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  • Rickinreallife's picture
    WheatLover -- In the discussion threads in the citations you've linked to, there is discussion of how the report of the gene silencing rna sequences absorbed through digestion that were alleged contradicts years of research exploring the possibility of purposely influencing human cell activity through ingested rna. In other words, it is a holy grail in medicine to be able to treat diseases like cancer by swallowing pills containing genetic sequences that would silence cancerous cells, but research to that end has been unsuccessful to this point. It is not a surprise that Witwer of Johns Hopkins followed up on the Zhang findings because if true, it could be a breakthrough in a whole new class of therapies -- John Hopkins would have been very interested in confirming Zhang's findings. The fact that Johns Hopkins could not replicate the Zhang findings is telling.

    What is disturbing is that careless assertions that dietary rna can alter functions of human genes can have adverse consequences even if genetic engineering were completely abandoned. It inserts a concept into popular discourse that dietary rna absorbtion can perhaps help regulate human body function. That opens up all kinds of opportunities for charlatans to exploit -- "eat this herbal supplement because it contains beneficial rna sequences that your body absorbs through digestion that can stimulate cells to increase production of enzymes that rid the body of chemicals that cause cancer".
  • Kevin Folta's picture
    Kevin Folta
    I guess the thing that bothers me is that there are people telling you that GM wheat is harmful, yet there is no GM wheat commercially available. That should tell you quite a bit about their motivations. Enjoy your whole wheat bread, reject fear-based claims, and let science and reason be your guide.
  • WheatLover's picture

    As an individual who makes his livelihood from the sale and consumption of wheat products, I naturally find the claims made by Professor Heinemann very concerning. However as I look into it I grow skeptical that the claim is accurate.

    First, Professor Heinemann, as well as Judy Carman, are noted as anti-GMO activists. This does not mean their work is automatically discredited, as long as they do not allow their personal views to interfere with the scientific process, but Carman's study on a pig feeding trial was discussed previously on this website and it seemed that was an example where the results were skewed to reach a specific conclusion.

    It does not help my concern that the only people speaking positively about this study are people, scientific journals, and organizations that are known to promote organic and vilify GMOs. Everyone else I have read about Heinemann's study is jumping to conclusions without sufficient evidence to support his claims.

    Also it seems that Heinemann and the Safe Food Foundation made similar claims last autumn, as noted by the biofortified website

    Another point of concern I have for this "undergroundhealth" websites mentioning of the Rothamsted Research scientists and their aphid repelling wheat, for no apparent reason other than to mention another case of GMO wheat. What bothers me is that they cite what critics of the trial say about a "symbiosis" between aphids and wheat. That is a complete fabrication. Ask any farmer and they will tell you that aphids are a destructive pest, mainly because they are the primary means of transmitting Barley Yellow Dwarf disease (at least in the U.S.), a disease that will significantly damage wheat yields. And I know for a fact that professors and students at the University of Kentucky are looking at ways to reduce aphid invasions of wheat fields.