Fact Check: Exposing Seeds To Human Saliva Does NOT Infuse Them With DNA

Fact Check

  • by: Madison Dapcevich
Fact Check: Exposing Seeds To Human Saliva Does NOT Infuse Them With DNA Not Possible

Does exposing seeds to human saliva change their DNA structure so that "there will be no disease at all when you eat those vegetables and fruits"? No, that's not true: While scientists can genetically modify plants using genetic engineering or intentional breeding methods, an expert confirmed to Lead Stories that exposing seeds to human saliva will not alter their DNA structure. She described the claim as "simply untrue."

A version of the claim appeared in a video shared on Instagram on December 17, 2023, (archived here) with a caption that read:

🌱 Unlock the Secret to Thriving Gardens!🌿 - Patriji

Did you know soaking seeds in saliva boosts growth? Try our unique twist for a personalized garden! 🍅🌼 Comment your thoughts below!

Below is how the post appeared at the time of this publication:

image (7).png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken Thurs Dec. 28 19:31:00 UTC 2023)

Text on the post continued:

Ever wondered how to make your garden truly unique? Dive into the fascinating world of seed soaking with a twist! Share your thoughts below and let's grow something extraordinary together! 🌱✨

(Grow your own fruits and vegetables with a special twist! Soak your seeds in your saliva for 10 minutes before planting in the soil. Give the soil a good water after 3 days and wait for earth mother to bless your garden with your own DNA information! )

The video featured Brahmarshi Pitamaha Patriji (archive), a yogi and spiritualist who founded the self-described "spiritual science" group, Pyramid Spiritual Societies Movement (archive). In the clip, Patriji claimed, in part, that exposing seeds to human saliva will change their DNA structure, so that "there will be no disease at all when you eat those vegetables and fruits."

Melissa Prest (archive), a Chicago-based registered dietician nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (archive), confirmed that there is no basis to this claim, writing in an email received on January 2, 2024:

The claim that you can infuse DNA into a plant seed by holding the seeds in your mouth for 10 minutes is simply untrue. Scientists can alter plants and seeds through genetic modification in a laboratory setting. There is no way to infuse human DNA into a seed through your mouth or saliva. Holding seeds in your mouth and then planting them in the ground will not enhance the nutrients available in the plant that follows. Our soil quality and nutrients in that soil play a major role in nutrient amounts in fruits and vegetables.

Genetically modifying a viable plant species can take up to 12 years, according to the "Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods: Approaches to Assessing Unintended Health Effects" (archive). To be considered a new variety of crop, guidelines (archive) set forth by the Geneva-based intergovernmental organization International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants require that new varieties must be genetically distinct from other varieties and genetically stable.

Genetic modification typically occurs through one of two processes. The first is mutagenesis (archive) or mutation breeding. Simple selection, for example, breeds individual plants with the most desired traits. Hybridization, on the other hand, creates new offspring produced from two of the same or different species, which results in the transferring of new genetic material.

A more targeted and specific approach is transgenics (archive), including genetically modified plants. Rather than introducing random changes to DNA, genetic engineering typically refers to the introduction of foreign DNA from another species by artificial means, or by specifically editing portions of a plant's DNA through technologies like CRISPR (an acronym for a family of DNA sequences) tools (archive).

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  Madison Dapcevich

Raised on an island in southeast Alaska, Madison grew up a perpetually curious tidepooler and has used that love of science and innovation in her now full-time role as a science reporter for the fact-checking publication Lead Stories.

Read more about or contact Madison Dapcevich

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