sábado, noviembre 30, 2013

Diez años de transgénicos en Brasil


"La entrada de los transgénicos en la agricultura no ha solucionado el problema del hambre en el mundo y ha impulsado el uso de pesticidas, lo que contradice las promesas que han sido usadas como argumento para la liberación de las semillas modificadas genéticamente. Además, poco a poco, el Brasil pierde la soberanía sobre la agricultura y los agricultores pierden autonomía, convirtiéndose en rehenes de la industria agroalimentaria transnacional."


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Do We Need GMOs?


Most observers agree that we are facing big obstacles to producing enough food sustainably in coming decades. Issues of distribution and food justice remain paramount, but production must also be adequate, and the huge impact that agriculture has on the environment must be reversed.
It is in this production context that genetic engineering (GE) is often said to be essential. But when we look at the assertions that GMOs will be needed to address these challenges, including from scientists in peer-reviewed articles, we find little substantive support. In other words, these statements are conjecture, not science.
It is important to understand the arguments about the need for GMOs, because they make up the foundation of attempts to convince a wary public that this technology should be welcomed with open arms.

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On the Front Lines of Hawaii's GMO War


2013 1121-5Biotech agriculture facility and irrigation ditch near the beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. (Photo and article by Mike Ludwig)

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Retraction of Séralini study is illicit, unscientific, and unethical

Statement by GMWatch
Contact: Claire Robinson, claire@clairejr.com+44 (0)752 753 6923
Thursday 28 November 2013

The editor of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), Dr A. Wallace Hayes, has decided to retract the study by the team of Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini, which found that rats fed a Monsanto genetically modified (GM) maize NK603 and tiny amounts of the Roundup herbicide it is grown with suffered severe toxic effects, including kidney and liver damage and increased rates of tumours and mortality.[1]

GMWatch believes FCT’s retraction of Prof Séralini’s paper to be illicit, unscientific, and unethical. It violates the guidelines for retractions in scientific publishing set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE),[2] of which FCT is a member.[3]

COPE guidelines state that the only grounds for a journal to retract a paper are:
•Clear evidence that the findings are unreliable due to misconduct (eg data fabrication) or honest error
•Plagiarism or redundant publication
•Unethical research.

Prof Séralini’s paper does not meet any of these criteria and Hayes admits as much. In his letter informing Prof Séralini of his decision (available at:http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=f877f8de47&e=24cd323b03), Hayes concedes that an examination of Prof Séralini’s raw data showed “no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data” and nothing “incorrect” about the data.

Hayes states that the retraction is solely based on the “inconclusive” nature of the findings on tumours and mortality, given the relatively low number of rats used and the choice of rat strain, which Hayes says naturally has a “high incidence of tumours”.

Crucially, however, inconclusiveness of findings is not a valid ground for retraction. Numerous published scientific papers contain inconclusive findings, which are often mixed in with findings that can be presented with more certainty. It is for future researchers to build on the findings and refine scientific understanding of any uncertainties.

It is important that scientists do not overstate their findings or draw conclusions that are not justified by the data, but Prof Séralini’s paper does not do this. Because Prof Séralini’s study was a chronic toxicity study and not a full-scale carcinogenicity study, which normally requires larger numbers of rats, he conservatively did not do a statistical analysis of the tumours and mortality findings. Instead he simply reported them, without drawing definitive conclusions. This is in line with the OECD chronic toxicity protocol, which requires that any “lesions” (including tumours) observed are recorded.[4]

The criticisms of the low number of rats and choice of rat strain have been addressed by Prof Séralini’s team
in a comprehensive response to critics that was published in FCT,[5] as well as by independent scientists writing in support of the study.[6]

Experts in statistics writing in support of the study have pointed out that large numbers of animals are only required in safety studies to avoid false negative error, where a toxic effect exists but is missed because too few animals are used. In the case of Séralini’s study, this was not an issue. The toxic effects of the test substances were so pronounced (there was a “large effect size”) that smaller numbers of animals were sufficient for statistical significance.[7,8,9]

Regarding the Sprague-Dawley strain of rat that was used, all strains of rodents develop spontaneous tumours with age, as do humans. The fact that there is a low level of spontaneous tumour occurrence in the control group in Séralini’s study mimics the human condition. For this and other reasons, most toxicology studies use this strain of rat.

