I view DNA as the special language that God used to speak life into existence, while mRNA, is the tool He used to write it. DNA is a series of “letters” that make up a string of code that forms the substance of every organism and mRNA is God's "scribe" that keeps copying the DNA.
Psalm 139:16 KJV. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
This secret ‘substance’ may have very well been referring to the code that God fashioned together in continuance on a double helix to make the DNA of all living organisms. Each with their own unique sequence.
However, although God was the original author, scientists have now become the editors. They can remove a letter or two of this code, or add a letter here or there, giving birth to genetically modified organisms (GMO’s).
But we all know that when someone goes behind you and edits a story that you wrote, there is a chance that they can completely ruin it. Is that what is happening with genetically modified foods?
Well, seeing how they are fully or partially banned in over 30 countries including the EU, Japan, and South Korea, there must be some type of risk to eating them.
What Exactly are Genetically Modified Foods?:
Genetic modification generally refers to these concepts:
1. Creating Transgenic Organisms: Scientists can take genes from different organisms and combine them together. For example, a gene from a fish can be combined with a gene from a plant to increase the omega 3 content of a plant . One can also take a gene from one species of plant like algae, and transplant it into another plant to give it specific qualities. This combining of genes from various organisms is known as “Recombinant DNA Technology”. 
You may have heard of this technology a lot by now, as it is used in the process of manufacturing the mRNA, and DNA Vaccines .
2. Deleting DNA: DNA can also be deleted in an organism’s genes to remove certain qualities. For example, the genes that code for lactose can be removed in cows.
The USDA and FDA refer to these methods of genetic modification as "bioengineering".
Aren’t All Food’s Technically GMO’s?
I know what you are thinking. Humans have been dabbling in passive genetic modification for centuries. Seeds from bigger, sweeter fruits would be separated and preserved for next year's harvest, in hopes of preserving it's characteristics, and branches from one fruit tree would be grafted with that of another to result in fruit that looked and tasted different. We even see examples of this selective breeding in animals in the book of Genesis.
Genesis: 30:32, 42” I will pass through all thy flock today, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. 42 But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.”
This process of selective breeding is still going on today, especially in plants. Farmers continue to graft trees together to "breed" fruit with better quality. Advanced technology also allows scientist to “scan seeds” for certain genetic qualities, and then use only the seeds that have the characteristics they want. In fact, such techniques are how fruits like seedless grapes, watermelon or bananas came to be. These processes are different from the creation of “ transgenic plants”.
We will talk about this concept in a later post, but a lot of people say that seedless fruits all contain “transgenes” and are GMOs. While they are technically genetically modified it is not exactly the same process.
***That is why the FDA came up with the word "bioengineering" for transgenic organisms, instead of simply calling them "GMOs". This allows them to distinguish from other natural forms of genetic modification. For the sake of this article, I will use the term GMO to describe transgenic organisms.
Snapshot of Recent Advancements in Gene Modification :
Genetically modified foods have been on the market since the early 1980’s and research states that some of these “transgenic” crops (especially soy, corn and cotton) now take up twice the size of China. Let’s look at some new, and past advancements.
1. Edible Food Vaccines: Bacterial and viral antigens are being transferred to the edible portion of plants, creating “oral vaccines” able to elicit an immune response in the digestive mucosa of humans and animals once consumed [1,3,4].
Researchers have been working on producing the hepatitis B vaccine in bananas since the late 1990’s and have now been able to successfully do so. A Polish scientist even created a ‘salad’ which contained an oral vaccine for hepatitis B, but it has yet to be approved. Several other vaccines for diseases like the human papilloma virus, cholera, and swine flu, are being created in plants such as algae, corn, potatoes, and rice to make both whole food vaccines, and pill vaccines which contain the vaccine created in the vegetable or fruit. Soon you may be eating vaccines! That is scary!
( We do not know what the long-term implications of edible vaccines will be)
2. Bigger Pigs, Cattle, and Fish: Some pigs, cattle and fish have been genetically engineered to produce more growth hormone resulting in a faster growth rate [1,3].
3. Reduction in Food Allergies: Some cows have been genetically engineered to produce milk which yields less lactose, or have changes in their casein content[1,3,4].
4. “Natural” Pesticides: Corn has been genetically modified with bacteria that yields toxins which make the corn more resilient toward certain insects [1,3].
5. Nutrient Dense Plants: Canola oil has been modified to have higher omega 3 content and a variety of rice has been created which allows it to have more vitamin A (golden rice) [1,3].
6. Pesticide Resistant Plants: Soybeans, cotton, and corn have been genetically engineered to be resistant to glycophosphates (Herbicide)[,1,3,4,6].
