Human Embryos “Edited” In China

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
May 14, 2017

It has finally happened: human embryos have been genetically modified in China, by utilizing the CRISPR technique of genetic modification. Indeed, while the development is not surprising, as one might imagine, I have a few high octane speculations about it(and I would also like to thank all the readers here who sent me these two stories):

Engineering the Perfect Baby

Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos

Frankly, I found the second article so disturbing that it is difficult for me to write about, particularly in connection with my habit of high octane speculation. Nonetheless, I want to draw your attention to the following paragraphs from the second article:

The technique used by Huang’s team involves injecting embryos with the enzyme complex CRISPR/Cas9, which binds and splices DNA at specific locations. The complex can be programmed to target a problematic gene, which is then replaced or repaired by another molecule introduced at the same time. The system is well studied in human adult cells and in animal embryos. But there had been no published reports of its use in human embryos.

Huang and his colleagues set out to see if the procedure could replace a gene in a single-cell fertilized human embryo; in principle, all cells produced as the embryo developed would then have the repaired gene. The embryos they obtained from the fertility clinics had been created for use in in vitro fertilization but had an extra set of chromosomes, following fertilization by two sperm. This prevents the embryos from resulting in a live birth, though they do undergo the first stages of development.

The team injected 86 embryos and then waited 48 hours, enough time for the CRISPR/Cas9 system and the molecules that replace the missing DNA to act — and for the embryos to grow to about eight cells each. Of the 71 embryos that survived, 54 were genetically tested. This revealed that just 28 were successfully spliced, and that only a fraction of those contained the replacement genetic material. “If you want to do it in normal embryos, you need to be close to 100%,” Huang says. “That’s why we stopped. We still think it’s too immature.”

His team also found a surprising number of ‘off-target’ mutations assumed to be introduced by the CRISPR/Cas9 complex acting on other parts of the genome. This effect is one of the main safety concerns surrounding germline gene editing because these unintended mutations could be harmful. The rates of such mutations were much higher than those observed in gene-editing studies of mouse embryos or human adult cells. And Huang notes that his team likely only detected a subset of the unintended mutations because their study looked only at a portion of the genome, known as the exome. “If we did the whole genome sequence, we would get many more,” he says.

He adds that critics of the paper have noted that the low efficiencies and high number of off-target mutations could be specific to the abnormal embryos used in the study. Huang acknowledges the critique, but because there are no examples of gene editing in normal embryos he says that there is no way to know if the technique operates differently in them. (Emphasis added)

There you have it: using the latest CRISPR technique, embryos were successfully modified, and those modifications would have been hereditary had the embryos been viable. But note what I can only hazard was probably a completely unexpected (and hence, ‘played down’) result: there were “off target mutations,” in other words, DNA mutations that were not planned and not expected, and might also have been passed down. Notably, we’re not informed what those “off-target mutations” actually consisted of; would they have resulted in entirely new congenital diseases or, alternatively, special “uniquenesses”? Might they have resulted – to exaggerate my point here – in people born with three eyes or six digits or truncated brains, or conversely, with expanded intellect or physical strength and endurance? We simply don’t know; the article does not say, and in that silence, I strongly suspect lies a tale.

Of course, as the article points out, critics of the study pointed out that these “off target mutations” may simply have been the result of the unusual embryos – fertilized by sperm from two different donors and hence of non-normal genetic derivation – that were used in the study.

Herewith my high octane speculation: what if they were not the result of the unusual embryos, but rather, in innate – perhaps epigenetic – response to the whole process of this type of genetic editing altogether? what if we are looking at a kind of “programmed-in defense mechanism” against tinkering in a fundamental fashion with DNA in general, or human DNA in particular? Many geneticists are in fact already questioning the standard genetic explanations for the development of individual life and its characteristics, suggesting there is another mechanism “beyond the genes” – hence the term “epi- (beyond) genetics” (genes) – that we do not yet understand.

In short, I think humanity was just served a timely warning with the appearance of “off target mutations,” the warning being: tread with great care, and great caution, and perhaps even, “Don’t tread here at all.”

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

Towards The Electronic DNA Switch

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
March 4, 2017

A few weeks ago, you might recall, I blogged about the latest diabolical gimick being cooked up in the bubbling cauldrons of Muck Pharmaceuticals, our euphemistic code name for Big Pharma. What was the gimick? Vaccines that literally modified a person’s sneeze with more of the same muck. The plan is relatively simple: (1) take a vaccine, (2) sneeze, and (3) thereby spread the vaccine to other people, who may not even want it. Add this to the arm’s length long list of other technologies – nano-technology, genetic engineering, CRISPR and so on – and one has a veritable witches brew of all manner of mischief. Then of course, we have the lunacy of the transhumanists who want to chip everyone (hmmm, that sounds vaguely familiar), and put computer-brain interfaces inside you and everyone will be happy and there will be population control and world peace. Think of it as “the electronic LSD trip”.

