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GMO Myths and Truths 1.3a

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GMO Myths and Truths 1.3a
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  GMO Myths and Truths 2 GMO Myths and Truths  An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops  Version 1.3aby Michael AntoniouClaire RobinsonJohn Fagan© Earth Open Sourcewww.earthopensource.org2nd Floor 145–157, St John Street, London EC1V 4PY, United KingdomContact email: claire.robinson@earthopensource.orgJune 2012 Disclaimer  Te views and opinions expressed in this paper, or otherwise published by EOS, are those of the authors and do not represent the official policy, position, or views of other organizations, universities, companies, or corporations that the authors may be affiliated with.  GMO Myths and Truths 3 About the authors Michael Antoniou, PhD is reader in molecular genetics and head, Gene Expression and Terapy Group, King’s College London School of Medicine, London, UK. He has 28 years’ experience in the use of genetic engineering technology investigating gene organisation and control, with over 40 peer reviewed publications of srcinal work, and holds inventor status on a number of gene expression biotechnology patents. Dr Antoniou has a large network of collaborators in industry and academia who are making use of his discoveries in gene control mechanisms for the production of research, diagnostic and therapeutic products and safe and efficacious human somatic gene therapy for inherited and acquired genetic disorders.Claire Robinson, MPhil, is research director at Earth Open Source. She has a background in investigative reporting and the communication of topics relating to public health, science and policy, and the environment. She is an editor at GMWatch (www.gmwatch.org), a public information service on issues relating to genetic modification, and was formerly managing editor at SpinProfiles (now Powerbase.org).John Fagan, PhD is a leading authority on sustainability in the food system, biosafety, and GMO testing. He is founder and chief scientific officer of one of the world’s first GMO testing and certification companies, through which he has pioneered the development of innovative tools to verify and advance food purity, safety and sustainability. He co-founded Earth Open Source, which uses open source collaboration to advance sustainable food production. Earlier, he conducted cancer research at the US National Institutes of Health. He holds a PhD in biochemistry and molecular and cell biology from Cornell University. Earth Open Source Earth Open Source is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to assuring the sustainability, security, and safety of the global food system. It supports agroecological, farmer-based systems that conserve soil, water, and energy and that produce healthy and nutritious food free from unnecessary toxins. It challenges the use of pesticides, artificial fertilizer and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the grounds of the scientifically proven hazards that they pose to health and the environment and because of the negative social and economic impacts of these technologies. Earth Open Source holds that our crop seeds and food system are common goods that belong in the hands of farmers and citizens, not of the GMO and chemical industry.Earth Open Source has established three lines of action, each of which fulfils a specific aspect of its mission:   ● Science and policy platform ● Scientific research ● Sustainable rural development. Science and policy  Because the quality of our food supply is intimately connected with political and regulatory decisions, for example, on pesticides and GMOs, Earth Open Source functions as a science and policy platform to provide input to decision-makers on issues relating to the safety, security and sustainability of our food system.Earth Open Source has published and co-published several reports that have had impact internationally:   ● Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?   ● GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible? ● Conflicts on the menu: A decade of industry influence at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) ● Europe’s pesticide and food safety regulators – Who do they work for? Scientic research and sustainable rural development Earth Open Source has laboratory and field research projects under way on several continents. Farmer-led agricultural development projects are ongoing in Asia. Details will be released as these projects come to fruition.  GMO Myths and Truths 4 TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive summary ..........................................................................................................................................81. Te genetic engineering technique .............................................................................................................91.1. Myth: Genetic engineering is just an extension of natural breeding ruth: Genetic engineering is different from natural breeding and poses special risks .............9Muddying the waters with imprecise terms ..............................................................................101.2. Myth: Genetic engineering is precise and the results are predictable ruth: Genetic engineering is crude and imprecise, and the results are unpredictable ............111.3. Myth: GM is just another form of mutation breeding and is nothing to worry about ruth: Mutation breeding brings its own problems and should be strictly regulated ..............121.3.1. What is mutation breeding? ............................................................................................121.3.2. Where did radiation-induced mutation breeding come from? ......................................121.3.3. Is mutation breeding widely used? ..................................................................................121.3.4. How does GM create mutations? .....................................................................................131.3.5. Is GM technology becoming more precise? ....................................................................151.3.6. Why worry about mutations caused in genetic engineering? ........................................161.4. Myth: Cisgenics/intragenics is a safe form of GM because no foreign genes are involved ruth: Cisgenic/intragenic foods are just as risky as any other GM food ..................................20Conclusion to Section 1 ........................................................................................................................21References to Section 1 ........................................................................................................................222. Science and regulation ..............................................................................................................................232.1. Myth: GM foods are strictly regulated for safety ruth: GM food regulation in most countries varies from non-existent to weak .....................232.1.1. Te regulatory process in the USA ..................................................................................232.1.2. Te sham of substantial equivalence ...............................................................................242.1.3. Te US government is not impartial regarding GM crops .............................................252.1.4. Te regulatory process in Europe and the rest of the world .........................................252.1.5. Europe’s comparative safety assessment: Substantial equivalence by another name ..272.1.6. GM foods would not pass an objective comparative safety assessment .......................272.1.7. Weakening comparative assessment further by widening the range of comparison ...282.1.8. GM corporations and the US government have designed the GMO regulatory process around the world ........................................................................................................................292.1.9. Independent research on GM foods is suppressed .........................................................292.1.10. Researchers who publish studies that find harm from GM crops are attacked ..........30Conclusion to Section 2 ........................................................................................................................34References to Section 2 ........................................................................................................................343. Health hazards of gm foods .......................................................................................................................373.1. Myth: GM foods are safe to eat ruth: Studies show that GM foods can be toxic or allergenic ...................................................373.1.1. Feeding studies on laboratory and farm animals ...........................................................373.1.2. Masking statistical significance through the concept of “biological relevance” ...........393.1.3. How misuse of “biological relevance” places public health at risk: Monsanto GM maize study ............................................................................................................................................403.1.4 Masking statistical significance through the concept of “normal variation” .................41
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