Allergies and GM Food

So what happens to people if they are allergic to fish, and then consume GM food with fish genes?

Jan, you share 52% of genes with a banana. You would share, as would all mammals, more genes with fish. The gene wouldn’t be unique to fish. It was just an example. Fish allergy suffering people are not going to be impacted by a single gene change.


How do you know which gene they will be allergic to?

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The fish is only the source of the gene. It’s not a fish gene. Species share so many genes, & there are so many genes in each species, that placing a gene in another organism, say fish gene into a tomato, wouldn’t set off a fish allergy. Those still allergic to tomatoes would react to both pre & post modified, tomatoes.
I recommend you search out what Bill Nye has written on the topic. He was anti, but as a man of science did the research (not just google, actually reading the science journals). He is now very much in favour.


Bill Nye is not a geneticist and a fish gene is a fish gene. It will carry inherent traits from a fish, alongside the potential to cause a reaction in people allergic to fish.

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Jan, I wasn’t aware you were qualified as a geneticist.
I assume you are, considering your discounting of Bill Nye’s ability to have an informed opinion.
Your source on a fish gene is a fish gene, please? (Also include proof via a double blind test showing it will set off an allergic reaction)
On a “qualified to discuss” topic, try, as to what qualifies as being able to say free from genetic manipulation.


Never assume, just as you should never assume that a TV personality is the best source of information when discussing the complexities of genetic engineering.
Have you ever wondered how it is that people have allergies to foods? It is because of the complexities of the DNA, where even the smell of peanut oil is enough to set off a fatal anaphylactic response.

Jan, I await your response re your research then.
The smell of peanut oil would contain some of the peanut in a gas form, so if your claim is correct, it makes sense. A single fish gene doesn’t change something to set off a fish allergy. Assuming you have proof, of this being incorrect, post your link to the research.
I explained in an earlier post, to another query, how my job involves use of medical journals (cancer) & I have a thorough understanding on what a “television personality” can tell us. Of course a “tv personality” such as Bill Nye, who is aware of the scientific method & who understands the difference between scientific journals evidence versus a Google search, has more understanding, I have no doubt, than someone like Joanne McCarthy, or The food babe, on these issues.
So please provide the evidence re a fish gene in a tomato setting off an allergic reaction, but ensure it’s something other than a google searched article, that it has been clinically verified by even a GP, but preferably an Immunologist.


@panlezark and @jan60gro

Genes present in the food’s DNA don’t cause allergies, however, allergies in humans can be caused by either genetic and environmental factors (there is a difference).

Genes or DNA are ‘a long molecule composed of two chains of smaller molecules called nucleotides, each which contain a region of nitrogen called the nitrogenous base, a carbon-based sugar molecule called deoxyribose and a region of phosphorus called the phosphate group. There are four types of nitrogenous bases: adenine (abbreviated as A), thymine (abbreviated as T), guanine (abbreviated as G) and cytosine (abbreviated as C).’ The arrangement of the ATGC in the DNA strand is what gives the genetic makeup of the organism. In most living organisms, part of the DNA sequence or genes are are shared with other organisms from other genus or across plants/animals. The differences in the genetic code is what makes living creatures different.

One would need to be allergic to ATG or C to have an allergy to genetic material…which in other words, they would be allergic to anything which is living as all living organisms contain DNA or ATGC.

In relation to fish genes, unless the fish gene was inserted into another organism to produce something that fish produce (e.g. fish protein or omega oils for example), the insertion of the fish gene won’t necessarily cause an allergy. If the inserted gene results in for example, a fish protein or for omega oil being produced by the modified organism, someone allergic to the fish protein or omega oils would also be allergic to the new organism. I understand that the new organism used in foods would also have to be classed and there labelled where required as an allergen for the fish protein or omega oil…no differently if the food contained the same protein or oil from fish.


[quote=“panlezark, post:2, topic:6825”]
Fish allergy suffering people are not going to be impacted by a single gene change.
[/quote] Let’s get back to the original statement. Did you read this and the article?
'Yes the smell of the peanut would contain ‘some of the peanut’ much like the fish genes contain ‘parts of fish’ You cannot disassociate them. Read this article about fish allergies to see how difficult and dangerous this problem can be. “•Fish protein can become airborne in the steam released during cooking and may be a risk. …•The protein in the flesh of fish most commonly causes the allergic reaction; however, it is also possible to have a reaction to fish gelatin, made from the skin and bones of fish. Although fish oil does not contain protein from the fish from which it was extracted, it is likely to be contaminated with small molecules of protein and therefore should be avoided.”

Why would fish genes be transferred into another organism unless it was also to transfer a ‘fishy’ trait? Thus you would have allergenicity problems.

Jan, I’m not going to bother with a web site like that.
I’d go for a journal article, but your “knowledge” in thinking a gene is fishy, suggests there isn’t much point here.
A fish will have Genoese you have. The exact same genes. Are these fishy genes, or human genes?
The 52% of your genes that are shared with a banana, are they human or fruit genes?
They are just genes.
The trait gained may have nothing, obvious to do with a fish, it may make a fruit unattractive to pests, or able to cope with some pesticide, it’s not to make a tomato fishy.


Thanks for that, summed it up very well.

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Agree @panlezark. Fish genes is quite different to peanut oil vapour. Fish genes aren’t an allergen just like peanut genes…but the biochemical products from the activation of the genone in an organism that can be.

