Genetically Modified Organisms Interactions with Population Health and Safety Chelsea Kadish Tyler Vaughn Ashley Wright.
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Genetically Modified Organisms Interactions with Population Health and Safety Chelsea Kadish Tyler Vaughn Ashley Wright
Problem Statement: Genetically modified organisms present an unknown risk and may cause harm to both plant and animal communities.
Background Information Post WWII- Chemical Revolution –Chemicals were being produced to help improve quality of life –Many of these chemicals turned out to have extremely negative consequences in the following decades Examples: PCB’s DDT Freon Dioxin
A 1998 study found that 2,250 of chemicals produced in the greatest volumes had no toxicity data. Environmental Health Letter, 1998
We are now approaching the GMO revolution! Instead of waiting to see what the negative effects to populations are, we should understand GMOs prior to their distribution and use.
Purpose Statement To evaluate the currently identified risks that GMOs may cause to human and soil communities.
Objectives: Identify the risk that GMOs present to human health by means of horizontal transfer of transgenes. Evaluate if GMOs could be a risk to humans with sever allergy problems. Recognize the current understanding of the impacts of GMOs on soil communities.
Approach: Assessed peer reviewed journal articles on the following areas: –Human Health Risk (allergenic) –Human Heath Risk (gene transfer) –Soil and Associated Microbial Communities
Human Health Risk (Allergenic) The production of GMOs results in the introduction of potentially allergenic proteins into the food being modified. “Of particular interest is the ability of proteins from GMO’s to elicit potentially harmful immunologic responses, including allergic hypersensitivity” (Dean, 2003)
Protein Digestibility Study on GMO’s and Allergic Potential “Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization Expert Consultation Committee on Allergenicity of Foods Derived from Biotechnology” Scientists tested the digestibility of the specific proteins of the genetically modified food for assessing allergic potential.
What to take away from the Protein Digestibility Study: The “digestion stability alone should not be used for defining an unknown protein as an allergen. Available data suggest that stability to digestion may not be a universal, defining characteristic of food allergens” (Bannon et. al, 2003).
CDC Report to FDA “CDC report to FDA: Investigation of human illness associated with potential exposure to Cry9c, an Investigation of Human Health Effects Associated with Potential Exposure to Genetically Modified Corn” (2001) Found no immediate health risks but called for more research.
Conclusion on Allergic Potential The majority of the research found, suggests no reason for immediate worry about the allergic effects of GMO’s on humans. All of the research does however call for more studies to be done so that scientists as well as consumers can be fully confident that proteins in GMO’s will not hold a higher allergic potential.
Risk to Human Health from Gene Transfer When creating GMOs they are often crossed with bacterial strains When the GMO is consumed, this DNA can get mixed with the DNA of microbes in your digestive tract via Horizontal Transfer
Ketler et al. Study Used a FASTA (scientific protein sequence alignment software) analysis done on the European Bioinformatics Institute website to evaluate potential risk The authors concluded that for each of the genes that they evaluated the potential horizontal transfer to microorganisms would most likely not raise health concerns.
Risk to Soil and Associated Microbial Communities There has been little research done in this area although support for it is growing Posed for study: –Interactions between transgenic plants, plant residues, and the soil. –Horizontal Gene Transfer –Manipulation of plant proteins
Risk Assessment of GMO plants Each transgenic plant is different and excretes different proteins into different soil settings. This makes quantifying risk problematic. –Identify indicators –Measurable response –Comparable data necessary for analysis
Suggested Questions for Future Assessments (based on present knowledge) 1. What are the environmental conditions of the system into which the GM crop is to be introduced, such as soil type, pH, water retention, vegetation, and the surrounding environment? 2. What is already known about the microbial community present and its key functions in the soil system? 3. What is the nature and origin of the gene(s) introduced into the plant and when and in which organ(s) of the plant? 4. Does the mode of action of the inserted genetic material act in relation to a very specific organism of the system or does it confer a more general property that may affect a whole range of organisms? 5. What are the modes of exposure of soil-borne microorganisms to the GM product or introduced DNA and how long is this exposure?
Conclusion There is a urgent need for more research to be done in this field