Roundup Ready Sudden Death, Superweeds, Allergens… Time to Wipe GM Crops Off the Globe
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins
Evidence has existed for years that genetically modified (GM) crops have lower yields, perform poorly in the field, use more pesticides and result in reduced profits for farmers  (“GM crops failed on every count”, SiS13/14). Yet the relentless growth of GM crops continued, through a combination of hype, half-truths and outright falsehoods and corruption .
According to industry-backed International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotch Applications (ISAAA) - which describes itself as “a not-for-profit organization that delivers the benefits of new agricultural biotechnologies to the poor in developing countries” - GM crops covered 81 million hectares worldwide in 2004, an increase of 20 percent over 2003 . Two traits account for nearly all GM crops planted: herbicide-tolerance (almost all glyphosate-tolerant) covering more than 75 percent of the area, and Bt – crops engineered with toxins from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis to kill insect pests - in the remaining area.
The failures of Bt crops experienced by farmers all over the world have recently been amply confirmed: ineffective against insect pests, harmful to health and biodiversity, yield drag, pest resistance (“Scientists confirm failures of Bt crops” http://www.i-sis.org.uk/SCFOBTC.php).
Problems with GM crops tolerant to glyphosate or Roundup (Monsanto’s formulation of the glyphosate herbicide) first emerged in 1998 - two years after Roundup Ready (RR) soya was introduced to market - and have been building up ever since (see list in Box).
Damning evidence against RR crops and glyphosate herbicide
* Glyphosate application is linked to sudden crop death (this article)
* Roundup-resistant “nightmare” superweeds have emerged (this article)
* Glyphosate is linked to cancers, neuro-defects, spontaneous abortions (reviewed in The Case for a GM-Free Sustainable World, www.indsp.org.uk) , is toxic to human placental cells at concentrations below agricultural use, Roundup at one-tenths of the recommended agricultural dosage  (“Glyphosate toxic and Roundup worse”, SiS 26)
* Roundup is especially lethal to most species of frogs . It caused a 70 percent decline in amphibian biodiversity and 86 percent decline in the total mass of tadpoles (“Roundup kills frogs”, SiS 26); also lethal to earthworms and beneficial soil bacteria .
* Glyphosate application is further linked to acrylamide release from the polyacrylamide added to commercial herbicide mixtures to reduce spray drift  (“Acrylamde in cooked food: the glyphosate connection”). A new report released earlier this year by United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) stated : “The neurotoxicity of acrylamide in humans is known from high occupational and accidental exposure when acryalmide is used in industrial processes in the production of plastics and materials. Studies in animals have also shown that acrylamide causes reproductive problems and cancer.” It recommended that, “efforts to reduce acrylamide levels in foodstuffs should continue.” But there was still no mention of glyphosate connection
* RR soya showed yield drags averaging 6.7 percent compared with non-GM varieties in a study based on 8 200 trials in US universities in 1998; this finding was confirmed in numerous other reports published between 1997 and 2000 
* Yield drag in soya was associated with problems in root development, nodulation and nitrogen fixation, particularly in drought or infertile conditions, as the bacterial symbiont responsible for nitrogen fixation is sensitive to both Roundup and drought 
* RR soybean perform poorly in heat stress conditions, with up to 40 percent crop losses 
* RR soya’s GM insert was found to have rearranged since characterised by Monsanto, and contained a large fragment of DNA of unknown origin [11, 12]. At least four extra RNA transcripts capable of being translated into new, unknown proteins have now been found (this article)
* Allergies to soya rose 50 percent between 1998 and 1999 in Britain as a result of GM soya import . Male rats were stunted by GM soya in Monsanto’s study, consistent with an increase of 26.7 percent in a major allergen, alpha-trypsin-inhibitor, which is also a growth inhibitor [14, 15]. Possible new allergens have now been identified in GM soya (this article)