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Revenge strategy: Wasting the power of your hate on the guiltless (XXXVI): GMOs impact on the environment.

Good morning to my lovely readers. Let´s begin with today´s goal. What is the impact of GMOs on the environment?

Afiche 17 Opcion 3jpg

“Llenan de Luz la Historia”. An original aquarelle painted by Eleonora Escalante with the occasion to participate in the 2019 poster contest for the 30th-anniversary commemoration of the murder of the UCA Jesuit Priests in El Salvador. Painted on Guarro Canson paper. Cold Press. 350 GSM. Painting Size: 24.5 inches x 20 inches. It is not for sale.

What is the environment? How can we define it?

There is an enormous truth that has been studied and validated for centuries and we all know: “the planet earth has always been evolving and changing”. If we know this, then geologically it is obvious that the mother earth, will never never never stop to change. The earth is constantly changing at its own style and rhythm. Not our style.

The planet earth has a certain way of becoming.  The earth superficial landscape is always being transformed by slow phenomenons. Can you read it? Slow means slow. The earth changes, by external phenomena, water-wind-atmosphere agents-gravity, and living organisms. And by internal phenomena, which occur when whatsoever inside the earth motilities. For example, volcanic eruptions, or earthquakes, etc. Just human individuals want to accelerate and make everything quickly, faster, without thinking about the wrong consequences to the environment.

What is the environment in this context?

The environment definition is by far a complex one. No doubt why there is so much confusion in relation to the word environment. Let´s see one general definition by the dictionary: “Surroundings. The condition that surrounds one”. Another definition is “The totality of external circumstances around an organism or a group of organisms”. Even though these are simple notions, they provide a general overview of what is the meaning of the word environment. Everything that is out of us is the environment.

What are the dangers and gains associated with GMOs on the environment?

For a single second, let´s think about what is the environment in the framework of the genetically modified organisms, not in the context of humans. GMOs are more than genetically modified seeds (flora). It is genetically modified bacteria, genetically modified animals (fauna) and genetically modified hybrids of GMOs. And we will put the GMO bacteria, GMO fungus, GMO fauna, and GMO flora as the center of the puzzle. We won´t think in humans, but in the altered GMOs environment, where humans are part of their setting.

Anything around the GMO is its environment: the ecosystem of its particular habitat, the land, the temperature, the climate, insects, other wild fauna species, other flora species, forest trees, bacteria, virus, the light of the sun, water, wind, humans and all what humans are doing around the GMO.

GMO methods-organisms-recombinant-DNA-technology.jpgFor example, if we think in GMO corn seeds, once the seed is altered genetically (with the desired gain to kill insects that feed themselves with the plant) the impact doesn´t end there. Nature has its own way to make breeding a reality through rain, wind, and pollinators. These environmental factors are transferring the GMOs to other wild species living in the particular ecosystem of the corn plantations and beyond to other ecosystems. The genetically modified seeds are eaten by farm animals, which then are eaten by humans. By far our food safety is compromised.

According to an article published by the FAO in 2001, “the potential of GMOs to upset the balance of nature is another ethical concern of the public. GMOs are “novel” products which, when released, may cause ecosystems to adjust, perhaps in unintended ways. There is also concern about the possibility that genetic “pollution” will result from outcrossing with wild populations”. Twenty years ago, the FAO summarized its particular view in relation to the impact of GMOs on the environment as follows:

  • Unintended effects on the dynamics of populations in the receiving environment as a result of impacts on non-target species, which may occur directly by predation or competition, or indirectly by changes in land use or farming practices;
  • Unintended effects on biogeochemistry, especially through impacts on soil microbial populations that regulate the flow of nitrogen, phosphorus and other essential elements;
  • The transfers of inserted genetic material to other domesticated or native populations, generally known as gene flow, through pollination, mixed matings, dispersal or microbial transfer.

