Whenever critics of genetically modified (GM) plants warn that GM crops are inserted with dangerous parts of a virus, biotech advocates rush in to correct their “misunderstanding.” We don’t have to worry, they tell us. Only a small portion of a plant virus is used in order to “turn on” the accompanying gene. Called the promoter, it’s like an on-switch. They say it’s completely harmless.
Researchers in Europe finally got around to looking more closely at the genetic sequence from that promoter, and… well… now we can worry.