May 7, 2013 3 Comments
People try to claim that Genetically Modified Organisms, for example corn with a gene spliced in that helps it resist a disease, are somehow more dangerous, because we don’t know what other changes the splicing may have wrought.
The claim is made that that they are somehow “unproven” and could contain some surprise risk, but this is the opposite of the truth. Whenever you pollinate a plant normally, the seeds you get have hundreds, or thousands, of unknown factors in them, as they’re a random mix of two parent plants. Hybrids, for example, are an extreme case of this.
But a GMO is a known cultivar with a SINGLE gene moved. Not tens of thousands of genes moved at random, just a single one (or set of similarly chosen ones). It is the most KNOWN kind of modified plant, with the fewest surprise protein combinations possible.
Now if you have some spearmint, and some watermint, you might cross-pollinate them, and then who knows…some people might be specifically allergic to the resulting, unique cultivar (which we call peppermint). But if you move ONE gene from the watermint to the spearmint, you can know exactly what the results will be.