GE or genetic engineering is about to invade India. Waiting in the wings is a satanic seed of the popular vegetable Brinjal. Engineered to do away with the need for pesticides, it has a 'built-in' toxic gene. Consume version 2.0 of the vegetable, and you could be facing unknown health hazards.
GE is man's attempt at playing god! It involves transferring specific genes from one organism to another to enhance the traits of an existing organism or create a new 'designer' life form.
For illustration, consider two varieties of tomato plants: One has tomatoes with hard skin, but scanty juice. The other produces juicy tomatoes, but with tender skins. Transfer the gene responsible for the hard skin from the first plant to the second variety, and you have a genetically modified plant that produces juicy tomatoes with a tougher exterior. Tastes better, stays longer, and makes it easier to handle and transport!
But the problem is the process itself! When a new gene is inserted into an organism, no one knows what changes the natural genetic code existing for ages will undergo. It could interfere with the behaviour of the original genes or even produce rogue mutations. The consequent impact on human health and ecology will be too late to detect and repair.
Dr Eva Novotny sums it up well when she warns: "Genetic engineering is tampering on a monumental scale, and nature will surely exact a heavy toll for this trespass."
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing."
— Albert Einstein