Let me share a news flash that caught my attention yesterday.
Okay, so I spent 20 minutes online searching for it; big diff. Point is, the following press release makes a very important point:
“The Leona M. Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust is providing a $42 million grant [to establish] a Center for Genomic Medicine to enable scientists in stem cell biology, endocrinology, cancer biology . . . and gene therapy to explore how certain cellular pathways serve as lynchpins for chronic diseases.
“Scientists at the new center will study how genomic networks control stem cell development, with the aim of enabling researchers to manipulate genes to make stem cells useful for regenerative medicine, as well as how disease alters the epigenome, chemical switches on the DNA molecule that influence genetic activity and may explain why patients with similar genetic profiles respond differently to treatment.”
Notice the phrase, “manipulate genes to make stem cells” that hopefully will be useful in treating diseases such as cancer and endocrine disorders. Anyone in the anti-biotech community have a problem with such research? I doubt it.
Furthermore, the genetic manipulation we’re talking about here isn’t the hit-and-miss, trial-and-error techniques associated with conventional plant breeding, in which plants are bombarded with radiation to produce unexpected mutations. Then, if those mutations appear potentially promising, the long, slow process of cross-breeding and selection begins.
This is about scientists identifying very specific genes that control very specific biological functions—such as control of the epigenomic “switches” on the DNA molecule—and then using very precise biotech techniques to trigger the desired changes.
I’m willing to bet the ranch that anyone suffering from one of the diseases such techniques aim to address would opt for the most precise, the most accurate, the most sophisticated protocol possible, especially when their health—and life—are at stake.
So why would those same people, who eagerly embrace the highest levels of biotechnological intervention and understand instinctively that whether it’s surgery, medication or genetic manipulation, the more precise, the better, why would they so quickly turn around and rail at the very same scientific strategy when it’s applied to plants?
It doesn’t make sense.
Not unless you account for two variables: Activist propaganda, No. 1, and the distance—or maybe better to say the proximity—of food to the rituals of our daily lives, No. 2.