viernes, octubre 24, 2014

The Complexity of Reductionism: A Case Study of Genetic Engineering, by Richard Widows

There can be no doubting that reductionist approaches to science have helped us achieve a remarkable ability to influence and control the world around us. Unfortunately, these same approaches have also resulted in the situation where we have influenced the world around us to the extent that our own impact on the environment has begun threatening the very existence of humanity as we know it.


This essay represents an attempt to highlight a reductionist approach to science and the complexity inherent within it, via the case study of genetic engineering. Whilst genetic engineering is by no means the only area where reductionist science sits at the forefront of the mainstream view, it is perhaps one of the starkest examples – a proverbial house of cards, built on a series of outdated, reductionist principals and approaches.

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Los cultivos transgénicos y los paradigmas científicos de los que emergen a la luz de los derechos de la naturaleza
En este trabajo se analizan los paradigmas científicos bajo los cuales se desarrollaron los cultivos genéticamente modificados, y cómo violan los derechos de la naturaleza al alterar la estructura del ADN y con ello, las funciones de los organismos genéticamente manipulados; lo que deviene en impactos en los ciclos biológicos y procesos evolutivos.
Por Elizabeth Bravo Velásquez
Para acceder al documento (PDF) haga clic en el enlace a continuación y descargue el archivo:

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Andrés Carrasco vs. Monsanto

El profesor Andrés Carrasco tuvo enemigos muy poderosos, pero también muchos amigos en un país que depende en gran medida de la soja transgénica. A continuación mostramos el homenaje que le han rendido en un medio de comunicación de Venezuela. después de su muerte el pasado mes de mayo. La prensa corporativa argentina ha mantenido silencio sobre su muerte y su trayectoria, por las razones que se explican en el artículo.


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jueves, octubre 23, 2014

Genetic fallout in bio-cultural landscapes

Genetic fallout in bio-cultural landscapes: Molecular imperialism and the cultural politics of (not) seeing transgenes in Mexico

  1. Christophe Bonneuil
    1. Centre Alexandre Koyré (CNRS-EHESS-MNHN), Paris, France
  2. Jean Foyer
    1. Institut des Sciences de la Communications CNRS/Université Paris-Sorbonne/UPMC, Paris, France
  3. Brian Wynne
    1. Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
  1. Christophe Bonneuil, Centre Alexandre Koyré (CNRS-EHESS-MNHN), 27, rue Damesme, Paris 75013, France. Email:


This article explores the trajectory of the global controversy over the introgression (or not) of transgenes from genetically modified maize into Mexican indigenous maize landraces. While a plurality of knowledge-making processes were deployed to render transgenes visible or invisible, we analyze how a particular in vitro based DNA-centered knowledge came to marginalize other forms of knowledge, thus obscuring other bio-cultural dimensions key to the understanding of gene flow and maize diversity. We show that dominant molecular norms of proof and standards of detection, which co-developed with the world of industrial monocropping and gene patenting, discarded and externalized non-compliant actors (i.e. complex maize genomes, human dimensions of gene flow). Operating in the name of high science, they hence obscured the complex biological and cultural processes that maintain crop diversity and enacted a cultural–political domination over the world of Mexican landraces and indigenous communities.

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New study shows honeybees harmed by herbicide used on GMO crops

21 October 2014.

Glyphosate herbicide can disrupt learning behaviour in honeybees and severely impair long-term colony performance

EXCERPT: The scientists who conducted the new study used field-realistic levels of glyphosate, similar to what honeybees may encounter on a farm growing GMOs. They found that learning behavior and short-term memory retention decreased significantly compared with the control groups.

1. New study shows honeybees harmed by herbicide used on GMO crops

2. Effects of field-realistic doses of glyphosate on honeybee appetitive behaviour

1. New study shows honeybees harmed by herbicide used on GMO crops

Judson Parker, 15 Oct 2014

One of every three bites of food we eat is from a crop pollinated by honeybees.

2. Effects of field-realistic doses of glyphosate on honeybee appetitive behaviour

Herbert LT, Vázquez DE, Arenas A, Farina WM

J Exp Biol. 2014 Oct 1;217(Pt 19):3457-64. doi: 10.1242/jeb.109520. Epub 2014 Jul 25.


