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[SANET-MG] toxic DNA is a fact of life
16 July 2007
Prof. Joe Cummins
Toxic DNA a Fact of Life
In the USDA Animal and Plant health Inspection Service (APHIS) Findings
of No Significant Impact and Decision Notices APHIS maintains that, in
general DNA has no toxic properties based primarily on comments made by
the Food and drug Administration (FDA) in a 1992 GRAS notice. That GRAS
notice was based on observations on genetically modified (GM) microbes
used to produce animal proteins. APHIS has not yet corrected that
fallacious opinion. A number of genetic engineers who have produced
deregulated microbes or crops also maintain that . DNA cannot be toxic.
However, that conclusion ignores a large and growing body of scientific
literature showing that DNA molecules are recognized by the immune
system as a means of activating defence against pathogenic bacteria and
viruses. A strong immune reaction is triggered ,even one leading to
death of mammals has been observed.
In the face of overwhelming evidence that certain DNA preparations are
toxic to cells and to animals it is hard to phantom why government
agencies are promoting a clear fallacy. For example, the abstract below
shows that animals exposed to the DNA from bacteria and certain viruses
produces a strong immune reaction even one leading to death: “The
mammalian innate immune system has the ability to recognise and direct a
response against incoming foreign DNA. The primary signal that triggers
this response is unmethylated CpG motifs present in the DNA sequence of
various disease-causing pathogens. These motifs are rare in vertebrate
DNA, but abundant in bacterial and some viral DNAs. Because gene therapy
generally involves the delivery of DNA from either plasmids of bacterial
origin or recombinant viruses, an acute inflammatory response of
variable severity inevitably results. The response is most serious for
non-viral gene delivery vectors composed of cationic lipid-DNA
complexes, producing adverse effects at lower doses and lethality at
higher doses of complex.” ( Yew NS and Cheng SH. Reducing the immune
stimulatory activity of CpG-containing plasmid DNA vectors for non-viral
gene therapy. Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2004 Nov;1(1):115-25).
There is a huge body of research showing that DNA preparations may be
toxic to mammals . For example a cursory search in PubMed www.pubmed.gov
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez) shows that the search terms
DNA molecule inflammation yields 593 studies , the term DNA molecule
cytotoxicity yields 463 studies and the term DNA CpG cytotoxicity yields
75 publications. It is clear that FDA, APHIS and some genetic engineers
may purposefully ignoring a huge body of evidence that contradicts the
APHIS is promoting the erroneous view that DNA has no toxic properties
for reasons that are not clear. It may be that the government
bureaucrats are simply ill informed and anxious to deregulate a number
of GM crops. Alternatively, it may be that APHIS superstitiously
believes that the proclaimed bureaucratic dogma will actually protect
APHIS and Industry from the real toxic effects of DNA.
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