Message Number: YG4408 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2001-06-08 16:34:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Bob C: A MAD Look At Genetically Altered Foods

There are points neither Bob, nor Leigh who responded to him in the
FOB covered. This is Leigh's field since she is finishing a
doctorate in molecular genetics, so I am hoping that she will
cross-post her reply on the Ferret health List
( to join, use files, etc..)

The increased risk to those with anaphylactic reactions is one. For
the population as a whole that is a small concern, but for those of
us with such reactions it could spell death in minutes. There has
already been at least one such a case reported according to a medical
newsletter I got. If memory serves it was genetic material from
cashew added to something else. Dying just from eating a food is the
pits. Some other genetic material sources can be higher in reaction
rates in the population than the 2% for true food allergies, for
instance: tobacco.

Neither of you addressed the crashes in the populations of some
species of lepidoptera which trace back at least partly to altered
food source, nor the incorporation of compounds into defense,
coloration, etc which are done by some grazers which might raise
questions to further populations, and so on.

I know a research botanist at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens who would
really argue with Bob about brushing off the competition factor; in
the tristate area competition from intruding non-native plants has
been one of the major causes of extinction or endangerment of some
plant species according what is now known in the 5th year of a huge
long-term study, so bringing in yet other alternatives without
knowing how they'd fair would raise knowledgeable eyebrows.

Do I think that genetic engineering is basically dangerous? No. Do
I think that folks should know well what they might affect before
release? Yes. Do I think that the source of genetic material should
appear in the ingredients label? Sure do.