Mutation: – In biology, a change to the genetic material (usually DNA or RNA) of an organism. Mutant: – A cell microorganism that manifests new characteristics due to a change in its genetic material.
Mutations occur all the time in all species. It’s a natural process. However, the chances of a mutation creating a mutant capable of better surviving its environment are vanishingly small. Most do not survive in nature.
For Mutant, now read Gentically Modified Organism (GMO).
We are creating a world of mutants with absolutely no knowledge of whether they will have the full spectrum of overall traits necessary for survival. However, if the Biotech industry gets its way (and recent recommendations at the EU look like supporting this –see press release below) we will soon have gm crops as the only option to grow, since other natural and organically produced crops will have been contaminated by GM DNA. And we have no idea how they will fare. What we do know, is that there will be no alternative. (With any level of contamination, it is not rocket science to foresee a time when all organic life forms will be contaminated by artificially modified DNA and be, in effect, mutants. To dismiss a small contamination level now as insignificant is naïve, the equivalent to describing someone as being “only slightly pregnant”).
All life forms on the planet are here because they have evolved over millennia to be able to survive and thrive in the environment in which they live. Their genetic makeup is a direct result of their evolution up to the present time. We are now creating a world of mutants – grossly unnatural life forms created by inserting genes from unrelated species into life forms upon which we depend for food and other resources such as clothing and medicines.
Lets put this into some perspective. After only 70 years (when the production of natural crops was made illegal and only approved hybrids were allowed to be traded around the world and particularly in the west,) the effects of conventional hybridisation and monocropping are now beginning to be seen: (“Our Food is Dying,” The Scientist, March 2006 Volume 20 | Issue 3 | Page 62 ) In this case we could consider the return to a broader gene base and more crop diversity (and organic agriculture with proper crop rotation) to be a way to provide practical solutions. Thanks to the few organisations such as the Henry Doubleday Research Association, we still have a library of live seeds of thousands of wild and natural plants currently deemed illegal on the open market. But once the gene pool is destroyed by GM contamination, there will be no going back and we run the risk of sowing the seeds of our own destruction.
We have absolutely no idea of how these new products might behave in the future, or even if they will survive. Given the frailty of civilisation, nations and particularly industries, there is no guarantee of continued support in the future for any problems that might arise. And there will be no going back – the gene pool will have been lost. We will be left with a declining base of mutant foodstuffs, which have had no time to adapt to natural conditions, many of which cannot survive in the wild, or even in cultivation without massive inputs of resource-heavy artificial support.
We could just have signed the death warrant of the planet.