GMOs: from the beginning

GloFish pictured above is the first genetically modified pet.

This is the first of two posts about GMOs where I want to compile the information I learn.  Obviously I have an opinion.  Everyone has an opinion on everything.  But I always try to remember that there are 2 sides to every coin.  I’m always open to read more information that is presented to me.  I will put out the info that I find in my search.  I’m also going to ask the questions that the information raises in my mind.  If anyone finds answers to these questions feel free to add a link.  I am not offended by your opinion but I am offended by rudeness or snide remarks, so if you have conflicting views, no biggie- leave comments below with your educated information [I cite sources, so should you] minus the rudeness and I’ll be happy to keep reading on the subject!

Like all good internet researchers I started here with Wikipedia.  I know, I know, hardly scientific or reliable BUT it cites it’s info [which as we know I am a believer of] and so it is a good place that has a lot of links on the same topic, a place to start and branch from.  To sum up the page, basically GMO [genetically modified organism] is where they take the DNA molecules from different sources and combine them to make a new set of genes.  Now the techniques of how they do this sounds a little iffy to me, yet I acknowledge my very limited biology knowledge could be the reason the uses of “viruses and “negative-bacterias” to accomplish the integration of the molecules sounds scary to me.  Maybe the terms “virus” and “negative-bacterias that cause plant tumors” encompasses much more than what I know about.  Could definitely be.  But it automatically makes me feel uneasy about the process.

Nonetheless, it’s done and now you have a GMO.  Here is the quote from Wikipedia of the first GMO:

“This is called genetic engineering and was made possible through the discovery of DNA and the creation of the first recombinant bacteria in 1973; an existing bacterium E. coli expressing an exogenic Salmonella gene.[4] This led to concerns in the scientific community about potential risks from genetic engineering, which were first discussed in depth at the Asilomar Conference in 1975. One of the main recommendations from this meeting was that government oversight of recombinant DNA research should be established until the technology was deemed safe.”

I clicked on the reference above [4] and tried to read that report of this first creation but since I’m not biologically sound couldn’t really make much of it.  So going by what I read here in Wikipedia, what they created had Salmonella.  And it scared people.  And they said we have better watch this [in 1975].  In 1978 Genentech was founded and in September they released that they were able to create human insulin [up until this point diabetics were taking insulin shots that was taken from the pancreas of animals see here].  As exciting as it was here is a quote from Genentech’s press release:

“While extensive testing and refinement of the process is needed, we want to see human insulin and other genetically engineered products benefiting the people who need them in the shortest possible time,” said Swanson.

Four years later, in 1982, FDA approved Humulin, the first r-DNA [recombinant DNA] human insulin manufactured by Lilly.  To me, it seems like a pretty good discovery for those with diabetes.  Of course, there are many debates to some of the side effects [of which the FDA says there are no differences between natural human insulin and GMO human insulin].  Here began the wide the use of GMOs in pharmaceutical drugs.

BUNNY TRAIL
*Side Note: Here as I click on link to link to link I begin to see a close relation to the pharmaceutical drug company, Lilly, and the Bush Sr. and Jr. administrations – Bush Sr. who was on the board for Lilly in1977-1979…right before he ran for president in 1980.  Hmmmm.  I wonder who footed the bill for his campaign…note to self: research what legislations regarding drugs may have occurred during Bush Sr.’s reign. In 2002, during Bush Jr.’s administration, this little diddy went down [from this page of Wikipedia]:

Vaccine legislation protection

Early in 2002, U.S. Senator Bill Frist tried to obtain protection for Eli Lilly from suits attached to legislation that would increase the availability of vaccines to average Americans, and regulate lawsuits against Eli Lilly involving thiomersal, but this attempt was thwarted by U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, who opposed the measure. Despite Kennedy’s effort, however, identical legal protections found their way into Homeland Security legislation (H.R. 5005). After the bill passed, no one in Washington, D.C. was willing to take responsibility for having written or inserting the Lilly legal protections. The rider was later annulled by Congress in 2003. Eli Lilly’s Political action committee (PAC) had given Frist almost $10,000 in campaign contributions in 2004.

The White House denied any knowledge of the author/sponsor of the Lilly amendment. Many argue this stretches belief, considering the ties the Bush administration has to the pharmaceutical giant.

So in 2002 Lilly pays to get written protection from lawsuits regarding their Thiomersal used in vaccinations.  Why would they pay $10,000 for that?  Because this campaign was happening [encouraging everyone to get a flu shot, actually 2 shots, targeting small children].  And they knew the vaccines had Thiomersal [a vaccine preservative containing mercury] in it and they new that mercury in children causes neurological damage.  You’ll notice in that previous link, information from the CDC [Center for Disease Control] about what mercury does, vaccines aren’t listed in the ways exposed to mercury.  They say ethylmercury isn’t harmful like methylmercury is.  Ok. So.  Lilly spent a lot of money to make a protection against lawsuits magically appear…because Thiomersal isn’t dangerous?  Sounds “fishy [mercury pun intended]” to me…but we’ll explore this bunny trail another day when I blog my vaccination research.*

Ok back to GMO’s originating in the use of pharmaceutical drugs. Here I can see the benefits of the use of GMOs.  Those who are prescribed a pharmaceutical drug are given a list of possible side effects and risks attached to the use of this GMO derived drug.  From there it’s up to the consumer to do their research and decide if it is right for them.  Even if they decide to use the drug, they can monitor how they feel and can know what is the source of how they feel- negatively or positively.  Either way it’s up to the consumer.

Now another way that a GMO is now used is in our food.  Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

To date the most controversial but also the most widely adopted application of GMO technology is patent-protected food crops that are resistant to commercial herbicides or are able to produce pesticidal proteins from within the plant, or stacked trait seeds, which do both.

Click here to continue with me in my search about GM foods.

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3 thoughts on “GMOs: from the beginning

  1. Pingback: GMOs: in Food |

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