DNA and RNA are not a stagnant phenomena, and the prevailing available research points to a considerable public health risk when experimenting with fragments of DNA and RNAinserted into GMOs that end up in our food supply, with unknown health consequences. The human genome shares several peculiarities with the DNA of just about every other plant and animal. The human genetic blueprint contains numerous entities known as transposons, or “jumping genes,” which have the ability to move from place to place on the chromosomes within a cell.Approximately 50% of human DNA comprises both active transposon elements and the decaying remains of former transposons that were active thousands to millions of years ago before becoming damaged and immobile. Every time a plant, animal or human cell prepares to divide, the chromosome regions richest in transposon-derived sequences, even elements long deceased, are among the last to duplicate.New research led by Carnegie’s Allan Spradling detailed the spread of one particular jumping gene in the Drosophilia genome, called the P element, to illustrate their point; namely that these elements have the ability to move around and insert themselves into different spots in the genome.
P elements insert into DNA very selectively. Nearly 40% of new jumps occur within just 300 genes and always near the beginning of the gene. But the genes seemed to have nothing in common. When these sites were compared to data about the Drosophila genome, particularly recent studies of Drosophila genome duplication, the answer became clear. What many P insertion sites share in common is an ability to function as starting sites or “origins” for DNA duplication. This association between P elements and the machinery of genome duplication suggested that they can coordinate their movement with DNA replication. Spradling and his team propose that P elements — and likely other transposons as well — use a replication connection to spread more rapidly through genomes. These elements would only transpose after replicating, and then preferentially insert themselves into portions of DNA that have not yet become activated.
The consequences of horizontal gene transfer in association with genetically modified organisms cannot be underestimated despite the considerable denial of GM developers and FDA regulators.
The FDQ has made the commentary period available on their website. This is the second round of public comments on the Arctic Apple. In 2012, in the first round of public comments, 1,935 comments were filed, overwhelmingly in opposition.
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