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Genetically Modifying Genes and Scientific Evidence

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Altered
Genes, Twisted Truth, by Steven M. Druker

Institute of Science in Society    June 22, 2015

Review of Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, by Steven M. Druker,  Clear River Press, Salt Lake City UT, 2015. ISBN 978-0-9856169-1-5 (hardcover), 978-0-9856169-0-8 (softcover).

Prof Peter Saunders

According to the advocates of genetic engineering, GMOs have been proven by countless rigorous trials to be safe, no humans or even animals have ever been harmed by them, genetic modification is no different from the natural and artificial breeding that has been going on for millennia, it has produced crops with all sorts of desirable properties such as drought resistance, we cannot hope to feed the world without it, and so on.

These statements are all false. And in Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, Steven Druker, a lawyer, shows them to be false exactly as if he were in a courtroom. He has collected a vast amount of documentary evidence: scientific papers and also internal reports and memos. He has interviewed many of the people who were involved and he explains the science so that lay readers can follow the arguments.

The book is a surprisingly good read, considering how long it is and the amount of detail it contains, but it is also a valuable reference text. When the GMO lobby confidently state that genetic engineering is the same as ordinary breeding, this is where you can learn why it is not. When they describe the work of Arpad Pusztai or of Gilles-Eric Séralini as ‘discredited’, you can find out what actually happened, and why neither result has ever been properly challenged, let alone refuted.

It’s not just a matter of one person’s word against another. Unlike the GM lobby, Druker presents solid evidence for what he claims. It’s there in detail and it is fully referenced; you are welcome to check it for yourself.

To give you a flavour of the book, here are brief outlines of two of the early chapters, one on Asilomar and one on tryptophan. Both stories are very important in the history of genetic engineering, but they are seldom mentioned today. When they are, the usual spin is that a few scientists raised their concerns at a meeting but soon accepted that these were unwarranted, and that the tryptophan incident had nothing to do with GM. In both cases, the truth is quite different.

Asilomar

Forty years ago, when transferring genes from one organism to another was first becoming a standard research technique, scientists naturally began to worry about its potential hazards. The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) appointed a commission to look into the issues, and this led to a letter to the journal Science [1] and then, in February 1975, a meeting of over a hundred scientists at the Asilomar Conference Center in Monterey, California. The outcome was a statement [2] with a list of safety guidelines, including the requirement that research should be carried out using only disabled bacteria that could not survive outside the laboratory. Just the sort of thing you would expect when there is a possibility of danger. Chemists, after all, work in specially designed laboratories, not out in the open, and they have to make special arrangements to dispose of the waste from their experiments; they are not allowed to pour it down the sink and into the public sewers.

The Asilomar guidelines were, however, soon abandoned. They are seldom mentioned today, and if you have heard of them at all you’ve probably been told that while they were an understandable reaction to a new technology, they were soon shown to be unnecessary because it was conclusively demonstrated that the techniques pose no significant hazards.

Druker, who has looked carefully through the published records and interviewed many of those who were around at the time, tells a very different story. One of his key points is that the claim that genetic engineering was safe was largely based on research involving only one bacterium, E. coli K-12. But K-12 had been used in laboratories for many years and was relatively weak, i.e. it would be unlikely to survive outside the laboratory. So while the release of a genetically modified K-12 into the environment might not be dangerous, that would be reassuring only if all future research were confined to K-12. Even then, there would remain the risk that the transferred gene would pass into another, stronger organism.

Yet molecular biologists used, and continue to use, this evidence to justify their claim that genetic engineering involves no special risks and that GM organisms require no more testing than those that have been conventionally bred; they are, in the words of the US Food Additive Amendment of 1958, “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) and consequently exempted from testing.

It’s easy to understand why so many molecular biologists, rushing to push ahead in what they saw as an important and exciting new area, allowed their enthusiasm to cloud their judgement. They could also see the prospect of turning their research into profit, and that made them even less anxious to think about the dangers. Crucially, they managed to convince the Reagan administration that there was money to be made and jobs to be created and that the US must not be left behind. That, combined with the Reagan-Thatcher policy of relaxing all regulation – in banks as well as in molecular biology – made support for genetic engineering a part of government policy. The US government has consistently backed the GM industry and has used its strength to pressure other countries into accepting GM crops. The Asilomar guidelines and the concerns that led to them have been totally forgotten.

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Comprehensive Analysis of Organic vs Non-Organic Foods

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The Sparc- open access to science   July 15, 2014

This week sees the publication of the most comprehensive analysis to date of the nutritional composition of organic versus non-organic foods, and the accompanying levels of pesticide contamination. Published in the British Journal of Nutrition by UK scientists (Barański et al., 2014), the meta-analysis involved 343 peer-reviewed studies and found increased antioxidant levels in organic produce, many of which have been linked to reduced risk of chronic diseases. Pesticide levels were four times higher in non-organic produce and toxic metal levels were also significantly higher in non-organic foods.