Hayes fails to address these responses and arguments in support of the study, raising questions about the expertise, balance, and objectivity of his anonymous review panel. In addition, the legitimate peer reviewers had previously considered these aspects of Séralini’s study and nevertheless decided that “the work still had merit” and should be published.

In a highly irregular process, Hayes now contradicts the outcome of the peer review and editorial process and decides to retract the paper over a year after it was published. His decision is not made on the basis of new data, but on a secret and non-transparent review by unnamed persons, who evidently do not feel able to stand behind their decision publicly or disclose any conflicts of interest they may have.

Hayes’ decision will tarnish the reputation of FCT and will increase public mistrust of science in general and genetically modified foods in particular.

The Goodman factor

Hayes’ decision to retract the paper follows FCT’s appointment of Richard E. Goodman, a former Monsanto scientist and an affiliate of the GMO industry-funded group, the International Life Sciences Institute, to the specially created post of associate editor for biotechnology at the journal, early this year.[10]

Goodman’s appointment in turn followed an orchestrated campaign by GMO supporters to persuade FCT to retract the study. Some critics even accused Prof Séralini of fraud, without presenting any evidence. Many of the critics had undeclared conflicts of interest with the GMO industry.[11]

After Goodman was installed, FCT withdrew a separate study by Brazilian researchers that also raised questions about GM crop safety. The study showed that Bt insecticidal toxins similar to those engineered into GM Bt crops were not broken down in digestion, as is claimed by the industry and regulators, but had toxic effects on the blood of mice. The Brazilian paper, like Prof Séralini’s, had been peer-reviewed and published by FCT prior to Goodman’s arrival. After Goodman’s arrival, the paper was withdrawn without explanation from FCT[12] – only to be immediately published in another journal.[13]

There is no proof that Goodman was responsible for the retraction of Prof Séralini’s study. But his appointment, coming so soon after the “Séralini affair”, along with FCT’s failure to list the interests of its editors, raises questions about corporate influence on the editorial board at the journal.

1. Séralini GE et al (2012) Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 50(11): 4221-4231.2. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=7711718270&e=24cd323b033. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=23008d4439&e=24cd323b034. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (2009). OECD guideline no. 452 for the testing of chemicals: Chronic toxicity studies: Adopted 7 September 2009. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=5f884d2ff0&e=24cd323b035. Séralini GE et al (2013). Answers to critics: Why there is a long term toxicity due to NK603 Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize and to a Roundup herbicide. Food and Chemical Toxicology 53: 461-468. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=70e7e0c5c2&e=24cd323b036. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=30199fa686&e=24cd323b037. Deheuvels P. Étude de Séralini sur les OGM: Pourquoi sa méthodologie est statistiquement bonne [Seralini study on GMOs: Why the methodology is statistically sound]. Le Nouvel Observateur. 9 October 2012. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=46d4f6cdc2&e=24cd323b038. Saunders P. Excess cancers and deaths with GM feed: The stats stand up. Science in Society. 16 October 2012. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=893088f156&e=24cd323b039. Deheuvels P. L’étude de Séralini sur les OGM, pomme de discorde à l’Académie des sciences [The Seralini GMO study - A bone of contention at the Academy of Sciences]. Le Nouvel Observateur. 19 October 2012. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=5d63a01cc2&e=24cd323b0310. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=1bb541d8cd&e=24cd323b0311. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=9442410b1a&e=24cd323b0312. Mezzomo BP et al (2012). WITHDRAWN: Effects of oral administration of Bacillus thuringiensis as spore-crystal strains Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2Aa on hematologic and genotoxic endpoints of Swiss albino mice. Food Chem Toxicol. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=3cc6af2bc8&e=24cd323b0313. Mezzomo BP et al. (2013). Hematotoxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis as spore-crystal strains Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2Aa in Swiss albino mice. J Hematol Thromb Dis 1(1).

