Tag Archives | Genetic Engineering

GM Food Dangers With Jeffrey Smith (Video, Part 1)

Author and filmmaker Jeffrey Smith discussed the dangers of eating genetically modified (GM) foods, and how the biotech industry has tried to cover up negative reports. The stakes are high right now, with a Supreme Court battle over approval of genetically modified alfalfa, and the Dept. of Justice combined with the Dept. of Agriculture investigating if Monsanto is a monopoly, he reported.

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Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality in Hamsters

hamster

Photo: Bamboopidge (CC)

Jeffrey Smith, author and founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology, writing at Huffington Post:

“This study was just routine,” said Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov, in what could end up as the understatement of this century. Surov and his colleagues set out to discover if Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) soy, grown on 91% of US soybean fields, leads to problems in growth or reproduction. What he discovered may uproot a multi-billion dollar industry.

After feeding hamsters for two years over three generations, those on the GM diet, and especially the group on the maximum GM soy diet, showed devastating results. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies. They also suffered slower growth, and a high mortality rate among the pups.

And if this isn’t shocking enough, some in the third generation even had hair growing inside their mouths—a phenomenon rarely seen, but apparently more prevalent among hamsters eating GM soy.

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Russia Says Genetically Modified Foods Are Harmful

GMOFrom The Voice of Russia:

Russia has started the annual Days of Defence against Environmental Hazards from the 15th of April to the 5th of June with the announcement of sensational results of an independent work of research. Scientists have proved that Genetically Modified Organisms are harmful for mammals. The researchers discovered that animals that eat GM foodstuffs lose their ability to reproduce. Campbell hamsters that have a fast reproduction rate were fed for two years with ordinary soya beans, which are widely used in agriculture and those contain different percentages of GM organisms. Another group of hamsters, the control group, was fed with pure soya, which was found with great difficulty in Serbia because 95 percent of soya in the world is transgenic.

Concerning the experiment carried out jointly by the National Association for Gene Security and the Institute of Ecological and Evolutional Problems, Dr. Alexei Surov has this to say.

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Pseudo-Scientific Defense of GMO Safety is Smoke and Mirrors

By Jeffrey Smith, author and founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology at Huffington Post:

Three years after I wrote Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, pro-GM scientists have finally taken me up on my challenge to supply evidence that counters any of the 65 risks highlighted in the book. So, it will be a great pleasure for me to respond to the 65 arguments recently posted on a new attack-Jeffrey website. Their effort offers a priceless opportunity to not only revisit each health risk, but also to show more precisely where and how the biotech industry comes up short in its defense. Be sure to subscribe to my Huffington Post blog to catch the fun.

In my initial challenge to the GMO industry, I sought rigorous, independent scientific data that would enrich the global discussion and better characterize GMO risks. But the posts written by biotech apologists Bruce Chassy and David Tribe demonstrate without doubt how flimsy and unsupported the industry’s claim is that GMOs are safe…

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National Research Council Reports Genetically Engineered Crops Yield ‘Economic and Environmental Benefits’

Kara Laney, Study Director

Kara Laney, Study Director

The National Research Council has released a report essentially crowing about the benefits of genetically modified seeds (the “Roundup Ready” variety), albeit with a caveat warning against overuse. Personally, I’m extremely skeptical and it makes me question the integrity of the report and the institution publishing it. Your thoughts in the comments section please. Here’s the press release, in full:

Genetically Engineered Crops Benefit Many Farmers,
But The Technology Needs Proper Management to Remain Effective

WASHINGTON — Many U.S. farmers who grow genetically engineered (GE) crops are realizing substantial economic and environmental benefits — such as lower production costs, fewer pest problems, reduced use of pesticides, and better yields — compared with conventional crops, says a new report from the National Research Council. However, GE crops resistant to the herbicide glyphosate — a main component in Roundup and other commercial weed killers — could develop more weed problems as weeds evolve their own resistance to glyphosate.

