Using New GMO “Gene Drive” Technology Could The Be Most Devastating Biological Weapon

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As the next generation of GMOs are being developed, we will likely see them in possession with a new trait being called “gene drive.” This gene drive is designed to allow the genetic alterations to spread like a virus through the host population, be it plant or animal. This has lead to many scientists being concerned that this self-replicating technology could be used to make GMOs become sophisticated and secretive biological weapons against everything from crops and livestock to humans.

The claims by the scientific community is that this gene drive technology is being developed to help eliminate problems like mosquito-borne diseases and other international health problems. Despite these claims which are being made, publications like the Independent (U.K.) have also warned that gene drive could also make global health problems even worse. They could also irreversibly contaminate the whole food chain with their GM traits.

A group of 27 highly-respected geneticists recently sent a letter to the journal Science, urging the scientific community to more seriously consider the colossal impact that gene drive technology could have on the environment and human health. What this technology will do is allow genetic butchers to set off an unstoppable chain reaction which could completely change an organism in a matter of just a couple generations.

A geneticist named David Gurwitz from Israel’s Tel Aviv University warned, “Just as gene drives can make mosquitos unfit for hosting and spreading the malaria parasite, they could conceivably be designed with gene drives carrying cargo for delivering lethal bacterial toxins to humans.”

An article that was recently published in Nature magazine outlines a gene-modification method known as CRISPR. This technique is celebrated as being “cheap, quick, and easy to use.” It involves the enzyme Cas9 being delivered to an organism’s target DNA. The enzyme is able to make changes to the DNA by either disrupting them or inserting additional genetic information into them.

 

Gene drive technology artificially speeds up the spread rate of GM traits

Under normal circumstances, altered genes only have about a 50 percent chance of being passed on to future generations. A visual diagram published by The Independent illustrates this, showing how even over the course of several generations of exposure, genetically altered mosquitoes only pass their traits on to a small percentage of their offspring, preserving wild-type features within its population to some degree.

Gene-drive inheritance, on the other hand, is an entirely different animal. Gene-drive alterations are artificially sped up to promote more rapid changes within a population, so they infect many more organisms at a much faster rate. Gene-drive inheritance also spreads GM traits much more quickly within a single organism, resulting in a nearly total transformation within just a few subsequent generations, as illustrated in the following diagram from The Independent:”The additional genetic elements of Crispr (a type of gene drive technology) cause a chain reaction where the mutation is passed between chromosomes in the same organism, causing up to 97 per centinheritance in resulting offspring-generations,” explains The Independent about gene-drive inheritance.

 

CRISPR gene-editing technique costs only 30$

An article that was recently published in Nature magazine outlines a gene-modification method known as CRISPR. This technique is celebrated as being “cheap, quick, and easy to use.” It involves the enzyme Cas9 being delivered to an organism’s target DNA. The enzyme is able to make changes to the DNA by either disrupting them or inserting additional genetic information into them.

The most terrifying part about this technology is the price tag. For a mere $30, nearly anybody can get their hands on it and use it however they want. It is the low cost combined with widespread availability that makes this technology so dangerous.

A molecular biologist out of the University of California, Berkeley by the name of Brian Farley wrote that “the two applications of CRISPR technology that I’m the most worried about are edits to human reproductive tissue and the generation of and release into the wild of transgenic organisms that are capable of propagating edits.” “If we generate successfully edited sperm or eggs and then use them for in vitro fertilization, we’ll create individuals that carry those edits in every single cell of their bodies” concluded Brian Farley.

Source: NaturalNews

Sources for this article include also:
Independent.co.uk
Nature.com
Quora.com

 



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