Isn’t GM similar to Natural Breeding?
The promoters of GM often say that it is not any different from the natural breeding process through which farmers have been enhancing characteristics of plants over thousands of years.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In normal sexual reproduction, both parents contribute thousands of genes to the offspring. These get sorted and expressed in a highly regulated and natural way. In Genetic Engineering, breeding is happening for a completely new trait. Genes are removed from one organism and forcibly inserted into another. And this way ‘novel organisms’ are being created. This doesn’t happen naturally.
More importantly, plant breeders never crossbreed across species. Through natural breeding, a pig can mate with a pig and a tomato can mate with a tomato. But there is no way that a pig can mate with a tomato. But using genetic modification, pigs genes can be inserted into tomato and vice versa.
This transfers genes across the natural barriers that have separated species over millions of years. And in the process, induces an unpredictability and instability with the new organism.
'Genetic Modification technically and conceptually bears no resemblance to natural breeding'
Michael Antoniou, Molecular Geneticist