Electronic Journal of Biotechnology ISSN: 0717-3458
  © 2003 by Universidad Católica de Valparaíso -- Chile
Vol. 6 No. 1, Issue of April 15, 2003
 

Table 4. Motives put forward for GMO rejection: risks, fears and reasons for refusal.
Typology developed by the author on the basis of the themes repeatedly treated in debates, articles and declarations made by the opponents.

Types of risk: Fears and perceived risks
troublesome, violent gene transfer process  transgenesis = transgression of the barrier between species.
risk engendered by troubling the "order of the genome", which may appear only later.
insufficient knowledge of the genome to authorize such tinkering with the transfer of foreign genes (living  organisms are not just “building blocks").
- health, for  example  Bt   corn,  glyphosate-tolerant  soya allergies, long term toxicity.
insufficient safety tests: "consumers = guinea pigs".

gene coding for Bt toxin  
à consuming continuously secreted insecticide toxins.
gene coding for the enzyme which degrades glyphosate  à GMOs accumulate products of  degradation.
environmental gene flow towards related wild species  à “superweeds”, invasive plants, accelerated decrease in   biodiversity.
agro-economic gene flow towards nearby crops of the same species  à impure harvests, "contamination".
problem of volunteer plants in the following crop (rapeseed).
risk of a drop in Bt or glyphosate efficiency, interesting molecules for use in other agricultural sectors.
economic of little interest to consumers, "product imposed" by the multinationals.
increasingly dependent agriculture (farmers must buy seeds every year).
- difficulty for developing countries to access such technology (patents)

   => hypocrisy of saying "Genetic engineering is necessary to feed humanity."
appropriation of genetic resources by a few large multinationals.
- GMOs = symbol of privatisation of all resources, now even genetic resources.
- "imperialist" technology because coexistence with non- transgenic production is difficult (gene flow).
- agricultural and food production model - reinforcing of the industrialized model, the limits of which have already been critically portrayed.
consumer perception: "They’re playing with our health to make more money." (cf. BSE & contaminated   blood).
- more socio-political motives (value systems  and beliefs) innovation neither asked for nor desired, but set up solely for the  profits of some multinational firms.
- no respect for consumer free choice due to the presence of GMOs in many additives and fortuitous   "contamination" of grain through gene flow.
- media showing scientists (or associates) opposed to GMOs
- vacillation in the positions taken by Public Authorities
} à opinion: "They’re hiding
 something from us"
perception "Everything is messed with more and more." à the desire to return to true nature (growing   interest  in organic products).
- GMOs symbolize development towards a type of society which is perceived negatively.
- "Such progress, why bother?" (a certain loss of faith in science and progress).


Supported by UNESCO / MIRCEN network