The GM wheat developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) using public funds is engineered to turn off genes permanently. The organization's intent to turn off wheat genes, however, could affect human and animal genes.
"Through ingestion, these molecules can enter human beings and potentially silence our genes," says Professor Jack Heinemann of the University of Canterbury's Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety. His report was published in Digital Journal.
DNA Matches in GM Wheat and Humans
The wheat genes intended to be silenced are known as SEI, the sequence of which are classified by CSIRO. What experts know about SEI is that parts of it match the human GBE gene sequence. GBE dictates glycogen storage, without which the liver scars and causes death in children. Adults with malfunctioning GBE genes can experience cognitive impairment, pyramidal quadriplegia, peripheral neuropathy, and neurogenic bladder.
"The findings are absolutely assured," insists Heinemann. "There is no doubt that these matches exist."
Survives Digestion, Cooking, Generations
Moreover, Heinemann describes the double stranded RNA (dsRNAs) present in GM wheat as "remarkably stable in the environment." It is able to withstand digestion (even after cooking) and thereafter circulates through the body, where it amplifies into more and different dsRNAs and "alters gene expression in the animal." These altered genes are passed to later generations, assuming the consumer doesn't die of cancer or liver damage before procreating - seen in the recent GMO french study.
Dangers Well-Known by Agribusiness
No doubt, agribusiness will swoop to CSIRO's rescue and claim that Heinemann's findings are irrelevant. Monsanto, however, uses this same tactic in its genetically modified plants. The plants are engineered to produce dsRNA that survives digestion in the insect, shuts down genes, stunts growth, and kills it. This may be welcome news for some, given one biotech scientist's email not only acknowledging the risks of disease and reproductive difficulties inherent in GMO consumption but also praising it as a 'remedy' for global over-population.
Agribusiness has gone to great lengths to silence skeptics of GMOs The Food and Drug Administration - which abounds in ties to agribusiness - deleted 1 million signatures for a GMO labeling campaign. Monsanto has been burning millions of dollars to campaign against GMO labeling. Depending on the poll, about 93% of Americans advocate GMO labeling.