The European Food Safety Authority published a study in GM Crops and Food that brings to light a disturbing problem with the majority of GMO products in North America: A hidden viral gene that has far-reaching health implications. The gene, called Gene VI, is found in many GM crops, including Monsanto’s RR MON810 soya, NK603 maize. These crops are sold not just for consumption in North America, but also to various EU countries for food and animal feed products.
Some 2/3rds of approved GM crops in the US feature this gene. With such a large number of crops featuring it, what are the risks?
Gene VI is linked to the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus promoter gene. Scientists are concerned that normal functions of crop plants could be adversely affected. For example, plants may become unnaturally susceptible to some pathogens while less to others, resulting in poor crop health. Interference with messenger RNA could cause the production of novel proteins and/or toxins, with unknown consequences. Finally, gene silencing could occur (genes normally “on” being turned off), which could have far-reaching implications with regard to plant defences.
Viral genes act similarly to drugs: They disrupt normal function. Gene VI acts to suppress normal anti-pathogen defences. So, the question is: Does this gene suppress immune function in those who are exposed to GMO products? Currently, nobody knows.
Since GMO labelling is not mandatory in the US, no epidemiological studies can be carried out to gauge the safety of GMOs. What’s more, not a single country that has approved GMOs has bothered to implement monitoring. With the nearly forgone conclusion that Gene VI will cause aberrant gene expression, we’re clearly setting ourselves up for trouble.
The body’s immune system triggers inflammatory response in the presence of known pathogens and substances that it does not recognize whatsoever. Should GMOs be producing novel proteins or toxins for which the body has never encountered, the result will be inflammation. And inflammation is the common ground for all chronic illness.
With this cat out of the bag, one must wonder how much the likes of Monsanto and DuPont will spend to sweep the mess under the carpet. My advice? Eat organic.