Genetic engineering

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

The Global GMO Food War Against Humanity

June 24, 2015

The Global GMO Food War Against Humanity Richard Gale and Gary Null Progressive Radio Network, November 18, 2014   After decades of rearing hogs, Danish farmer IbBorup Pedersen was alarmed at the growing incidence of malformations and biological defects among his newborn piglets. Deformities included gaps in piglets’ skulls, deformed bones, missing limbs and even a female piglet with testicles. Never having witnessed such large numbers of deformed pigs before, Pedersen realized that it was after switching three years earlier to Monsanto’s GMO feed– which had been grown with glyphosate–that these birth defects began to appear. Pedersen had the piglets’ bodies sent to a Danish laboratory for analysis. The results were clear; there were high concentrations of Monsanto’s glyphosate pesticide, commonly known as Roundup, in the piglets’ organs.[1] The analyses’ findings were subsequently published in a recent Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology.[2] Pedersen’s experience is another blow against Monsanto’s public relations campaign to convince governments, farmers and consumers that Roundup is one of the world’s safest pesticides and poses no risk to animal and human health. For many years Monsanto has stood by this myth with fanatical religious fervor against all existing independent evidence to the

The Deadly Duo of Genetically Modified Food and Toxic Pesticides

June 24, 2015

The Deadly Duo of Genetically Modified Food and Toxic Pesticides Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD Progressive Radio Network, August 12, 2014     After decades of rearing hogs, Danish farmer Ib Borup Pedersen was alarmed the growing incidence of malformations and biological defects among his new born piglets. Deformities included gaps in piglets’ skulls, deformed bones, missing limbs and even a female piglet with testicles. Never having witnessed such large numbers of deformed pigs before, Pedersen realized that it was after switching three years earlier to Monsanto’s GMO feed, which had been grown with glyphosate that these birth defects began to appear. Pedersen had the piglets’ bodies sent to a Danish laboratory for analysis. The results were clear: there were high concentrations of Monsanto’s glyphosate pesticide, commonly known as Roundup, in the piglets’ organs.[1] The analyses’ findings were subsequently published in a recent Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology,[2]   Pedersen’s experience is another blow against Monsanto’s public relations campaign to convince governments, farmers and populations that Roundup is one of the world’s safest pesticides and poses no risk to animal and human health. For many years Monsanto has stood by this myth with fanatical religious fervor against all

STUDY: Farmer suicides in rained areas of India correlate with Bt cotton adoption

June 23, 2015

An important new paper by respected researchers deconstructs the false hype around Bt insecticidal cotton in India. The study shows that: * Bt cotton, introduced in 2002 to control bollworm and other pests, is grown on more than 90% of the cotton area * By 2013 insecticide use was high – back to 2000 levels (before the introduction of Bt cotton) * Yields have plateaued nationally, and farmer suicides have increased in some areas * Pink bollworm causes damage in irrigated cotton, but not in rainfed cotton unless infested from irrigated fields. Therefore use of Bt cotton seed and insecticide in rainfed cotton is questionable * Bt cotton may be economic in irrigated cotton, whereas costs of Bt seed and insecticide increase the risk of farmer bankruptcy in low-yield rainfed cotton * Inability to use saved seed and inadequate agronomic information trap cotton farmers on biotechnology and insecticide treadmills * Annual suicide rates in rainfed areas are inversely related to farm size and yield, and directly related to increases in Bt cotton adoption (i.e., costs) * High-density short-season non-GM cottons could increase yields and reduce input costs in irrigated and rainfed cotton * Policy makers need to conduct a holistic

The Crisis: Regeneration or Degeneration? Ronnie Cummins

June 19, 2015

“If governments won’t solve the climate, hunger, health, and democracy crises, then the people will.” —Dr. Vandana Shiva, speaking at the founding meeting of Regeneration International, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica, June 8, 2015 When literally billions of people, the 99 percent, are hungry or struggling to survive with justice and dignity; when the majority of the global body politic are threatened and assaulted by a toxic environment and food system; when hundreds of millions are overwhelmed with chronic health problems; battered by floods, droughts, and weather extremes; when endless wars and land grabs for water, land and strategic resources spiral out of control; When indentured politicians, corporations and the mass media conspire to stamp out the last vestiges of democracy in order to force a “Business-as-Usual” paradigm down our throats, it’s time for a change, Big Change. It’s time to move beyond degenerate ethics, farming land use, energy policies, politics and economics. It’s time to move beyond “too little, too late” mitigation and sustainability strategies. It’s time to inspire and mobilize a mighty global army of Regenerators, before it’s too late. Connecting the dots Melting polar ice caps, dying oceans, global warming? The corporate take-over of governments, commerce

