25, 000 were discovered. The genetic expression proved to be far more complex than they ever expected. We now know that one gene decodes for much more than only one trait.
This newly discovered fact re-enforced the doubts about the safety of genetic engineering which is now, more than ever, considered to be “a shot in the dark”, as K. Roseboro describes it.
It is estimated that 70% of all food products in USA contain some form of genetically modified component with the two highly common culprits being corn and soy.
When we introduce a new gene in a crop, when we transfer genes between species, when we mix and match genes between animal and plant kingdoms, we are in for a huge surprise. We can never predict the results, whether short or long-term ones. Genetic expression is highly complicated phenomenon, and we, with all our knowledge, are still in kindergarten. A seemingly tiny change in one gene, changes the whole system; it even alter the entire ecosystem. The transferred gene may carry the desired trait, but along with it, it carries tens or may be hundreds of other unknown and unpredictable ones. In addition, the genetic engineering process is far from a straight forward mathematical relationship. Cell mutation can be expected causing complete deformation and potential toxic results in the host cell.
As if all this is not enough to convince us of the potential risks of genetic biotechnology, another major threat is added to the formula. When scientists genetically alter a cell, they do not only transfer the desired gene to the host, a whole 'package' is introduced. One main ingredient in this package is what they call a promoter gene. The role of this promoter gene is to trigger the transferred gene into action to ensure genetic expression in the host cell. And, where do we get this promoter gene from? From a virus. Yes! CaMV virus is deliberately added to the mix of genes during genetic engineering. And, according to Dr. Stanley Ewen, the histopathologist at Abudeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland, CaMV is “an infectious virus that causes a potential risk of stomach and colon cancers”. Other studies warned from potential viral mutation creating yet unknown and unpredictable new viral strains.
Wait a minute, this is not all. If we go back to our gene transfer ‘package’, we will find another serious health threat: ‘the marker gene’. Biologists and histologists need to know which cells have ‘accepted’ their newly introduced genetic package. The only way to know that is to add an antibiotic resistant marker gene. When the transfer process is over, an antibiotic is added to the cell culture killing all cells except the genetically engineered ones which accepted and successfully integrated the newly introduced ‘package’ into their DNA. And, now they are officially: Antibiotic resistant!! YeY!!!
Before leaving you, I want to raise a very critical question: Why again do we “need” this genetic engineering? So far, our foods have been engineered mostly to increase its resistance to pesticide. This means that genetically engineered crops could be sprayed with more pesticides and hazardous chemicals without wilting or waning! YEY again!
Unfortunately, FDA does not require producers to declare the presence of genetically modified ingredients. If you can afford it, consider buying organic food; or at least fresh unprocessed local produce; and please think twice before purchasing a processed product stating suspicious excipients such as high fructose corn syrup or hydrolyzed soy protein among its ingredients!
With health and happiness!
 Lipton, B. 2008. The Biology of belief. Hay House
 Haas, E. 2006. Staying healthy with nutrition. US: Celestial Arts.
 Roseboro, K. 2004. Genetically altered foods and your health. US: Basic Health Publications