The Vector MethodPosted 8 years ago under Uncategorized
In genetic engineering, which is the process by which GMOs are created, genes from one organism are inserted into the genes of another organism, using artificial laboratory techniques. This bypasses the biological constraints that are in place when scientists and farmers use the traditional methods of artificial selection otherwise known as selective breeding. The vector method and other methods of genetically modifying foods creates new organisms, unlike foods that have a shared history of life on the planet. 1
Not Every One is a Fan
There is a great deal of concern from both the public and the scientific community about the safety of GMOs. Genetically modified crops spread into non-GMO crops, contaminating the gene pools of traditional crops. This damages crop diversity, making our food supply more vulnerable to disease, or crop failures of other kinds.
GMO foods introduce new toxins and allergens to our food. These GMO foods have been touted as having been extensively tested, but this is not true. The same companies that would benefit from the test results “proving” the GMOs benign have been the primary organizations testing them. The majority of these studies are short-term 90-day studies. Long-term studies are showing that GMOs can potentially cause organ damage, and cancer. 2
Most crops are genetically engineered for two goals. One is to change the food so that it creates new toxins, unnaturally growing pesticides within the plant. The other most common genetic modification is to modify a plant so as to render it immune to an herbicide, usually Round Up, so that farmers can spray large quantities of Round Up over their fields and their crops will be unharmed. Many GMOs are modified in both ways. 3
Organisms have natural defenses evolved that make it difficult to interfere with their genetic material. There are many methods that scientists have successfully used to bypass these defenses. One of the most common methods of bypassing these natural defenses against genetic modification is the vector method.
A Virus Used to Genetically Modify Another Organism
The vector method uses a modified to virus as the vector by which genetic modification takes place. A virus is altered so as to remove its virulence; this removes some of the virus’ genetic material. 4 This newly created gap in the virus is where genes from another organism, the genes of interest (GOIs) are inserted into the virus. GOIs are selected based on preexisting knowledge of the genes to be inserted. 5
The virus is then used as the vector by which the genes of interest (GOI) are infected into the target organism. Instead of the virus reprogramming the cell to make copies of the virus, the virus inserts the GOIs into the cell. When the cell divides it will express the modified genes. As the cells divide and grow into an organism, it becomes another genetically modified plant or animal. 1