Genetic engineering

Christina Sarich – Study: GMO Soy Accumulates Cancer-Causing Formaldehyde

September 1, 2015

In a groundbreaking new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Agricultural Sciences, researchers have found that when soy is genetically engineered, it disrupts the plant’s natural ability to control stress and even sparks the production of carcinogenic formaldehyde. This new research led by an MIT trained biologist, Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D., an MIT-trained systems biologist, utilized a method to integrate 6,497 in vitro and in vivo laboratory experiments from 184 scientific institutions, across 23 countries. The researchers discovered that the accumulation of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and a dramatic depletion of glutathione, an anti-oxidant necessary for cellular detoxification, is the result of genetic tinkering with soy plants. Dr. Ayyadurai stated: Read

Dr. Mercola – Science Is No Longer Truth: Death of Democracy and Knowledge

September 1, 2015

You’ve probably heard of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. One of the most widely used herbicides in the world, in the US it’s used most often on genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready crops. The chemical can be sprayed directly onto the GM crops, which are modified to withstand it, while other living plants in the vicinity wither and die. What may come as a surprise is the fact that Roundup isn’t only used by farmers growing GM crops (not that that’s a small group – Roundup Ready soybeans make up 94 percent of US soybean acreage, for instance).1 The federal government and US state land managers also count themselves among Monsanto’s clients, as glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup – is the “weapon of choice for battling all sorts of invaders.”2 Read

Philip J. Landrigan & Charles Benbrook – GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health

September 1, 2015

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not high on most physicians’ worry lists. If we think at all about biotechnology, most of us probably focus on direct threats to human health, such as prospects for converting pathogens to biologic weapons or the implications of new technologies for editing the human germline. But while those debates simmer, the application of biotechnology to agriculture has been rapid and aggressive. The vast majority of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States are now genetically engineered. Foods produced from GM crops have become ubiquitous. And unlike regulatory bodies in 64 other countries, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require labeling of GM foods. Two recent developments are dramatically changing the GMO landscape. First, there have been sharp increases in the amounts and numbers of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops, and still further increases — the largest in a generation — are scheduled to occur in the next few years. Second, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified glyphosate, the herbicide most widely used on GM crops, as a “probable human carcinogen”1 and classified a second herbicide, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), as a “possible human carcinogen.”2 Read

Pulmonary hypertension: A growing problem in US children

August 12, 2015

Fast Facts: Study reveals pediatric pulmonary hypertension hospitalizations on the rise, resulting in skyrocketing costs. Findings uncover need to initiate a national registry to track individual patients over time and to provide a foundation for clinical trials to test new and better treatments. Study finds pulmonary hypertension hospitalizations now higher in children without congenital heart disease. Read

Ralph Turchiano – New study: Consumers don’t view GMO labels as negative ‘warnings’

July 28, 2015

Results from 5 years of polling data released as US Senate considers controversial GMO labeling law University of Vermont A new study released just days after the U.S. House passed a bill that would prevent states from requiring labels on genetically modified foods reveals that GMO labeling would not act as warning labels and scare consumers away from buying products with GMO ingredients. The study, presented at the annual conference of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, held in San Francisco on July 27, relies on five years of data (2003, 2004, 2008, 2014 and 2015) and includes 2,012 responses to a representative, statewide survey of Vermont residents. It focuses on the relationship between two primary questions: whether Vermonters are opposed to GMO’s in commercially available food products; and if respondents thought products containing GMO’s should be labeled. Read More

GMO Bacon? ‘Genetically Modified’ Pigs on the Horizon – Christina Sarich

July 8, 2015

Are you ready for modern-made ‘GMO’ bacon? With the near-future possibility of gene-modified pigs coming to your local grocery store, this may be yet another biotech reality. Molecular biologist Jin-Soo Kim at Seoul National University showed off pictures of hogs in the publication Nature just weeks ago. These genetically modified pigs were made to have bizarrely large backsides, considered the most edible part of the pig. In the article, Kim’s team, from Korea and China, looked at a mutation in an extremely muscular variety of cattle called the Belgian Blue wherein a gene that ordinarily inhibits muscle growth gets switched off. Using a gene-editing technique called TALEN, the researchers induced a similar mutation in their pigs to make them, well, porkier. It stands to note that gene-editing is already bypassing many regulatory checkpoints because it isn’t considered genetic engineering. Though, clearly it smacks of it in every conceivable way. Cyranoski from Nature explains: “Key to creating the double-muscled pigs is a mutation in the myostatin gene (MSTN). MSTN inhibits the growth of muscle cells, keeping muscle size in check. But in some cattle, dogs and humans, MSTN is disrupted and the muscle cells proliferate, creating an abnormal bulk of muscle fibres. To introduce this mutation in pigs, Kim

