US regulations also fail to inform and protect. In fact, adequate protections from GMO microbes are not found anywhere. This is potentially catastrophic when we realize that they can encircle the globe quickly.
This issue should become a global priority, with governments, scientific organizations, schools, physicians, and thousands of organizations rallying to create safeguards, policies, laws, and precautionary positions.
Let’s make that happen.
Learn more about the dangers of GMO microbes in this film. And most especially, please sign up to be part of the solution here. We will let you know the steps you can take, some of which haven’t yet been designed or discovered.
Case Study 3: Soil
Did you know that genetically engineered bacteria were just a few weeks away from being released on farms around the US until a graduate student’s experiment revealed that it could render fields completely sterile?
Some speculate what the worst case scenario would have looked like: if the student’s experiment hadn’t prevented the release, the bacteria could have colonized “the entire planet over the course of several years, turning all of the soil where it grew into barren dirt.”
The bacterium (Klebsiella planticola) was genetically altered to convert plant matter into alcohol. After doing its job and removing the alcohol, a nutrient-rich sludge remains. The plan was to have farmers spread this sludge around their fields as fertilizer. When the graduate student decided to test the theory, he discovered that the remaining bacteria created alcohol that poisoned and killed the plants.
It’s not known what the actual impact would have been if the bacteria was widely released. But Dr. Elaine Ingham, the graduate student’s advisor at the time, reports that an EPA staff member let her know that an agency study confirmed that GMO bacteria can spread throughout the ecosystem and be found virtually everywhere. Further, bacteria regularly swap genes between strains, meaning that many types might become equipped with this dangerous trait.
It’s sobering to know that genetic engineers are planning to commercialize GMO soil bacteria shortly. Longer-term plans are to offer gene-edited bacteria customized on a per-farm basis. What could possibly go wrong? Oops.