Glyphosate (GLY) is a broad-spectrum herbicide used for weed control. The sub-lethal impact of GLY on non-target organisms such as insect pollinators has not yet been evaluated. Apis mellifera is the main pollinator in agricultural environments and is a well-known model for behavioural research. Honeybees are also accurate biosensors of environmental pollutants and their appetitive behavioural response is a suitable tool with which to test sub-lethal effects of agrochemicals. We studied the effects of field-realistic doses of GLY on honeybees exposed chronically or acutely to the herbicide. We focused on sucrose sensitivity, elemental and non-elemental associative olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension response (PER), and foraging-related behaviour. We found a reduced sensitivity to sucrose and learning performance for the groups chronically exposed to GLY concentrations within the range of recommended doses. When olfactory PER conditioning was performed with sucrose reward with the same GLY concentrations (acute exposure), elemental learning and short-term memory retention decreased significantly compared with controls. Non-elemental associative learning was also impaired by an acute exposure to GLY traces. Altogether, these results imply that GLY at concentrations found in agro-ecosystems as a result of standard spraying can reduce sensitivity to nectar reward and impair associative learning in honeybees. However, no effect on foraging-related behaviour was found. Therefore, we speculate that successful forager bees could become a source of constant inflow of nectar with GLY traces that could then be distributed among nestmates, stored in the hive and have long-term negative consequences on colony performance.

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Insect Pollinators a Significant Factor in Transgene Flow in Rice

Oryza sativa with small wind pollinated flowers

Oct 17 2014

It has generally been assumed that, because rice is largely a self-pollinated crop and dispersal of its pollen by wind is limited, there is low risk of gene flow between cultivated GM rice plants and other cultivated or wild rice. Few studies have, however, paid attention to the impact of insect pollination on gene flow in rice.
A large-scale study conducted in China has found that over 510 insect species visited rice flowers and several of these carried away large amounts of pollen, some up to 500 metres away. In a field-cage experiment with GM and non-GM rice, using honeybees as pollinators, the screening of over 1-5 million germinated offspring seeds over three years revealed that honeybees increased transgene flow in rice significantly.
The researchers concluded that “the potential exists for long-distance gene escape due to the abundance of insects that carry rice pollen”. They stressed that this factor must form part of the ecological risk assessment for GM rice as well as for other GM crops. 
The summary of the research report published in the Journal of Applied Ecology is reproduced below.  

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Journal of Applied Ecology 2014 doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12299 
1. Rice is one of the most important crops in the world. Several transgenic varieties of rice have been developed, and some have recently entered pre-production trials. One concern with genetically modified (GM) crops is transgene escape, but prior studies suggest this risk is low for rice because it is self-pollinated and the dispersal of pollen by wind is limited.
2. Little is known about the impact of pollen transport by insects. We characterized the insects visiting rice plants during anthesis and considered the effects of insect pollination on gene flow. 3. We conducted a 2-year nationwide survey in China and identified more than 510 insect species that visited rice flowers. Honeybees, hoverflies and several other species carried large amounts of pollen. The European honeybee Apis mellifera visited rice flowers regularly with daily foraging activity peaking between 12.00 and 13.00 h.
4. We monitored 20 European honeybee colonies located 100–1000 metres away from rice fields in mixed agricultural landscapes and found the honeybees carried viable pollen at least 500 m away from the rice pollen source.
5. We used four GM rice lines as pollen donors, their non-GM parental varieties as pollen recipients and the European honeybee as the pollinator in field-cage experiments to assess whether honeybees increase the frequency of gene flow in rice. Results from screening over 1-5 million germinated offspring seeds over a 3-year study period showed that honeybees significantly increase transgene flow in rice.
6. Synthesis and applications. Our results indicate that a remarkably high diversity of insects visit rice flowers in China and that hundreds of species including honeybees carry large amounts of rice pollen. European honeybees carry viable pollen over long distances, forage on rice flowers regularly and increase the frequency of transgene flow. Insects mediate gene flow in rice more than previously assumed, and this should be taken into consideration during the ecological risk assessment of transgene flow in self-pollinated and/or anemophilous crops.

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miércoles, octubre 22, 2014

Ultimate experts?


Regulators rely on poor quality studies and often no detailed studies at all to assess the safety of GMOs, writes Prof Jack Heinemann
GMWatch reported on the review on which this article is based here:
EXCERPT: The authors identified 47 GM crop plants that were approved by at least one food safety regulator somewhere… For these 47 approved products, only 18 published, peer-reviewed studies could be found. These studies were restricted to only 9 of the 47 approved GM food crops. The lack of studies isn’t the only interesting finding. Critically, many of this small number of studies also failed to adequately describe the methodology, other basic information needed to determine the level of confidence in the results, or even the results!

