That Worrying GM Threat

monsanto

 

My nephew Christopher alerted me to a couple of articles that sent chills down my spine.  No, it wasn’t about some savage serial killer or zombies coming to eat our brains. It was about genetically modified mosquitoes.

The articles suggest GM mosquitoes might be causing the widespread birth defects blamed on the Zika virus. The writers observe that the virus was around for ages without causing the birth defects reported since the mosquitoes’ development.

The deadly insects – artificially equipped with a “jumping DNA” sequence – were released in Brazil in the hope of wiping out other mosquitoes that carry dengue fever, Zika, yellow fever, and chikungunya.

Only male GM mosquitoes were released. They were supposed to mate with the wild mosquito population, producing offspring genetically designed to die before reaching mating age.

But, according to the articles, the experiment was botched and the offspring have survived in large numbers.

Articles like these are especially troubling at a time when Congress is considering another extension to legislation blocking litigation against producers of genetically altered foods.

GM companies such as Monsanto and Cargill are spending huge sums to lobby politicians in the hope of gaining immunity from any long-term consequences of their risky experiments. They are even trying to block mandatory labeling of GM foods, which seems a perfectly reasonable requirement to me.

GM foods could be the answer to world hunger but they could also be the path to unknowable horror. We should at least get the chance to choose whether we want to risk eating them.

Across America consumers are in an uproar. And they are finally having some impact on lawmakers. Recently, Congress ordered labeling of genetically engineered salmon. At least, now we’ll be able to tell if we’re buying a can of Frankenfish.

I know, that’s a small step for mankind. But it’s a step in the right direction.

Click for report on birth defects

More on GM mosquitoes

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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