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Article written

  • on 09.09.2013
  • at 03:00 PM
  • by Sofia Christensen

GMOs: The frequently asked questions 0

The Parliament of Ghana has unanimously passed the Biosafety Act which has since received presidential assent and become law, even though few Ghanaians know what a GMO is, and what health and environmental risks these might entail.

Ghanaians are apparently being asked to eat this without a discussion and no questions asked, even though Ghana is supposed to be a democratic country.
Our Research and Information Department has embarked upon a series of articles aimed at developing informed responses to what is increasingly looking like a harmful imposition under pressure from external interests and multinational corporations with doubtful abilities and intentions. This article, GMO Foods – The FAQs, is the first in the series.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) issued a statement on Genetically Modified Foods. “GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health.” Because GM foods pose a serious health risk the AAEM calls for a moratorium on all genetically modified foods.

What are the facts? The Non-GMO Shopping Guide has put together a list of FAQs, frequently asked questions and the answers to those questions, based on information in the AAEM statement. There has been no testing for safety of GMOs in the human diet. Testing and observation of animals fed GMOs reveal serious health problems including “infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.” The AAEM cites the studies and calls for a GMO food moratorium.

1. WHAT IS A GMO?

According to the World Health Organization, Genetically Modified Organisms(GMOs) are “organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in such a way that does not occur naturally.”

• A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the end product of a fusion of genes from different species to create one or more desired traits or features.
• The process is also known as Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM).

2. WHAT IS A GENE?

• All living organisms are made up of cells.
• Each cell has a centre called a nucleus.
• Inside every nucleus are strings of DNA.
• Short chains of DNA are called genes.
• Genes operate finely-tuned complex networks that allow the processes of living organisms to happen in the right place and at the right time.

3. BUT HAVEN’T GROWERS BEEN GRAFTING TREES, BREEDING ANIMALS, AND HYBRIDIZING SEEDS FOR YEARS?

Genetic engineering is completely different from traditional breeding and carries unique risks. In traditional breeding it is possible to mate a pig with another pig to get a new variety, but is not possible to mate a pig with a potato or a mouse. Even when species that may seem to be closely related do succeed in breeding, the offspring are usually infertile—a horse, for example, can mate with a donkey, but the offspring (a mule) is sterile.

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