Ultimate experts

Do regulators rely on quality scientific information when they assess the safety of genetically engineered plants intended for use as food or animal feed?
I addressed this question in a recent blog on The Conversation. The short answer is that they don’t routinely rely upon sources of evidence that have been through a process of blind peer-review at the time that they make their conclusions about the safety of these products. This isn’t to say that their conclusions are necessarily wrong as a result. However, where the ultimate product is trust, it is relevant how society views sources of information.

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Transgénicos, agroindustria y soberanía alimentaria, Por Xavier Alejandro León Vega

La Soberanía Alimentaría ha sido implementada constitucionalmente en el Ecuador, sin embargo muchas de las acciones y políticas apuntan a beneficiar al modelo dominante de producción de alimentos, basado en la agroindustria, monocultivos intensivos, agroquímicos y transgénicos.
En este artículo se reflexiona sobre el papel de la agricultura familiar campesina como generador de Soberanía Alimentaria, y por otro lado la amenaza a los mismos por parte de la agricultura agroindustrial basada en transgénicos. Se analiza también el papel que ha tenido la ayuda alimentaria en la introducción de transgénicos en Latinoamérica y otras regiones del mundo.

Por Xavier Alejandro León Vega

Para acceder al documento (PDF) haga clic en el enlace a continuación y descargue el archivo:

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Declaración Latinoamericana por una Ciencia Digna, por Andrés Carrasco


La necesidad de legitimar la tecnología se transforma en una pulsión, anticientífica y dogmática. Más aun, la afirmación de que el problema no está en la técnica sino en su uso, es doblemente preocupante porque además de no ver el pensamiento reduccionista que los preside, oculta la creciente subordinación y fusión de la ciencia con el poder económico revalidando las bases cientificistas productivistas y tecnocéntricas que emanan del neoliberalismo en su versión actual. La legitimación recurre a la simplista idea de que la tecnología por serneutra y universal representa siempre progreso. Y que si algo falla es debido a la intromisión de un impredecible Dr. No que la va usar mal y que cualquier posible daño derivado de ésta será remediado en el futuro por otra “tecnología mejor” o por el ingenuo argumento de la regulación del Estado, aunque sepamos que éste es socio promotor de los intereses que controlan el “desarrollo científico” en nuestros países. Prefieren desconocer que estas tecnologías son productos sociales no inocentes, diseñadas para ser funcionales a cosmovisiones hegemónicas que le son demandadas por el sistema capitalista. Decir que los problemas “no tienen que ver con la tecnología transgénica” y que los que se oponen “están minando las bases de la ciencia” es parte de la predica, “divulgación” y diatriba contra cualquiera que sostenga lo contrario. No hay nada más anticientífico que recortar o ignorar la historia de la evidencia científica, y asignarse a sí mismos la función de ser la pata legitimadora que provee la “ciencia” actual a la apropiación por despojo...


El sometimiento científico se agrava cuando el fundamento científico que impulsan las empresas fabricantes y comercializadoras de organismos genéticamente modificados (OGM) es una ciencia anacrónica y con un valor de verdad cada vez más cuestionable y cuestionado entre y desde amplios sectores de la propia comunidad científica. Esta mirada anacrónica, todavía hegemónica, ha encontrado en el reduccionismo biológico y el absolutismo genocéntrico de los científicos, su principal sostén. 


La complejidad es ignorada en la explicación biológica actual, refleja la tendencia a la clasificación, al aislamiento, y a la manipulación de los genes concebidos como unidades ontológicas.  Esto no solo es una teoría biológica general errónea, sino que afecta a la comprensión de la naturaleza y se convierten en un instrumento. Un instrumento alineado con la necesidad, cada vez más imperiosa, de controlar y manipular la naturaleza habilitando específicas aplicaciones en la tecnología que salen de los procesos fisiológicos ontogénicos y filogénicos. En efecto, la falla de la teoría general no es una equivocación, sino que se produce en una relación compleja con los intereses industriales concentrados y hegemónicos que han encontrado en esa falla una oportunidad de negocios para fortalecer el error por necesidad y sometiendo a la propia ciencia.

