Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What do you get when you cross a human with a grain of rice?

No, really, it's not a joke, and there's no punch line—unless of course, one finds humor in the exploitation of the sick, the tired, the poor, the hungry, the teeming masses, well...you get it, I'm sure.

The first genetically modified food to contain human genes has been developed by the California-based Ventria Bioscience company and is set to be approved for commercial production, as the USDA has approved preliminary production in Kansas. Researchers have managed to create a rice that produces some of the proteins found in human saliva, tears and breast milk, touting the creation as boon to treating children with diarrhea, a major killer in developing nations. Indeed, a recent company-sponsored study in Peru conveniently found that children with severe diarrhea recovered a day and a half faster if the fluids prescribed were spiked with the same proteins engineered into the rice.

According to a recent article in the British Daily Mail by Sean Poulter, "The rice is a major step in so-called Frankenstein Foods, the first mingling of human-origin genes and those from plants. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture has already signalled it plans to allow commercial cultivation."

Not to be outdone, Japanese researchers are developing rice with human genes that act as protection against agricultural herbicides by enabling the plant to break down harmful chemicals applied to soils.

Read more:
Washington Post
Daily News
Independent Science Panel
Live Science
Science News Online

3 comments:

karl said...

arragh, that makes me so mad. next thing you know they will "acidentally" cross with the rest of our food.

Christy said...

I can't wait to get my farm and start growing my own food (although I'm going to start this year on the deck). I suppose the irony of genetically modifying food to make the poisons they put on the food "safe" is lost on them.

Betty in Vermont said...

Good morning, Danielle,

Just found your blog by looking at blogstats on mine...this entry about rice with human components is about the scariest thing I've ever read! GEEZ!

Good luck with your new Navajo Churro
lambs. They are very sweet. Our jacob lambs and one lone shetland (it was so warm in the fall that most of the shetland ewes didn't cycle! during the 18 days the rams were in with them. I love raising sheep. Most of my friends will not name the lambs they will eat, and mostly sell their lambs for eating to others and buy someone else's lamb to eat themselves. Personally, I feel an obligation to name especially the ones we will eat in the fall, and give them a lifetime of love and attention in six months. I love your question, "How can you eat something you don't know?" I will use that in future discussions with people about eating their aninals.