Science

Scientists Devise Technique To Make GMOs Safer

In a major breakthrough, scientists at Harvard and Yale have developed a new method to safely contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the lab. GMOs are everywhere, but they are still highly controversial. People fear that the organisms could contaminate the environment, thus spreading their modified DNA in non-modified organisms.

Scientists Devise Technique To Make GMOs Safer

New GMOs can’t survive in the wild

George Church of Harvard and Farren Isaacs, now at Yale, were able to create genetically-modified microbes that can survive only in the presence of certain compounds not found in nature. They rewrote the DNA of E. coli bacteria, which is widely used in the industrial production of adhesives, perfume, sealants, antibiotics and many other things.

They called the redesigned bacterium genetically recoded organism (GRO) rather than GMO. Its DNA was rewritten such that it requires a synthetic amino acid to survive. In the open environment, this synthetic amino acid doesn’t exist, so the GRO would be unable to survive and spread its modified genetic material. Scientists grew a trillion of E. coli in lab tests.They found that none could survive without the synthetic amino acid.

GROs are multi-virus resistant

In addition, scientists made their GRO multi-virus resistant by tweaking its genetic code to “confuse” any incoming virus. Viruses use DNA codons as an initial blueprint to build proteins necessary for killing the host cells and reproduce more viruses. Church changed 64 codons of one E. coli to ruin the viruses’ protein-making map. Scientists believe the new method would be extremely useful in the biotech industry as it provides containment as well as protection from viruses.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the value of GMOs skyrocketed from $2.3 billion in 1999 to $76 billion in 2010. Church said their method could also be applied to plants, but it would be a bit challenging because plants have six times more genes and ten times more codons than E. coli. The newly designed organisms could be safe enough to use outside. They could potentially be used to break down toxic chemicals on contaminated land or to clean up oil spills.

Findings of the study were published in the journal Nature.

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  • Tim Austin

    A great saint on Genetic Engineering:

    Genetic engineering is unnatural and damaging to life because it disturbs the sequential evolution of Natural Law.

    “The sequential evolution of Natural Law from unmanifest to manifest is the key point to understand.”

    “Sequential evolution is the eternal flow of evolution. […] It is the sequential evolution of the holistic value of Natural Law. Starting from the holistic value of infinity in the unmanifest, it unfolds sequentially to eventually be the holistic value of the manifest. The sequence that is free from any problems, free from any inhibition of the evolutionary process; that is a sequence of evolution.

    It is very, very important–genetic engineering disturbs this sequence. […] That is why it is unnatural. Unnatural means disallowing the natural process of renewal of life. […] Obstruction in evolution is obviously and clearly damaging to life. That’s how life gets problems and disease. […]”

    –Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

  • Tim Austin

    GM “food” tastes bad

    My point is straightforward and readily verifiable by anyone: GM “food” tastes like crap. GM corn has no smell, and either a foul flavor, or is insipid. There is no incentive to eat it. GM soy has a nasty taste which permeates any food cooked with soybean oil, as many are. Compare yourself; taste the GM variety alongside the real/organic/non-GMO-verified food. Do the same test with any dairy product, also–milk, cottage cheese or sour cream. Organic tastes delicious, the pseudo-food is repugnant. The agribusiness industry keeps propagandizing the notion that GM “food” is equivalent to its real counterparts, but a simple taste test belies their claim.

  • Steven Alexander Shaver

    This is funny… the reason why this is funny is because RoundupReady Soy Beans go off patent some time this year. Meaning they can’t be bound by a user agreement. Meaning that if farmers would like to replant the seeds they bought. They could

    Even more. Most farmers don’t actually replant the seeds the following year because the genes to protect against the herbicide aren’t expressed as well. Nor do you get as much yield as you did the previous year.

  • Tim Austin

    Monsanto’s real agenda

    The real motivation driving Monsanto’s and Dow’s fervent dissemination of GM seeds is to increase their own revenues many-fold by requiring farmers to re-purchase seeds every year, since the GM seed producers own patents on their seeds. Formerly, and throughout the history of agriculture, farmers have always been able to recycle their own seeds for free, or sell them if they choose to. When a farmer purchases GM seeds, however, he is required to sign a contract stating he is legally prohibited from independently planting the seeds he raises, since they are no longer owned by him, but by Monsanto or the respective GM seed company. In this way, these corporations have severely usurped the farmer’s independence–his right to enjoy the fruit of his own labor and expenditures that culminated in the new seeds. Add to this evil the fact that GM fields contaminate organic and non-GM crops automatically and you see how vast and insidious this usurpation is: Monsanto, Dow and their cohorts will even own at least some of the seeds produced by conscientious farmers who are working to help us all by growing real, healthy, organic food. And if these evil practices are not stopped, the GM seed manufacturers will perhaps own all seeds (except the quarantined ones) given the passage of time.

    The mainstream news, as well as other venues such as these message boards, are infiltrated with fabrications penned by employees of Monsanto. The latest waves of propaganda have asserted that GM agriculture is the only way to feed the growing population of the world. This claim is bogus, unsupported by independent research, and is only another way to conceal their real motives, making their destructive and selfish practices appear necessary and altruistic.