“I Love GMO”: The Warped World Of The Pro-GMO Lobbyist By Colin Todhunter

July 8, 2015

There’s a massive spike in cancer cases in Argentina that is strongly associated with glyphosate-based herbicides. These herbicides are a huge earner for agribusiness. But don’t worry, Patrick Moore says you can drink a whole quart and it won’t harm you. Who needs independent testing?  Anyway, all that scare mongering about GMOs and glyphosate is a conspiracy by a bunch of whinging lavishly funded green-blob types. Former UK environment minister Owen Paterson said as much. He says those self-serving anti-GMO people are damaging the interests of the poor and are profiting handsomely. They are condemning “billions” to lives of poverty. He voted for the illegal invasion of Iraq, which has led to the death of almost 1.5 million Iraqis. His government has plunged millions into poverty and food insecurity in the UK. He now wants to help the poor by giving them GM courtesy of self-interested, corporations and their lavishly paid executives. What was that about self-serving, lavishly funded groups? As a staunch believer in doublespeak, hypocrisy and baseless claims by self-appointed humanitarians with awful track records, Paterson’s sound-bite smears and speeches are good enough for me. So with that cleared up, hopefully we can move on. Then there’s all that ‘anti-capitalist twaddle’ (another pearl of wisdom from Patrick

Pope Francis Is on a Roll — Brings Sanity to the GMO Debate By Jill Richardson

June 30, 2015

Does genetically engineering crops — creating seeds with the DNA of other species inserted in them, like a tomato with DNA that includes genes from a fish — violate religious principles? People with a vested interest have tried for years to speak on the Vatican’s behalf on this question. Now, Pope Francis has weighed in. Using plain and forceful language, the Catholic leader has made it clear that he’s against this kind of agricultural tinkering. In speaking out on what he sees as a question tied to the sanctity of life in his new environmental encyclical, he’s also defied U.S. foreign policy. The State Department dispatched its diplomats to lobby [2] Pope Benedict, Francis’s predecessor, on genetic engineering just months after he took office. Diplomats cast embracing the technology as a “moral imperative,” WikiLeaks revealed when it published State Department cables. A year later, the diplomats reported [3] that the Vatican was “cautiously optimistic” about the newfangled foods. Yet in 2010, the Vatican clarified [4] that it hadn’t come out in favor of genetic engineering. Not surprisingly, the Vatican’s concern all along — whether defined by Pope Benedict or Pope Francis — has been how the technology will impact the poor, as well as all of God’s Creation. Pope

GM wheat crop fails to repel bugs, £3m trial branded ‘a waste’

June 29, 2015

A controversial trial of genetically modified (GM) wheat has failed to repel pests any more effectively than ordinary crops, scientists have found. Researchers attempted to engineer a variety of wheat to emit an odor that deters aphids in the hope of reducing the amount of pesticides required by plants. The crops, nicknamed “whiffy wheat,” were successful in lab tests, but succumbed to aphids when trialed in the field. The experiment cost £3m, some £2.2m of which was spent on fencing and other security measures to protect the trial from animals and saboteurs. Campaign group GM Freeze said the experiment was a waste of money and further evidence of the “folly” of investing in GM technology. Agricultural institution Rothamsted Research ran the trial in Hertfordshire from 2012 to 2013. Scientists had hoped to create a strain of wheat capable of deterring aphids – such as greenfly and blackly – from eating the crops and spreading infections. They changed the structure of the plants to produce a natural pheromone – commonly found in peppermint – which aphids release when attacked by predators. Researchers hoped the modified plants would no longer need to be sprayed with insecticides. While lab tests found the pheromone
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