The hang up of course, has been that pesky stuff called DNA.

Until now, for according to this article kindly shared by Mr. M.B., scientists at the university of Arizona have come up with… well, read for yourself:

Scientists Create Active Controllable Electronic DNA Switch

DNA has unique electrical properties that have for years interested pioneering engineers trying to advance the development of tiny, low-cost electronic devices. Now, a research team led by scientists at Arizona State University (ASU) have developed the first controllable DNA switch to regulate the flow of electricity within a single, atomic-sized molecule—much like flipping your light switch at home, only on a scale 1000 times smaller than a human hair.

“It has been established that charge transport is possible in DNA, but for a useful device one wants to be able to turn the charge transport on and off. We achieved this goal by chemically modifying DNA,” explained senior study investigator Nongjian Tao, Ph.D., professor of electrical engineering and director of the Center for Biosensors and Bioelectronics within the Biodesign Institute at ASU. “Not only that, but we can also adapt the modified DNA as a probe to measure reactions at the single-molecule level. This provides a unique way for studying important reactions implicated in disease, or photosynthesis reactions for novel renewable energy applications.”

There’s another statement that’s important here, a little further in the article:

To accomplish their goal, the investigators modified just one of the double-stranded DNA’s standard bases (A, T, C, or G) with another chemical group, called anthraquinone (Aq). Anthraquinone is a three-ringed carbon structure that can be inserted in between DNA base pairs but contains what chemists call a redox group (short for reduction, or gaining electrons, and oxidation, losing electrons).

Why is this statement important? Because it opens the door to how this new ability will be “sold” to the public: “Why, it will potentially help us be able to combat or even cure diseases with a known or suspected link to oxidation problems, cancer for example. Why, potentially, one might even be able to use the technique to repair or remake neural pathways. It’s hard to tell where this might go, we’re just beginning.” Now lest my usual trademark high octane speculation here might seem a bit over-the-top, it should be pointed out that in the very next sentence, the technique of how this will be “sold” to the public is clearly implicated:

Redox groups are also the foundation for how our bodies'(sic) convert chemical energy through switches that send all of the electrical pulses in our brains and hearts and communicate signals within every cell that may be implicated in the most prevalent diseases.
(Emphasis added)

Of course, the flip side of this switch is that if this technology impinges upon the switches “that send all of the electrical pulses in our brains and hearts” then it also has the potential to be that proverbial “kill switch” I and others have been warning about for a while.

Add this technology to the “sneeze vaccine” and voila, one has a pretty handy tool for all sorts of mischief.

So while Muck Pharmaceuticals may run commercials about this new wonder cure, also remember the darker potentials…

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

CRISPR gene editing may wipe out human geniuses and dumb down human civilization to “conforming” average

Image: CRISPR gene editing may wipe out human geniuses and dumb down human civilization to “conforming” average
Source: NaturalNews.com
David Gutierrez
January 5, 2017

The biotechnology technique known as CRISPR has brought down the costs of genetic engineering by 99 percent and slashed the time required to create new modifications to a matter of weeks. And while Frankenfood companies such as Monsanto are already eagerly pursuing this technology in their efforts to gain more control over the food supply, the most wide-reaching effects of this new technology will probably lie in the medical arena.

CRISPR and associated “gene editing” technologies have come under fire for many of the same reasons as traditional genetic engineering, but now Dr. Jim Kozubek has raised a new concern: CRISPR may actually enable doctors to eliminate certain neurological and psychiatric “diseases” that have actually been the key to producing many of humanity’s great minds throughout history.

Kozubek is author of Modern Prometheus: Editing the Human Genome with Crispr-Cas9.

Can mental “illness” be a gift?

CRISPR is short for CRISPR/cas9, itself an abbreviation for Clustered Regularly-Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/CRISPR associated protein 9. The technique works by using a special RNA strand to guide a DNA-splicing protein to a particular site on the genome. It can be paired with other techniques to insert new DNA into the site where the old code has been removed.

Scientists are already investigating ways to use CRISPR to eliminate various human diseases.

“Before we begin modifying our genes with gene editing tools such as Crispr-Cas9, we’d be smart to recall that genetic variants that contribute to psychiatric conditions may even be beneficial depending on the environment or genetic background,” Kozubek said.

For example, Kozubek noted, the rate of bipolar disorder is 10 times higher among writers than among the general population, and 40 times higher among poets.

“Thomas Edison was ‘addled’ and kicked out of school. Tennessee Williams, as a teenager on the boulevards of Paris felt afraid of ‘the process of thought’ and came within ‘a hairsbreadth of going quite mad,’” Kozubek said.

According to Kozubek, the idea of editing “genetic disease” out of the human population reflects a poor understanding of evolution.

