First “successfully” Genetically Modified Humans [tm]

29 June 2012

Even a slippery slope can take all the fun out of sex.

I keep expecting to see this in the Onion, and if it is a joke, it is decidedly unfunny. After modifying the genetics of animals and plants, and feeding them to animals and humans, this was the next step. I can’t wait until humans are modified to be tolerant to pesticides and GMOs, so that we never have to revisit the foolhardiness of industrialized agriculture.

In terms of human reproduction, I have wondered why we don’t take infertility as a symptom of a much bigger problem (human bodies full of pesticides, for example), and instead of treating the cause (i.e. cleaning up where we live), we continue to treat the symptoms. If you can’t have babies, it is the surest sign that you shouldn’t have babies.

World’s First GM Babies Born

The world’s first geneticallymodified humans have been created, it was revealed last night.

The disclosure that 30 healthy babies were born after a series of experiments in the United States provoked another furious debate about ethics.

So far, two of the babies have been tested and have been found to contain genes from three ‘parents’.

Fifteen of the children were born in the past three years as a result of one experimental programme at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St Barnabas in New Jersey.

The babies were born to women who had problems conceiving. Extra genes from a female donor were inserted into their eggs before they were fertilised in an attempt to enable them to conceive.

Genetic fingerprint tests on two one-year- old children confirm that they have inherited DNA from three adults –two women and one man.

The fact that the children have inherited the extra genes and incorporated them into their ‘germline’ means that they will, in turn, be able to pass them on to their own offspring.

Altering the human germline – in effect tinkering with the very make-up of our species – is a technique shunned by the vast majority of the world’s scientists.

Geneticists fear that one day this method could be used to create new races of humans with extra, desired characteristics such as strength or high intelligence.

Writing in the journal Human Reproduction, the researchers, led by fertility pioneer Professor Jacques Cohen, say that this ‘is the first case of human germline genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children’.

Some experts severely criticised the experiments. Lord Winston, of the Hammersmith Hospital in West London, told the BBC yesterday: ‘Regarding the treat-ment of the infertile, there is no evidence that this technique is worth doing . . . I am very surprised that it was even carried out at this stage. It would certainly not be allowed in Britain.’

John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: ‘One has tremendous sympathy for couples who suffer infertility problems. But this seems to be a further illustration of the fact that the whole process of in vitro fertilisation as a means of conceiving babies leads to babies being regarded as objects on a production line.

‘It is a further and very worrying step down the wrong road for humanity.’ Professor Cohen and his colleagues diagnosed that the women were infertile because they had defects in tiny structures in their egg cells, called mitochondria.

They took eggs from donors and, using a fine needle, sucked some of the internal material – containing ‘healthy’ mitochondria – and injected it into eggs from the women wanting to conceive.

Because mitochondria contain genes, the babies resulting from the treatment have inherited DNA from both women. These genes can now be passed down the germline along the maternal line.

A spokesman for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which regulates ‘assisted reproduction’ technology in Britain, said that it would not license the technique here because it involved altering the germline.

Jacques Cohen is regarded as a brilliant but controversial scientist who has pushed the boundaries of assisted reproduction technologies.

He developed a technique which allows infertile men to have their own children, by injecting sperm DNA straight into the egg in the lab.

Prior to this, only infertile women were able to conceive using IVF. Last year, Professor Cohen said that his expertise would allow him to clone children –a prospect treated with horror by the mainstream scientific community.

‘It would be an afternoon’s work for one of my students,’ he said, adding that he had been approached by ‘at least three’ individuals wishing to create a cloned child, but had turned down their requests.

175 Days to Dec 21st 2012

Agricultural Biotech is an unnecessary Evil

9 June 2012

And so say all of us.

I began my degree in biology the same year my university first offered a stream in biotechnology. I had never heard the word before, and from the descriptions, didn’t quite understand how it was different from biochemistry. A couple of decades later, and I know all too well what it has come to mean. I’m talking about agricultural biotechnology, not medical biotech, which is a gene of a different colour. Plus I know a lot less about it.

