Despite 20 years of genetically modified organisms infiltrating grocery brands, millions of Americans still go hungry—and we’re seeing huge rises in use of dangerous pesticides like glyphosate, dicamba, and soon, 2,4-D. GMOs haven’t lived up to the hype, and continue to pose risks: the plant-based Impossible Burger, using GM yeast and a GM soy-induced protein to “bleed” like real meat, has introduced ingredients never seen in a human diet.
New genetic modification tools—“GMOs 2.0”—are being touted as faster and more precise than earlier methods. Like original GMOs, they offer no consumer benefits, no required testing or labels, and health risks.
“When you alter the genetics of living things they don’t always behave as you expect,” explains senior scientist Michael Hansen.
Synthetic biology uses DNA to artificially synthesize compounds rather than extract them from natural sources. Will EverSweet lab-created stevia put farmers in Mexico, Paraguay, and Madagascar out of business? Who wins, and who loses, when food goes from land to lab?
CRISPR uses gene editing, cutting DNA to insert genetic material or make alterations. CRISPR is being utilized to breed all-male “terminator cattle” that will only produce male offspring (the developer is lobbying FDA not to require safety studies). A CRISPR-edited mushroom that resists browning is the first such organism to get approval from USDA.
Gene silencing—interfering with RNA—turns off traits such as browning in the GM Artic Apple; the apple is now in test markets—without a GM label.
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