“Scientists tend to think of variations in life as problems to be solved, deviations and abnormalities outside of a normal curve,” he said.

“In reality, Darwin showed us that evolution does not progress toward an ideal concept or model, but rather is a work of tinkering toward adaptation in local niches.”

Science rushes recklessly ahead

Kozubek’s comments come in the context of the United States and China both having announced the world’s first clinical trials on CRISPR in humans, with the United Kingdom expected to follow close behind.

In the Chinese trial, already underway, a man was injected with immune cells that had been taken from his body and modified, with CRISPR, to attack his lung cancer. The team plans to perform the same intervention on another nine people, and monitor them for six months. This will be followed by other Chinese trials on CRISPR-modified treatments for bladder, prostate and kidney cancers.

In the United States, the trials are focused less on the effectiveness of CRISPR cancer treatments and more on their safety. Human participants will be injected with immune cells taken from their body and then modified to seek and destroy cancer cells, hide from cancer cells that will destroy them. Another edit is intended to prevent other immune cells from interfering with the process.

Critics have warned that contrary to the promises of the biotech industry, CRISPR editing has a very high error and mutation rate, and does not confer particularly precise control over the biological outcomes of the gene “editing.”

Another major danger posed by the ease of CRISPR editing is the allure of making modifications to human sperm, eggs or embryos. These “germline” modifications are able to affect every organ in the body and can be passed on to future generations — making their overall effects nearly impossible to know ahead of time.

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Sources:

Express.co.uk

BigThink.com

NaturalNews.com

First Human Injected with Controversial Genetically Modified Genes

Source: NaturalSociety.com
Julie Fidler
December 1, 2016

For the first time in history, a human has been injected with genes edited using the CRISPR-Cas9 method. [1]

The experiment took place on 28 October 2016, when a team of Chinese scientists, led by oncologist Lu You at Sichuan University in Chengdu, delivered the genetically modified (GM) cells into a patient with aggressive lung cancer as part of a clinical trial at the West China Hospital in Chengdu. [2]

To protect the patient’s privacy, the details of the trial have not been released; but Lu said the trial “went smoothly.”

CRISPR is a tool that allows scientists to edit genomes “with unprecedented precision, efficiency, and flexibility,” according to Gizmodo. Dr. Marco Herold, laboratory head of the CRISPR facility at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, explains it this way:

“The CRISPR technology relies on two components — an enzyme and a guide molecule. The guide molecule takes its enzyme to a gene which you want to modify, the enzyme cuts the gene, and then it can be repaired in many different ways. You can either change the function of the gene, take away the gene completely, or make the gene more active.”

Mad Science

The method is highly controversial. While CRISPR holds potential for new developments in medicine, agriculture, and other fields, there are deep concerns over the ethics of altering the human genome. For the Chinese trial, researchers had to gain approval from an ethics board at the West China Hospital. [1]

The cells involved in this particular trial are considered less of an ethical gray area because they won’t be passed down to offspring. But eventually, CRISPR could be used to edit embryo and sperm cells, which would usher in the age of “designer babies.” [3]

Source: Metro News

British researcher Kathy Niakin was given approval in February to edit human embryos, but only for basic research. The embryos will not be implanted, and must be destroyed after 14 days.

The Chinese experiment involved modifying the patient’s own immune cells to make them more effective at combating cancer cells, and then injecting them back into the patient.

The patient will receive a second injection; and the team plans to treat a total of 10 people, who will receive either 2, 3, or 4 injections. The primary purpose of the trial was to test the safety of the procedure. All the participants will be monitored for six months to determine whether the injections are causing serious adverse effects. The team will also be watching beyond the six-month mark to see whether the patients are benefiting from the treatment.

However, Naiyer Rizvi of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City doesn’t have much confidence that the trial will be successful in attacking the participants’ cancer. He said the process of extracting, genetically modifying, and multiplying cells is “a huge undertaking and not very scalable.” He added:

“Unless it shows a large gain in efficacy, it will be hard to justify moving forward.”

“Biomedical Sputnik”

Nature reports that the breakthrough could be a “biomedical sputnik,” referring to the Soviet Sputnik satellite that is believed to have sparked the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. [4]

Back in June, the first U.S. human trial involving CRISPR-Cas9 was approved by a federal biosafety and ethics panel. The gene-editing method will be used to alter immune cells to attack three types of cancer. [3]

The first U.S. CRISPR trial was supposed to be conducted by Editas Medicine to try to treat a rare form of blindness called Leber congenital amaurosis. The condition affects only a few hundred people in the United States. The fact that the trial will occur in cancer patients instead suggests that CRISPR might be used against common diseases sooner than originally thought.