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viernes, noviembre 29, 2013

RALLT: Especial sobre Costa Rica


Cultivar alimentos transgénicos es una actividad prohibida en casi toda Costa Rica, donde el 72 % de los 81 municipios que integran el país, se ha declarado "libre" de este tipo de producción. Red por una América Latina Libre de Transgénicos
Este boletín está dedicado a Costa Rica. Aunque el país produce semillas transgénicas para ser sembradas en Estados Unidos, ya casi toda la Nación es libre de transgénicos.
Adjuntamos un mapa de las zonas declaradas hasta la fecha, sin duda la mancha verde crecerá.
Coordinación de la RALLT
LISTA DE MUNICIPIOS LIBRES DE TRANSGÉNICOS (para acceder a la lista, haga clic en el enlace al pie y descargue el archivo)
Desde 1992 se han cultivado semillas transgénica en Costa Rica con fines de multiplicación. Todas las semillas que se multiplican, se exportan.
En Costa Rica hay una legislación para regular la importación y el cultivo de los cultivos transgénicos, que incluye el etiquetado para los organismos modificados genéticamente en la agricultura , pero no para los alimentos.
A partir de 2004 , los grupos ecologistas fortalecieron su campaña contra la siembra de variedades transgénicas en Costa Rica. Frente a la inminente liberación de 4 eventos transgénicos de maíz, la población empezó a movilizarse, primero por medio de una marcha de varios días que culminó en San José, y luego a través de la declaración masiva de municipios libres de transgénicos.
El 23 de septiembre , una coalición de varias organizaciones presentó al gobierno una petición para que se decrete una moratoria a la siembra de semillas transgénicas en Costa Rica.
El 4 de octubre de 2004, a través de un decreto presidencial se modificó la composición de la Comisión de Bioseguridad , encargada de revisar todas las solicitudes de nuevos transgénicos en el país.
Actualmente, hay unas 1.300 hectáreas de algodón y soya transgénicos en Costa Rica con fines de multiplicación de semillas para la exportación a los Estados Unidos. Para el algodón los eventos plantadas son Roundup Ready, Roundup Ready Flex, Bollgard , Bollgard II , WideStrike , Cry 1F, Bomoxinil , Liberty Link, Vip 3A y algunas combinaciones de los anteriores,. Para la soja sólo hay Roundup Ready. El Gobierno de Costa Rica no ha recibido ninguna solicitud hasta la fecha para la aprobación de variedades transgénicas para consumo humano o animal. De acuerdo con las empresas involucradas en este negocio, los procedimientos para obtener permiso del gobierno de Costa Rica para plantar las variedades modificadas genéticamente son sencillos y no representan un obstáculo para la producción. Las empresas involucradas en este negocio aumentan o reducen su superficie plantada, con base a la demanda esperada de sus productos en los Estados Unidos.
Además se llevan a cabo investigaciones en arroz genéticamente modificado (con resistencia a virus y herbicidas ) y plátanos ( resistencia a la Sigatoka negro )
Costa Rica importa maíz transgénico y la soja de los Estados Unidos para la producción de alimentos para animales, y una pequeña cantidad de algodón para su procesamiento. Costa Rica no es un beneficiario de la ayuda alimentaria y no es probable que convertirse en un receptor de la ayuda alimentaria en el futuro próximo.
Fuente: USDA FAS. GAIN Report Number: CS1011. 2013.

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lunes, noviembre 25, 2013

Owen Paterson, 'wickedness' and the fairy dust of science, by Andy Stirling


Environment secretary Owen Paterson has hit out at 'wicked' opponents of genetically modified crops, but forgets science's greatest assets are scepticism and democracy.

Environment secretary Owen Paterson who has hit out at
Environment secretary Owen Paterson who has hit out at "wicked" opponents of genetically modified crops. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA
Even the most rational of arguments can understandably sometimes get quite heated. But in branding critics so emotively as "wicked" and "disgusting", GM advocates like Owen Paterson relinquish any claims to reason.
Like other hysterically unqualified defences of rationality, this carries a worrying whiff of fundamentalism. If sincere, the unnoticed irony makes the pathology all the more concerning. If not sincere, there is an even worse taint of expedient political manipulation. That science is such a direct victim of this rhetoric compounds the irony.
The issues go far beyond GM. What lies at threat more broadly, are both science and democracy – and their crucial interdependencies. There is a duty for all who value these thereby expediently sundered Enlightenment traditions, to speak out clearly in their defence.