Real Rewilding – Glenn Aparicio Parry, PhD

June 16, 2015

In an attempt to circumvent enmity toward genetically modified foods, Danish scientists are proposing what they claim is a precision breeding technique called “rewilding.” It is named rewilding because it mixes current genes from a plant with ancient genes of the same plant (old genes that were either lost or bred out somewhere along the way). The name sounds harmless, even restorative, and would likely be labelled non-GMO in the US because the genes are modified from the same plant. It could even be labelled “organic” if the introduced gene is determined not to be “foreign.” Like most genetic experiments, it is difficult to know the efficacy of this technique or if it ever will be successfully introduced. The outcome of the initiative notwithstanding, I find the name “rewilding” troubling. It reminds me of other similarly deceptive euphemisms, such as “tax relief” for millionaires. Who could be against “tax relief?” It sounds like a laxative, something we need to make it through the day. Rewilding is exactly what we need—but not through genetic breeding. We need to rewild by reconnecting with what is wild in Nature and within ourselves if we are to save humanity and many of the other species

MSM and Biotech Try to Re-Brand GMO’s Due to Negative Response – Christina Sarich

June 15, 2015

In the same way Big Food makers tried to rename sugar in their products so that consumers wouldn’t know that their favorite brands contained almost 75 percent empty calories, the mainstream media is trying to re-brand GMOs so that the public thinks the food creations are completely safe. That’s right. Just like Hilary Clinton advised biotech at a recent symposium, she thinks if customers just ‘thought of GMOs differently’ we would like them more. Like putting a new coat of paint on a dilapidated shed and calling it a mansion, or prettying up our fall wardrobe with some new shoes – we just need a new ‘name’ for GMOs, and then we’d like eating something that could make us infertile while causing cancer and kidney failure. In a recent article posted by the NY Times, the author goes on about how to give ‘altering the DNA of plants’ a new name. They don’t call this genetic engineering at the University of Copenhagen. They’re calling it re-wilding. Michael B. Palmgren, a plant biologist at the Danish university who headed a group, including scientists, ethicists, and lawyers that is funded by the university and the Danish National Research Foundation, said: “I consider this something worth discussing.” These plant engineers

The Rise of Scientific Fundamentalism – Larry Malerbo DO

June 2, 2015

Contrary to the beliefs of some, science is not an impenetrable body of settled fact that must be defended at all costs in the name of truth. When science becomes a worldview—a philosophy of life, a metaphysical framework that explains existence—it is no longer science; it is scientism.  Anti-Holistic Conspiracy or Reality? Contrary to the beliefs of some, science is not an impenetrable body of settled fact that must be defended at all costs in the name of truth. It is not a means by which to determine truth or to achieve absolute certainty. Neither is science a worldview. When science becomes a worldview—a philosophy of life, a metaphysical framework that explains existence—it is no longer science; it is scientism. A series of recent events have something peculiar in common. There was a call for Dr Oz to be removed from his academic post at Columbia University. Measles hype triggered a spate of legislative efforts across the country designed to restrict freedom of vaccine choice. The FDA decided to conduct a regulatory review of the status of homeopathic medicines. And most recently, a rather odd series of articles appeared in the press downplaying the significance of Chipotle’s move towards a GMO-free (genetically-modified organisms) menu. The common thread

Home-Brew Heroin Is Coming – Phillip Smith

June 1, 2015

When it comes to producing drugs like heroin and cocaine, science is on the verge of a revolutionary breakthrough that could disrupt traditional drug markets by making it possible for anyone to produce their own. Researchers working with genetically engineered yeasts are rapidly advancing toward the point where all it would take is some humble fungi and a home-brewing kit. Professor John Dueber at the University of California at Berkeley leads a team of researchers [3] who have created a yeast that produces S-reticuline, the main precursor of some 2,500 molecules, including opium. Their results were just published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology [4]. Other groups of researchers have been working on the beginning, middle, and end stages of the process [5] needed to make opiates from S-reticuline. In theory, combining the research efforts could create an opiate-producing yeast tomorrow; in practice, it’s likely to take a while longer. Still, progress is accelerating. “The field is moving much faster than we had previous realized,” Dueber told the New Scientist [6], adding that he now thought a morphine-making yeast was now only two or three years away. Once high-yield morphine-producing yeasts are developed, anyone could use them to make morphine with a home-brewing kit, Dueber said. And it wouldn’t take
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