Genetically Modified Food – Calling All Scientists

To all scientists everywhere

I realise that the money for research comes from large companies but do you honestly think that developing a gene-modification-based solution to our problems is the long term answer? We are already releasing unknown and un-stoppable genetically modified food plants into the wild to breed with other native plants causing unknown results. As a scientist, do you not feel morally obliged to help the environment or are you just doing this as a career and for money?

Patenting of gene research

Already companies are buying up and registering patents which will stop poor countries of the world having access to its products. Any research that you as a scientist do, is probably owned by the university or lab where you do your research and as such will be sold to the highest bidder or be quickly patented by the companies with the closest links to your establishment.

Seed banks are the gold of the future

Seed banks are being bought up by a select few companies, as they know that this will become the ‘gold’ of the future and access to gene pools of native and natural untainted specimens will be the pot of gold. They do not need to distribute their genetically modified crops, because nature will do that for them. These companies only have to police and charge any farmer whose crops have become ‘tainted’ by nature with the new and patented genes. Soon, it will be a monopoly of farms owned by and run by the power hungry aggressive companies who own the patents to these crops. The small or medium-sized farmer will be gone, put out of business but the high charges levied by these companies who own the patents on the genes that the farmers had no idea they had acquired.

Perfect or cloned humans?

If you are working with animal genes rather than plant genes, I suspect that already in 2010 there are rich and powerful organisations who have access to human genetic modification or replication and a purer form of human. This is something which Hitler started in the Second World War, and may well become a reality within our lifetime but perhaps introduced through the scientific back door. Although there are guidelines in existence now, the back-door entrance provides entry without the rigid moral controls that the guidelines impose and for those with money, there is always a small gap under the door.

Money makes it possible

The problem is money. Money makes research possible. Money makes discoveries possible. The organisation that put up the funding wants a return on the money it gave for research and the result of the research, when patented, gives that return on their investment. But… who owns that company which needs a return on its investment? Why… you and I own that company through our shares and our pension fund and our life insurance.

Our responsibilities

We sit back and expect others to make decisions for us that are morally the ones we should make, but agendas of others are different, their motivation and their reason for being is different from ours. Quite often, this makes the decisions they make, not the ones we would choose, but the responsibility still remains with us. Unfortunately, however much we would like to do so, we cannot pass the buck on our responsibility and we will be judged in the future by our offspring.

We really need to wake up

Wake up and see what we are releasing into the wild and see that, once released, we cannot re-capture the natural and un-modified-by-man organisms that we once had. All the natural diversity will be controlled or killed off, leaving only a subset of possibilities which some scientist – maybe you – in a white coat believes is for the public good.