The Disaster Caused by GE’s First Edible Product Was Obfuscated

Originally published by IndependentScienceNews.org:

By Steven M. Druker, J.D.

Although it purports to be based on solid science and the open flow of information on which science depends, the massive venture to reconfigure the genetic core of the world’s food supply has substantially relied on the propagation of falsehoods. Its advancement and very survival have been crucially and chronically dependent on the misrepresentation of reality – to the extent that more than thirty years after the creation of the first genetically engineered plant, the vast majority of people the world-over (including most government officials, journalists, and even scientists) continue to be misled about the important facts.

Moreover, contrary to what people would expect, the biotechnology industry has not been the main source of the deceptions.

Instead, the chief misrepresentations have been issued by respected government agencies and eminent scientists and scientific institutions.

The genetic engineering venture had an alarming jolt when its first ingestible product caused an epidemic that killed dozens of Americans and seriously sickened thousands, permanently disabling many of them. The product was a food supplement of the essential amino acid L-tryptophan that had been derived from genetically altered bacteria. Although it met the standards for pharmacological purity, like all other tryptophan supplements it contained minute amounts of impurities.

However, unlike the conventionally produced supplements, one or more of its accidental additions was highly toxic, even at extremely low levels. Because none of the tryptophan supplements produced via non-engineered bacteria had ever been linked to disease, and because genetic engineering can create unintended disruptions within the altered organisms, there were legitimate reasons to suspect that the process had induced the formation of the extraordinarily toxic substance that caused the calamity.

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