Recently my favorite New Scientist Journal has published the article "Conventional crop breeding may be more harmful than GM" (print version), where it disputes risk of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) of resistant variety of oilseed rape (canola), which was unveiled by BASF company last week. Article was published in context of another article "GM faces unfair regulation in Europe" and its GMO supporting bias is apparent.
Unfortunately, author of this editorial Mr. Andy Coghlan apparently missed (?) the fact, rape cultivar was produced by newly patented "proprietary" and "inovative gene conversion technology" developed artificially by "trait development company" Cibus, San Diego, CA, which is apparently proud of it. The RTDS method (i.e. Rapid Trait Development System), which BASF has used IS NOT a "conventional crop breeding" at all - it's a method known as "directed mutagenesis". This approach interferes with the cell's natural process of gene repair by directing DNA repair enzymes to change targeted genes in a specific way in order to produce a desired trait. It's not surprising, all details of this "conventional breeding method" are kept in secret thoroughly. By another words, despite this method it's called a "non-transgenic approach", it's just another artificial method, how to introduce anomalous genes for production of foreign metabolites inside of GMO plants.
My suspicion, editorial staff of New Scientist journal is aware of this apparent manipulation of readers deepened, when my question, regarding this issue was deleted from discussion thread bellow article in six minute period (see the screenshot of on-line discussion bellow) - as the only comment of the discussion thread. The very same censorship has occured, when I published similar comment under different nick one hour later for check. What the "unfair regulation" we are facing here?
To make things more clear, main problem of GMO crops isn't the artificial way of GMO crops production as such, but the introduction of foreign genes and their expressors into plant population, where the horizontal gene transfer (HGT) may occur via various mechanisms. Such mechanism was proven to be real many times for GMO crops. It's risks are summarized in previous post on this blog.
Here's a non trivial environmental threat regarding GMO technologies - but a huge money too. These two factors are driving force for promotion of methods, like the RTDS. While classical transgenic methods were banned in many countries, in Europe in particular, various companies are still trying another and another methods, how to evade these restrictions. What's even worse, these new methods are becoming even more risky to life environment, then classical transgenic methods, as the NS article inadvertently illustrates.