What GMO Foods Are In the U.S.?
Some believe almost every fruit, vegetable, or grain on the market is a “transgenic food” but that is not true. Some of the GM foods mentioned above are not even on the market today. There are about 12 fruits and vegetables and I guess you could say “2 animals” that are approved to be consumed as bioengineered products in the U.S. which is a lot less than people think.
GMO foods pose a huge threat to our environment, primarily because of one large reason ; God created his creation to adapt, and they do it all too well when given the right amount of time and conditions.
Lets look at a few of these scenarios:
1. More herbicides: Superweeds may develop as a result of constant exposure to herbicides that some genetically modified foods are “immune to” which can ironically increase the need for more herbicides on foods [1,3,6,]. Even more ironic is that one of the largest companies that make GMO seeds, "Monsanto", also makes roundup (glycophosphate) one of the most prominent herbacides we use on food. So there are definite conflicts of interest in this area, they win no matter what .
2. More Pesticides on Food: Insects are already becoming resistant to the bacteria in genetically modified crops such as corn, and soy. A study conducted by Tabashnik and colleagues, looked at 77 studies and noted a 38.5% increase in major pests of prominent genetically modified crops. Puerto Rico stopped using such crops due to insect resistance, and they were still experiencing drastic effects 4 years after discontinuing their use. This is consistent with findings from other studies [6, 8].
The solutions being considered to combat these negatives are new transgenic crops, different formulations of pesticides, and higher amounts of pesticides.In fact, research had estimated that pesticide usage would increase by 3 billion tons by 2020, and it is no doubt that these GMO’s are playing a large role . Sounds to me like the solution to the problem, is a bigger problem?
3.New Plant Viruses: Some transgenic plants have been modified with viruses that help with their resilience, some researchers are afraid that new viruses may be made from this process which could be detrimental to several plant species .
4. Damage to Wildlife: Studies have been conducted which show that Monarch butterflies who fed on milkweed contaminated with genetically modified corn pollen, ate less, grew slower, and produced less larvae. Although the study's design is being questioned, it is still being considered as a potential risk. Additionally, rats fed GM corn, experienced lesions to their kidneys, liver, and experienced abnormal cell division. Again, the study was questioned, but it raises the need for more long-term studies as to what effect GMO consumption may have on wildlife that comes in contact with such foods. We also do not know to what extent other microorganisms such as fungi, parasites, and other bacteria may be affected by transgenic crops [1,3,6]
5. Crippled Economy: If insect and super weed resistance were to occur in regions that supply a major part of the world's food supply, it may result in devastating effects to the world food economy. And like we saw with Puerto Rico, these effects could be long lasting.
If you are a local Floridian! You will soon see GMO mosquitos.
144,000 mosquitos were recently released to help decrease disease carrying mosquito populations through their inability to make female offspring. Specifically, 12,000 mosquitos will be released from 12 different locations totaling 144,000 mosquitos.
This oddly reminds me of this passage in the Bible ”
Revelation 7: 7“And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel”.
The passage goes on to list that 12,000 would come each of the 12 tribes of Israel.
Anyway, super odd that they chose those exact numbers out of all the numbers! I hope it was not to mock God. But, the reality is we have no idea what effect this will have on our ecosystem and many researchers are concerned about the long term risks.
Research highlights several potential negative effects of GMO consumption to humans:
Bacterial Resistance: Bacteria is often used in the process of creating transgenes. Many of the strands of bacteria used to create transgenes are similar to bacteria that have been shown to be resistant to various antibiotics. There is a concern that such antibiotic resistant bacteria can affect the natural bacterial flora in the digestive tract of humans and animals once consumed.[1,3]
One study conducted in patients with a resected Colon, did find that transgenic bacteria from soy had colonized the area. However, they did not see this same effect in patients with intact colons. The study had a very small sample population and was one of the only studies of its kind .
However, as a practitioner who plays a large role in helping patients with digestive issues , I would like to be more convinced that transgenic bacteria are not a problem when it comes to our gut bacteria, especially in those with already compromised digestive function.
Immune Reactions/Food Allergies: The process of transferring genes from one organism to another, can result in the creation of new proteins that can elicit an immune reaction once consumed. For example, bacterial DNA used to make transgenic corn led to the formation of a protein called Cry9pc which resulted in several consumer reports of diarrhea and headaches. This corn has since been removed from the market.
Most allergic reactions from GMOs are thought to occur when a plant has a transgene that was formed from an organism associated with a common allergy such as peanuts or shellfish[1,3,5]. However, corn was obviously an exception.
