Saturday, April 20, 2013

RNA interference Modified Food to Hit Markets



Frankenapple: Bad News No Matter How You Slice It By Katherine Paul and Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers Association 20 April 13 http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/448-farm-and-food-policy/17032-frankenapple-bad-news-no-matter-how-you-slice-it

[Excerpted] Thanks to the biotech industry's relentless quest to control our food, McDonald's, Burger King and even school cafeterias will soon be able to serve up apples that won't turn brown when they're sliced or bitten into. A new, almost entirely untested genetic modification technology, called RNA interference, or double strand RNA (dsRNA), is responsible for this new food miracle. Scientists warn that this genetic manipulation poses health risks, as the manipulated RNA gets into our digestive systems and bloodstreams. The biotech industry claims otherwise.

Of course, like any non-organic apple, the new GMO Arctic® Apple will be drenched in toxic pesticide residues, untested by the U.S. Food & Drug Association (FDA) and likely unlabeled....


Majia here: RNA Interference, or Double Strand RNA (dsRNA) is a process for knocking out (i.e., silencing) genes:

Bhargava A, Dallman MF, Pearce D, Choi S.Long double-stranded RNA-mediated RNA interference as a tool to achieve site-specific silencing of hypothalamic neuropeptides. Brain Res Brain Res Protoc. 2004 Jun;13(2):115-25.
 

Abstract :RNA interference (RNAi) has become a popular tool to silence gene expression in a variety of in vitro and in vivo systems. However, it has met with limited success in inhibiting gene expression in adult mammals. 

Here we demonstrate that long double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) can be used to create a "site-specific", transient knockdown of genes in a fashion that is phenotypically akin to genetically manipulated organisms. Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) that regulate a variety of physiological processes including the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), energy and water homeostasis were used as model systems. Stereotaxic injections of dsRNA against CRF and AVP in the PVN specifically abolished the expression of these genes in the PVN leaving expression in other loci intact. Control dsRNA did not affect CRF or AVP expression in any brain region, suggesting that dsRNA did not shut down global protein synthesis. ANOVA showed significant main effects of silencing of CRF on dampening of the stress-activated release of adrenocorticotrophin hormone (ACTH) (F(2,7)=4.87; p<0 .047="" br="">
Silencing of AVP resulted in increased water consumption, increased urine output and decreased urine osmolality as compared to control dsRNA-treated rats. Furthermore, dsRNA had no obvious deleterious effects on body weight or food consumption, variables considered essential in ruling out adverse physiologic effects in animal models. Thus, using long dsRNA, we were able to ascertain site-specific roles of CRF and AVP in adult rats without any developmental compensation and in a wild-type background.


Majia here: The abstract above sounds as if there are few discernible adverse effects. However, more investigation raises some big red flags.

A Rutgers University website explains that the process of RNA interference is NOT UNDERSTOOD WELL:

[Excerpted] The mechanism of RNAi is not well understood. Some data suggests that cells have such a response to protect themselves against the invasion of foreign nucleic acids or to protect them selves against transposition and viruses. http://avery.rutgers.edu/WSSP/StudentScholars/project/introduction/RNAi.html

Majia here: Genetic Roulette claims these risks exist for incorporation of novel RNA in food:

Genetic Roulette Claims: Novel RNA may be harmful to humans and their offspring

1. Small RNA sequences can regulate gene expression, most commonly by silencing genes.

2. RNA is stable, survives digestion and, can impact gene expression in mammals that ingest it.

3. The impact can be passed on to future generations.

4. Genetic modification introduces new DNA combinations and mutations, which increased the likelihood that harmful regulatory RNA will be accidentally produced.


Genetic Roulette speculates that novel double stranded RNA (dsRNA) molecules created by genetic engineering may be harmful. (I extracted these criticisms from a site titled 'academics review' that claims the technology is safe http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-content/genetic-roulette/section-2/2-8-novel-rna/)

Majia here: I ordinarily have strong appreciation for 'academic reviews.' However, I regard with suspicion findings that have large financial implications riding on them.

Genetic engineering is very seductive, but the consequences for the biosystem and human health more specifically are not fully understood.

Incorporating genetically modified food products into our food system has so far constituted an unmitigated disaster because the most commonly genetically modified seeds - Bt, Round- Up Read Corn and Soy, have been found in study after study to increase diabetes, tumor growth and reproductive failure.

Relevant Sites

Institute for Responsible Technology http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/health-risks/articles-about-risks-by-jeffrey-smith/Disease-resistant-genetically-engineered-crops-may-make-humans-and-plants-more-vulnerable-to-viruses-June-2006

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