Friday, June 10, 2011

Our Food System and GM Seed Studies

Susan Brannon
June 10, 2011

"We now know that when you insert a gene - when you randomly throw this thing in there, they don't know ahead of time where it's going to land," says Clark. The researchers don't know how many copies will be inserted, or what other genes it will affect, or will affect it. We now know that the position of a gene is critical to how it functions, and side effects of this are unpredictable and could be drastic”, Clark, a doctor in BioTechnology, reports this lesson is in one of the first courses in BioTech.

GM plants, such as soybean, corn, cottonseed, and canola, have had foreign genes forced into their DNA. The inserted genes come from species, such as bacteria and viruses, which have never been in the human food supply. (p. 233-236, chart of disproved assumptions, in Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA 2007)

•    The genetic engineering process creates massive collateral damage, causing mutations in hundreds or thousands of locations throughout the plant's DNA. (J. R. Latham, et al., “The Mutational Consequences of Plant Transformation,” The Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2006, Article ID 25376)  Natural genes can be deleted or permanently turned on or off, and hundreds may change their behavior. (Srivastava, et al, “Pharmacogenomics of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and the cystic fibrosis drug CPX using genome microarray analysis,” Mol Med. 5, no. 11(Nov 1999):753–67.)  Even the inserted gene can be damaged or rearranged,( Latham et al, “The Mutational Consequences of Plant Transformation, Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2006:1-7, article ID 25376  HindawiEcoNexus  Inst. Of Science in Society and may create proteins that can trigger allergies or promote disease.

In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) stated that, "Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food," including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid GM foods.

There are eight GM food crops. The five major varieties—soy, corn, canola, cotton, and sugar beets—have bacterial genes inserted, which allow the plants to survive an otherwise deadly dose of weed killer. Farmers use considerably more herbicides on these GM crops and so the food has higher herbicide residues. About 68% of GM crops are herbicide tolerant.

The second GM trait is a built-in pesticide, found in GM corn and cotton. A gene from the soil bacterium called Bt (for Bacillus thuringiensis) is inserted into the plant’s DNA, where it secretes the insect-killing Bt-toxin in every cell. About 19% of GM crops produce their own pesticide. Another 13% produce a pesticide and are herbicide tolerant.

Today, the same biotech companies who have been found guilty of hiding toxic effects of their chemical products are in charge of determining whether their GM foods are safe. Industry-funded GMO safety studies are too superficial to find most of the potential dangers, and their voluntary consultations with the FDA are widely criticized as a meaningless façade. (Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA 2007)

Eyewitness reports: Animals avoid GMOs
1. When given a choice, several animals avoided eating GM food.
2. In farmer-run tests, cows and pigs repeatedly passed up GM corn.
3. Animals that avoided GM food include cows, pigs, geese, squirrels, elk, deer, raccoons, mice and rats.

Roundup Ready Soy

There have not been human studies on GM foods. The only published experiment with human feeding is using GM soy which revealed that the genetic material inserted transfers into bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function.  (Netherwood et al, “Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract,” Nature Biotechnology 22 (2004): 2.) This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have the GM proteins continually inside of us.  If the antibiotic gene inserted into most GM crops were to transfer, it could develop into a resistance to antibiotics.  If the gene that creates Bt-toxin as in GM corn, were to transfer, it might turn our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories.  There have been several animal studies show that DNA in food can travel into organs throughout the body, even into the fetus. I listed only two of them for this article. (Ricarda A. Steinbrecher and Jonathan R. Latham, “Horizontal gene transfer from GM crops to unrelated organisms,” GM Science Review Meeting of the Royal Society of Edinburgh on “GM Gene Flow: Scale and Consequences for Agriculture and the Environment,” January 27, 2003; Traavik and Heinemann, Genetic Engineering and Omitted Health Research; citing Schubbert, et al, “Ingested foreign (phage M13) DNA survives transiently in the gastrointestinal tract and enters the bloodstream of mice,” Mol Gen Genet. 242, no. 5 (1994): 495–504) (Phipps, et al, “Detection of transgenic and endogenous plant DNA in rumen fluid, duodenal digesta, milk, blood, and feces of lactating dairy cows,” J Dairy Sci. 86, no. 12(2003): 4070–8.)