Research is typically done to detect allergy causing compounds in transgenic foods before they come to market, however, we still do not know what proteins can be made as new bioengineered foods are created that we can't detect. We also do not know whether or not certain people may be predisposed to allergic reactions or auto-immune reactions when exposed to certain proteins from these modified foods.
Toxic Compounds: Several decades ago, canola oil was genetically modified for improved oil composition. However, the transgenic rapeseed used to make the oil had high amounts of a compound called aniline, which led to several deaths, even though the transgenic canola oil was found safe in animal trials. As discussed earlier, there is concern that potentially harmful enzymes may be created in plants that have negative implications for the human biological environment, this was a prime example. But again, more research is needed, and sadly only time will tell what risk we are incurring [1,3,5].
Hormonal Imbalance: Since the early 2000s, it has been known that humans who consumed milk derived from cattle which had been genetically engineered to grow larger, experienced increased amounts of a hormone called Insulin Growth Factor . We make this hormone naturally, and it helps regulate cell growth among other functions, but increased amounts of this hormone has been associated with lymphoma, colon, and breast cancer .
So, to Eat or Not to Eat?
One research paper stated a quote that summarized the GMO situation very well: “ Foreign proteins that have never been found in the human food chain will soon be consumed in large amounts. It took us many years to realize that DDT (a banned pesticide) had oestrogenic effects, but now we are being told to believe that everything is okay with GM food only because we have not seen dead bodies yet”.
Though this quote is several years old now , I agree with this statement. As a dietitian in this modern, toxic world, I live by the motto that all man made compounds are “ guilty until proven innocent” and I do not see enough long-term research in humans to prove the latter.
Several research studies that I have come across conducted in the United States or in other countries, note that despite there being test to try to identify the allergenicity or toxicity of GMO foods before they are released to market, there are not enough ongoing, long term studies on the consumption of GM foods to render them completely harmless[1,3]. Which is why they remain banned in several countries.
Nonetheless, in the US, GMO foods are found all throughout our food supply, and you are guaranteed to come across them if you eat processed foods, prepackaged foods, or eat out in general.
So, my personal consensus is to limit GMO rich foods as much as possible, and to especially keep an eye on new GMO foods that are coming to market that have yet to be introduced to us before. We may have been consuming GM corn, soy, and canola since our birth, but there are a lot of new things that may come to market soon.
I also do not think God is fond of us directly tampering with DNA as it is the very fabric He used to build his creation.
Be sure to visit our other blog post if you wish to limit GMO and pesticide intake.
Vaccines and GMO Humans!!?
Also, I can’t help but mention that a lot of people are saying that a particular medication going around will turn us into genetically modified humans. Honestly, I can very much see why.
We can tell plants to make antigens to certain viruses via genetic engineering with recombinant DNA Technology, and at the end of the day, the plant is considered genetically modified . So I can see the similarities with using recombinant vaccines to tell our body to code antigens for a virus, whether temporarily (Cvd Mrna vaccine) or long term (Cvd DNA vaccine). However, that is my personal opinion. I am not a doctor nor a geneticist.
But I say all this to say, it makes me wonder what the long term implications of these gene therapies will be . I read a lot of things about GMOs in plants that make me leery of gene therapies in humans.
For example, let’s read what Dr. Bawa and colleagues had to say about the biological risks of genetic editing in plants :
Inserting genes into plants can cause naturally present genes to become inactivated, resulting in mutated plants
Genes that were once “silent, or lowly expressed” can become upregulated. This can result in the overproduction of various enzymes or toxins in the plant. (A prime example was the GMO rape seed plant, used to make canola oil, that ended up being high in a toxin called alanine. )
His paper also stated that “naturally occurring viruses can recombine with viral fragments that are introduced to create transgenic plants, forming new viruses. Additionally, there can be many variations of this newly formed virus (Steinbrecher 1996)” 
I can’t help but wonder if using gene therapies on the human level will result in similar outcomes in us as well? Especially with DNA vaccines. Will there be autoimmune issues in the long run? Could new viruses be created? Could some of our enzymes become upregulated? Will there be issues with reproduction?
Maybe we wont be full “GMO Humans” , at least not with the Mrna vaccines, but I can say that like GMO’s, there are a lot of unanswered questions.
But as with everything, it is something to pray about. After all, God is the author of DNA, and I personally see DNA as the signature of his authorship over us. So as Christians, we are wise to consult God over man first and foremost, especially when it comes to this topic.
Thanks for Reading!!
*Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is to be taken as medical advice. Consult your physician or other health care professional for personal medical advice regarding vaccines or nutrition. *