CSIRO GM Wheat Could Potentially change Human Genome
September 14, 2012
By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | SEPTEMBER 14, 2012
The proven threats that GMO organisms pose to the environment is endless, but chemical companies don’t seem to care, and instead continue to work with and put out food products that contain such genetically modified threats.
The most recent example is GMO wheat from CSIRO, which just happens not to be one of the large chemical conglomerates that operate worldwide today. CSIRO is the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, which Australia’s National Science Agency.
According to a recent report from the Safe Food Foundation, CSIRO’s GMO wheat has the potential — if consumed — to change the way humans absorb carbohydrates.The foundation held a press conference on September 11 to request that CSIRO makes available all of its studies regarding how the genes contained in the wheat affect . “We were alerted about a safety issue by a researcher who identified DNA/RNA sequence matches in the GM wheat, and in human beings,” said Scott Kinnear, the director of the Safe Food Foundation.
Mr. Kinnear, who is also a professor at University of Canterbury, was joined by researchers Jack Heinemann Judy Carman to discuss the potential threats of CSIRO’s GMO wheat. “This safety issue was extensively studied by our two experts. What we are asking CSIRO to do, is to release all their safety studies on GM wheat, if they’ve done any at all,” added Kinnear.
He said CSIRO also needed to release the sequences of its science and technology, which according to him would enable the foundation’s experts to do a complete bio-informatic sequence matching. He emphasized that so far, the experts had found a significant amount of sequence matches between the GMO wheat and that of a human being, which made it even more urgent to keep on investigating to discover if the GMO wheat could negatively affect human health.
As explained by Professor Jack Heinemann, who is a molecular biologist at the University of Cantenbury, the way in which the wheat has been modified has never been validated. “The technology is too new,” Heinemmann said and that is why the foundation is requesting the information and materials from CSIRO to conduct extensive studies on whether the wheat is safe for human consumption. “What we found is that the molecules created in this wheat intended to silence wheat genes can match human genes.”
He went further to explain that through ingestion, the GMO molecules can enter human beings and potentially silence human genes the same way they do with those of the wheat. Researchers found 770 pages of potential matches between the two GMO genes in the wheat and the human genome.
“We found over a dozen matches that are extensive and identical,” he added. Heinemann said that his findings are conclusive in demonstrating that the matches do exist, but that the limits they’ve had given the lack of data does not prove that the GMO wheat may cause adverse effects on humans. For that he said, experts like himself need to conduct more research to confirm or discard their theory. “From this information, we know it is plausible that there would be an adverse effect, and that is why we are calling for a battery of experiments to be done before humans eat this wheat.”
“This gene is designed to silence a particular gene in wheat to change the carbohydrate content,” said Judy Carman, a biochemist and Director of the IHERS at Flinders University. She warned that if the GMO gene were to act the same way in humans, it would effectively silence human genes, the ones found to match those of the wheat. “That could have serious complications.”
“It will mean that there will be significant changes in the way we store our carbohydrates and glucose in the body.” She said that the human body needs to make a substance known as glycogen, which is essential in order to perform tasks such as waking up, moving, or having a burst of energy to complete everyday tasks. “Children who are born with this kind of genes silenced, tend to die by the age of five, while adults tend to get more sick and more tired,” added Carman. She also insisted that animal studies are necessary even before human studies are conducted.
See the complete press conference below: