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posted by [personal profile] fallon_ash at 06:41pm on 19/02/2012 under ,
From Health Canada's page on Genetic Engineering, glossary:

"Genetically Modified: An organism, such as a plant, animal or bacterium, is considered genetically modified if its genetic material has been altered through any method, including conventional breeding. A "GMO" is a genetically modified organism."

(It should be noted that for example Wikipedia has a very different definition of "GMO", which specifies that 'genetic engineering' has to have been used and does not include "conventional breeding".)

Now, I'm assuming (hoping!) that Health Canada is trying to be easily accessible and easy to understand or whatever, but this is just dumb. "If its genetic material has been altered through any method." Bah. I'd like someone to show me ANYTHING that they can prove is not a "GMO" according to their definition. Every single living organism on this planet has had its genetic material altered! If we hadn't, we would all be identical single-cell DNA-strands on the bottom of the ocean!

So let's assume that maybe they mean 'altered by humans through any method' - but it's still dumb! It would include basically every crop, vegetable, fruit, and livestock EVER, except whatever people eat who still live as hunter/gatherers - and you bet whatever they eat has been genetically altered too, just not by humans, but by other animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, viruses, whatever.

These are the basics: DNA is the same in all living organisms. It consists of 4 different bases, that combine A-T, C-G, which can be reorganized in any which order. But it will never be anything else than those 4 bases, regardless of whether humans or Nature does the reorganizing. Sure, we can genetically engineer all kinds of toxins and scary stuff. But so can Nature! What about that little super-poisonous frog? Or the botulinum bacteria for that matter, which produces the toxin they use to make botox - 1kg of the toxin is enough to kill the entire human population on earth.

Genetic engineering is one thing. Genetic altering is another, but similar in many ways, and happens all the time. Regardless of which is it, it's not automatically dangerous. Get your facts straight, internets. We don't need to be perpetuating non-scientific stuff like this and unnecessarily scare people. *sigh*
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