@jan60gro, if you are interested in exploring some of the environmental and nutritional achievements of genetic engineering, I suggest that a visit to a university library is the best solution. There are hundreds of journal articles on such which will keep you busy for some time. It is also worth noting that many universities and other scientific research organisations are carrying out ‘non-pesticide’ gmo research. These researchers/academics are trying to find solutions to feeding the world’s population with high yield and nutritional foods. There is more to gmo research than those such as Monsanto.

I also suggest when at a university library you also look at journal articles on the breakdown of pesticides, including glyphosate. Pesticides which can be used on food production have to have half lifes to ensure that with adequate withholding periods, there is no unacceptable risk to human health.

Fish genes could offer more than use to create fishy compounds, for example, fish are adapted to live in saline environments. The genes which allow this would be useful for developing salt resistant crops…crops which can survive better in salty soils. In such case the genone would change a plants response to high conductivities rather than producing a fish protein or fishy substance. There are other competitive advantages that fish could have and may also be desirable in crops/animals.

For the record, I prefer not to buy gmo foods…and this is principally due to my impression of the unethical behaviour of some companies when they deal with non-gmo farmers and their IP rights. The science indicates that gmo foods pose no risk to human health.


Here is a study to show that fish genes produce allergens
I’m not sure why you dispute this when you have already acknowledged it in your previous comments.

As for the traits that GM crops have such as “produce agricultural products which have higher nutritional value, environmental and disease resistance (heat, drought, cold etc) and yield” I would appreciate the actual crops, and not the concepts. And a response to the BT and Roundup ready crops comments would be good.

Jan I see a previous commenter mentioned how this could occur.
I see from the study here, they were used e-coli. A very imports method for many areas, but not food.
Completely irrelevant. As phbriggs mentioned, unless you add the genes specifically related to some fish aspect, omega-3 production, in say corn, it wouldn’t cause a fish allergy reaction.
The genes for a fish eye will be similar to the genes you have for your eye. Take the fish genes, for eyes & add them to a human, in some Frankenstein experiment, you will, likely, get a normal eye.
There is nothing specifically “fishy” about every gene in fish. That’s just fact.


And your response to my other comments?

Here are some examples:

Drought resistance in potatoes

GMO wheat may solve food crisis

There are 100s of others which is why I suggested you go to a university library and do some researchof your own.

If you want a good text to read, this is one which discusses use of some of the gm crops in agriculture and some of the issues which have been identified:

Genetically modified crops, Halford 2011

In relation to BT corn and other crops, these crops contain genes from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which were introduced to make them impenetrable to insect pests. The bacteria, commonly found in soil, creates a natural toxin for insects, which has been used in liquid spray pesticides since the 1920s. (Bt liquid pesticides are considered environmentally friendly and are often used as sprays in organic farming).

Like any pesticides, there is concern that insects may become resistant to BT, reducing the effectiveness of spray used on organic farming…namely the insects are no longer affected by BT and BT resistant insects could substantially reduce organic farm yield where BT liquids are used to control pests.

In conventional agriculture, the use of pesticides is managed to reduce potential for resistance developing. Having BT in a crop does not allow the same level of control as it can’t be turned off and resistance risks may increase.


Again are you able to give evidence of existing, commercially ready GM crops that are now available, and not just concepts?

The difference is that Bt crops have the toxin in every cell, cannot be washed off, does not break down in the sunlight, and is found to be 3,000 to 5,000 times more toxic than the organic spray. And Bt crops are already making the target pests resistant.

The links on the previous post were examples of the precursor research before commercialisation. If you did you own research, you would discover that there are scores of commercially available gmo crops. Here is a list which you can enjoy at your leisure

Isaaa commercial crop list

This list is not comprehensive, only gmo crops the Isaaa are aware of. There are some countries, such as Russia, which tend to keep such information out of the public domain. There are some notable exceptions such as Golden Rice which is a gmo crop with high vitamin a (one you can google).

The text above also lists examples, but since its publication there has been more released. I read the text soon after its release and it is worth a read if you are genuinely interested in rational gmo information.

As you seem to have difficulty accepting that there is more gmo crops than Bt or ‘Roundup ready’, I am unable to assist you further. All I can suggest is you buy the above text/book.

Pulling information off the internet is also problematic, such as your information on Bt crops and fish genomes. The information you provided is not fully correct.

There has been reports from Bt resistence due to liquid Bt use before Bt crops came out.

It is also worth noting that many plants which are commercialised have breed resistance to pest and diseases. Tomatoes which have been breed for disease resistance are a good examples. Whilst the compounds produced by the plants are toxic to the sensitive organism, they have no effect on humans.

I hope that you enjoy your own future discovery about gmo crops, based on science rather than emotion.


Thank you for the suggestion that I buy a text book, but I did ask several times if you could forward the list of commercial crops which fulfil the wish list that you proffered early in this discussion. [quote=“jan60gro, post:18, topic:6825”]
As for the traits that GM crops have such as “produce agricultural products which have higher nutritional value, environmental and disease resistance (heat, drought, cold etc) and yield”

So, as regretful as I am to labour a point, could you please list the commercially available GM crops which have these traits.

I said that the majority of GM crops are engineered to be able to absorb Roundup, or produce their own pesticide, or both. I did not say all, so I would value your input of details of those which do not fall into that category.