The biotech industry would have us believe that genetic modification is “natural,” and the same as crossbreeding (which farmers have undertaken for thousands of years). However:
- Natural breeding usually only takes place between closely related forms of life—mixing genetic material from different organisms is not “natural.” Take, for example, salmon with antifreeze DNA and tomatoes with fish genes (Flvr Savr).
- The process of inserting GMO genes into plants can cause harmful DNA mutations.
- Manipulating one or two genes does not just produce one or two desired traits—a single change at the level of DNA can give rise to mutations in hundreds or thousands of locations throughout the plant’s DNA and changes the DNA blueprint, which can be passed down over generations
These are known as pleiotropic effects. Natural genes can be deleted or permanently turned on or off, and hundreds may change their behavior. Even the inserted gene itself can be damaged or rearranged, and may create new proteins that can trigger allergies or promote disease.