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[IPp] GMO Cheerios vs. GMO Insulin

Thought provoking. Our kids are saved by E-coli & GMO!


GMO Cheerios vs. GMO Insulin
by Caroline Coatney <http://www.biofortified.org/community/user/ccoatney/> on
27 January 2014

 The recent
General Mills to produce GMO-free Cheerios is interesting from marketing,
political, and biological angles. However, what I am interested in most is
if GMO Inside <http://www.donotlink.com/dcj> and other anti-GMO groups will
realize that the process of producing the GMO ingredients in Cheerios (corn
starch and sugar) is identical in principle to the way insulin--and many
other drugs, like your dog's rabies

made. If they adamantly insist on GMO-free food products, how can they not
extend their request to all pharmaceutical products made with the same
genetic engineering technology? If we must have GMO-free Cheerios, then we
must have GMO-free insulin, right?

Insulin <http://www.idf.org/about-insulin-0> is made, in principle, the
same way the GMO corn starch and GMO sugar in Cheerios is. To start, the
DNA sequence for human insulin is inserted into the bacteria *E. coli*,
which creates an organism that now has DNA from two very different species
in it. This new *E. coli* is a genetically modified organism (GMO) and
serves as a cheap factory for mass-producing the human insulin protein.
After a while, the *E. coli* bacteria has produced large amounts of the
human protein to the point where the protein can be extracted from the
bacteria cells and purified before being packaged into insulin shots. The
insulin protein produced via genetic engineering is chemically identical to
the insulin protein made in a healthy human body.

Genetically engineered plants are made through a very similar process. A
gene of particular interest is inserted into a plant. (For details on how
exactly this happens, check out this
video<http://gmoanswers.com/explore?carouselid=0&slideindex=4> from
GMO Answers.) This gene may be useful for insect resistance, like the Bt

or useful for other agricultural purposes. Eventually the plant is
harvested and processed for its crop. The actual plant tissue that has the
genetically engineered DNA in it may or may not be directly eaten by
consumers; it depends on what the plant is harvested for. In the case of
Cheerios, corn starch and sugar are processed and
their respective plants with DNA removed. The corn starch and sugar
produced without GMOs is chemically identical to their GMO counterparts;
the genes added to the GMO plants did not change the properties of corn
starch or sugar.

The genetic engineering processes of making insulin, corn starch, and sugar
are the same in principle. This "sameness" adds unavoidable complexity to
the GMO discussion. Genetic engineering seems to have developed two faces:
life-threatening and life-saving. Anti-GMO organizations will sooner or
later have to confront this contradicting duality, especially as genetic
engineering opens a new chapter for medical advances, such as the potential
 cures for

So when should we expect GMO Inside to set up another petition, this time
for GMO-free insulin? Part of me hopes soon since maybe the juxtaposition
of a long-trusted drug and anti-GMO propaganda will be enough to resolve
the two faces of genetic engineering into one honest representation.
Rachel - email @ redacted
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