News of the Chinese trial could signal the beginning of an international race to implement CRISPR gene-editing techniques in clinics around the world. Carl June, who specializes in immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, said:

“I think this is going to trigger ‘Sputnik 2.0′, a biomedical duel on progress between China and the United States, which is important since competition usually improves the end product.” [4]

June is the scientific adviser for the impending U.S. trial, which is expected to take place in early 2017.

In March 2017, a group at Peking University in Beijing hopes to launch three clinical trials using CRISPR against bladder, prostate, and renal-cell cancers. However, those trials currently lack approval and funding.

Read More At: NaturalSociety.com

Sources:

[1] CNBC

[2] ABC

[3] PBS

[4] Nature

Metro News

Monsanto Just Gave Us On More Reason To Grow Food, Not Lawns


Source: UndergroundReporter.og
Christina Sarich
August 3, 2016

That unassuming patch of green you call your lawn has an interesting history, and it is one you might find eye-opening considering Monsanto’s latest bid to take it over.

The sprawling carpet of lush grass was once a sign of wealth for nobility. Sure, we used to run through the tall grasses, and even hide from predators in the African Savanna, but the lawn more recently has become a symbol of status. For the upper class of 17th century Europe, the lawn was not a means to hunt dinner, or even grow food like fruit trees, tomatoes, peas, or corn, but to show off a massive castle or mansion.

In the 1650s, immigrants to America brought grass seeds with them and started to spread them around. The grass seeds were so coveted that they were often hand carried in small bundles.

Remnants of this history can be seen in American cities named such things as ‘Bowling Green,’ in areas like Virginia and Boston. The wealthy, who could afford lawns, later began to play games on them.

Today, the lawn has become a time-consuming, useless magnet for pesticide pollution. No longer a stretch of artificial glade, the lawn is now ground zero for a Scotts Miracle-Gro merger with Monsanto to unleash genetically modified grass that can withstand the spraying of carcinogenic RoundUp, Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide. Notice that the word grow is missing a ‘w’ in the name. That’s because nothing grows when you spray glyphosate. It is asystemic herbicide which moves through the plant itself. It kills not just ‘weeds,’ but other plants growing in your garden.

Moreover, though industry-supported studies say that glyphosate is minimally toxic to bees, other peer-reviewed findings say the opposite. One groundbreaking study found that glyphosate causes bees to starve to death. Other studies have shown that pesticides like Roundup cause bees to be more forgetful, making it more difficult for them to find flowers which contain pollen for honey-making.

Anecdotal evidence for third-generation beekeepers also points to glyphosate as a culprit for killing our pollinating insects. This is a side-effect of spraying our lawns with Miracle-Gro laced with Round Up.

Scotts previously teamed up with Monsanto to make glyphosate-based herbicides for golf courses, though they ran into a bit of trouble in the process of getting it legally to market. The company was fined $500,000 when a creeping GMO grass was found in parts of Oregon where it could have contaminated pasture land or non-GM grain fields.

Scotts Miracle-Gro glyphosate-tolerant grass is in trials, due to a new legal loophole that has allowed biotech varieties, such as the CRISPR-edited white button mushroom, to bypass government regulations. Scotts’ grass is supposed to grow more slowly than conventional grass so that it doesn’t have to be maintained as frequently.

Another, perhaps more compassionate and responsible option? Rip out your lawn and grow some food. That’s what many families are now doing, instead of perpetuating the ruling class legacy of a sprawling lawn which has now become toxic.

Read More At: UndergroundReporter.org

This article (Monsanto Just Gave Us One More Reason to Grow Food, Not Lawns) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Christina Sarich and UndergroundReporter.org. If you spot a typo, please email the error and the name of the article to undergroundreporter2016@gmail.com. Image credit: Pexels

CRISPER Gene Editing Lies Exposed By Genomics Expert: The ‘Official Narrative’ Just Another Myth

CRISPR

Source: NaturalNews.com
David Gutierrez
May 3, 2016

The biotechnology industry is carrying out a concerted public-relations campaign to promote the idea that new, so-called “gene editing” technologies are the more accurate, safer successor to now-defunct traditional genetic engineering (GE). But this campaign is founded upon several straight-up myths about the new technology, which is nothing more than the same reckless GE paradigm under another name, says geneticist and virologist Jonathan Latham, Executive Director of the Bioscience Resource Project and editor of Independent Science News.

Echoing industry talking points, mainstream news sources have been publishing article with headlines such as, “Easy DNA Editing Will Remake the World. Buckle Up.”

“The hubris is alarming; but the more subtle element of the propaganda campaign is the biggest and most dangerous improbability of them all: that CRISPR and related technologies are ‘genome editing,'” Latham writes on Independent Science News. “That is, they are capable of creating precise, accurate, and specific alterations to DNA.”

Propaganda war

Latham notes that this “public relations blitz” is directed from the top-down, citing a senior representative of the Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO) who told the UN meeting on biotechnology in February about the “exquisite specificity” and “precision” of the new gene editing technologies. These talking points are now even being parroted by serious scientific publications, with a recent article in Nature titled, “Super-muscly pigs created by small genetic tweak.”

