Don’t you love it when scientists just go ahead and do something that will radically impact your life, and you have no say in it. We elect a bozo to sit in the White House and pass laws, but we can’t even vote on something for example that will cause a dramatic change in the quality of our drinking water.
That’s what genetic engineering is all about.
Genetic engineering is the altering of a plant (or organism) by sewing part of another plant onto it—-thus changing the first plant’s DNA, or gene blueprint. In other words, if I cross a redwood tree with a sunflower, I might get a reddish, wooden, five-hundred-foot-tall sunflower.
The alleged purpose of genetic engineering is to increase the food value of plants, or to make them more resistant to insects or chemicals. About 70 percent of the foods on your grocery store shelf have been genetically tampered with without your knowledge.
There are pro and cons.
A con is that the side effects of gene changing (there are always side effects to everything) have never been studied. What are you gonna do when you’ve been eating the same brand of carrots for five weeks and your right ear overnight swells twice the size of your other ear? Don’t blame the Mexican laborer who picked the carrot.
On the other hand, what if we could design a carrot that would dramatically increase the size of a sexual organ. That could be a pro.
Of course, another pro would be that we could have more carrots than we’ve ever had before. We could ship excess cheap carrots to poor starving countries and cause the swelling of their right ears.
Another pro (or con if you’re on the receiving end), is that food could become a weapon, like biological or chemical weapons, the ultimate food fight. We could deliberately ship genetically altered food with harmful side effects to countries we don’t like, France for example. A tomatoe in your salad could become a weapon of mass destruction.
Genetic engineering also might result in herbicide-resistant weeds, a pro or con depending on whether you like weeds (I depend on them to cover my lawn).
Think of the potential if we crossed DNA from Michael Jackson to that of a trout. You’d get a small, weird, lighter-skinned opportunistic fish that jumps around a lot. Or an extinct mastodon bone with a banana. A gigantic, furry fruit with an ivory tusk.
The possibilities are endless. Of course, a total breakdown of the natural food chain is possible (a con), but scientists assure us not to worry. They have a long history of accurately predicting the after-results of their experiments, from Dr. Frankenstein, to Chernobyl, to DDT.
That definitely qualifies as a con.