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martes, octubre 21, 2014

Regulate Synthetic Biology Now: 194 Countries

Press Release, Oct 20 2014

PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA– In a unanimous decision of 194 countries, the United Nation's Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) today formally urged nation states to regulate synthetic biology (SynBio), a new extreme form of genetic engineering. The landmark decision follows ten days of hard-fought negotiations between developing countries and a small group of wealthy biotech-friendly economies. Until now, synthetic organisms have been developed and commercialized without international regulations; increasing numbers of synthetically-derived products are making their way to market. The CBD’s decision is regarded as a "starting signal" for governments to begin establishing formal oversight for this exploding and controversial field.

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Review Finds GM Herbicide-Resistant Crops Will Bring About Further Loss of Biodiversity

October 21, 2014

First introduced in the 1990s, 84.6% of all genetically modified (GM) crops worldwide carried herbicide resistance traits (144 mil. ha) by 2012. Herbicide-resistant (HR) crops occupy about 59% of the 170.3 million hectares under GM cultivation globally, with GM crops with stacked traits (basically herbicide and insect resistance) covering 25.6%.
Many studies have been done on HR crop use patterns and impacts. A review of these studies has been jointly conducted by three government agencies from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, to extract the lessons learnt, paying particular attention to the impact on biodiversity.
Scientific studies have established that agricultural intensification and pesticide use are among the main drivers of biodiversity loss. There are concerns that HR crops will help to further intensify farming and may therefore increase pressure on biodiversity. The review finds evidence to conclude that HR crops cannot reduce herbicide use in the longer term, and will in fact be associated with a further loss of biodiversity including whole food webs, wild flora, seeds, and ecosystem functions in agricultural fields.
Other concerns raised include observations that in regions where HR crops are widely adopted, less crop rotation and crop diversification takes place, with a clear trend towards monoculture; the development of herbicide resistant weeds, resulting in farmers resorting to higher herbicide doses and the use of other herbicides; and the spatial and temporal spread of the HR trait, which is a particular concern in centres of crop origin and regions where interfertile and weedy hybrids occur. In addition, there has been little, if any, contribution of HR crops to increase crop yields.
According to the review, “…herbicide resistant crops are not part of the solution, but part of the problem”. It makes a call to stop the loss of biodiversity, reverse the current development trend in agriculture, and increase biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems with more environmentally friendly practices and less dependence on pesticides.
The Executive Summary of the paper and the link to the full paper are given below.
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- A joint paper of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) Germany, Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) Switzerland and Environment Agency Austria. Edited by Tappeser, B., Reichenbecher, W., & Teichmann, H. BfN (2014).

Conservation of biodiversity is high on the agenda of international and national environmental policies though not very present in public awareness. The need to protect biodiversity and stop the loss was acknowledged in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), internationally agreed on in 1992, and underscored by relevant decisions since then. It has been known for some time that intensive high input farming is one of the main drivers of ongoing biodiversity losses in agricultural landscapes. An indicator for such losses is the diversity and abundance of weed flora. Transgenic crops resistant to the herbicides glyphosate (accounting for the great majority) and glufosinate have first been cultivated commercially in the nineties of the last century. Since then, a wealth of information has been collected on use patterns and on impacts of herbicide-resistant (HR) crops. There are concerns that HR crops will help to further intensify farming and may therefore increase pressure on biodiversity. The need to study potential environmental consequences of changes in herbicide usage due to transgenic HR plants has recently been underlined by the Council (of Environment Ministers) of the European Union (EU). This paper summarizes the lessons that can be learned from the experience up to now.

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Study Finds that Monsanto’s GM Soybean May Increase Insect Pest