Latham notes that the words “small” and “tweak” both constitute value judgments, neither of which is in line with the information presented in the article.

The technology in question is known as Clustered Regularly-Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/CRISPR associated protein 9: CRISPR/cas9, or simply CRISPR for short. It consists of using a guide RNA to direct a DNA-splicing protein to a specific site on the genome. But is it really the miracle innovation it’s billed as?

No such thing as precision

Latham deconstructs three myths of the biotech industry. The first is that CRISPR is so precise that it is not prone to errors. In fact, the opposite is true: CRISPR experiments regularly produce mutations far off on the genome.

“So far, it is technically not possible to make a single (and only a single) genetic change to a genome using CRISPR and be sure one has done so,” Latham writes. In fact, there is no evidence that such a degree of precision is even biologically possible.

Continue Reading At: NaturalNews.com

New Book Sets Record Straight On GMO Myths & Truths


Source: Mercola.com
Dr. Mercola
April 24, 2016

Many of us have become convinced that genetically engineered (GE) foods and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are harmful to health and the environment. But how can you effectively respond to friends and family who have fallen for the oft-repeated fallacies and myths about GMO safety and efficacy?

Claire Robinson is the editor of GM Watch, which is based in the U.K.. Together with genetic engineers Drs John Fagan and Michael Antoniou, she also co-authored the book “GMO Myths and Truths,” which can be a very helpful resource.

I was really impressed with Steven Druker’s landmark book, “Altered Genes, Twisted Truth,” which decimates most of the GMO proponent arguments. Sadly most proponents fail to ever read his book.

Steven’s book is longer and a more challenging read for most, while “GMO Myths and Truths” is very concise and to-the-point, and it does a great job of providing you with strong arguments to effectively counter nonsensical GMO propaganda.

Robinson has been involved in the GMO debate since 1999. Her initial concerns were not incited by environmental groups, but rather by scientists.

“I knew some genetic engineers in the 1990s,” she says. “They were warning about the possible effects on health and the environment of genetically modified foods. At the time, I just didn’t want to think about it because there were too many other things to worry about.

But it became increasingly urgent that we do something, because before we knew it, there was talk about Monsanto wanting to genetically engineer every food crop on the planet, and I thought, “This is something we should be concerned about.”

The scientific voices did not die away. They were still warning about the possible effects of these foods. That’s really how I got involved…

[My co-authors and I] noticed there was this rumor out there that activists against GE crops had no science on their side, that they were uneducated, and that they were irrational. We knew that that wasn’t the case.”

That’s what led to the creation of the book. In fact, it was written for the explicit purpose of arming people with facts to counteract claims that there is no scientific basis for concern.

Myth: GMOs Are Just an Extension of Natural Breeding Techniques

Many GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is just an extension of natural breeding methods, and just as safe. Nothing could be further from the truth — on both counts.

Genetic engineering is radically different from conventional breeding techniques used to improve a crop. For starters, it’s a laboratory-based technique allowing scientists to create a food that could never be created by nature. As explained by Robinson:

“Genetic engineering enables DNA to be transferred not only between different kinds of plants, but even between different kingdoms. You can take DNA from an insect, an animal, a virus or a bacterium, and insert it into the genome of a food crop plant.

This is actually a very imprecise process. The truth is that the genetic engineering process disrupts the genome (organization and function of genes) of the plant. As a result we found time and time again that there are unexpected effects on the plant that is genetically engineered.

They tell us that it’s exactly the same, except for the inserted gene that’s been deliberately put in…But this isn’t the case. The genome is very complex. It’s not like Lego; you can’t just take out one bit, put in another bit, and expect there to be no knock-on effects.”

Unintended and Unforeseeable Side Effects Abound

There have been many occasions where the GE crop has been unexpectedly toxic or allergenic when the non-GE crop had no such issues. The reality is that scientists really don’t know what they’re doing in terms of what side effects are produced by DNA tampering. The effects are very unpredictable.

Genetic engineers are just now starting to admit this. Ironically, many of the drawbacks of genetic engineering, including the fact that it’s imprecise, were not openly admitted until they came out with a new technique, called genome editing and using, for example, CRISPR technology, which is said to be far more precise than earlier methods.

Alas, even genome editing techniques such as CRISPR create off-target effects, according to Robinson. So we’re still far from knowing all there is to know about genetic manipulation.

Why CRISPR Technology Will Not Remove Concerns

While the use of CRISPR-cas 9 allows more precise genetic engineering in one respect, in that you can target a genetic alteration including foreign gene insertion to a specific area of the genome, the potential for unintended effects remain, for the simple fact that when you alter one or two genes in a genome the side effects ripple through the whole genome.

