jueves, noviembre 18, 2004

 Welcome to Acres USA
Acres USA
the original eco-agricultural bookstore

A GM-Free World: Leading Geneticist Exposes the Bad Science of Biotech
Interview: Mae-Wan Ho, Ph.D.
November 2004, Acres U.S.A.

Mae-Wan Ho obtained her B.S. degree in biology in 1964 and her Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1967 from Hong Kong University. She was a postdoctoral fellow in biochemical genetics from 1968 to 1972 at the University of California in San Diego, during which time she won a competitive fellowship of the U.S. National Genetics Foundation. She then became a senior research fellow in Queen Elizabeth College in the United Kingdom, and after that a lecturer in genetics and a reader in biology in the London Open University. In 1999, Ho founded the London-based ISIS — the Institute of Science in Society — to promote her views and those of like-minded scientists. Dr. Ho retired in June 2000 and remains a visiting reader in biology at the Open University and a visiting biophysics professor in Catania University, Sicily. Today, she has close to 300 publications, including 47 experimental works.

Dr. Ho has been one of the most influential figures of the last decade in the debate within the scientific community regarding the use of genetically modified organisms. She is a highly consulted scientific figure with many theories relating to her powerful anti-GM stance. She is also a well-known critic of neo-Darwinism and reductionist thought in biology and physics.

ACRES U.S.A. What is genetic engineering, from the layman’s point of view?

HO. Genetic engineering refers to a whole set of techniques in the laboratory in which you take the genetic material from different organisms, from bacteria, from viruses, you join them up together to make new combinations, and then you use laboratory techniques to produce a lot of copies of this new joined-up, engineered genetic material which is completely unnatural. From there, you again use laboratory techniques to introduce these strange combinations of genes into organisms, into the cells of say, maize, or the embryos of cows or sheep or anything, any organism, in order to make genetically modified cells. In the case of plants, you can then regenerate these cells into a whole plant, and you can breed from that and start a sort of transgenic line out of this initial cell that has taken up the foreign genetic material. In the case of cows and sheep, you inject these strange, foreign genes into the embryo or the egg and you hope that some of the egg cells, the genome of the egg cell, have taken up this foreign construct — then it can again be grown into a transgenic animal.

ACRES U.S.A. You said “hope?”

HO. Yes, because this technique is known to be totally unreliable and uncontrollable. You see, even though the genetic engineer can pretty precisely chop up and join up the genetic material in the laboratory, once you try to put it into a cell, then it’s completely out of control — it cannot be controlled in the genome, where this foreign piece of DNA ends up. What’s more, it can become completely scrambled when it actually lands in the genome. So, depending on where and in what form this foreign construct has landed, then you end up with something totally different. This is why even if you start with the same cells, the same construct, the same kind of genetic material joined together, you can end up with completely different organisms. Basically, each transformed cell is actually the cell that has taken up the foreign genetic material.

0 Comentarios:

Publicar un comentario

Suscribirse a Comentarios de la entrada [Atom]

<< Página Principal