Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Frankenfood, FrankenWeeds, FrankenInsects, FrankenWorld

This stuff is kind of scary.  It is like the people at Monsanto that want so desperately to be Gods and to create life, just never gave a thought to what their creations would ever do.  Yep, just like Frankenstein.  The good doctor created life, but had no control over what his monster did.  Might have saved the little girl, but it destroyed the villagers.  Now, we have some more scientific studies showing what is really going on with the creations coming out of the labs at Monsanto and other Gene-Tech companies. A new report is out showing the transfer of inserted genes for the production of Bt Toxin into crop plants has now transferred to weeds.  This is not from HGT, or Horizontal Gene Transfer, which is the process in which the inserted genes migrate from the cells of the crop into the mitochondria of bacteria in close proximity.  As in when humans eat GM foods and their gut bacteria pick up the inserted genes to make Bt toxin.  This study is just about simple cross contamination.  How the pollen of one crop migrates to similar species to other members of that group, to others, to others then to weeds that we don't want and now are becoming super weeds, resistant to Roundup via the never before thought of process known as "Natural Selection", and now to insect attacks as well.  At least in areas where the insects haven't developed resistance to Bt toxin.  And those areas are getting smaller as insects evolve through the same process of "Natural Selection" and develop that immunity. 

Isn't that just like a basic concept when trying to decide what to create?  Well, it SHOULD be a basic consideration, for non-Godlike mortals.  Just one more in the long list of flaws that are showing up in the reality that we mortals now have to live with in the world designed by those that play God, but don't have the training to do so.
  1. One Gene, One Protein concept - just not the way it turned out.  When Monsanto started on their divine journey the human genome project was not finished.  We now know that the human genome consists of about 25K genes, making about 100K proteins.  Oops, it sure seems that the genes interact to make the proteins needed for life, and one extraneous gene in there is going to cause a bit of trouble.  I'm pretty sure that it is not just humans, but every living thing.
  2. Natural Selection concept - well, it is not the way the world evolved according to my holy roller brother, but it does have a place in science, especially when we can actually SEE the results occurring right before our eyes.  Insects eat the Bt toxin crops, most die.  Those that don't, breed more insects with resistance.  Same with weeds sprayed with glyphosate, some die, those that don't, produce resistant offspring.  Oops, is that part of God's plan, or just an accident.  THAT is a bit of philosophical debate that is beyond my desire to participate in.
  3. Pollen Contamination concept- yup, insects, wind, mechanized farming, all transfer pollen from one field, to another, and from one species, to similar ones.  Soon, there will not be any non-GM crops in the world, they will all be Genetically Modified.  And as Monsanto has done in the past, when they find those fields of what are supposed to be non-GM crops and can test the crops and find that they are contaminated, then they can sue the farmers for patent infringement.  Soon the whole world will owe Monsanto because their divine concept is turning out to be a divine money machine.  
  4. Horizontal Gene Transfer concept- I ate corn chips on Memorial Day.  Pretty sure they were GM corn, they would have to be as GM corn is pretty much everywhere.  The scary part here is that we have scientific evidence that the genes inserted into the corn to produce Bt toxin and resistance to glyphosate can and do migrate into the genetic material of the bacteria living in my intestinal tract.  Oops, God plays God a whole lot better than Monsanto does.  You would think that those wanting to be God would at least look at this aspect of their work before attempting it. If mere mortals wanting to play God can insert genes into other species, doesn't it stand to reason that so can God?
  5. Long Term Feeding Studies concept - no GM crop was ever required to undergo the scrutiny of testing before being approved for mere mortal consumption.  Oops, seems that lately a few very prominent and well respected scientists and organizations have begun to do that very thing.  And the results are not too favorable for Monsanto.  Rats fed GM corn and soy develop cancers at an alarming rate.  Mice and hamsters that make it to the third generation become sterile.  Humans, well, we don't really know now do we.  Hmmm, playing God doesn't give Monsanto omnipotence.
  6. Substantial Equivalence concept - Monsanto somehow got the Senate of the United States to buy into the concept that GM foods are exactly the same in every way as their non-GM counterparts.  Oops, that just isn't so.  Testing shows just how far off they are with GM corn having over 430 times LESS calcium as non-GM corn, 113 times LESS Magnesium and 7 times less Manganese.  All very important elements needed for human growth.  All lacking dramatically in just one GM crop tested.
  7. Substantial Equivalence and Allergenicity concept - the thinking behind the one gene one protein concept gave rise to the belief that when the Monsanto Gods created new plants, those plants could not in anyway be different from regular plants because they only inserted selected genes.  There could not ever be any other mutations to the plant other than what was desired.  Oops, that one was the biggest and most obvious flaw in their thinking.  The actual process of making GM plants involves the injecting of select genes into split seed embryos and attempting to grow them into plants.  For every 10,000 attempts, they get 4 to grow.  For every 1,000 that grow, 2 might RESEMBLE the original plant.  For every 10,000 that resemble the original, only 2 or 3 make it to the testing to see if odd toxins are being grown in their along with their desired traits.  And even if they are present, only the really nasty ones are found, the chronic ones are not tested for in long term studies.  See number 5.
So,what's the answer.  Well, after the dismal recognition that the March on Monsanto garnered from national media, getting the gene-tech giant and farmers to stop planting GM crops probably won't happen for a while.  More scientific studies might help in the long run.  But there is a lot of money made and the general consensus of opinion in the ag world is that what is happening now, is here to stay.  But this is interesting (ROBOTS) NPR reports that new studies are underway to make robots that will go through fields and destroy weeds as needed, physically.  Personally, it would be a good way to put welfare recipients to work, pulling weeds.

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