Genetics and GMOs ; Opinion

CSNN National Page > Genetics and GMOs ; Opinion

Prepared by: Dr. Murray Hassard, DC

The Science of Genetics had changed so much in the last 50 years and many people are completely unaware of the implications to our planet and our food chain. Our Ancestors modified plants gradually over many years by selecting seeds that grew better or had increased yield. Examples include the development of corn over a few thousand years from a small grass-like plant to the robust cobs we enjoy today. This conventional traditional genetics also involved cross-pollinating plants to nurture better properties.

Recently, the Genetic Revolution has taken a dramatic, and in my opinion a dangerous shift. The American Patent Office now permits patents to be taken out on various forms of life, patents were previously only granted for new inventions or processes. This has significantly changed the motivation from a Farmer wanting better crops to corporations wanting ongoing control of the Seed lines of our food chain. Companies have altered the genetics of these GMO seeds and they own the subsequent rights to the seeds and their progeny. The Farmers are required to sign contracts to license the use of these seeds shifting the traditional farming model to one resembling a software license. Initially the Farmer receives an increase to their income with an initial boost in crop yield, but this is lost in the increased charge for seeds in following years.

Monsanto has created GMO seeds genetically more tolerant of weed-killer chemicals that they produce (Round-up). This leads to increased use and increased chemical residue on our crops and then on our foods. The increased exposure to these chemicals leads to increased Cancer rates and decreasing fertility rates as well as weed-killer resistant weeds called “Super weeds”. The promise that GMO crops would result in reduced pesticide and herbicide use has failed and it has resulted in an increased use of these toxic chemicals. Similarly, there is a decrease in soil quality as the chemicals eliminate organisms that are needed for soil health. The Monsanto seeds which contain a Genetically modified gene with Bt toxin added to the seed genetics to make the seed insecticidal to kill weevils and other crop pests are also killing the beneficial insects such as pollinators like bees and butterflies.

It is important to realize that once the gene is altered, it becomes a permanent alteration to the genetic legacy of all subsequent plants,resulting in an ongoing “Gene pollution”. In Canada there are presently 11.4 million hectare of crops planted with GMO, (#5 in world GMO production) these include Canola, Corn, Soy and Sugar Beet and yet our government does not even have any requirement that GMO crops be labeled. We are having our Genetic heritage altered in this permanent way and there has been a complete lack of government oversight.