You could say that the gene pairs that dictate how every living thing on this planet develops make up a whole language. It is quite literally that there is a code for every living thing and all of its characteristics. Genes, and their success or failure, are what form all of the complex interactions between adaptations and behaviours. The 'web of life' that is so much more than the sum of it's parts is a manifestation of this genetic language.
Now it is easy to imagine the effect of chopping and changing a language arbitrarily to suit the desired alteration of a specific iteration. Making a word better with a part of another word for example, might work for as long as we only consider the improved word. When we look at the sentence around that word, and the whole system of language around the new improved word, we would find that it does not fit in with the overall pattern and rhtythm of the whole code.
If that was a little confusing, what I am basically saying is, ' how can we tell what the long term effects of playing around with gene codes are going to be?
When you talk to people ebout the genetic modification issue they seem to be primarily concerned about possible direct effects. Getting sick from eating some slightly different fruit or veg doesn't seem very likely does it? Well thousands of scientists from around the world say it is. They say that genetic material is placed into the original plant species in a 'clumsy' manner that causes all manner of genetically based abnormalities to occur as a result of inadvertent damage to the genecode surrounding the new addition. You recall reading about the increased rates of allergic response to foods. It was never really a big issue, and then it became one. Well it's no coincidence that the release of genetically modified organisms onto the open market took place at around the time those reports of allergies started to become more common. There have been other issues causing increased allergic response, but a more refined understanding of genetics now makes it seem certain that genetically modified organisms have gone untested and the health implications could turn out to be quite severe.
So before we ever begin to consider the effect of genetic engineering on the natural environment we can see that 'danger is close' to borrow a military phrase. This is a war after all, or at least it should be if we know what's good for us.
Knowing what's good for us is what this blog is all about. Read this letter from the scientific community about GMO.