"A gene is a gene is a gene" (item 1)
"...the human enzymes put into rice are responsible for causing most kinds of human cancer" (item 2)
1.Why put human genes in rice? Prof Chris Leaver
2.Public relations triumph over science - Prof Joe Cummins
3.People who talk absolute nonsense - Prof G.D.W. Smith
1.Why put human genes in rice?
Thursday April 28, 2005
Why not? A gene is a gene is a gene, says Christopher Leaver, Sibthorpian professor of plant sciences at Oxford. [and a former consultant to Syngenta]
Plants, animals and humans often have very similar versions of the same genes, to carry out the same function. Among these are genes that make enzymes called cytochrome P450s, which break down and detoxify poisonous chemicals. Japanese scientists have tested a human enzyme (known as CYP2B6) in rice and potatoes. This enzyme is known to break down more than a dozen herbicides, pesticides and industrial chemicals. Farmers use herbicides to suppress weeds, but the crops need to survive the spraying.
CYP286 rice did well in tests involving the use of about 17 different herbicides, according to Sakiko Hirose, of the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences in Tsukuba. "The liver detoxifies everything in human beings," Leaver says. "Plants have a lot of genes which also detoxify."
Rice is a staple, but the addition of a "human" gene hardly qualifies as an invitation to cannibalism. "You could synthesise this thing, if you knew the sequence, in the lab. It doesn't actually have to come from a human," he says. "It's DNA. It's a chemical."
2.Comment from Prof Joe Cummins on the same issue
The article brings to attention the use of human Cytochrome p450 genes to produce resistance to most herbicides. A numberer of such cytochrome p450 genes have been released for field testing in Japan. The article swallows the biotech industry public relations that there is nothing really wrong about putting human genes into rice.
The first thing that comes to mind is that the human enzymes put into rice are responsible for causing most kinds of human cancer by activating certain pollutants into forms that attack the genes causing mutation. The common products of automobiles, incinerators and forest fires called PAHs are activated to cause cancer by the P450 enzymes. The fact that the humanized rice is likely to be loaded with active genotoxins (carcinogens) is not discussed by the academic journal editors who provide public relation for corporations.
Furthermore, the human genes are alerted in DNA sequence to be more active in plants. The digestive fragments of altered human DNA may be very destructive to the human liver by disrupting the liver cytochromoe p450 genes as people eat the humanized rice.I am pointing out that the DNA is different from the human DNA swallowed by cannibals (for example Dahmer).
We have entered a dangerous era where public relations are favored over scientific truth by those claiming to be the "real" scientists.
3.People who talk absolute nonsense
14 March 2004
The Sunday Times,
Is GM Food Good for You?
The argument advanced by Charles Pasternak for the safety of GM food is false [News Review, Sunday 14th March, page 2, article entitled "GM food could be good for you"]. Yes, the DNA of all living organisms is made up of just four nucleosides, and yes, virtually all proteins are made up from just 20 amino acids. But this does not imply that everything containing these basic building blocks is without risk to human beings.
The same units, arranged in different ways, are contained in the smallpox virus, bubonic plague and influenza, deadly nightshade and other poisonous plants, creatures such as poisonous jellyfish, scorpions, deadly snakes, sharks - and people who talk absolute nonsense.
G.D.W. Smith (Professor), FRS.
Professor of Materials, Oxford University,
Department of Materials, Parks Road, Oxford
Why put human genes in rice?
"A gene is a gene is a gene" (item 1)