A nipa hut quitely sits amidst fields of organic rice standing witnessing hardwork and persistence of the farmers in Sitio Canaan, Barangay Crossing, Magallon, Negros Occidental. © Greenpeace/Gigie Cruz-Sy

Only a couple of decades ago, genetically modified organisms (GMO) would have been something out of science fiction. In the not so distant past, we never imagined we would find on our dinner tables strawberries with fish genes, corn with bacterial genes, and soybeans with built-in herbicides. Little did we know that such scenes would turn into reality in a dizzyingly short period of time. But this is now part of today's reality.

In the natural world, organisms develop specific desirable traits through evolution. This is usually a very slow process and driven by natural laws---not by human beings. Typically, an organism develops a color that will camouflage it from potential predators through hundreds or thousands of years of selection and adaptation. And, in the natural world, species never breed with unrelated species.

Greenpeace activists dressed to symbolize the "bul-ul", a traditional Ifugao rice guardian, carried out a protest at the Department of Agriculture in Quezon City. © Greenpeace / Joseph Agcaoili

With the advent of genetic engineering, the natural barriers between species have been broken down. Today, different species can be genetically manipulated to give rise to totally new organisms, presumably with a human-desired trait. Today, through human intervention, a fish can contain genes from a plant, and a plant can be 'shot' with genes from a bacterium. The possibilities for novel organisms are endless with this technology. They are also unpredictable and frightening.

Greenpeace is in the forefront of the campaign to oppose the release of GMOs into the environment. Greenpeace insists that because the technology is very new and imprecise, the potential ill effects on public health and on the environment are still widely unknown. The truth is no one knows for sure how these new man-made creations will affect life on planet Earth. Therefore, because there is still no scientific consensus as to long-term impact, and in accordance with the precautionary principle, it is best that no releases of GMOs into the environment be allowed.

This technology must be approached with great caution and more study! Releasing GMOs into the environment could have lasting effects that we cannot yet even imagine.

The latest updates

 

White Corn in the Philippines

Publication | November 19, 2013 at 16:30

This report confirms the incidence of genetic contamination of the Philippines' traditional white corn varieties. All samples tested positive for contamination, with some samples showing high levels (up to 40 % contamination) in the genetic...

Golden Illusion

Publication | October 17, 2013 at 23:53

GE ‘Golden’ rice is a genetically engineered (GE, also called genetically modified, GM) rice variety developed by the biotech industry to produce pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene). Proponents portray GE ‘Golden’ rice as a technical, quick-fix solut...

Problems with the relatives

Publication | May 3, 2012 at 11:55

Brinjal (also called eggplant or talong) is a popular vegetable in South and Southeast Asia. However, the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE), also called genetically modified, or GM) Bt brinjal poses risks to the environment and possibly...

Genetically engineered Bt brinjal and the implications for plant biodiversity - revisited

Publication | May 3, 2012 at 11:30

Concerns over the commercial release of genetically modified (GM), Bt brinjal, also called aubergine or talong, relate to biosafety. One major concern is the potential for transgene flow from Bt brinjal to wild, weedy and cultivated relatives. As...

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Stop GE field trials in the Philippines!

Genetically engineered (GE) Bt eggplant (talong)

Publication | February 23, 2011 at 14:34

Genetically engineered (GE, also called genetically modified, GM) Bt eggplant (also called talong, brinjal or aubergine) has been engineered to be resistant to injury caused by the eggplant fruit and shoot borer. A genetic cassette containing...

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