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Genetic Engineering And Omitted Health Research

Genetic Engineering And Omitted Health Research

A new paper points out that many scientific questions concerning the health effects of GMOs that were raised 20 years ago still remain unanswered. The paper discusses - in remarkably clear and readable terms - the health hazards related to GM plants used as food or feed, with mention of GM vaccines including si RNA- and nanobio-technologies.

Amongst the many points the authors note:

* very few studies on the possible effects of GM food/feed on potential animal or human consumers have been published in peer-reviewed journals

* a consensus has emerged that the effects observed in some published studies must be experimentally followed up but THIS HAS NOT BEEN DONE.

* most of the animal feeding studies performed so far have been designed exclusively to reveal only husbandry production differences (e.g. do animals gain weight satisfactorily on a GM feed compared to a non-GM feed?)

* studies designed to reveal physiological or pathological effects are extremely few

*these studies demonstrate a quite worrisome trend - studies performed by the industry find no problems, while studies from independent research groups often reveal effects that should merit immediate follow-up, confirmation and extension

* such follow-up studies have not been performed

* studies are inhibited by lack of funds for independent research

* studies are also inhibited by the reluctance of producers to deliver their GM materials for analysis

* the transgenic DNA sequences provided can differ from the inserted sequences found in the actual GM plants

* the differences between the transgenic DNA sequences given by producers and the actual inserted sequences found in their products means that risk assessments made prior to approval do not necessarily cover the potential risks associated with the products

* the Bt-toxins expressed in GM plants have never been carefully analysed, and accordingly, their characteristics and properties are not known.

The authors conclude, "We are left with a high number of risk issues lacking answers, adding up to a vast area of omitted research, and this falls together in time with a strong tendency towards corporate take-over of publicly funded research institutions and scientists."

The paper is by Terje Traavik (scientific director, GENOK - Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology) and Jack Heinemann (NZIGE - New Zealand Institute of Gene Ecology), and is called "Genetic Engineering and Omitted Health Research: Still No Answers to Ageing Questions".

To read the article in full (including references) online, go to: http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7219

To download the article in full in Word or PDF formats go to: http://www.biosafety-info.net/article.php?aid=409

ENDS

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