An article that ran in the Economist early in the year declaring that human beings are transgenic sent my head spinning. Literally!
And my eyes raced through the text in palpable palpitation to find out how could possibly be scientifically factual—and if this is it, why then are we debating ourselves hoarse about transgenic crops when we, too, are unnatural like those crops that some of us are so rabidly opposed to.
Like all agriculture that are transgenic because of horizontal gene transfer—movement of genes from one species to another—humanity and the animal kingdom are genetically modified organisms (GMOs)! What a revelation!
In a research published in Genome Biology, Cambridge University scientists led by Alastair Crisp and Chiara Boschetti, say of the more than 20,000 genes that human beings have, at least 145 genes picked up from other species by their ancestors. And if that is not shocking enough, a percentage of that is from “part bacterium, part fungus and part alga”.
The diverse study that touched on primates, fruits fly and nematodes, at least confirms one fact; genes for antibiotic resistance, for example, swap freely between species of bacteria.
These facts should cause some of those opposed to the lifting of the ban on GMOs in the country to pave way for the commercial release of Bt maize and Cotton among others to rethink their stand.
And now in knowledge and truth, may they be set free from the chains of mindless activism and heed the wisdom from Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony, who has urged the government and all farmers to adopt biotechnology as one of the tools to fight food insecurity and poverty.
Speaking at Tea Research Foundation of Kenya in Kericho county last week during an Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Kenya Chapter, the governor, who is himself a scholar did not mince his words: “As long as the country refuses to embrace the GMOs, food security would remain a pipe dream. It’s the way for Kenya to go…”
Welcome to the club whose distinguished membership includes Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, who has been passionate on the adoption of biotechnology crops, especially Bt cotton to ensure the revival of the sector and industries that died with the demise of the cotton farming in Nyanza, Coast and Lower Eastern regions.
For him, Bt cotton will be the ‘resurrection dose’ for the millions of farmers who have been in “economic intensive care care unit” for decades. …………… For those who want to look young and vivacious, hopefully, after a nutritious dish of kuon gi rech kod osuga (ugali, fish and managu meal) there is uplifting news.
A biotech firm—TeeGene Biotech— has created an anti-ageing ‘soap’ from bacteria. The research company has been announced as a finalist in the IChemE Global Awards 2015, which celebrates excellence, innovation and achievement in the chemical, process and biochemical industries.
The ‘soap’ will be manufactured in a lab and is also said to be fully biodegradable, with minimal impact on the environment.