This page has been archived, and may no longer be up to date

Genetic Engineering: Gene Expression

Standard Page - 2011-07-11
2003 marked the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the structure of DNA. This highlighted the fact that many fundamental questions regarding the functioning of DNA and genes remain unanswered. Modern science has shown the mechanisms and controls of gene expression to be far more complex than first thought.

2003 marked the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the structure of DNA. This highlighted the fact that many fundamental questions regarding the functioning of DNA and genes remain unanswered. Modern science has shown the mechanisms and controls of gene expression to be far more complex than first thought.

The fundamental basis for genetic engineering (GE) is a theory or ‘dogma’ that dates from the 1950s and is now considered over-simplistic. GE is a crude and old fashioned technology which has led to the many surprises and unexpected effects associated with GE organisms. As such, the effects of GE crops on the environment and human health cannot be reliably predicted. Therefore, no GE organisms should be released into the environment or the food chain.

This collection of documents was prepared for the DNA anniversary on April 25th 2003. They detail the underlying scientific basis for Greenpeace’s campaign to prevent deliberate releases of GE organisms to the environment.

A member of a decontamination unit from Greenpeace removes genetically engineered Bt talong (eggplant) from an experimental field trial site in Bay town in an effort to contain contaminants.

GE: Crude and Old Fashioned

This document is a scientific review of changes in the understanding of the complexity of gene expression over the last 50 years, and how this complexity renders the fundamental paradigm of GE technology invalid. It also looks at how the latest DNA knowledge and gene functionality could be used in plant breeding without the use of GE. Download PDF

GE Chronology

A chronology of scientific developments and GE developments since 1953. Scientific progress reveals increasing complexity in the control of gene expression, but the GE industry neglects this complexity and instead moves rapidly towards commercialisation of GE products. Download PDF

Protest against GE Potato

Illustrating the problems of genetic engineering

An illustrated guide to the complexity of gene expression, the crudeness of the GE process and the unexpected effects revealed so far. Download PDF

Biological complexity

An insight into the extraordinary dynamic complexity displayed by biological systems. The more studies produced on the interactions between components of organisms and between individual organisms, the more it is apparent that these interactions are complex and occur on widely varying scales. However, biotechnology companies assume that the gene inserted during GE produces the desired trait and no other effects. Given the extent and complexity of biological interactions, this is unlikely to be the case. Developed by Professor Peter Wills, University of Auckland. Download PDF

Categories