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A two-edged sword – transgenic tobacco to cure rabies? No GMO’s for me thanks!

Tobacco Transgenic plant on the laboratory table

A new study from St George’s University’s Hotung Molecular Immunology Unit in London has shown that tobacco plants can be genetically modified to produce rabies antibodies. Scientists hope that this research will deliver a safe, inexpensive way of treating rabies in developing countries.

Transgenic (GMO) tobacco leaf


These transgenic (read genetically modifed or GMO) plants were shown to neutralise the rabies virus. Definitely encouraging news … until you recognize that by “curing” one dreadful disease you’d be purposefully innoculating yourself with genetic material that’s now starting to be recognized as harmful to both animals and humans. A new documentary called Genetic Roulette, making its way across the internet with free showings, contains interviews with top scientists, farmers and ranchers who’ve had direct experience with the negative results that GMO or GE food crops can cause.

Tobacco Plants (GMO)

So why would we want to expose ourselves to this with an experimental “cure”? As good as it may seem, there has to be a better and healthier alternative that, in the long run, won’t do us harm

Debra Atlas is a freelance environmental writer and eco-enthusiast based in Northern California, and is the Red Ferret’s Ecological Editor. Debra looks for the upside of eco-change – what’s positive, making a difference. She hunts down those interesting things cooked up by creative minds, especially if they’re strange and eccentric.

Debra Atlas – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.

1 Comment

  • There is no evidence, or even biological possibility of any genetic material from this GMO and essentially any GM crops entering the human genome because the genes simply aren't compatible with our genome! To insert even a compatible gene requires very careful matching of genetic primers and transcription factors, an organism to take up that sequence, integrate it into its own genome so that its transcriptases can copy and replicate the gene AND THEN figure out how to take that primer sequence and get it into the desired host. You VERY VERY RARELY see genes move in compatible populations without sexual reproduction, and you NEVER see genetic transfer from unrelated organisms. It simply doesn't happen in nature that way and it takes decades of work to get this to function in a lab! When you eat steak, you do not become part cow. When you drink a beer, you do not become part yeast. If you try and mate with a cow, you will not get it pregnant, and a bull cannot impregnate a human. The GENES and the GENETICS of the modified organism are not a concern… When you smoke a cigarette, are you more worried about uptaking a gene from the tobacco plant (which would be impossible even if it WEREN'T burnt) or are you worried about the nicotine and carcinogens in the smoke?

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