Re: FYI: MEDIA & Greenpeace

Eugene Leitl (
Tue, 3 Dec 1996 18:41:30 +0100 (MET)

On Mon, 2 Dec 1996, James Rogers wrote:

> At 01:24 PM 12/2/96 -0800, you wrote:
> > [greenpeace]
> I don't get it. Greenpeace claims that genetically engineered foods are a
> big risk to humans yada yada ya, but nowhere do they site specific risks to
> humans. I went to there site and read their stuff on the evils of genetic

Well, actually that risks might exist. A small proportion of the populace
immunoreact strongly to certain, innocuous to the rest of us, substances.
In some cases this reaction might be even life-threatening. If you
introduce novel genes, these are (usually) expressed into (potentially
nasty) proteins.(If an enzyme is lacking, as e.g. in antimush-tomatoes, the
probability of a immunoreaction is virtually nil).

The possibility of this actually happening to you is infinitesimally
small, of course. However, it is growing due to occurance of immunodeficiencies
increasing dramatically, partly because of us dumping a staggering amount of
novel, evolutionary unprecedented substances into the ecosphere. Lacking
MYrs of Darwinian adaptation, considering the number of substances in
widespread use (and their future introduction trend) and ability of signal
biomolecule analoga to trigger noticeable effects in infinitesimally small
concentrations I see a number of unavoidable problems in our immediate

If an enzyme is lacking, as e.g. in antimush-tomatoes, the probability of
a immunoreaction is virtually nil, of course.

> engineering and I was unimpressed. Seems more reactionary than anything.
> Properly applied and tested genetic engineering can offer a wealth of
> benefits to humanity.

Yes, but watch out for bioweapon research. But of _course_ nobody is
doing biological weapon research nowadays...

> I would think they would be in favor of it. Fewer pesticides, more

Actually, most crop modifications made by company Foo are made to make
the crop resistant against total herbicide Bar, usually also produced by
Foo. So you are forced to buy crop seeds and Bar from Foo, and one day
you might wind up dumping ktons of Bar onto your fields, resulting in total
herbicaust of non-crops, massive, and growing Bar and Bar residues
contamination of your ground water, and, a very noticeable drain on your
pocket. Additionally, you get a nice market oligopoly, with just Foo1, Foo2
and perhaps Foo3 as major players.

Apart from killer bioapplications, these are the great benefits of
recombinant DNA technology, if unleashed onto the wonderful free markets.

> efficient usage of farmland, and a cleaner ecosystem all seem to me to be
> Greenpeace type goals.

While Greenpeace is nowadays doing PR mostly, and is barking upon a
totally wrong tree, it is barking up a _tree_, at least.

Recombinant DNA is like plutonium: you can use it to readically
illuminate major cities, and you can use it for space probe ion drive


> Go figure...
> -James Rogers