GMO animals to save bankruptcy (…)

Intensive agriculture uses many pesticides, some of which are harmful to the survival of bees and other pollinating insects. Their decline has been proven and could soon cause major problems for world agriculture. Pollination is really necessary for the reproduction of many plants and therefore for agriculture. Instead of banning these dangerous insecticides, the Korean team is trying to genetically modify bees to make them tolerant to several categories of insecticides. This research was funded by the government through Korea Rural Development Administration [2]. These researchers clearly write that “ introduction of mutations […] in target genes will theoretically protect honeybees from the harmful effects of pesticides » [3]. They find that these GMO bees are therefore ” Resistant six insecticides from two different families, organophosphates and carbamates.

Intensive agriculture is also agriculture that gradually increases the size of farms, homogenizes and concentrates them. These three pillars of this rationalization of animals have many implications, whether health, environmental or socio-economic. For example, because of this concentration, bird flu could spread more easily. Thus, the ANSES report published in June 2021 ” it pointed to the determining nature of the density of farms in the epicenters. Therefore, strong measures should be taken into account, such as limiting the number of animals per square meter and per farm, as well as limiting the transportation of live animals (especially force-fed animals). » [4]. Likewise, an article in a magazine National Geographic highlighted : ” If there are 7-8 billion people on Earth, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that in 2019, there were approximately 25.9 billion chickens, 2.6 billion ducks and geese, 1.5 billion cattle and 850 identified a million pigs. […] However, due to the intensification and industrialization of animal husbandry, epizootics (epidemics affecting animal populations) have increased. » [5]. CIRAD researchers say the same [6]. Similarly, we recall that H5N1 flu that started in chickens in mixed chicken/pig farms killed people, as Frédéric Keck of the Collège de France recalled in 2013. [7].

One response to flu and pandemics would be to drastically reduce the population of mega-chicken factories… Especially when mixed with hog factories. Instead, other technical solutions are proposed, such as vaccination of birds or their genetic modification. For example, research conducted jointly by the Roslin Institute, Imperial College London and the Pirbright Institute aims to use new genetic modification techniques to suppress the DNA sequence responsible for producing the molecule (ANP32A) used by influenza viruses in chickens. repeat [8] [9]. This research was also funded by the state. through Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, but also with funds from the Cobb-Vantress Poultry Company.

Adapted animals

A third example of genetic modification at the service of agribusiness is the Chinese team’s carp (cyprinid) genetic modification project. [10]. These researchers note that the removal of intermuscular bones (IMBs) is critical to the cyprinid aquaculture industry “. Let’s translate: the intermuscular bones of these fish are a concern for the production of food, such as fish balls, because they need to be removed during transformation. However, the researchers note that cyprinids are the most important aquaculture species in China, with an annual production of about 27 million tons and accounting for about 76% of the total freshwater fish aquaculture production. Specifically, this family makes up the largest family of freshwater fish and includes carp, gudgeons and related fish, as well as goldfish. The researchers used the Crispr/Cas9 molecular complex to block and inactivate the genetic sequence responsible for this famous intermuscular ridge in goldfish. .Carassius auratus or red poison). The researchers claim that this new species works very well, is similar in growth to the wild species in every way, and so on. Even better, they note in their paper that this could be a genetically modified strain.” beneficial role in anti-aging, anti-oxidation and radiation damage “. This genetically modified carp not only has embarrassing edges for industry, but also virtues for human health… Have the researchers oversold their work?

Genetic modification projects like this are born (and die) by the hundreds. They succeed in mobilizing significant funds by playing with the economy of promise. However, the struggle with all the symptoms and shortcomings of the agrofood system is endless. Wouldn’t questioning the dominant paradigm lead to more persuasive results on all of these issues?

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