Myth and Fact
Myth: Genetic engineering is accelerated selective breeding.
Fact: Genetic engineering (GE) and selective breeding is actually very different. Selective breeding deals with the process of crossing the parents of organisms, such as plants and animals, in order to obtain desirable characteristics. On the other hand, GE contracts genes from one life form and artificially inserts that/those gene(s) into a totally dissimilar organism. This procedure takes place in order to receive two traits that would very unusually occur together. Therefore the two actions are very diverse.
Myth: Genetic engineered foods have enhanced nutritional value.
Fact: No genetic engineering food has more nutritional value than normal food. GE technology is generally used to make the crops less vulnerable to herbicides. This way, farmers will be able to avoid the problem with weeds and other pests, without harming the crops.
Myth: Farmers will profit from genetically engineered crops.
Fact: Currently, genetic engineered (GE) seeds are more expensive than conventional crop seeds. The yields are so far no different from conventional crops. GE plants are found to be less reliable at the current stage. Many countries now reject GE foods because of the dangers associated with them. According to www.organiccomsumers.com a survey was taken in the UK about a year ago, with over 37,000 people responded to the questionnaires. An overwhelming 54% of people said that they would never want GE crops grown in the UK, only 18% said they would only grow GE crops if they had no risk of cross contamination. 13% wanted more research to be held on the topic. The survey concluded with a 5 to 1 opposition against GE foods.
Myth: GE crops are safe and do not harm the environment.
Fact: The first hazard of GE crops is that insects, birds, the wind, etc. may carry GE altered pollen to neighboring farms or elsewhere. This tampered pollen may cross-pollinate non-GE plants such as weeds. The herbicide resistance in most GE crops will render the weeds more difficult to control. Some GE crops have been engineered to have a viral coat protein gene in order to lessen the risk of viruses. This viral insertion may give forth to new viruses through natural genetic recombination. Bacillus thuringiensis engineered crops may allow insects to be less vulnerable to insecticides. If this resistance were to become more widespread, it may eventually lead to a large impact on organic farming that relies on the Bacillus thuringiensis toxin.
Myth: GE foods will solve the current world hunger at some places.
Fact: The world hunger is not because of the lack of food, rather, in some areas of the world, the families can not afford the readily available foods. There is an unequal distribution of food across the world. According to www.plant.uoguelph.ca only 17% of the world’s population is fortunate enough to live in a Developed Market Economy Country.
Myth: “Jurassic Park” – cloning of dinosaurs is possible.
Fact: Cloning DNA from prehistoric dinosaur DNA is impossible in the near future. Dinosaurs have billions of base pairs in their DNA, while the most pairs we found are only up to pair 250. Humans alone have 3 billion base pairs in the genome. In the movie of “Jurassic Park” frog genes were used to replace the missing of the dinosaurs. Although it is impossible now, it may someday happen in the future.
Myth: Dolly is a 100% clone of her parent.
Fact: By the look of Dolly, she may seem like a perfect clone of her mother. 100% is surely debatable and it comes in opinion. Scientists have found confusion in where the mitochondrial DNA came from. If the mitochondrial DNA had come from the donor rather than her actual mother, Dolly is in fact not a complete clone.