WHY GMOS ARE A REALLY, REALLY BAD IDEA

30 01 2008

This blog post explains the unintended dangers of modifying soil bacteria to help produce that Holy Grail of the biofuels movement, cellulosic alcohol:


The first fourteen species that we worked on – microorganisms, bacteria. and fungi – were organisms incapable of surviving in the natural environment. Putting them in the world would be like taking penguins from the South Pole and dropping them into the La Brea tar pits. Would there be any ecological effect if we dropped a penguin into the middle of the tar pit? Probably not; the impact would be rapidly absorbed by the system.

These first fourteen species of GMOs that we tested had a similarly negligible impact. On this basis. the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the regulatory agency that was determining U.S. policy on genetically engineered organisms, set a course that essentially said that a genetically engineered organism posed no greater risk to the environment than the parent organism does.

GMO number fifteen, however, was a very different story. Klebsiella planticola, the bacterium that is the parent organism of this new strain, lives in soils everywhere. It’s one of the few truly universal species of bacteria, growing in the root systems of all plants and decomposing plant litter in every ecosystem in the world. 

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One response

3 01 2009
Keith Johnson

Thanks for the link to my blog (where you found the amazing article about Elaine Ingham and her work with GMO bacteria. Close call wasn’t it?
Keith

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