The dispute between the two camps revolves around the opportunities and risks involved in green genetic engineering. It's about companies that are playing God and about fundamental questions like: What should man be permitted to do? What can science do? And should we be allowed to do things just because we can? The dispute is also about freedom and its limitations, the freedom to carry out research, and the freedom of consumers, farmers, beekeepers and a corporation. Where does one side's freedom end and the other's begin, and who draws the boundaries?
The problem is that American corporations (ex demonstrated by Bayer) cannot be relied on to be truthful about potential harm form their products. Laboratories can only test for those risk factors they already know about. Unexpected side effects can show up once GM products are in the wild, and the problem with a genetics accident is that once released, getting it back under control may well be impossible.
At issue is the revelation that altered genes jot only affect the targeted portion of the genome, but can also produce unexpected changes to other parts of the organism as well.
There is hard evidence that pollen from GM plants harms beneficial insect species. There is evidence that animals fed on crops from GM seeds suffer reproductive harm.
Earlier this week we ran a story which identified agrobacterium, a plant bacteria used for gene insertions, in patients suffering Morgellon's Disease, a condition which has appeared coincident with, and primarily in areas with the highest density use of genetically modified crops.
No doubt GM companies will spend vast sums of money to keep the lid on such a scandal, as trillions of dollars are at stake not only with the collapse of the entire GM industry but the lawsuits which would follow hard proof of a GM link to any of these other problems as well.
Fighting in the Field: Monsanto's Uphill Battle in Germany - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International (external - login to view)