Scientists engineered GM bananas despite ‘100s of studies’ on their adverse impacts
Under the guise of making Indians “super healthy” and preventing iron deficiencies, Indian researchers are preparing to produce genetically-modified (GM) bananas despite hundreds of published scientific papers on the adverse impacts of transgenic foods.
Australian scientists have shared the technology with Indian scientists and farmers they say to help address widespread anemia in the country.
The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) signed an agreement with India’s department of biotechnology to invest in a four-year project to develop the iron-rich bananas.
Australia will now hand over the genes to the experts from five Indian institutes for injecting them into the local bananas.
Professor James Dale says the research is an extension of a far north Queensland program backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Dale and his team had earlier experimented with genetically-modified bananas in Uganda. The banana fortification project in Uganda, he said, was in development stage and would take around six years to come to market. They have also developed the genetically modified bananas in Australia.
The Coalition for a GM-Free India, and informal network of scores of organizations and individuals from across India, campaigning and advocating to keep India GM-Free, has voiced strong concerns for GM technology and has released a compilation of scientific papers titled “ADVERSE IMPACTS OF TRANSGENIC CROPS/FOODS: A Compilation of Scientific References and Abstracts” which showcases the mounting evidence on the adverse impacts of transgenic crops and foods on various fronts.
“While the government does not hesitate to announce even on the floor of the Parliament that there are no adverse impacts from transgenic crops/foods, with this compilation that we are releasing today, we hope that fooling of the public by the proponents would stop.
This is by no means an exhaustive compilation but only illustrative”, said the Coalition in a statement accompanying the release of this compilation.
“The implications of this living, irreversible technology have to be understood on different fronts (as much as possible, because there is still a severe dearth of research, that too on long term implications and from independent sources) by policy makers and citizens before GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are released into the environment, particularly on a large scale”.
“The debate on GM crops is always peppered with statements that opposition to GM crops stems out of “misguided emotion” or “ignorance” and that there is no “scientific evidence” for the negative effects of the technology. But the reality is that there is significant amount of scientific evidence that shows the problems with GM crops.
Several studies also point out to the need for further, detailed investigations. It is ironical that the scientists promoting GMOs in India do not want to look at such research and deliberately try to avoid discussions on scientific footing.
They should understand that they would drive the nation into a deep and irreversible crisis related to food and farming if they continue this blinkered approach. At this juncture we would also like to reiterate that 150 scientists of repute had recently sent a letter to the Minister for Environment & Forests that GM crops have no connection to food security.
“However, we would like to reiterate, as we have always done, that GM crops are not about technical issues alone. It is a much broader and deeper issue which the industry and GM proponents want to circumscribe in the name of science.
In that context we want to showcase that there is enough evidence against this technology even on that front”, said a statement of the Coalition.
We would like to point out, “these studies exist despite vehement opposition to independent research (not allowing access to GM seed, not allowing publication of adverse results, attacking unfavourable papers) on GM crops due to intellectual property right barriers, opposition from the companies that own the technology and merciless attacks on, vilification of and threats to independent scientists who have found negative impacts of this technology.
This effectively means that if free and independent research were allowed on GM crops many more such studies will come to light, said Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Convener of the Coalition for a GM-Free India.