Sourced from: Infinite Health Blog, by Dr. Davis,
originally posted on the Wheat Belly Blog: 2014-03-25
than genetic modification?
Genetic modification (GM) is coming
under increasing scrutiny, despite the efforts of companies like
Monsanto and Coca Cola to squash legislative action to require the
labeling of genetically-modified foods.
GM refers to the use of gene-splicing technology
to insert or remove a gene, a collection of techniques advertised by
agribusiness to be precise, generating the desired characteristic,
such as resistance to an herbicide, and nothing more.
Of course, this is patent
nonsense: Insert a gene to resist an herbicide, for instance,
and there are unforeseen consequences in changing other genes
alongside the inserted gene, alterations in epigenetic control over
gene expression, interactions with the products of other genes, not
to mention the uncontrolled nature of just where in the
chromosomal collection the gene is actually inserted. We now have
a number of reports, including a recent French study of
glyphosate-resistant corn fed to rats documenting early deaths
from large tumors, suggesting that genetically-modified foods,
as well as glyphosate itself, are not as benign as advertised.
So could anything be worse
than GM? Yes: Mutagenesis.
Mutagenesis refers to the intentional induction
of mutations in an organism, usually using chemical methods, ultraviolet
radiation, gamma rays, or high-dose x-ray. Geneticists make vigorous use
of the methods of mutagenesis, as mutations can help define the function
of various genes by turning them “on” or “off,”
changing their code sequence, and other manipulations.
But key to understanding mutagenesis is that
it is not a fully controllable process. If I aim a beam of
gamma rays at a seed, embryo, cell, or other creature, plant or animal,
I cannot predict what will happen, where in the genetic code changes
will occur, or whether they result in viable or non-viable organisms.
Take a look at this
study, for instance, from a Portuguese research group working
with rice (not wheat): Microarray analyses reveal that
plant mutagenesis may induce more transcriptomic changes than
transgene insertion. (Transgenetic = GM.
Yes: genetics is painful!) From the abstract:
We found that the improvement of a
plant variety through the acquisition of a new desired trait,
using either mutagenesis or transgenesis, may cause stress and
thus lead to an altered expression of untargeted
genes. In all of the cases studied, the observed
alteration was more extensive in mutagenized than in transgenic
plants. We propose that the safety assessment of
improved plant varieties should be carried out on a case-by-case
basis and not simply restricted to foods obtained through
(Note that the genetics of rice are far
simpler than the genetics of wheat. For instance, rice contains
24 chromosomes, while modern high-yield semi-dwarf Triticum
species of wheat contain 42 chromosomes.)
In short, the techniques of mutagenesis
have potential to exert greater genetic change and thereby more
biochemical alterations in the plant than genetic modification.
And the potential for unpredictable changes via mutagenesis are
likely to be much greater in the more genetically-complex wheat plant than in rice.
So the mutated products of mutagenesis,
such as imazamox-resistant Clearfield wheat, now
grown on one million acres in the Pacific northwest, have been
on store shelves for years. The Wheat Lobby is absolutely correct
when it says that no commercially sold wheat today is
genetically-modified. The wheat sold today, much of it the
product of the techniques of mutagenesis, are the product
of something potentially far WORSE.