Wheat is NOT "genetically-modified"

Alright. The Wheat Lobby has its lackeys out there, countering the Wheat Belly arguments by saying things like, “Davis says that wheat is genetically-modified and it’s not. So how much more can you believe of what he says?” (This Amazon review, for instance, looks and smells like somebody with chaff on his shoes.)

Well, I never said that, in the language of the geneticists, wheat was “genetically-modified.” Let me get this perfectly clear, Mr. Wheat Is Good For You: MODERN COMMERCIAL WHEAT IS NOT GENETICALLY-MODIFIED . . . and I never said it was.

“Genetic modification,” in the slippery terminology of genetics, means that a gene or partial gene sequence was inserted or deleted using gene-splicing technology. While current research efforts continue to work on genetically-modified wheat, e.g., herbicide-resistance and reduction of celiac disease-provoking sequences, such GM-wheat is not currently on the market.

Modern wheat has been hybridized (crossing different strains to generate new characteristics; 5% of proteins generated in the offspring, for instance, are not present in either parent), backcrossed (repeated crossing to winnow out a specific trait, e.g., short stature), and hybridized with non-wheat plants (to introduce entirely unique genes). There are also chemical-, gamma-, and x-ray mutagenesis, i.e., the use of obnoxious stimuli to induce mutations that can then be propagated in offpspring. This is how BASF’s Clearfield wheat was created, for example, by exposing the seeds and embryos to the industrial chemical, sodium azide, that is highly toxic to humans.

By definition, hybridization, backcrossing, and mutation-inducing techniques are difficult to control, unpredictable, and generate plenty of unexpected results. In short, they are worse than genetic-modification. Imagine we were to apply similar techniques of hybridization and mutagenesis to mammals–we’d have all manner of bizarre creatures and genetic freaks on our hands. I am no defender of genetic-modification, but it is pure craziness that Agribusiness apologists defend modern wheat because it is not yet the recipient of “genetic modification.”

Just as Agribusiness is lobbying to prevent truth in labeling that proposes to require food manufacturers to include a “genetically-modified” declaration on foods since they feel it is none of your business, they are likewise muddying the water by defending modern high-yield, semi-dwarf strains of wheat, created through extensive genetics manipulations, as not the product of “genetic modification.”

I say “tomato,” you say “tomaato.”

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164 Responses to Wheat is NOT "genetically-modified"

  1. Lila says:

    Please unravel the confusion. This page states that wheat is not genetically modified, however one of the pingback links posted here says it is. http://paleomagazine.com/paleo-why-wheat-is-unhealthy

    Are you only referring to gene-splicing version (on this page)?

    Thank you!

    4. It’s All Been Genetically Modified (GMO).

    The wheat industry claims up and down that the wheat you’re eating isn’t a GMO. That’s true only if GMO is limited to gene splicing.

    Almost 100% of the wheat in the United States has been genetically modified by hybridization (crossing different strains), backcrossing (repeated crossing), and mutagenesis (exposure to chemicals and gamma-rays). And in a way, those processes are worse than gene-splicing, because they create more unknown and unwelcome side-effects.

    If you have any interest in avoiding genetically modified foods, that means avoiding ALL wheat.

    • Bonnie says:

      By that logic, everything we eat has been genetically modified. You won’t find any of our cereal crops or other produce growing in the wild.

  2. Jackie says:

    I don’t really care what you call it. I cannot eat the wheat in North America without getting sick. I can eat wheat in Cuba, and Europe.
    So I don’t really care what it is called, me and thousands others cannot eat it without getting sick!

    • susan taylor says:

      Precisely … i agree…if you get ill from it, you should not eat it. Only until recently have I found my own organism getting ill with wheat…and when I eat wheat abroad, I don’t have an issue. The genetic code for wheat has been manipulated to the point that it is poisoning our gut microbiome – the very essence of what gives us our immunity. Thank you for your post. It is very accurate.

      • Charlie Rader says:

        A huge amount of American and Canadian wheat is exported. Additionally, some wheat farmers abroad buy their seed from American companies. Also, many of the non-American seed companies have hybridized wheat, probably almost all of them. So if you want to avoid “modern” wheat, I would suggest that you be careful even when abroad.
        Also, there’s a huge variation among different kinds of wheat. Take hard white winter wheat and soft red spring wheat. You can interchange these terms any way you like, e.g. soft red spring wheat, and come up with eight variations. Unless you are comparing American X Y Z wheat with foreign X Y Z wheat, the comparison is meaningless.

        • Mary Baker says:

          Exactly. Most of the wheat grown in Europe is imported from the U.S. as bulk seed. It’s like my U.S. friends who insist they can’t drink U.S. wines without getting sick, but they can drink European wines. However, the EU has looser restrictions on levels of pesticides in wine (without those pesticides Burgundy would no longer exist) and Europe and Australia both have far looser restrictions on levels of copper.
          It might, however, as you say be a choice of the cultivar that is preferred in different countries. Also maybe a matter of dietary choices. Grains are more digestible in combination with certain foods, not so much with others. Need more tests, for sure.

  3. Jeanne says:

    This is what I know:

    I quit gluten less than 3 weeks ago.

    My stomach cramps are gone.

    The “Brain Fog” is gone.

    14 lbs are gone.

    I am no longer too tired to function.

    My joints are less sore due to Rheumatoid Arthritis.

    Did I mention that I feel better than I have in twenty years both mentally and physically?

    I would recommend to anyone with allergies or any auto immune disease to try this. It is not easy for me at 60 years old, having to re-learn cooking and baking but the effort is so well worth it. The frosting on the cake is is just took me 24 hours to feel fantastic. The fat on my huge belly is literally melting away!