In addition, just as with conventional genetic engineering, genome editing involves using plant tissue culture (plant cells grown under laboratory conditions), which has a wide-scale DNA mutagenic (damaging) effect in its own right. This too can dramatically alter the function of multiple gene functions.

Thus the off-target effects of genome editing and plant tissue culture-induced mutations can combine to bring about alterations in plant biochemistry.

One or more new proteins could be created in the process, which could be toxic or allergenic, or you could change the biochemical pathways of a plant, making it less nutritious or more toxic.

“In addition, most genetically engineered plants are engineered to either express an insecticide or to tolerate being sprayed on by an herbicide (weedkiller).

That means you’ve got the potential toxic effects of the herbicide residues that are sprayed on the plant or of the insecticide that is engineered into the plant,” Robinson notes.

The risk of unintended consequences is so high that even if scientists restricted the genetic engineering to the alteration of just one or two host plant genes or the insertion of genes into a plant into the very same species, say from corn to corn, these problems still would not disappear. As Robinson explains:

“The important thing when you’re genetically engineering a plant is the new context of the gene that you’re putting in. Even if you were to take a gene out of apples and put it into apples, you don’t really know what that’s doing, because all of a sudden the gene is in a new context.”

GMO Creation Is a Cruel and Wasteful Enterprise

Genetic engineering is also a very wasteful process. You create an enormous number of plants that are deformed, infertile, or otherwise not viable, so there’s a lot of waste. When it comes to the creation of GE animals there’s also the moral aspect of creating so many non-viable life forms.

“One of the scientists who I’m in contact with happened to see some GE salmon that were created in the research and development phase. He said it was really shocking, because there were salmon that were green in color. There were salmon that had lumps all over their bodies. All these had to be thrown away… I think it’s a very cruel process, because you’re creating so many non-viable animals, and you have to dispose of them.”

Long-Term Safety Studies Are Sorely Lacking

“GMOs are proven safe,” is the oft-repeated refrain. But where is the actual evidence for this? And what’s the strength of that evidence? While few in number, longer-term animal feeding studies have been published over the past several years showing there’s definite cause for concern. Liver and kidney toxicity and immune reactions tend to be the most prevalent. Digestive system, inflammation and fertility problems have also been seen.

“I think we’re all concerned about the state of people’s immune systems these days. Obviously it is a huge concern. I think any substance you feed to a laboratory animal and get an immune response [from], you really have to ask more questions about it,” Robinson says.

A major part of the problem is that safety studies conducted for regulatory purposes to gain market approval for a GE product are too short to show the damage that could occur from life-long consumption of the GE food. Some independent studies looking at lifetime consumption of GMOs have found rather dramatic health effects, whereas the safety studies used to promote GE foods as safe have all been short-term.

As noted by Robinson, there seems to be an agreement among biotech scientists to not test GE foods longer than 90 days in rats, which is only about seven to nine years in human terms. That’s nothing when you consider the average lifespan is somewhere in the 70’s, and the current generation is fed GMO food from day one.

“Typically, even in industry tests for 90 days in a rat, you can see signs of liver and kidney toxicity, and immune responses… What happens is they just dismiss the findings. They say, ‘These are not biologically relevant findings. We don’t need to do longer testing.’ This is a really an unscientific, worrying phenomenon. We should be doing long-term testing and multigenerational testing as well with all GE foods to get to the bottom of what is going on.”

Making matters worse, carefully calculated barriers have been erected by the GE industry to prevent independent researchers from ever doing those kinds of studies in the first place. Anyone purchasing GE seeds must sign a contract that forbids them from supplying them to researchers who do research, and in most cases the companies refuse to provide seeds to independent researchers.

Myth: Hundreds of Millions of GMO Meals Served With No Adverse Effects

Another completely unscientific and dishonest claim used to justify the use of GMOs is that Americans have eaten hundreds of millions of GMO meals with no ill effects. But who’s actually checking? No one is assessing and keeping tabs of potential side effects. You can’t even make that connection since GE foods are not labeled.

Despite that lack of traceability, health statistics clearly show Americans have been getting increasingly sicker over the past few decades. Chronic diseases are definitely increasing, and children are increasingly coming down with diseases that in the past did not arise until much later in life. No one can say for sure that there’s a link to GMO consumption since they’re not labeled and therefore cannot be tracked, but you certainly cannot ignore the possibility of a link either.

Myth: Without GE Crops We Cannot Feed the World

Another common claim is that we need GMOs because without them we don’t stand a chance to feed our growing population. This is nothing but a flawed fantasy, and there are at least half a dozen truths that dispel it.

Part of the myth is that GE crops provide greater yield, but they don’t. There is no gene for high yield. The GMO genes inserted are for creating herbicide tolerance or to produce internal insecticide. There is no way of genetically engineering high yield into a crop as it is dependent on complex multi-gene interactions, which GE cannot deliver.