There is a self-explanatory text from Prakash, Verma, Bhatia, and Tiwary; “Risks and Precautions of Genetically Modified Organisms” (2011), I thought we all should read it with care. I provide the link below. I have tried to summarize the article section “Risks Related to the Use of GMOs- Ecological Stability of the GMO” as follows:

“The application of genetic modification allows genetic material to be transferred from any species into plants or other organisms. The introduction of a gene into different cells can result in different outcomes, and the overall pattern of gene expression can be altered by the introduction of a single gene. The sequence of the gene and its role in the donor organism may have a relatively well-characterized function in the organism from which it is isolated. However, this apparent “precision” in the understanding of a gene does not mean that the consequences of the transfer are known or can be predicted. Copies of a gene may be integrated, additional fragments inserted, and gene sequences rearranged and deleted—which may result in lack of operation of the genes instability or interference with other gene functions possibly cause some potential risks or unintended side effects:

  1. Genetic Contamination/Interbreeding: Introduced GMOs may interbreed with the wild-type or sexually compatible relatives; altering the native species’ ecological relationship and behavior.
  2. Competition with Natural Species: Faster growth of GMOs can enable them to have a competitive advantage over the native organisms. This may allow them to become invasive, to spread into new habitats, and cause ecological and economic damage.
  3. Increased Selection Pressure on Target and Nontarget Organisms, causing them to evolve distinct resistant populations.
  4. Ecosystem Impacts: The effects of changes in a single species may extend well beyond the ecosystem. Single impacts are always joined by the risk of ecosystem damage and destruction.
  5. Impossibility of Followup: Once the GMOs have been introduced into the environment and some problems arise, it is impossible to eliminate them.
  6. Horizontal Transfer of Recombinant Genes to Other Microorganisms: One risk of particular concern relating to GMOs is the risk of horizontal gene transfer (HGT). HGT is the acquisition of foreign genes (via transformation, transduction, and conjugation) by organisms in a variety of environmental situations. HGT of an introduced gene from a GMO may confer a novel trait in another organism, which could be a source of potential harm to the health of people or the environment. For example, the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes to a pathogen has the potential to compromise human or animal therapy. Recent evidence from the HGT technology confirms that transgenic DNA in GM crops and products can spread by being taken up directly by viruses and bacteria as well as plant and animal cells.
  7. Adverse Effects on the Health of People or the Environment: These include enhanced pathogenicity, emergence of a new disease, pest or weed, increased disease burden if the recipient organism is a pathogenic microorganism or virus, increased weed or pest burden if the recipient organism is a plant or invertebrate, and adverse effects on species, communities, or ecosystems.
  8. Unpredictable and Unintended Effects: HGT may transfer the introduced genes from a GMO to potential pests or pathogens and many yet to be identified organisms. This may alter the ecological niche or ecological potential of the recipient organism and even bring about unexpected changes in structure or functions.
  9. Loss of Management Control Measures: Regulatory approvals for field trials of GMOs often require measures to limit and control the release in space and time. With the spread of the introduced gene(s) to another species by HGT, a new GMO is created. This new GMO may give rise to adverse effects that are not controlled by management measures imposed by the original license or permit.
  10. Long-Term Effects: Sometimes the impact of HGT may be more severe in the long term. Even under relatively strong selection pressure, it may take thousands of generations for a recipient organism to become the dominant form in the population. In addition, other factors such as the timing of appropriate biotic or abiotic environmental conditions and additional changes in the recipient organism could delay adverse effects”.

I think I have covered all the issues associated with the risks of GMOs on the environment. I don´t think the intended benefits of genetic engineering outperform the risks on the environment.

I invite you to read different authors´ articles listed on the references that I have gathered during the last 2 weeks. This list is an ample inventory of beautiful researchers, journalists, and scientists who have taken the time to validate with numbers all that I wrote about this topic. Some experts have spent more than 30 years doing research to open the eyes to the consumers in relation to the risks associated with the GMOs industries.  Please visit their websites. My next publication will be dedicated to answering the question: Why the European Union has resisted the widespread use of genetically altered seeds?

I promise, as of next week, we will overflow into the China-USA trade war. My aim is to dedicate at least three weeks of publications to this last revenge strategy example.

Thank you. See you again before the end of the week. Blessings.

painting watercolor

Source “must” references for you to read:

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY.  Nevertheless, the majority of the pictures, images or videos shown on this blog are not mine.  I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.




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