My stance is to ban it outright, remove all the biotech seeds and plants from our biosphere, and put the whole sordid experiment into our past as a bad idea gone bad. Several Countries have successfully banned GMOs, desite massive opposition. It is an issue that effects the very foundations of our food system, which in term is the foundation of our individual and public health.

Recenlty there have been articles about an engineered apple awaiting approval. The apple has been altered so that a gene has been turned off such that it doesn’t turn brown when cut. Which is completely ridiculous. Has this been such a soul-wrenching problem that we have been forced to go down to the molecular level to repair it? A very sharp knife will slice so few cells that the enzyme that causes the browning won’t be released in enough quantity to cause the “problem.” Also, acid (like lemon juice) neutralizes the enzyme. These have been solutions to the “problem” (I’ve eaten a number of apples gone brown without any adverse effects – don’t get me started on pesticide residue, however…).

Most likely, it is being developed for commercial/industrial scale use. so that a fast-“food”[tm] restaurant can include apple slices in their “salads”[tm] and not have to worry about unsightly browning.

The largest biotech companies were agri-chemical companies before. Any wonder their “plants”[tm] are being developed to tolerate company pesticides – which is where the real money is. There is a fierce protection of the patent on the seeds, so that farmers who sign on pay for the right to use the seeds, and then buy pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, etc…) out the wazoo.

A lot of false claims have gone along with selling us on biotech. And a lot of misinformation. Not to mention aggressive lobbying to prevent its labelling. Most processed foods contain some engineered ingredients, especially soy, corn, canola.

Here are some links – I can’t say how reliable the material is, as I haven’t combed through all of it – there are emotional, ill-informed articles against biotech that have their hearts in the right place, however, I prefer to seek out something with reputable, peer-reviewed sources. Biotech Companies have been known to publish their own research in their own journals made to appear peer-reviewed. If their product is so wonderful as to stand up on its own merits, why all the shenanigans?

Doctors of Chiropractic Outraged by Monsanto, GMO issue

At first glance, it seemed like an unusual topic for chiropractors to be discussing all over Facebook. No mention of subluxations, rehab, adjustments or even back pain. Yet, seldom has a subject galvanized DCs into such unity of opinion. The topic: Monsanto and its effect on the food, water, air and, ultimately, the health of every person on the planet.

Toxin from GM crops found in human blood

Fresh doubts have arisen about the safety of genetically modified crops, with a new study reporting presence of Bt toxin, used widely in GM crops, in human blood for the first time.

Animals won’t Eat GMOs
Cows, pigs, elk, deer, raccoons, squirrels, rats, and mice all share the same aversion to GMO’s, says Smith.
Failure to Yield – evaulation the performance of Genetically Engineered crops
An Open Letter from an Alberta Grain Farmer

Because the CWB [Canadian Wheat Board, which the Canadian Government has done away with illegally]  is customer oriented it listened to farmers and other people and was instrumental in blocking the introduction of Monsanto’s genetically modified, Roundup Ready wheat.  Monsanto is now preparing another attempt at introduction of genetically modified glyphosate resistant wheat.

This will lead to the selection of super weeds that are also resistant of glyphosate and require even higher applications of more toxic chemicals and combinations of chemicals to control the super weeds.

Studies have been done in some U.S. states and every sample of water from every stream tested positive for traces of glyphosate.  Air samples also showed traces of glyphosate.

What is the long term effects on the environment and human health of this chemical?  Genetically modified wheat would also contaminate and destroy organic production of wheat just as has happened with canola.