16 October 2014


Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) soybean ‘Intacta’ (MON 87701×MON 89788) has both an insect resistance trait and a herbicide (glyphosate) resistance trait. Insect resistance comes from the expression of Cry proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). 
Although the Bt soybean has been found to be effective against Lepidopteran pests, it is not effective against the southern armyworm, Spodoptera eridania, a non-target organism which feeds on soybean leaves and pods. Such organisms are becoming economically significant soybean pests. A recently published scientific study in Brazil, co-authored by Monsanto employees, has evaluated the impact of Intacta on Spodoptera eridania and on the development of Telenomus remus, which parasitizes the former’s eggs (Item 1). 
The study found that the Bt soybean reduced S. eridania’s larval development duration by two days and lengthened the adult male lifespan by three days. The researchers describe this as “favorable to pest development”. This was attributed to be a likely result of unintended changes in plant characteristics caused by the insertion of the transgene. Thus, the results represent a warning that farms planting the Intacta soybean may see an increase in S. eridania populations. However, the Bt soybean had no effect on T. remus, which can help prevent S. eridania outbreaks. 
In the European Union, Intacta soybean has been approved for import and processing of food and feed. Testbiotech and other organisations have filed a lawsuit at the European Court of Justice opposing this approval. "The EU approval for the Intacta soybean should be withdrawn, since there is an obvious need for thorough reassessment and further investigations, "says Christoph Then for Testbiotech. "The newly published findings have unknown causes and could affect food safety." (See Item 2) 
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 Item 1 
Genetically modified crops with insect resistance genes from Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bt-plants) are increasingly being cultivated worldwide. Therefore, it is critical to improve our knowledge of their direct or indirect impact not only on target pests but also on non-target arthropods. Hence, this study evaluates comparative leaf consumption and performance of Spodoptera eridania (Cramer), a species that is tolerant of the Cry1Ac protein, fed with Bt soybean, MON 87701×MON 89788 or its non-Bt isoline. We also assessed the comparative performance of the egg parasitoid Telenomus remus Nixon on eggs of S. eridania produced from individuals that fed on these two soybean isolines as larvae. Results showed that Bt soybean reduced by 2 days larval development and increased by 3 days adult male longevity. Therefore, we conclude that the effect of Bt soybean MON 87701×MON 89788 on S. eridania development and reproduction is small, and favorable to pest development. These differences are less likely to directly result from the toxin presence but indirectly from unintended changes in plant characteristics caused by the insertion of the transgene. Our results should be viewed as an alert that S. eridania populations may increase in Bt soybeans, but on the other hand, no adverse effects of this technology were observed for the egg parasitoid T. remus which can help to prevent S. eridaniaoutbreaks on these crops.
Keywords: plant resistance, non-target pests, natural enemy, egg parasitoid, genetically modified organisms (GMO) 
Item 2
by Testbiotech

A new scientific publication co-authored by Monsanto employees, is warning that the cultivation of the genetically modified soybean Intacta (MON 87701 × MON 89788) could promote the spread of specific pest insects. According to the authors, the effects are likely to be caused by unintended effects in the plants, possibly arising from the insertion of the additional DNA. The genetically engineered soybean produced by Monsanto is resistant to herbicides containing glyphosate and produces a Bt insecticide. Brazilian scientists in collaboration with Monsanto employees have discovered that certain pest insects (Spodoptera eridania, southern armyworm), which can cause considerable damage in soybean fields, develop faster and live longer if their larvae feed off the plants.

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lunes, octubre 20, 2014

Non-GM breeding outstrips GM on salt tolerance

19 October 2014.

Non-GM salt-tolerant potato wins award

Traditional breeding has left GM in the dust when it comes to salt-tolerant crops.

There are also non-GM salt-tolerant rice and wheat varieties:

Naturally the long-term solution to salinity is to rebuild soils to make them less saline. There are some resources here:

Humble spud poised to launch a world food revolution

Tracy McVeigh

The Guardian, 18 Oct 2014

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Don't cry for Monsanto


Don’t Cry for Monsanto 

Things aren’t looking so good for Monsanto these days. A fourth-quarter loss of $156 million. A $90 million payout to a West Virginia town poisoned by a Monsanto factory. New reports coming out every day citing the health hazards of Monsanto’s Roundup, and blowing holes in the company’s lies about how it “helps” farmers, “protects” the environment and will feed the world.
But with your help, things will look much worse for the Biotech Bully on the morning of November 5—assuming we get enough Oregon voters to vote YES on 92, and maybe even get enough Colorado voters to vote YES on Prop 105.
Oregon’s Measure 92 and Colorado’s Prop 105 are citizen-led ballot initiatives that if passed, will require mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in both of those states.
As of today, the YES on 92 campaign is leading in the polls, 49 percent to 44 percent. But here’s the catch: 7 percent of Oregon voters are still undecided. If we want to win in Oregon, we need to get the majority of those undecided voters on our side.
That’s why OCA, through our 501(c) 4 lobbying arm, Organic Consumers Fund, has just pledged an additional $150,000 (upping our total contribution to $650,000) to the YES on 92 campaign, to fund more ads and reach more voters.
And why we hope you’ll help us meet that pledge by making a donation today.
We lost heartbreakingly close GMO labeling ballot initiatives in California (2012) and Washington State (2013). Those losses strengthened our resolve to keep the GMO labeling battle alive.
Now it’s time to win.
A win in Oregon will deliver a fatal blow to the campaign by the Gene and Junk Food giants to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. A win on Colorado will be icing on the cake.
Monsanto has been forced to spend millions of dollars fighting our GMO labeling campaigns—on top of the millions it’s had to spend on public relations campaigns and lawsuit settlements.
Let’s not cry for Monsanto. Let’s just beat them.
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)
Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Oregon, Colorado and other states)

