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Response to HuckleB (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 12:33 PM

4. All I Want for Motherís Day is Non-labeled GMOs



As Iíve said, if you donít understand transcription, translation, and protein synthesis and function at a high level at minimum, you donít have sufficient understanding to justify an inherently anti-GM stance. While I wonít get deep enough to explain the minutiae of molecular biology, here is a briefing to start a layperson on genetic literacy: Essentially, proteins are the most basic functional components of living things. Proteins serve all purposes from structure, immunity, metabolic, nutritive, enzymatic functions, and more. They are macromolecules comprised of amino acid chains (polypeptides.) The sequence of amino acids in any protein determines its 3D structure. This sequence of amino acids is determined by codons, each codon coded for by 3 adjacent nucleotides. The DNA in a gene of any organism can be transcribed (into RNA), and translated (into proteins) in many varied permutations by alternative splicing of introns, allowing the functions of life to be carried out. This is a very abridged explanation, but there are some nice primers here and here.


Why shouldnít GMOs be labeled?

1. Labeling regulations will hinder competition and growth among organizations like research institutions, universities, and private sector small and medium sized businesses, effectively clearing a nice, clean, path for large corporations like Monsanto. Contrary to popular belief, Monsanto is not the only player in the GMO game. Here is an incomplete list of organizations participating in R&D in the field. This list only includes institutions who actively work on GMO crops themselves. Other participants include sequencing laboratories (that help determine organismsí genetic code or expressed genetic codes), experts in proteomics (study of protein structure and function), companies and individuals specializing in bioinformatics (analysis of large biological data), and more. Red tape is always easier for the rich to cut through and navigate. Anti-Monsanto types would be well-advised to reconsider their labeling stance.

2. Mandatory GMO labeling will hurt the environment. Labeling will increase stigma associated with a technology that people donít understand, thus arbitrarily increasing demand for non-GMO foods. Non-GMO foods are harder on the environment in terms of water and energy needed for production.

3. Labels simply stating generally that a product contains or is a GMO do not make sense; they donít actually inform the consumer. What type of labels do anti-GMO proponents want? If a label is to be meaningful, it would have to provide detailed information, including the genetic change, and the ultimate protein change achieved. Would the average consumer understand this? IMO, the answer is a resounding NO.


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