Cleaning-up the genome? Never!

January 2019

Dr. Gurian-Sherman* has made it clear that GM side-effects can never be eliminated.

Unintended effects of artificial DNA modification can arise in many way, for example:
  • The position of the forced change in the genome can disrupt the function of neighbouring DNA, and this in turn can disrupt multiple, interacting biochemical pathways. 
  • Gaps or DNA scrambling may arise in the plant's genome 
  • Extra DNA fragments can be scattered around in the genome 
  • During the transformation procedure, cells are grown in a culture flask outside the stabilising influence of the living whole-plant: they emerge full of genetic errors. 

A GM plant could, theoretically, have all of these side-effects. A gene-edited plant could, theoretically have most of them, depending on the nature of the edit and the technique used.

A newly-created GM plant will be repeatedly bred with its parent strain for several generations to remove some types of these spurious disruptions.

A GM plant which isn't bred but is cloned from the previous crop, such as the potato, will always have all the side effects it started off with [1].

Few research studies are designed to reveal unintended effects, especially if these only become apparent under environmental stress or after subsequent breeding into a different genome.

Harmful interactions between the DNA in the cell nucleus and the DNA in other vital structures in the cell* are possible and even probable.

*Note. DNA-containing structures in the plant cell include 'mitochondria' which provide the cell's energy, and 'chloroplasts' which capture sunlight to provide the cell with sugar.


By GM 'side-effects' or 'unintended effects' is meant toxins, allergens, hormone-disruptors, anti-nutrients, genome-disruptors, and gut-flora disturbances etc. which end up in YOU.

A timely reminder why you should keep demanding GM-free food in 2019.

Check out GM Freeze current campaigns

[1] IS PANDORA A MYTH? - December 2018

*Gurian-sherman is a research consultant with Minneapolis-based 'Strategic Expansion and Training', which focuses on supporting ecologically based sustainable agriculture.

  • Cleaning up after GM: Is it possible?, GM Watch, 12.11.18
  • Nancy A. Eckhardt, March 2006, Cytoplasmic Male Sterility and Fertility Restoration, The Plant Cell
Image: Creative Commons

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