Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living things whose DNA has been intentionally mutated by humans. In some cases, DNA is deleted. In others, multiple copies of the organism’s own genes are added. Still others have genes from unrelated species inserted into their DNA. These transgenic organisms include, for example, pigs with jellyfish genes.
Genes are segments of DNA that code for proteins. When foreign genes are put into living organisms, they make foreign proteins—proteins that are not natural to that organism. Genetically engineered (GE) plants usually contain genes from viruses that force the plant to keep reproducing the protein encoded by the foreign DNA. This isn’t natural. Plants and other living things usually only make proteins when they need them.
GE plants have foreign genes artificially added for two main reasons: so that they can withstand weed killer and pesticides without dying like a normal plant would; and to give them traits desirable to commercial growers and processors. For example, Heineken owns a patent for GE barley plants that will enable the company to sell stale beer without it being detected. Genes that make catfish sterile have been developed. Sterile fish could ensure that commercial interests control farmed fish, just as Monsanto and other companies control GM crops. If fish and plants are unable to reproduce, the farmer is forced to buy new seed or new fish every cycle, and lose their sovereignty over their work.