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What are the Dangers?

Fundamental Weaknesses

  • Imprecise Technology—A genetic engineer moves genes from one organism to another. A gene can be cut precisely from the DNA of an organism, but the genetic engineer has no idea where (or even if) the gene will be inserted in the DNA of another organism. When the new gene is inserted, it may disrupt the functioning of other genes essential to the life of that organism. 

  • Side Effects—Genetic engineering is like performing heart surgery with a shovel. Scientists don’t know enough about living systems to perform DNA surgery without causing mutations and changes in the organism. They are experimenting with very delicate, yet powerful forces of nature, without full knowledge of the repercussions. 

  • Widespread Crop Failure—Genetic engineers intend to make money by patenting genetically engineered seeds. This means that, when a farmer plants genetically engineered seeds, all the seeds have identical genetic structure. As a result, if a fungus, a virus, or a pest develops which can attack this particular crop, there could be widespread crop failure. 

  • Threatens Our Entire Food Supply—Insects, birds and wind can carry genetically altered seeds into neighboring fields and beyond. Once transgenic plants pollinate, genetically original plants and wild relatives can be cross-pollinated. All crops, organic and non-organic, are vulnerable to contamination from gene drift. 

Health Hazards

  • No Long-Term Safety Testing—Genetic engineering changes the fundamental nature of the food we eat. It uses material from organisms that have never been part of the human food supply. Without long-term testing no one knows if these foods are safe. 

  • Toxins—Genetic engineering can cause unexpected mutations in an organism, which can create new and higher levels of toxins in foods. 

  • Allergic Reactions—Genetic engineering can also produce unforeseen and unknown allergens in foods. 

  • Decreased Nutritional Value—Transgenic foods may mislead consumers with counterfeit freshness. A luscious-looking, bright red tomato could be several weeks old and of little nutritional worth. 

  • Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria—Genetic engineers use antibiotic-resistance genes to mark genetically engineered crops. This means that the crops contain genes which confer resistance to antibiotics. These genes may be picked up by bacteria which may infect us. 

  • Problems Cannot Be Traced—Without labels, our public health agencies are powerless to trace problems of any kind back to their source. The potential for tragedy is staggering. 

  • Side Effects can Kill—37 people died, 1500 were partially paralyzed, and 5000 more were temporarily disabled by a syndrome that was finally linked to tryptophan made by genetically-engineered bacteria. 


  • Increased use of Herbicides—Scientists estimate that plants genetically engineered to be herbicide-resistant will actually triple the amount of herbicide use. Farmers, knowing that their crops can tolerate the herbicides, will use them more liberally. 

  • More Pesticides—GE crops often manufacture their own pesticides and may be classified as pesticides by the EPA. This strategy will put more pesticides into our food and fields than ever before. 

  • Ecology may be damaged—The influence of a genetically engineered organism on the food chain may damage the local ecology. The new organism may compete successfully with wild relatives, causing unforeseen changes in the environment. 

  • Gene Pollution Cannot Be Cleaned Up—Once genetically engineered organisms, bacteria and viruses are released into the environment it is impossible to contain or recall them. Unlike chemical or nuclear contamination, negative effects are irreversible. 
DNA is actually not well understood. 97% of human DNA is called “junk” because no one has any idea of its function. The workings of a single cell are so complex, no one knows the whole of it. Yet the biotech companies have already planted millions of acres with genetically engineered crops, and they intend to engineer every crop in the world. 

The concerns above arise from an appreciation of the fundamental role DNA plays in life, the gaps in our understanding of it, and the vast scale of application of the little we do know. Qualified scientists share these concerns. 

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Luiz Meira
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