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jueves, noviembre 21, 2013

"Monsanto - La Transversalidad del Mal"

miércoles, noviembre 20, 2013

GM food, nutrition, safety and health


Lise NordgårdIdun M. Grønsberg and Anne I. Myhr  

SummaryGM plants and products are at present used as food and feed around the world. GM plants are also increasing used for fibre and in biofuel. Most of the commercial varieties are developed to provide tolerance against herbicides and resistance against pest. There are initiatives for development of new GM plants that may have changed nutritious value or other characteristics of interest for consumers. However, there are still unresolved questions with regard to potential risk to health and the environment. This has triggered a call for application of a precautionary approach as well as awareness to the broader issues as sustainability and socio-economic aspects by introduction and use of GM plants. In the future is important that more broad assessments are carried out of GM plants, this is a responsibility that lies on the industry, on the scientific community and on the governmental authorities
Use this link if you want to read the entire article.
- See more at: http://genok.com/arkiv/2184/#sthash.Nu24keFd.dpuf

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jueves, noviembre 14, 2013

Number of scientists who say GMOs not proven safe climbs to 230


Developer of first commercialised GM food says debate isn’t over

Press release, 30 October 2013


Contact: Dr Angelika Hilbeck: ahilbeck@ensser.org / Tel.: +49 30 20 654 857

The number of scientists, physicians and legal experts who have signed the group statement, “No scientific consensus on GMO safety”[1] has climbed to 230 in just over a week – and it’s still growing.

The number of initial signatories stood at almost 100 on the day the statement was released, 21 October. It has more than doubled since.

A recent signatory is Dr Belinda Martineau, former member of the Michelmore Lab at the UC Davis Genome Center, University of California, who helped commercialise the world’s first GM whole food, the Flavr Savr tomato. Dr Martineau said:

“I wholeheartedly support this thorough, thoughtful and professional statement describing the lack of scientific consensus on the safety of genetically engineered (GM/GE) crops and other GM/GE organisms (also referred to as GMOs). Society's debate over how best to utilize the powerful technology of genetic engineering is clearly not over. For its supporters to assume it is, is little more than wishful thinking.” 

Another signatory, Dr Judy Carman, director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, Adelaide, and adjunct associate professor, health and the environment, Flinders University, South Australia, said:

“Of the hundreds of different GM crops that have been approved for human and animal consumption somewhere in the world, few have been thoroughly safety tested. So it is not possible to have a consensus that they are all safe to eat – at least, not a consensus based on hard scientific evidence derived from experimental data.”

A third signatory, Prof Elena Alvarez-Buyllla, coordinator of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics of Plant Development and Evolution, Institute of Ecology, UNAM, Mexico, said:

“Given the scientific evidence at hand, sweeping claims that GM crops are substantially equivalent to, and as safe as, non-GM crops are not justifiable.

We must be especially cautious in the case of proposed release of a GM crop in the centre of genetic origin for that crop. An example is the planting of GM maize in Mexico. Mexico is the centre of genetic origin for maize. GM genes can irreversibly contaminate the numerous native varieties which form the genetic reservoir for all future breeding of maize varieties. In addition, maize is a staple food crop for the Mexican people. So GMO releases can threaten the genetic diversity on which food security depends, both within Mexico and globally.

Such decisions with broad implications for society should not be made by a narrow group of self-selected experts, many of whom have commercial interests in GM technology, but must also involve the millions of people who will be most affected. As things stand, in Mexico we have an ongoing uncontrolled experiment with no independent scientific or popular mandate, in which GM genes are allowed to crossbreed with native maize varieties. The inevitable result will be genetic alterations with unpredictable effects.”

A fourth signatory, Dr Joachim H. Spangenberg, faculty member at the UFZ Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany, said:

“Researchers in ecology and relevant environmental sciences have predicted negative environmental impacts from GM crops for around 25 years. Over the years, many of these impacts have been empirically documented. One example is the development of pest resistance to GM Bt insecticidal crops and weed resistance to the required herbicides for GM herbicide-tolerant crops. These resistance problems are now an increasing problem for farmers – to the benefit of the GM seed and agrochemical corporations – and are forcing farmers back to older, even more toxic chemical pesticides.

Twenty years ago, the international academic associations of ecologists and molecular biologists met at the International Council for Science. The two groups agreed that their fields of expertise were complementary and that they needed to cooperate in order to assess the ecological impacts of GM crops in a systematic way. However, many molecular biologists involved in GM crop development today persistently ignore their own blind spots and the science emerging from the complementary environmental segments of the science community, turning the application of GM technology into a social risk.”