However, conventional breeding methods are helpful for increasing yield as they can introduce the required multi-gene families into the crop. So a high-yielding GE crop is simply a crop that has been conventionally bred to produce high yields. Then the genetic engineers inserted an herbicide-tolerant gene or an insect-resistant gene into that plant.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) even admits that yield is dependent on the background genetics of the crop; it is not dependent on the genetic engineering. In some cases the GE crop ends up yielding less than its non-GE equivalent.

That is certainly the case with GE soy, where there is what is known as a yield drag. It yields less than the non-GM soy. Exactly why is still unknown, but Robinson suggests it may be caused by the disruptive effect of the GE transformation process, or perhaps the GE plant’s energy is somehow used up in resisting herbicide, for example, and therefore has less energy left over for growth.

Soil Destruction Promotes Food Scarcity

GE plants — courtesy of the herbicides used — also destroy the microbial health of the soil. Ultimately, you need the microbes in the soil to nourish the plant, and it’s this symbiotic relationship that provides good yields.

From a long-term strategic perspective, destruction of topsoil is the greatest threat to the future of food, and if we continue in this way, people will starve no matter what GE plants they come up with. It’s a prescription for disaster. Once you implement regenerative agriculture you almost automatically create far greater yields, as these time-honored traditions nourish and build soil health.

“There’s some very good long-term research done at the Rodale Institute which shows that year upon year, the yields with organic systems can go up and up and up, because the soil fertility and health, including microbial life, is being built. Also, organics yield better in drought conditions, because there’s more organic matter in the soil, which acts like a sponge and it can hold water.

If we’re thinking about resilient agriculture that’s going to tide us through climate change and everything else the future can throw at us, it’s really all about agroecology, organic, and building soil. We certainly don’t want to be killing soil by putting glyphosate or other pesticides on it.

We do know that putting glyphosate herbicide on the soil actually ties up trace metal nutrients within the soil. It makes them less available to the plant and less available to us when we eat those plants,” Robinson says.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has also classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. Over 80 percent of GE plants are engineered to tolerate being heavily doused with glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup.

Worryingly, laboratory tests have shown that commercial formulations such as Roundup, which are complex mixtures of chemicals, are up to 1,000 times more toxic than glyphosate in isolation. Roundup gets incorporated into the entire plant and cannot be washed off, so when you eat those plants, you’re eating a general toxin and potential carcinogen.

Myth: GMOs Reduce the Need for Herbicides and Insecticides

Genetic engineering was sold as a means to reduce the amount of herbicides and other chemicals being used, but the reality is quite the opposite. GE crops have increased the use of pesticides, mostly because of herbicide-tolerant crops designed to survive huge amounts of herbicide. As weeds have developed resistance, farmers are forced to use ever-greater amounts of chemical mixtures.

Research by Dr. Charles Benbrook shows that because of GE crops, we have sprayed 7 percent more pesticides than we would have done had those same acres been planted with non-GE crops. That amounts to 404 million pounds of additional pesticides.

In addition to that, as of 2012, more than 61 million acres of U.S. farmland was covered with glyphosate-resistant super weeds. To address these weeds, even more toxic chemicals are being employed, such as Dicamba and 2,4-D (which is an ingredient of Agent Orange). So not only are we using more herbicides, we’re also using increasingly toxic ones.

“Also, there’s a UN report1 called the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), which was published in 2008 by over 400 world scientists. It was on the future of food and the future of agriculture. They did not endorse the idea that GE crops were needed to feed the world.

They pointed out that the yields of GE crops were ‘variable,’ as they put it. In some cases, a GE crop might yield more; but in other cases, they don’t. Also there were lingering safety concerns over them. They said that the key to feeding the world and future generations will be agroecology.”

Who Benefits From GE Crops?

The answer is the companies that patent and own them. Profit is the real reason why GE crops are pushed so relentlessly in spite of the fact that they don’t yield more and they don’t reduce pesticide use. When you patent a GE crop, you not only own the rights on the particular crop, you also own the breeding rights.

Every crop bred from that GE crop, as long as your proprietary patented genes are in that progene, you own the progene as well as the original crop. So patenting GE seeds is a means of consolidating control over the food supply by a few big companies.

The U.S. government does nothing to prevent this, and the reason for that is because there are perpetually revolving doors between the industry and the government. It’s gotten to the point where the USDA is in practical reality a mere extension of Monsanto and other chem-ag giants, implementing and enforcing the industry’s recommendations.

“Michael Taylor is a case in point. He was an attorney for Monsanto. He crafted the biotech policy that enabled these foods to be marketed onto world markets from the USA. Michael Taylor oversaw the creation of that policy. He was basically an attorney for Monsanto, and still is. People often think that Europe is somehow better. Unfortunately, our own European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has been absolutely infiltrated by industry-linked people.

