Transgenics unnatural? Nature doing ‘horizontal gene transfers’ for eternity

| | October 18, 2016

There is [a] fatal flaw to the argument that GMOs are “unnatural” because distant species do not exchange genes in nature – it’s wrong. Biologists refer to the … transfer of genes from one organism to another not through parentage is referred to as horizontal gene transfer.

Genetic modification is simply a technique for accomplishing directed horizontal gene transfer, but such exchange of genetic material happens all the time in nature, without any human intervention, and even across kingdoms.

. . . .

…[G]enes can comfortably be swapped between different species (species that cannot breed) and even between kingdoms, there are many examples from nature. In fact, every species has genetic material that it acquired in their evolutionary history from horizontal gene transfer…

There is nothing inherently “fishy” about the genes in fish, and transferring a “fish gene” into a plant will not transfer some fishy essence with it. It will simply transfer whatever protein that gene codes for.

Viruses that infect bacteria often “steal” genes from those bacteria, but a recent study shows that one such virus, that infects bacteria that live in insects and spiders, acquired genes from a black widow spider for a poison that enables it to punch through cell walls.

. . . .

Genes are more fluid in the microbial world, but they are also fluid in the macro world as well. Sweet potatoes have been found to have a gene acquired from soil bacteria about 8,000 years ago…

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: GMOs and Horizontal Gene Transfer

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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