Friday, January 8, 2016

Genetically Modified Organisms

By Anton Antonio
January 9, 2016

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms (therefore, plants, animals and/or microorganism) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural combination.  Here are researched materials on GMO…

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of the Philippines bans GMO eggplants.  Please read…

By Sustainable Pulse
December 8, 2015

In denying the petitions seeking the reversal of the CA ruling, the High Court also modified the appellate court’s May 2013 decision.  Aside from permanently stopping field testing for Bt talong, the SC als0 declared null and void the Department of Agriculture (DA) Administrative Order No. 8, series of 2002.  The SC also rules that any application for field testing, contained use, propaganda and importation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is also temporarily stopped pending the promulgation of a new administrative order.  In its ruling, the High Tribunal also explained its application of the precautionary principle, which holds that “lack of scientific certainty is no reason for inaction at the risk of potentially serious or irreversible harm to the environment.”  In May 2013, the CA stopped the nationwide field testing of the Bt eggplant following petition filed by Greenpeace and farmers’ group Masipag against responding UP Los BaƱos Foundation, Inc., UP Mindanao Foundation, Inc. the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  The decision was based on the precautionary principle, with the CA saying that “there is no full scientific certainty yet as to the effects of Bt talong field trials to the environment and to the health of the people.”  The CA also noted that existing regulations of the DA and the Department of Science and Technology ware not enough to ensure the safety of the environment and health of the people.  Amid the uncertainties surrounding the Bt talong, the CA upheld the primacy of the people’s constitutional right to health and a balanced ecology,” the SC said.  The High Court agreed with the appellate court, noting the lack of consensus among scientists regulating the safety of Bt talong.  It also found the DA’s administrative order lacking in the minimum safety requirements under Executive Order 514, which established the National Biosafety Framework (NBF).  The NBF, he SC said, mandates a “more transparent, meaningful and participatory public consultation on the conduct of field trials” beyond the mere posting of notices and consultations with residents and government officials.  The SC concurred with the CA’s decision to uphold the use of the precautionary principle, saying that 3 conditions were present in the case that warranted the application of the principle: (1) settings in which the risks of harm are uncertain; (2) settings in which harm might be irreversible and what is lost is irreplaceable; and, (3) settings in which the harm that might result would be serious.  “When these features – uncertainty, the possibility of irreversible harm, and the possibility of serious harm – coincide, the case for the precautionary principle is strongest.  When in doubt, cases must be resolved in favour of the constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology,” the court said.”

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques (therefore, genetically engineered organism).  GNOs are the source of medicines and genetically modified foods and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce other goods.  The term GMO is very close to the technical legal term, “living modified organism”, defines in the Cartanega Protocol on Biosafety, which  regulates international trade in living GMOs (specifically, “any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern technology”).  A more specifically defined type of GMO is a “Transgenic Organism”.  This is an organism whose genetic makeup has been altered by the addition of genetic material from another, unrelated organism.  This should not be confused with the more general way in which “GMO” is used to classify genetically altered organisms, a typically GMOs are organisms whose genetic makeup has been altered without the addition of genetic material from an unrelated organism.  The first genetically modified mouse was in 1981, the first plant was produced in 1983 and the first genetically modified human (modified mitochondrial DNA) was born on July 21, 1997.”  (Wikipedia)

Wow!... genetically modifying flora and fauna?  This is not nature’s way… nor God’s way.  Call me old school (meaning: refers to someone or something that is old-fashioned or traditional) but I’m absolutely opposed to genetically modified organisms.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Sustainable Pulse, (2015).  “Philippine Supreme Court Confirms GMO Eggplant Ban”. Retrieved on December 26, 2015 from

Wikipedia, (2015).  “Genetically Modified Organism”.  Retrieved on January 9, 2016 from

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