The EU is set to increase the daily acceptable intake [of Glyphosate i.e. Round-Up] by 67 %, going against the independent science showing multiple pathways by which glyphosate causes serious harm to human health. The re-assessment, submitted to the European Safety Authority in January is fatally flawed by conflict of interest (Swanson and Ho, 2014). See Swanson (2014) for details on toxicology.

The US is on the verge of approving a new type of genetically modified crop, tolerant to the herbicide 2,4-D (as well as glyphosate). 2,4-D has already been associated with many illnesses including cancers, as summarised by Cummins (2012). A report by Centre for Food Safety has also summarised the issues surrounding this technology in Going Backwards: Dow’s 2,4-D-Resistant Crops and a More Toxic Future Exposure to 2,4-D.

Find all the above mentioned reports here

 

GMO-Risk Scientist Wins Libel Case After Smear Campaign

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“Neutral”  attackers revealed to have financial interests in the industry.

Victory for Independent Science

World-famous independent scientist researching the risks of GMOs wins libel case against biotech association fronting a concerted campaign to discredit and victimise him

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho January 26, 2011 Institute of Science in Society

Gilles-Eric Séralini, professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen in France, and president of the scientific council for independent research on genetic engineering (CRIIGEN), is a leading researcher into the risks of GMOs. Not surprisingly, he and his team became the target a concerted campaign of vilification, which included Monsanto, EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and scientific societies representing biotechnology in France: the French Association of Plant Biotechnology and the French High Counsel on Biotechnology (see [1] Defend Gilles-Eric Seralini and Transparency in GMO Risk Assessment! SiS 46).

This attach was triggered by the team’s recent thorough re-analysis of data submitted by Monsanto to obtain commercial approval in Europe for three GM maize lines, MON 863, MON 810, NK603, on which EFSA had given a favourable opinion.  In a published paper, the team concluded that the data “highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.”

Séralini and his colleagues received massive support from scientists and civil society. But Séralini decided to sue for libel; he believed the researchers Claude Allegre, Axel Kahn, and Marc Fellous were behind the defamation and intimidation campaign in France and that is why he pursued Fellous, who chairs the French Association of Plant Biotechnologies (AFBV), in the courts. Séralini argued that the campaign had damaged his reputation, reducing his opportunities for work and his chances of getting funding for his research [2].

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Unbridled Science for Profit Will Reap Catastrophe

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Science took a seriously wrong turn some years ago when academia/gov’t oversight defaulted and corporations triumphed.  Since then many areas of development have ignored safety concerns and proceeded full throttle in search of profits damn what may.  The chemical industry may have been  the first to go completely haywire, flooding our bodies and environment with toxics. Now we have GMO, nanotech and geoengineering all racing to see who can cause global catastrophe first.

It’s not that hard to find credible sources of concern. But it is very hard to get anyone to take them seriously. In fact we’re over the cliff rushing headlong down a precipitous slope barely keeping our feet. It’s probably too much to expect people to be considered and rational in such a condition. –Claudia

An evil atmosphere is forming around geoengineering

…a powerful group of scientists, venture capitalists and conservative think tanks is coalescing around the idea of reproducing this cooling effect by injecting sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere to counter climate change. Despite the enormity of what is being proposed – nothing less than seizing control of the climate – the public has been almost entirely excluded from the planning.

Chemtrails

video- you believe your own eyes don’t you?

New study shows possibilities and dangers of nanotechnology

Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico found that exposure to a certain type of fullerene known as the “tris” configuration, referring to a certain configuration of molecular branches on the nanoparticle, produced a toxic reaction in human tissue. Iyer said that cells from skin and lungs were among those studied, since those would be likely points of exposure to nanoparticles. Cells exposed to the tris fullerenes went into a state that could be described as suspended animation, she said. Cells’ normal life cycle halted, meaning that they stopped growing, dividing and dying.

US Consumers Have Been Given a False Sense of Security About the Safety of Our Food Supply

Many consumers in the US mistakenly believe that the FDA approves GM foods through rigorous, in-depth, long-term studies. In reality, the agency has absolutely no safety testing requirements. Instead the agency relies on research from companies like Monsanto, research that is meticulously designed to avoid finding problems.

It’s easy to understand the FDA’s industry-friendly policy on regulation of GMOs when you see the revolving door between agency regulators and the companies they regulate. The White House mandate to the FDA (under the first George Bush) was to promote biotechnology and the person in charge of developing the agency’s policy at that time was a former Monsanto attorney, who later returned to Monsanto as their vice president.

