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General News of Saturday, 28 December 2013

Source: Daily Guide

GMO debate sparks confusion among intellectuals

Prostate cancer expert and founder of the Men’s Health Foundation, Ralph Obu, has warned that genetically modified foods (GMOs) could trigger prostate cancer in men.

GMO crops are created by scientists by splicing cells and altering their DNAs to make them more resistant to pests, disease and improve yield, among others.

“Every time a cell prepares to divide into two new cells, it must copy its DNA. This process is not perfect, and sometimes errors occur, leaving flawed DNA in the new cell. It is not clear how often these DNA changes might be random event, and how often they may be influenced by other factors (diet, hormone levels, etc). In general the more quickly prostate cells grow and divide the more chances there are for mutations to occur. Therefore, anything that speeds up this process may make prostate cancer more likely,” Mr Obu stated in a release copied to *DAILY GUIDE*.

“By altering the DNA, the qualities or the characteristics of the living thing, plants in this case, can be changed. Can someone guess the end product of splicing in new genes and eating that product for several generations?”

“If your diet consists largely of processed foods, you can be sure you’re eating about 70 percent GM foods,” the founder of Men’s Health Foundation warned.

The impact of GMO on men’s prostate health is the latest twist in the intense debate about whether Ghana should adopt legislations okaying GMOs or not.

The Ghanaian Parliament is currently considering the Plant Breeders Right Bill, legislation intended protect the rights of scientists and corporations to the seeds or crops they develop. For the Catholic Bishops, Ghana could do without necessarily introducing GMO foods and crops.

“We believe that Ghana can achieve food sufficiency and even produce surplus food for export using the conventional means of farming. This can happen if our governments put in place the appropriate measures and create the enabling environment for agriculture to thrive,” the Ghana Catholic Bishop Convention (GCBC) recently cautioned in a recent press statement on the GMO debate.

Critics, such as the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), other civil society groups and individuals have warned that if the legislation is allowed to be passed, it would spell doom for agriculture in Ghana.

But supporters of the bill have counter-argued that GM crops would rather improve food sustainability in the country.

*DAILY GUIDE* have gathered that the bill is strongly being lobbied for by Mosanto, an American multinational chemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation. The programme falls under ‘Green Revolution’ being championed by President Barack Obama, the Bill Gates Foundation and some other world leaders.

*Raphael Ofori-Adeniran*