By vast

Published: January 29, 2019

Category: GMO News, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter

Dr. Yves Bertheau

A French scientist and other experts rebut claims that genome-edited products cannot be distinguished from natural products, and thus cannot be detected or regulated

GMO proponents lobbying for lax regulation of genetically modified plants and animals produced with “new GM” techniques, including genome editing, argue that living organisms naturally contain many mutations (DNA damage), making them “natural GMOs.” They add that it is often impossible to distinguish mutations induced by the new genetic modification techniques from naturally induced mutations and that therefore GMOs produced with these techniques should not be regulated more strictly than conventionally bred varieties. Furthermore, they argue that GMOs produced with these techniques often cannot be distinguished from naturally bred organisms. They conclude that these GMOs cannot be identified or traced—and because traceability is not possible, it is simply not practical to regulate or label them.

However, these claims are challenged in a new methodological paper by Yves Bertheau, director of research at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), Versailles, currently at The National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

Incorrect claim: Many mutations are naturally present in plants, so we shouldn’t worry about those caused by new GM techniques.

Truth: Genomes have evolved to be highly stable. Plant and animal cells have various mechanisms to protect their DNA against invasion by introduced DNA and from mutations. For example, cells tend to eliminate mutations during cellular cycles of growth and reproduction.

Source: GM Watch

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