximately 66% is transgenic, and a million and a half tonnes of maize have been grown in countries that have opted for the massive use of GMOs?
- Spain is the only EU country that has GM crops on a commercial scale in 2004 and 58,000 hectares were cultivated with modified corn with genes from bacteria?
- Two-thirds of the foods we eat contain soy products and corn?
- GM industry is still pressing to Brazil, the world's second producer of soybeans, for massively adopt GM?
- In many GM crops, toxic chemicals are used, contrary to what the companies that promote them say, with consequent damage to the environment and health?
- People are experimenting with genes of cow in soybean plants, with genes in apple in moth and rat genes in lettuce?
- Since April 18th, 2004 all food (except animal products like meat, milk and eggs) derived from transgenic crops have to be on the label the words "genetically modified"?
Source: Greenpeace España
About the author