How Corrupted Drug Companies Deceive and Manipulate Your Doctor

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by Dr. Mercola | May 18 2010 | Mecola.com

Dr. Beatrice Golomb, Associate Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Diego, masterfully exposes the corruption that has metastasized like a tumor throughout the pharmaceutical and medical industries, in the video above.

If you have any doubt about drug companies being riddled with conflicts of interest, those doubts will be shattered after seeing the evidence she presents.

The corruption has become so prolific that it has literally debased medical science.

In the above linked Chicago Breaking News article, Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious disease specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is quoted as saying:

“Science is not a democracy where people’s votes decide what is right. Look at the data, look at science and make a decision based on science that has been published.”

What he is really advocating is for you to blindly believe in “facts” that may have been produced in the midst of MASSIVE conflicts of interest.

Before you assume the science in medical journals is credible, let’s take a look at what is going on behind the scenes of editing and publishing in medical science.

See full article for more on:

Bias #1: Unwanted Results are Not Published

Bias #2: Bad Results are Submitted as Good

Bias #3: A Favorable Study is Submitted Multiple Times

Bias #4: Follow-Up Reviews Done by Biased Experts

Bias #5: Ghostwriting

Bias #6: Journal Bias

Bias #7: Drug Companies Masquerading as Educators

Hell Hath No Fury (for whistleblowers)

“Too Big to Nail”

Mainstream Science Questions GMO Safety and Lack of Testing

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BY CAREY GILLAM, Reuters

Are US regulators dropping the ball when it comes to biocrops?

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI — Robert Kremer, a US government microbiologist who studies Midwestern farm soil, has spent two decades analyzing the rich dirt that yields billions of bushels of food each year and helps the US retain its title as breadbasket of the world.

India’s environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, blocked the release of a genetically modified eggplant made by Monsanto. — Reuters

Mr. Kremer’s lab is housed at the University of Missouri and is literally in the shadow of Monsanto Auditorium, named after the $11.8-billion-a-year agricultural giant Monsanto Co. Based in Creve Coeur, Missouri, the company has accumulated vast wealth and power creating chemicals and genetically altered seeds for farmers worldwide.

But recent findings by Mr. Kremer and other agricultural scientists are raising fresh concerns about Monsanto’s products and the Washington agencies that oversee them. The same seeds and chemicals spread across millions of acres of US farmland could be creating unforeseen problems in the plants and soil, this body of research shows.

Mr. Kremer, who works for the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS), is among a group of scientists who are turning up potential problems with glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and the most widely used weed-killer in the world.

“This could be something quite big. We might be setting up a huge problem,” said Mr. Kremer, who expressed alarm that regulators were not paying enough attention to the potential risks from biotechnology on the farm, including his own research.

Concerns range from worries about how nontraditional genetic traits in crops could affect human and animal health to the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds.

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What would the White Rose have said about us?

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You wouldn’t know it if you only check out the MSM, but there is a cacophany of voices crying in the wilderness of American life, desperate for their fellows to wake from their zombie state.  The details, issues and complaints vary but the message is significantly similar: Wake out of your stupor and help resist the Corporate State! (that’s my version, but many are much the same)

Another growing groundswell is a near uniform rejection of science:  a sad but understandable situation, since science education is nearly non-existant in the US and the scientific establishment in both academia and industry have allowed Corporate control to co-opt, corrupt and abuse them. From vaccines to climate change, many reject it all.  Whatever it is, it must be a scam with profits for the Big-Boys and costs passed along to what used to be known as “the people.”  This causes me some grief, but when so many untested products poison the populace and the landscape, and  institutions supposed to provide oversight have been gutted and burdened with political hacks, it’s probably safer to “just say NO.”

Corporate schemers own Congress, manipulate every public debate and smother important issues in the press.  They have outsourced our economy and demand billions for the right to run a casino on Wall Street.

Which brings me to the White Rose– an anti-Nazi student group in Germany during WWII. The Corporate State is the texbook definition of fascism….and that’s really where we are right now. The charge has been trivialized by many puffed-up pontificators, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

As I correspond with many who excuse current events, or give me sage advice about accepting what’s ‘possible,’ I feel much more akin to those of the White Rose, even knowing the brutal end they came to.

Alex Doherty writes about them and the parallels with those today who have seen the American Dream become a nightmare and call for us to resist:

“The White Rose group could hardly have been unaware of the cruelty of the regime they opposed and yet the group did not shy from exhorting, in fact demanding that their fellow citizens take action to against the Nazi state. They took it to be a sacred duty of all people to oppose violence and authoritarianism regardless of the personal cost:

“Is your spirit already so crushed by abuse that you forget it is your right – your moral duty – to eliminate this system?” “

read his full article here