Some Australian Critics Say Biotech Wheat Could Pose Genetic Danger

As the science of producing genetically modified wheat rises in Australia, critics want tighter regulations and more safety tests in regards to the wheat.
December 1, 2012

As the science of producing genetically modified wheat rises in Australia, more and more critics are chomping at the bit for tighter regulations and more safety tests in regards to the wheat.

However, some top dogs in the industry are concerned that the complaints and pleas may be coming from groups that are known enemies of biotech crops.

The Safe Food Foundation of Australia is concerned that wheat which has been modified genetically may pose a danger to certain human genes. This danger is known as “silencing”, a descriptive term used to mean the interruption of a given gene’s protein creation process.

Today’s genetically modified wheat is thought to contain higher degrees of starch. This is thought by some experts to be a fact that could negatively affect diabetic people’s blood sugar levels, as well as the state of bowel health in all humans.

Genetic and agricultural officials in the United States have, however, disputed the claims made by the Australian health authorities. For instance, the National Association of Wheat Growers’ director of communications has brought the claims into question, saying that they were put into public circulation by aggressively anti-biotech groups.

According to said director, Melissa George Kessler, the wheat genomes in question would actually have to be genetically similar to human genomes in order to have any sort of negative effect and this just isn’t the case.

Kessler goes on to state: “Any biotech wheat, like biotech crops commercialized today, will be subject to rigorous scientific testing and extensive government approval processes before it becomes available to farmers or consumers.”

As for the solution to the dichotomy, additional industry experts like Jack Heinemann, a professor at the School of Biological Sciences in New Zealand think that the answer lies in making new investments in safety testing and research by technicians capable of doing so in an unbiased manner.