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Researchers Turn Mosquitoes Into Flying Vaccinators

MosquitoesThanks scientists for taking mosquitoes from an “annoying” level to now a plot line for a super-villain. Martin Enserink writes on ScienceNOW:

Here’s a study to file under “unworkable but very cool.” A group of Japanese researchers has developed a mosquito that spreads vaccine instead of disease. Even the researchers admit, however, that regulatory and ethical problems will prevent the critters from ever taking wing — at least for the delivery of human vaccines.

Scientists have dreamed up various ways to tinker with insects’ DNA to fight disease. One option is to create strains of mosquitoes that are resistant to infections with parasites or viruses, or that are unable to pass the pathogens on to humans. These would somehow have to replace the natural, disease-bearing mosquitoes, which is a tall order. Another strategy closer to becoming reality is to release transgenic mosquitoes that, when they mate with wild-type counterparts, don’t produce viable offspring.

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Ex-Pfizer Worker Cites Genetically Engineered Virus In Lawsuit Over Firing

By Edmund H. Mahoney for the Hartford Courant:

Medical experts will be watching closely Monday when a scientist who says she has been intermittently paralyzed by a virus designed at the Pfizer laboratory where she worked in Groton opens a much anticipated trial that could raise questions about safety practices in the dynamic field of genetic engineering.

Organizations involved in workplace safety and responsible genetic research already have seized on the federal lawsuit by molecular biologist Becky McClain as an example of what they claim is evidence that risks caused by cutting-edge genetic manipulation have outstripped more slowly evolving government regulation of laboratories.

McClain, of Deep River, suspects she was inadvertently exposed, through work by a former Pfizer colleague in 2002 or 2003, to an engineered form of the lentivirus, a virus similar to the one that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Medical experts working for McClain believe the virus has affected the way her body channels potassium, leading to a condition that causes complete paralysis as many as 12 times a month.

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Genetically-Engineered Human Have Already Been Born

Kirk Says KhanHere is another chapter from Russ Kick’s classic bite-size Disinformation book 50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know, published in 2003.

For more on Russ Kick, check out his website, The Memory Hole.

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The earthshaking news appeared in the medical journal Human Reproduction under the impenetrable headline: “Mitochondria in Human Offspring Derived From Ooplasmic Transplantation.”

The media put the story in heavy rotation for one day, then forgot about it. We all forgot about it.

But the fact remains that the world is now populated by dozens of children who were genetically
engineered. It still sounds like science fiction, yet it’s true.

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Criticising GM Crops May Land You In Jail

Imran Khan for express buzz:

BANGALORE [India]: Criticising Genetically Modified (GM) products could land you in jail — if the draconian draft Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill (BRAB) of 2009, which will be tabled in the current session of the parliament by the UPA government, is passed.

In an unprecedented muzzle on the right to freedom of speech of the citizen, Chapter 13 section 63 of the draft bill says, “Whoever, without any evidence or scientific record misleads the public about the safety of the organisms and products…shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that shall not be less than six months but which may extend to one year and with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees or with both.” The BRAI Bill drafted by the department of bio-technology under the Ministry of Science and Technology comes on the heels of a moratorium on Bt Brinjal announced by the Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

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The Scary World Of Synthetic Biology Goes DIY

A few months ago I posted a New Yorker story about synthetic biology. Now the New York Times reports that the stakes are getting higher, and scarier:

…The first thing to understand about the new science of synthetic biology is that it’s not really a new science; it’s a brazen call to conduct an existing one much more ambitiously. For almost 40 years, genetic engineers have been decoding DNA and transplanting individual genes from one organism into another. (One company, for example, famously experimented with putting a gene from an arctic flounder into tomatoes to make a variety of frost-resistant tomatoes.) But synthetic biologists want to break out of this cut-and-paste paradigm altogether. They want to write brand-new genetic code, pulling together specific genes or portions of genes plucked from a wide range of organisms — or even constructed from scratch in a lab — and methodically lacing them into a single set of genetic instructions.

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