•    Feeding trials of 12 female rats ate Roundup Ready soy showed liver problems that are commonly associated with higher liver function.  The livers worked harder to detoxify the effects of the GM soy, compared to the rats who were fed non-GM soy.  The symptoms disappeared after replacing the GM-soy diet with non GM soy. (I.V. Ermakova, “Diet with the Soya Modified by Gene EPSPS CP4 Leads to Anxiety and Aggression in Rats,” 14th European Congress of Psychiatry. Nice, France, March 4-8, 2006; “Genetically modified soy affects posterity: Results of Russian scientists’ studies,” REGNUM, October 12, 2005) (M. Malatesta, C. Tiberi, B. Baldelli, S. Battistelli, E. Manuali, M. Biggiogera, “Reversibility of Hepatocyte Nuclear Modifications in Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” Eur J Histochem, 49 (2005): 237-242.)

•    Mice were fed Roundup Ready soy, experienced reduced activity of their testicular cells, the results could have serious implication on human fertility. (L. Vecchio et al, “Ultrastructural Analysis of Testes from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” European Journal of Histochemistry 48, no. 4 (Oct–Dec 2004):449–454.)

•    25 of 45 rat offspring died after their mothers were fed GM soy prior to and during pregnancy, compared to three deaths out of 33 for non-GM soy fed rats. (see I.V. Ermakova study above,)  The organs of the GM-fed-soy rats offspring were smaller than the organs of the non-GM-fed soy rats. (Study)  By the third generation the offspring were unable to have babies.

•    The function of mouse embryos functioned differently when the parents ate GM Soy. (Oliveri et al., “Temporary Depression of Transcription in Mouse Pre-implantion Embryos from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” 48th Symposium of the Society for Histochemistry, Lake Maggiore (Italy), September 7–10, 2006)

•    A study done in the UK showed that over 4000 people had a 50% increased in allergic response to soy after GM soy was introduced into the food system. (Mark Townsend, “Why soya is a hidden destroyer,” Daily Express, March 12, 1999.) and (Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun Sohn, Kyu-Earn Kim, “Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An immunologic comparison,” Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 26, no. 3 (May–June 2005): 210-216(7).

FlavrSavr Tomato rats developed bleeding stomachs and many died during the experiement.

GM corn
•    Rats eating GM corn over 15 weeks, had signs of exposure to toxicity in several organs, with more in the livers and kidneys.

•    Farmers in Europe and Asia say that cows, water buffaloes, chickens, and horses died from eating Bt corn varieties. (Mae-Wan Ho, “GM Ban Long Overdue, Dozens Ill & Five Deaths in the Philippines,” ISIS Press Release, June 2, 2006; and Mae-Wan Ho and Sam Burcher, “Cows Ate GM Maize & Died,” ISIS Press Release, January 13, 2004)

Farmers report pigs and cows became sterile from GM corn
1. More than 20 farmers in North America report that pigs fed GM corn varieties had low conception rates, false pregnancies or gave birth to bags of water.
2. Both male and female pigs became sterile.
3. Some farmers also report sterility among cows.

•    Mice had powerful immune responses and damaged intestines. (Vazquez et al, “Intragastric and intraperitoneal administration of Cry1Ac protoxin from Bacillus thuringiensis induces systemic and mucosal antibody responses in mice,” 1897–1912)

Twice the number of chickens died when fed Liberty Link corn
1. The death rate for chickens fed Chardon LL GM corn for 42 days was 7%, compared to 3.5% for controls.
2. GM-fed chickens also had more erratic body weight and food intake, and less weight gain overall.
3. The study was designed so that only huge differences would be statistically significant.
4. The results were therefore dismissed without follow-up.

