Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The GMO Experience or the Reality of "Who Let the Demon Loose"

I take a lot of flack from friends because I don't believe that those running the US government and most, if not all of its myriad of agencies, have the highest moral standards.  Nor do they do what they are mandated to do.  And of course their mandate is to govern, and responsibly protect the citizens of this nation. It sure seems like a noble mandate, one that should be easy to work toward achieving.  It just doesn't happen.  Just one of the myriad of examples, the FDA and Aspartame.  (Money buys the FDA)   But the world turns around and around, and those that lie steal cheat and destroy continue doing so.  Those with money take the the advice of Yoda wisely, and they distribute money wisely.  Well, maybe that's a stretch, the quote might have been from Raiders.  Again, many people are blind to the corruption of our government, please, if you think it doesn't happen, look up Keating Five on wikipedia.  I don't have any way to know or find out, but I'm sure that a lot of those that lost their entire life savings in the savings and loan failures went ahead and voted for McCain and John Glenn even after the Keating Bribery fiasco.  It just seems that the mass news media glanced over all that, there was no mention of it on TV.  And so those that cheat, were reelected.

But this article is actually about something far more sinister.  It's about who let the demon loose.  Specifically the GM demon.  At this time, there is a lot of controversy as to whether that demon actually exists, and whether or not there should be any actions taken to confine and eradicate what might possibly be a demon in the future.  This isn't an easy thing to prove, it isn't like the rabbits in Australia.  One person thinking some rabbits would be nice to have around for some target practice and now hundreds of millions of them cause a billion dollars in agricultural losses yearly since there are no natural predators nor diseases there.  Not exactly what the intent was for bringing rabbits there, but it happened.  And then in Hawaii they had rats take over after they little vermin got off ships that carried them around in the old days.  And of course, they took over.  And yet human logic, flawed as it is, gave the Islands another great pest, the mongoose, as a way to stop the rats.  That didn't work either, and now Hawaii and Australia join the ranks of places ravaged by species of plants, animals and insects that are not native to each individual locale.  Things like snakeheads, pythons, kudzu, cane toads, and the lowly whitefly.  All are horrific pests, and all are species that were introduced into local environments for one reason or another.  And all are showing themselves to be costly.  Here is a list of the top 100 non-native species causing some problems in their now new habitats.  (100 species)  But the greatest pest that will soon become a worldwide problem isn't the giant pythons eating the neighborhood dogs in Florida, nor the tiny whiteflies destroying crops all over the world; it goes down to the level and size of bacteria.  Well, it is bacteria.  All kinds of bacteria, little one celled bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. 

The problem is only partly the huge amounts of antibiotics that are fed to animals raised in crowded unsanitary feedlots.  A big part of the new problem is in the development of Genetically Modified Foods from the outset.  Gen Food is created using the technology of Horizontal Gene Transfer, or HGT.  In the beginning, Gen food was created by mechanically splitting an embryonic seed germplast and actually shooting desired genetic material into the split seed and attempting to get it to grow.  The technology has advanced dramatically as has mankind's understanding and mapping of the genes in living things.  With the understanding that for the first billion or so years that life sprang into existence here on earth, it is generally agreed among geneticists that the living bacteria like things in the oceans here actually shared parts of their genetic material.  All the time.  It is a fact that scientists have seen, caused, measured and now COUNT on happening at a microscopic level with in the nucleus of cells in target plants.  Once scientists are relatively confident that they have isolated genes that possess the characteristics that they are trying to merge into the genetic makeup of an entirely different species, they have discovered that they can get little tiny viruses to acquire the selected genes into its own nucleus.  And then they force that virus to transfer the genes into the target plant.  And here is where it gets a little crazy.  Those scientists can't just look into the nucleus of a cell in the seed to see if their procedure worked, they have to figure out a way to confirm that it happened.  The process is pretty simple, they affix a specific gene that they can test for into the gene sequence that they are attempting to insert into the target seed embryo.  That "MARKER" gene is simple, it is for resistance to the methicillin family of antibiotics.  They put it in there on purpose, as a marker.

Back in 2005 some scientists at Princeton did a rather interesting study using students as volunteer Guinea pigs.  They gave them GM soy products to eat.  Everyday for a week.  Then they took stool samples and cultured the bacteria from the students digestive systems.  Kind of a shitty job for some students. Then they tested the bacteria for any genetic markers from the GM soy.  A very valid and viable test for HGT.  They were astounded to find not only the genes for Roundup resistance from the soy, they also found BT toxin genes from corn products.  Seems everyone of the students ate corn chips.  Horizontal Gene Transfer, this is where bacteria share the genetic material in the environment, just as they have done for billions of years.  Monsanto of course denounced the study as bad science.  They denounced Seralini, one of the most prestigious researchers in France for his study as well.  In fact I believe that Monsanto denounces any science that points out the flaws in their line of thinking.  The Monsanto web site annual report states that two thirds of corporate income is from chemical sales, only a third is seeds.  Everywhere on their site they describe their company as an agricultural farming company.  And nowhere on the site is any mention whatsoever of HGT.  Even though they use it to develop their gene altered seeds, they don't talk about it. 
(Monsanto on why they don't do long term testing on GM crops) This is actually a very abbreviated treatise on how GM crops are made along with why they THINK they aren't required to test them
 (The Feds info on HGT)
(NCBI info on HGT) The NCBI has over 6000 scientific papers on the subject
(Treatise on HGT in agriculture) Fantastic study on genetic pollution

The deal is that Monsanto is placing the genetic mutation that allows bacteria to have resistance to antibiotics into their crops, and they are then spreading that resistance all across the globe.  Some people might think of Prince Charles as kind of a goofy looking rich guy who has slightly odd tastes in women; but the reality is the man is highly educated and quite the philanthropist.  This is what he said about GM foods "We simply don't know the long term consequences for human health and the wider environment [from GM food] ... If something goes badly wrong we will be faced with the problem with clearing up a kind of pollution that is self perpetuating.  I am not convinced that anyone has the first idea how this could be done."

Who let the demon out of the bag?  And just how bad will it get some time in the very very near future?

No comments:

Post a Comment