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The so-called scientific "consensus": Why the debate on GMO safety is not over

3 October 2014.

Biotech seed companies and front groups are using their substantial resources to broadcast the myth of a "scientific consensus" on the safety of GMOs – by misrepresenting the views of scientific organisations

Fed up with hearing that a whole host of scientific organisations worldwide agree that GMOs are safe? A useful and timely report by Food & Water Watch picks apart the hype and discovers a very different story.
This manageably short report is well worth reading in full.

The so-called scientific "consensus": Why the debate on GMO safety is not over

Food & Water Watch, Sept 2014

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domingo, octubre 19, 2014

From GM Watch: Lack of evidence to prove GMO safety

Lack of evidence to prove GMO safety – new peer-reviewed study

on .

81% of approved GMOs not studied for detailed health effects
A group of researchers set out to see how much evidence there is for the safety of crops containing the most common GM genes – for insect resistance and herbicide tolerance – for animals that eat them. They focused on histopathological investigations of the digestive tract in rats, since this would be the main target organ of any new toxic proteins produced by the GM process.
The researchers found that of 47 crop varieties approved by government regulators for animal or human consumption, there were peer-reviewed published studies for only 9. They could find no studies whatsoever for the other 38 approved varieties. This means that they could not find any published histopathology studies for 81% of approved GM crop varieties. What is more, the studies that were carried out were poorly conducted or reported.
The researchers concluded, "There is a lack of evidence to prove that these crop varieties are safe to eat."
The study is a useful antidote to the recent review by former Monsanto scientist Alison Van Eenennaam, which claimed to show that over 100 billion animals had eaten GM feed with no ill effects.
1. Does eating GM crops harm the digestive tracts of rats? – Clear English summary
2. GM crops and the rat digestive tract: A critical review – Study abstract

1. Does eating GM crops harm the digestive tracts of rats?

A review of the scientific evidence
Clear English summary of paper by Dr Judy Carman
29 September 2014
This is a briefing about a new, peer-reviewed scientific paper titled: GM crops and the rat digestive tract: A critical review, by Irena Zdziarski, Dr John Edwards, Dr Judy Carman and Dr Julie Haynes*. The paper is a review done by researchers at the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, all based in South Australia. The paper reviewed published studies where the health of rats was assessed after the rats were fed certain GM crops.

2. GM crops and the rat digestive tract: A critical review

Zdziarski IM, Edwards JW, Carman JA, Haynes JI.
Environ Int. 2014 Dec;73C:423-433. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.08.018. Epub 2014 Sep 20.
The aim of this review is to examine the relationship between genetically modified (GM) crops and health, based on histopathological investigations of the digestive tract in rats. We reviewed published long-term feeding studies of crops containing one or more of three specific traits: herbicide tolerance via the EPSPS gene and insect resistance via cry1Ab or cry3Bb1 genes. These genes are commonly found in commercialised GM crops. Our search found 21 studies for nine (19%) out of the 47 crops approved for human and/or animal consumption. We could find no studies on the other 38 (81%) approved crops. Fourteen out of the 21 studies (67%) were general health assessments of the GM crop on rat health. Most of these studies (76%) were performed after the crop had been approved for human and/or animal consumption, with half of these being published at least nine years after approval. Our review also discovered an inconsistency in methodology and a lack of defined criteria for outcomes that would be considered toxicologically or pathologically significant. In addition, there was a lack of transparency in the methods and results, which made comparisons between the studies difficult. The evidence reviewed here demonstrates an incomplete picture regarding the toxicity (and safety) of GM products consumed by humans and animals. Therefore, each GM product should be assessed on merit, with appropriate studies performed to indicate the level of safety associated with them. Detailed guidelines should be developed which will allow for the generation of comparable and reproducible studies. This will establish a foundation for evidence-based guidelines, to better determine if GM food is safe for human and animal consumption.

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Toward the agro-police state


Toward the Agro-Police State

Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero | 09.20.2014
Welcome to the brave new world of precision farming, in which every farmer will need a wifi connection and an iPad. 

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