Geneticists at the Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology, University of Ibadan, have said that Genetically Modified Organisms and crops were safe to consume once they are well cooked.
The Experts made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan.
Dr Christopher Ilori, a Geneticist from the department, said the kind of gene put inside the organism or crop should be considered.
“A gene for herbicide resistance for example doesn’t have any effect on humans and most times we cook before eating.
“If it’s possible for someone to pick up a gene through what we eat, then by now all of us should have been expressing gene from cassava, maize, yams, but it has not happened.
“If the gene is releasing toxins that kill other organisms, you will have to take extra precautions to know whether the toxin is inactivated when you cook; for that particular one you must cook it before you eat.
“Once you cook it, the toxin is destroyed,” he said.
Similarly, Dr Morufat Balogun, also a Geneticist from UI, noted that certifying the gene in the crop would make people to know the nature of the plant.
“Our environment is changing faster than the time to modify all the crops so there is need for us to catch up in order not to die of hunger.
“DNA can be denatured at high temperature (96 degree), so when we cook, we already pass that level.
“Not all the genes are characterized in the world so we can only know and handle the ones discovered and characterized.
“Genetic Modification is done in contained facility to make sure that they don’t escape until it’s released, approved by the government, so once this is done, they are safe,” she said.
Balogun emphasised that conventional way of breeding whereby a female part of flower can be put in a male part of another plant of the same specie and it produces a new growing seed, without necessarily going to the lab, was the easiest.
“But if there is abortion that plant will not be successful when you want to cross, in conventional way you go beyond boundaries of different species and you get added advantage with different codes.
“The technology is still a modification and change, but now we can have more resources to choose from any part of the world,” she said.