Health Risks of GM Foods – Section 4

Section 4: The foreign protein may be different than what is intended

4.1 GM proteins may be misfolded or have added molecules
1. Proteins expressed in a GM plant may be processed differently than in the donor organism.
2. Those changes, which could include misfolding or molecular attachments, can be harmful in many unpredicted ways.
3. Current studies do not adequately test for these changes.

4.2 Transgenes may be altered during insertion
1. The foreign gene may become truncated, rearranged and deleted, or interspersed with extraneous pieces of DNA.
2. Because of truncation, one GM corn combines its own genetic sequence with that of the host DNA to create an unintended fusion protein.
3. Proteins produced from altered transgenes may have unpredictable harmful effects.

4.3 Transgenes may be unstable, and rearrange over time
1. At least two studies showed that the sequence of inserted genes was different than the sequence described by the company.
2. This suggests that transgenes are unstable and spontaneously rearrange.
3. The GM protein may therefore change, with unpredictable consequences for health.
4. Also, safety assessments are no longer valid, as the proteins may have changed after the tests are completed.

4.4 Transgenes may create more than one protein
1. Genetic engineering technology was created based on the outmoded notion that a single gene will create only a single protein.
2. Due to a process called alternative splicing, a single gene can produce many different proteins.
3. Although the bacterial genes used in GM crops will not, in their natural state,
be alternatively spliced, scientists modify the sequence in such a way that may facilitate this.

4.5 Weather, environmental stress and genetic disposition can significantly change gene expression
1. Environmental factors, natural and man-made substances and genetic disposition of a particular plant can influence levels of transgene expression and cause unique health effects.
2. These factors are not adequately accounted for in assessments.

4.6 Genetic engineering can disrupt the complex relationships governing gene expression
1. The GM transformation process can disrupt a network of genes that function as a unit.
2. Synthetic genes used in gene insertion may not act the same way as natural ones.
3. Multiple transgenes inserted into the same genome may interact in unpredicted ways.
4. Genetic engineering does not take into account its potential to damage newly discovered properties of the DNA, such as a second code embedded in the structure, which may aid in gene regulation.

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