"It's a gene, it's not Soylent Green!"

less than 1 minute read

That's what my wife Gretchen had to say about this quote:

Environmentalists say that no one will want to eat the partially human-derived food because it will smack of cannibalism.

from this story:

Scientists have begun putting genes from human beings into food crops in a dramatic extension of genetic modification. The move, which is causing disgust and revulsion among critics, is bound to strengthen accusations that GM technology is creating "Frankenstein foods" and drive the controversy surrounding it to new heights.

Evidently Japanese researchers have taken a gene active in the human liver in detoxifying chemicals and inserted it into rice, giving it the ability to resist herbicides.

It does raise the question of the boundaries of cannibalism. But these boundaries certainly ought to fall far beyond a single gene (and resulting gene products) considering the number of functional alleles we share with chimpanzees. Unless eating them is cannibalism too?

On the other hand, it seems like the politically correct thing to do would be to take a liver gene from a rat, or better yet a cow. Of course, I'm sure that environmentalists would have a beef with that, too.