Note to editors: Contrary to some media reports, most signatories to the statement are not members of ENSSER. ENSSER’s role has been to coordinate and publish the statement and to administer the collection of signatures



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RALLT: A casi 20 años de la introducción de cultivos transgénicos en la región

Declaración de la Red por una América Latina Libre de Transgénicos, frente a casi 20 años de la introducción de cultivos transgénicos en la región

A casi dos décadas de la primera introducción de transgénicos en el ambiente, América Latina se ha convertido en maquila de las transnacionales que producen granos para animales de otras transnacionales, contaminando el ambiente y la biodiversidad. Pero sigue siendo un espacio de biodiversidad, donde florece la vida, y las comunidades campesinas.

A 17 años de haberse liberado los cultivos transgénicos en el ambiente, 30 organizaciones de América Latina pertenecientes a 12 países de la región, convocadas por la Red por una América Latina Libre de Transgénicos en la ciudad de Bogotá – Colombia, del 23 al 27 de mayo del 2013, analizamos el panorama de nuestro continente, y hacemos pública nuestra preocupación por los graves impactos que estos cultivos tienen en la región.

Rechazamos tajantemente la liberación comercial masiva de maíz transgénico que quiere hacer la industria en más de tres millones de hectáreas en México, un hecho sin precedente en la historia de la agricultura, pues sería la primera vez que ocurriera una devastación de tal magnitud en uno de los centros de origen y para un cultivo alimenta a la humanidad en su conjunto.

A lo largo de este período, los cultivos transgénicos han sembrado desolación y muerte en América Latina, donde estos cultivos han alcanzado altos niveles de expansión, ocupando el segundo lugar en área cultivada con transgénicos en el mundo.

Las empresas productoras de semillas, agrotóxicos y comercializadoras de alimentos transgénicos junto con las élites locales y en complicidad con los gobiernos del turno, han convertido a América Latina en maquila de los cultivos transgénicos del mundo.


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miércoles, noviembre 13, 2013

Can the Scientific Reputation of Pamela Ronald, Public Face of GMOs, Be Salvaged?


November 12, 2013 BiotechnologyNewsScience Media 7 Comments
by Jonathan Latham, PhD

Professor Pamela Ronald is probably the scientist most widely known for publicly defending genetically engineered (GE or GMO) crops. Her media persona, familiar to readers of the 
Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, the EconomistNPR, and many other global media outlets, is to take no prisoners.
After New York Times chief food writer Mark Bittman advocated GMO labelling, she called him “a scourge on science” who “couches his nutty views in reasonable-sounding verbiage”. His opinions were “almost fact- and science-free” continued Ronald. In 2011 she claimed in an interview with the US Ambassador to New Zealand: “After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of two billion acres planted, GE crops have not caused a single instance of harm to human health or the environment.”
Pamela Ronald
This second career of Pamela Ronald’s, as advocate of GMOs (which also includes being a book author, and contributor to and board member of the blog Biofortified) is founded on her first career: at the University of California in Davis she is Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, Director of the Laboratory for Crop Genetics Innovation, and Director of Grass Genetics at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, among other positions.
This background is relevant because Pamela Ronald is now also fighting on her home front. Her scientific research has become the central question in a controversy that may destroy both careers. In the last year Ronald’s laboratory at UC Davis has retracted two scientific papers (Lee et al. 2009 and Han et al 2011) and other researchers have raised questions about a third (Danna et al 2011). The two retracted papers form the core of her research programme into how rice plants detect specific bacterial pathogens (1).

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Sources and Mechanisms of Health Risks from Genetically Modified Crops and Food


November 13, 2013

Dear Friends and Colleagues 

We are pleased to highlight the attached TWN Biosafety Briefing which identifies the sources of health risks that can potentially arise from GM foods as well as presents the increasing body of evidence that shows the disruptive effect of the GM transformation process and clear signs of toxicity in well-controlled animal feeding studies even of a short-term nature. 
This paper was presented at the Scientific Conference 2012 jointly organized by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), Third World Network and Tara Foundation, 'Advancing the Understanding of Biosafety: GMO Risk Assessment, Independent Biosafety Research and Holistic Analysis', held on 28-29 September 2012 in Hyderabad, India, and was first published in the Conference Proceedings. 

With best wishes,
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
10400 Penang 
To subscribe to other TWN information services: www.twnnews.net 

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