Wednesday, February 26, 2014

There May Be Plant DNA Floating in your Blood (But That's OK) (Op-Ed)

blood test, plant dna, dna 

If you believe this article from Collective Evolution, a site that claims to be “one of the worlds most popular alternative media company”, there is currently DNA from genetically modified plants floating in your blood that must be causing some harm. The conclusion is a wild extrapolation and typical of the anti-GMO lobby, which makes it a good case study for how to treat scientific findings.

The truth is that there may or may not be plant DNA in your blood. The single research paper making this claim, on which the news article is based, is yet to be replicated. But it is more important to note that, even if there is plant DNA in your blood, there is no evidence that it poses a risk to you. 
The paper, by Sandor Spisak of Harvard Medical School and colleagues, was published in the journal PLOS ONE in July 2013. The authors claimed to have found the evidence that pieces of plant DNA, large enough to harbour full genes, circulate in our blood.

Circulating DNA is called cell-free DNA (cf-DNA) and the reason for its presence in blood and its function, if any, remains a mystery. The science presented by Spisak is peer-reviewed – that is, it has been assessed by experts in the filed – and seems to have been done in an acceptable way. So I am ready to give their case a hearing.

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