The scientific risks of GMO release. Dr. William H.L Stafford, Advanced Research Center for Applied Microbiology, Department of Biotechnology , University of the Western Cape . GMOs and breeding.
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Dr. William H.L Stafford,
Advanced Research Center for Applied Microbiology,
Department of Biotechnology, University of the Western Cape.
© Strong promoter © Marker gene
© Desired gene © Terminator
Marker gene for antibiotic resistance (ampicillin, kanamycin)
Viral Promoter eg. cauliflower mosaic virus (35SCamV)
Absence of Risk = Absence of Science..
”no harms exist”!
Outcrossing and horizontal gene transfer
Consumption of GMO plant: humans, birds, insects, amphibians, microbes
Stability and persistence of transgene product (eg. Insecticide, herbicide)
T25 maize - LibertylinkTM (Bayer)Tolerance to herbicide glufosinateConstruct content : truncated bla gene (bla*), pUC cloning vector (pUC), synthetic pat gene (pat), CaMV 35S promotor and terminator (P35S, T35S).
(Presence of cloning vector + the 5 first bp of bla on the 3’ end )
Collonier C, Berthier G, Boyer F, Duplan M-N, Fernandez S, Kebdani N, Kobilinsky A, Romanuk M, Bertheau Y. Characterization of commercial GMO inserts: a source of useful material to study genome fluidity. Poster courtesy of Pr. Gilles-Eric Seralini, Président du Conseil Scientifique du CRII-GEN, www.crii-gen.org
Pollen flow may occur over large distances for some crops (km for maize, canola; only m for potato). Transport, storage, and processing of seeds and crops are also routes for contamination.
This level of contamination in pedigreed seed is disturbing since even stringent segregation systems were not sufficient to deliver pure non-GM canola seed to farmers in western Canada.
protein as Bt11.
Studies with oilseed rape (Brassica napus) have shown that the Bt gene can be passed on to a wild, weedier relative (Brassica rapa) (Halfhill, M.D., et al. 2002.).
HGT to bacteria can spread antibiotic resistance marker genes to pathogenic microbes and disrupt ecosystem function.
HGT to bacteria is most efficient where sequence similarity is present.
Practically every medical organization that has looked at GM crop safety has expressed concern, including the American Medical Association, World Health Organization, UK Royal Society, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Pasteur Institute, European Food Safety Authority, and Codex Alimentarius
X The GMO crops on the market fulfill none of these criteria
The transgenic genes of GMO crops are covered by patent. Since these GMO crops can be considered novel inventions however the food-crop is considered “functionally equivalent” (mainly un broad nutritional grounds) and no labelling is required in many countries including as South Africa.
If there are problems……
there is no labelling, no monitoring and ten there will be difficulties in tracking and establishing liability.
Can we recall the releaseof a GMO from the environment?
Which is more cost effective- proper risk assessment, monitoring &labelling or loss of markets (EU) and clean-up cost from contamination?
Ho, M.W., Meyer, H. and Cummins, J. (1998). The biotechnology bubble. The Ecologist 28(3), 146-153