Government scientist defends genetically modified crops
Published 30 November 2013
Genetically engineered to contain the insecticidal proteins from Bt bacteria, the insecticide property can be found in all parts of the plant. After a target insect consume the protein, it is activated in the alkaline gut of the insect, forming a toxin that paralyzes the insect’s digestive system and forms holes in the gut wall, Alfonso explained during the forum which was organized by the Department of Science and Technology, in partnership with the PSHS, in celebration of the Biotechnology Week.
Alfonso said scientists like him are only trying to accelerate the mutation of certain economically important crops to contain desirable traits in a controlled environment, or in laboratories.
“One thing more, the human body does not have receptors in its cells to receive the insecticidal protein,” said Alfonso, who is also a chief science research specialist at the Philippine Rice Research Institute.
According to an online source, a receptor is a protein molecule in a cell or on the surface of a cell to which a substance, such as a hormone, a drug, or an antigen, can bind, causing a reaction in the cell and, eventually, throughout the body. An antigen is a substance that the immune system “sees” as dangerous or harmful and, in response, the immune system develops antibodies to fight the antigen.