There’s a body called the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), which is basically funded by Monsanto, Bayer, DuPont, and these big GMO companies. They’re this kind of scientific lobbying-style organization.

They are involved in crafting rules, regulatory rules to judge the safety of GE crops. They actually help to design them. A lot of these rules have now gone into the European regulatory process to judge whether a GE crop is safe. Basically, we can say the industry helped to write its own examination.”

Continue Reading At: Mercola.com

New Genetically Modified CRISPR-Mushroom Bypasses USDA Regulations

White button mushroom
Source: NaturalSociety.com
Julie Fidler
April 22, 2016

A Penn State University researcher has created a genetically modified mushroom that is now at the center of controversy over GMO regulations of genetically modified creations.

Researcher Yinong Yang developed a type of white button mushroom that looks identical to the type you’d buy in the produce section of a grocery store. The mushroom was created using CRISPR technology, which allows modification of genes with great precision. Put simply, CRISPR allows scientists to find an undesirable section of DNA, remove it, and, if they so choose, replace it with a more favorable gene slice.

Yang used CRISPR to alter 2 letters of the mushroom’s DNA code to create a Franken-fungus that is more resistant to browning from oxidation.

And that’s where all hell broke loose.

The USDA is allowing Yang’s new strain of mushroom to sidestep the GMO regulatory system, even though it couldn’t be more genetically engineered if Yang programmed it to grow a brain. The department says the mushroom gets a free pass because it does not contain “any introduced genetic material” from a plant pest, such as a virus or bacteria.

Under the USDA’s rules, conventional GMOs are created by introducing foreign genes, like a bacteria designed to make a crop resistant to pests. As long as you don’t add anything to a crop, it’s not considered a conventional GMO.

crispr
Source: Live Mint

In a letter to Pulse HeadlinesMichael J. Firko, Deputy Administrator at the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), said:

“Consistent with previous responses to similar letters of inquiry, APHIS does not consider CRISPR/Cas9-edited white button mushrooms as described in your October 30, 2015 letter to be regulated pursuant to 7 CFR part 340.”

Yang “merely” deleted some of the mushroom’s genes that create the enzyme that turns it brown.

In the past 5 years, 30 new crops have used the USDA’s loophole using techniques similar to CRISPR, which alter the already-existing genome to give the crop new abilities.

Continue Reading At: NaturalSociety.com

USDA Announces It Will Stop Regulating All Genetically Modified Food Crops Altered With CRISPR Gene Editing Technique…Frankenfood Tidal Wave About To Be Unleashed

CRISPR

Source: NaturalNews.com
J.D. Heyes
April 17, 2016

If you think our genetic food chain has been royally screwed up by big bio-ag’s like Monsanto and Syngenta, and massively over-processed by Big Food, things are just about to get a whole lot worse, and what’s more, our own government is doing it to us – yet again.

As reported by Business Insider, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a letter to the public last week confirming that the agency does not plan to regulate a mushroom that has been genetically modified so that it won’t turn brown.

The letter was in response to an inquiry from mushroom developer Dr. Yinong Yang, of the College of Agricultural Services at Penn State University, about whether a division of the USDA would be seeking to regulate the mushroom.

This decision, wherever it ultimately came from, is in contrast to the USDA’s previous approach with GMOs, which are regulated by the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). That division supposedly monitors new genetically modified foods that “may pose a risk to plant health,” according to the agency’s website.

Genetic suicide of the food chain?

The mushroom is not the first crop to be modified using the controversial gene-editing technique CRISPR-Cas9, but it is the first plant that the USDA says is not subject to regulation. “That means everything we know about genetically modified food may be about to change,” Business Insider noted.

As reported by the website Ensia in January, CRISPR is expected to bring about big changes within the food chain, and as you might imagine, the potential for lasting genetic damage of foods is high. What used to take researchers weeks, months and years of genetic tinkering to accomplish, CRISPR can do in a fraction of the time.

“It really opens up the genome of virtually every organism that’s been sequenced to be edited and engineered,” said Jill Wildonger of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“In the past, it was a student’s entire Ph.D. thesis to change one gene,” Bruce Conklin, a geneticist at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, told The New York Times. “CRISPR just knocked that out of the park.”

What makes the technique highly controversial is the potential for misuse – and the history of Mankind is fraught with examples of misuse of technology. As we reported just last month:

“Formally known as Crispr-Cas9, the genetic editing tool works like two low-cost but highly precise molecular scissors, cutting out undesirable or unwanted portions of DNA, replacing it with desired ones. The system has essentially revolutionized what used to be a very time-consuming and expensive process that was also not very accurate. Now, scientists and countries are falling all over themselves to exploit and advance the technology, and for a range of uses and purposes – some of which are not likely to be ethical or smart.

Continue Reading At: NaturalNews.com