•    Filipinos in at least five villages fell sick when a nearby Bt corn variety was pollinating. (Mae-Wan Ho, “GM Ban Long Overdue, Dozens Ill & Five Deaths in the Philippines,” ISIS Press Release, June 2, 2006; “Study Result Not Final, Proof Bt Corn Harmful to Farmers,” BusinessWorld, 02 Mar 2004; and “Genetically Modified Crops and Illness Linked,” Manila Bulletin, 04 Mar 2004.)

BT Cotton

Dr. Kaura, genetic engineering researcher says, “Milk of farm animals, eating BT Cotton, is deadly for animals'' offspring as well as humans of all age groups, as it has been found to cause increased death rate in infants, general debility, allergy, unexplained health problems, fever, decline in immunity, weakness, etc.” (see also; “Bt cotton causing allergic reaction in MP; cattle dead,” Bhopal, Nov. 23, 2005)

•    The farmers have high allergic reactions to Bt. Cotton as they did to the Br. Spray. (News India)

•    Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants after harvest. Others suffered poor health and reproductive problems. (GM Watch)

•    About two dozen US farmers report that Bt corn varieties caused widespread sterility in pigs or cows. (Personal communication with Jerry Rosman and other farmers, 2006; also reported widely in the farm press.)

GM Potatoes

•    The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer. Rats also had damaged organs and immune system.  (Arpad Pusztai, “Can science give us the tools for recognizing possible health risks of GM food,” Nutrition and Health, 2002, Vol 16 Pp 73-84; Stanley W. B. Ewen and Arpad Pusztai, “Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine,”)

GM Foods

A GM food supplement killed about 100 people and caused 5,000-10,000 to fall sick
1. One brand of the supplement L-tryptophan created a deadly US epidemic in the 1980s
2. The company genetically engineered bacteria to produce the supplement more economically.
3. Their product contained many contaminants, five or six of which were suspected as the cause of the disease.
4. Discovering the epidemic required multiple coincidences, suggesting that adverse reactions to GM foods may be hard to identify. (Jeffrey M. Smith, Seeds of Deception, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA 2003, chapter 4, Deadly Epidemic  Seeds of Decption and William E. Crist, Toxic L-tryptophan: Shedding Light on a Mysterious Epidemic).  There are not long term studies, so if the effects on humans are long term we will not be aware of the problem for a few decades.  The Bio Tech industry is gambling on the health of many nations for their proft.

GM foods might create antibiotic-resistant diseases
1. Antibiotic resistant marker (ARM) genes have been inserted into most GM foods on the market.
2. If ARM genes were to transfer to pathogenic bacteria inside the gut or mouth, they might create super diseases, untreatable with one or more types of antibiotics.
3. GM crops may therefore accelerate the rise of antibiotic-resistant illnesses, which
are already responsible for death and disease.

Disease-resistant crops may promote human viruses and other diseases
1. Viral genes inserted into disease-resistant crops produce "viral" proteins.
2. Consuming these may suppress the body’s defense against viral infections, particularly in the gut.
3. The proteins may also be toxic and lead to disease.
4. Viral transgenes also produce RNA, which might influence gene expression in humans in unpredicted ways. (IRT)

These studies on animals, give us something to think about when eating GM foods.  Our problem is that the foods that contain GM products are not required to be labeled so we as citizens cannot make a choice.  

Please contact your congressmen, senators, and governor to encourge the labeling of GM foods.  As citizens we need to fight against corporations for profit, who do not act responsible towards societies healthy existence.  It is only through our voice, through letters and phone calls, publishing articles such as this to generate awareness to global citizens.  

We must not stop acting on our rights as citizens and loose our voice, and stand up for our freedoms.  We should use the Middle East Spring Uprisings, as our examples to say that "enough is enough" and in America start to demand that our voices to be heard and action to be taken.

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