Exclusive: CRISPR Technology Is a ‘Recipe for Disaster’ — Not a Solution for World Hunger

by Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D., Childrens Health Defense:

Bill Gates, the World Economic Forum and Silicon Valley investors routinely tout CRISPR gene-editing technology as the solution to global food security, but scientists told The Defender there are better — and safer — ways to produce enough food for everyone.

Bill Gates, the World Economic Forum (WEF), Silicon Valley investors and others routinely tout gene editing — specifically, CRISPR technology — as the solution to global food security.

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But some scientists — including two who spoke with The Defender — are critical of the technology which, they said, carries known and unknown risks. And besides, they said, there are better and safer ways to produce enough food for everyone.

Claire Robinson, managing editor of GMWatch, criticized pro-GE (genetic engineering) scientists, government authorities and a “compliant media” that “mislead people about the level of complexity and risk involved in gene editing, never mind attempts to pretend it is not even a form of genetic modification.”

Dr. Michael Antoniou, head of the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King’s College London, said CRISPR brings “nothing useful at all” to agriculture.

“There’s been a lot reported in terms of gene editing of food crops,” Antoniou said. “But I would say every one of those is a complete and utter waste of time because it hasn’t done the consumer any good whatsoever.”

Despite the risks and questionable benefits cited by Robinson and Antoniou, Bill Gates, the WEF and major chemical manufacturers who hold multiple CRISPR patents continue to heavily invest in the technology while lobbying to weaken or eliminate regulatory controls.

‘GMO free-for-all,’ ‘recipe for disaster’ that can cause ‘unintended DNA damage’

CRISPR — which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats — acts as a “precise pair of molecular scissors that can cut a target DNA sequence, directed by a customizable guide.”

Put differently, this technology allows scientists to edit sections of DNA by “snipping” specific portions of it and replacing them with new segments. Gene editing is not a new concept, but CRISPR technology is viewed as being cheaper and more accurate.

The issue for Robinson is that CRISPR is far from a “precision” technology.

“I think the thing to remember with gene editing, like all forms of genetic modification, is that it can have unintended effects in terms of plants,” Robinson said. “We’re worried about unexpected toxins or allergens. Plants are naturally very good at producing their own toxins, but with conventional breeding, you know what to look for.”

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