How Corporations Like Monsanto have Hijacked Higher Education
Academic research is often dictated by corporations that endow professorships, give money to universities, and put their executives on education boards.
Lab and clinical research shows that toxins from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are absorbed by humans. Pregnant women and their fetuses had detectable levels of the toxins in their blood. Lab research shows toxic effects on human kidney cells.
Human Genes Engineered into Experimental GMO Rice being Grown in Kansas
Unless the rice you buy is certified organic, or comes specifically from a farm that tests its rice crops for genetically modified (GM) traits, you could be eating rice tainted with actual human genes. The only known GMO with inbred human traits in cultivation today, a GM rice product made by biotechnology company Ventria Bioscienceis currently being grown on 3,200 acres in Junction City, Kansas — and possibly elsewhere — and most people have no idea about it.
Genetically Modified Crops’ Results Raise Concerns
Biotechnology’s promise to feed the world did not anticipate “Trojan corn,” “super weeds” and the disappearance of monarch butterflies.But in the Midwest and South – blanketed by more than 170 million acres of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton – an experiment begun in 1996 with approval of the first commercial genetically modified organisms is producing questionable results.

Controversy Remains over Genetically Modified Food

“The United States Department of Agriculture reports 52 percent of all corn crops, 79 percent of all cotton crops, and 87 percent of all soybean crops grown in the U.S. are genetically modified,” says Ortega.

Harvard Scientist Proves Pesticide causes CCD [bee Colony Collapse]

 “Commonly used pesticides may be a primary driver of the collapsing bee populations, finds two new studies in Science. The studies, one focused on honeybees and the other on bumblebees, found that even small doses of these pesticides, which target insect’s central nervous system, impact bee behavior and, ultimately, their survival. The studies may have far-reaching repercussions for the regulation of agricultural chemicals, known as neonicotinoid insecticides, that have been in use since the 1990s.” — Jeremy Hance

A plant pathologist experienced in protecting against biological warfare recently warned the USDA of a new, self-replicating, micro-fungal virus-sized organism which may be causing spontaneous abortions in livestock, sudden death syndrome in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soy, and wilt in Monsanto’s RR corn.

Booted Out of Germany – the Ignorance that Could Destroy Your Health

BASF withdrawing their biotech division from Germany is a perfect illustration of the power of public opinion, and why we must insist on labeling of genetically engineered foods in the US in order to regain control over our food supply. As long as millions of people are in the dark about what they’re eating, the biotech industry can continue to destroy the food supply of the US

GMO Corn Leading to Pesticide Resistant Bugs

Monsanto Co. corn that is genetically engineered to kill insects may be losing effectiveness against rootworms in four states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

Rootworms in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska are suspected of developing tolerance of the plants’ insecticide, based on documented cases of severe crop damage and reports from entomologists, the EPA said in a document dated Nov. 22 and posted yesterday on the government website. Monsanto’s program for monitoring suspected cases of resistance is “inadequate,” the EPA said.

Food Fraud – How your food has been hardwired for chemicals

 It is a brilliant use of technology by the chemical industry that has enabled them to sell more of their revenue-generating products, like weedkillers, but it appears to be coming at a cost to farmers, families and our future.

As crops are hardwired to withstand increasing doses of these chemicals and toxic weedkillers, it appears that the weeds have become resistant (not unlike a child might develop an antibiotic resistant should an overuse occur).  And with this weed-resistance, our farmers now confront new problems, never before seen on their farms, problems not encountered by their grandfathers or great grandfathers, called “superweeds”.

Roundup Diluted by 99.8% still destroys human DNA

Monsanto’s New Agent Orange – You are Eating, Breathing, Drinking it

Peru Passes Monumental 10-Year Ban on Genetically Engineered Foods

In a massive blow to multinational agribiz corporations such as  Monsanto, Bayer, and Dow, Peru has officially passed a law banning genetically modified ingredients anywhere within the country for a full decade before coming up for another review.  Peru’s Plenary Session of the Congress made the decision 3 years after the decree was written despite previous governmental pushes for GM legalization due largely to the pressure from farmers that together form the Parque de la Papa in Cusco, a farming community of 6,000 people that represent six communities. They worry the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will compromise the native species of Peru, such as the giant white corn, purple corn and, of course, the famous species of Peruvian potatoes. Anibal Huerta, President of Peru’s Agrarian Commission, said the ban was needed to prevent the ”danger that can arise from the use of biotechnology.”

195 Days to Dec 21st 2012