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Genetically Modified Crops Protected By New Budget Bill
Last Resistance ^ | March 27, 2013 | Dave Jolly

Posted on 03/27/2013 8:56:43 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Genetically modified crops are not just those that have been selectively bred, but they have had their DNA modified in some way as to make them more pest resistant and produce better yields. In many cases genes from other plants or even bacteria have been added to the DNA of a specific plant.

This process has caused great concern among some that question whether the plants with modified genes are safe for human consumption or if there may be any long-term effects from the continual eating of these plants. There have been numerous challenges to the use of genetically modified crops in the marketplace.

Companies such as Monsanto often control the patents on these genetically modified crops, but like pharmaceutical companies do on their name brand drugs. In 2011, the genetically modified seed also known as biotech seeds business generated over $13 billion. Needless to say it has become a major player in the agricultural world, and these companies are starting to exert their influence in Washington DC.

Political Action Committees working on behalf of biotech seed companies have been making significant contributions to politicians in the last few years. According to one report, the contributions since 2009 have been:

Monsanto alone has contributed $540,000 towards campaign funds. American Crystal Sugar reportedly has contributed $3.3 million. Other biotech companies contributing to PAC’s include: Archer Daniels Midland, American Farm Bureau, Cargill, Minn-Dak Farmers Coop, National Cotton Council, Scott’s Miracle-Gro, Southern Minnesota Beat Sugar Coop, and Syngenta Corp.

That influence is so great that in the newly passed 2013 Continuing Resolution, which funds the federal government through the end of September, there contained a rider to protect companies like Monsanto. The rider known as the Monsanto Rider protects all genetically modified crops from any court order issued against their use. In other words if legal challenge to the safety of the use of any biotech seeds were to be raised in court, companies like Monsanto would be automatically issued a permit from the USDA allowing them to continue selling, cultivating, and planting the genetically modified crops in question.

Basically that means there is nothing that can legally be done to stop the biotech companies from producing, cultivating, and selling genetically modified crops that could be harmful to humans.

The rider was snuck into the budget bill by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Normal procedure would dictate that such a rider would go through the Agriculture and or Judiciary Committees, but that did not happen in this case. Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety commented about Mikulski’s actions, stating:

“In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on the consumer, environmental, and fire protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto. This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Senator Mikulski or the Democratic Majority in the Senate.”

With so much problem of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, being linked to poor diets, Americans are urged to eat more fruits and vegetables every day. Are those fruits and vegetables really safe to eat? Are they the products of genetic modification of the plant DNA? Could there be any long-term effects from the daily eating of genetically modified foods?

These are questions you need to ask yourself, because even if proven harmful they are now protected by federal law and will continue to be planted harvested, and sold to consumers like you and me. Welcome to the world of biotech foods. Eat at your own risk!


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; US: Maryland
KEYWORDS: agribusiness; barbaramikulski; biotech; budget; ecopropaganda; friendsofearth; gmo; greenpeace; greens; protectionism; rider

1 posted on 03/27/2013 8:56:43 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
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To: Abundy; Albion Wilde; AlwaysFree; AnnaSASsyFR; bayliving; BFM; cindy-true-supporter; ...

Mikulski protects corporations at the expense of the little guy. Such a good Democrat. /s

Maryland “Freak State” PING!


2 posted on 03/27/2013 8:58:48 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Drag Me From Hell!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

I don’t know much about health effects from eating such hybrids, but plants in general tend to be stronger against natural problems if left more diverse, each type original and not crossed. Possible famine in the future is probably more of a concern. Animals and people are the other way around—best as mutts and not interbred.


3 posted on 03/27/2013 9:22:38 PM PDT by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of rotten politics smelled around the planet.)
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To: familyop

Wonder why sensitivity to wheat is really growing....

Could it be connected to scientists experimenting without using great wisdom?


4 posted on 03/27/2013 9:36:31 PM PDT by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo....Sum Pro Vita - Modified Descartes)
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As Holder says, some banks are too big to prosecute. Now a huge, powerful food company that works on Frankenseeds and Frankenfood is beyond the law. Monsanto is a company that can and will help decide who lives and dies in different regions of the world in the future. If GMO was good for you, why do they fight so hard to keep it off food labels? More evidence the gov’t is there to protect us. ;)


5 posted on 03/27/2013 10:03:03 PM PDT by Hayride
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To: SumProVita
Bacillus thuringiensis makes a toxin that causes the stomach of the tomato worm to become perforated. It kills the worm. Sprinkling BT bacteria laden powder on tomatoes was a common way to use that "natural" biotoxin. The smart asses at Monsanto extracted the genes for the toxin and inserted them into corn. Now, the corn makes the toxin. You don't have to spray the crop. Cool. One problem. The modified genes in the corn can transfer to the bacteria in the human gut AND also into the cells lining the human intestine. Now, you have a pesticide factory running in your digestive tract. It increases your gut permeability and the toxin is detectable a significant amounts in your blood. Oops. Unintended consequence (or not).

There are reports from 3rd world countries of people who have other kinds of GMO damage that have transferred to the humans that consumed the food. Damaged has been observed in livestock too.

The bill just passed is classic crony capitalism. The politicians are bought by the big corporations and they craft legislation to protect their donors.

In answer to your wheat sensitivity question, the "natural" genetic defect that causes gluten intolerance comes from a "leaky gut" when gliaden (a wheat protein) binds to receptors in the intestine and promotes the release of zonulin. That increases the permeability of the gut allowing larger food particles to be exposed to the blood stream. Food allergies are stimulated by the exposure of antigens through the leaky gut. The BT toxin imported into your gut with GMO corn might be provoking the same "leaky gut" observed in conventional gluten intolerance. A gluten free diet would yield benefits in the same fashion. This is simply conjecture on my part without doing a rigorous study of individuals contaminated by GMO corn and exhibiting BT toxin in blood samples.

6 posted on 03/27/2013 10:35:54 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: SumProVita; All

I read a report recently suggesting that modern hybrid wheat is metabolized differently, and that is contributing to obesity. Presumable ancient grains like spelt and kanef have not be hybridized and would be a good substitute.

Also unless multi generation tests on animals using these modified grains is done I would not want to eat them much. By multi, I mean seven or eight generations.

Monsanto is really hard on farmers. If Monsanto GM pollen drifts over a neighbors field and pollenates some of the farmers crop, Monsanto will sue the farmer and get as much as they can from him.


7 posted on 03/27/2013 10:42:19 PM PDT by gleeaikin
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To: Jet Jaguar; NorwegianViking; ExTexasRedhead; HollyB; FromLori; EricTheRed_VocalMinority; ...

The list, Ping

Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list

http://www.nachumlist.com/

Obama and Agenda 21

http://www.nachumlist.com/agenda21.htm


8 posted on 03/27/2013 10:43:21 PM PDT by Nachum (The Obama "List" at www.nachumlist.com)
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To: SumProVita

That’s possible for some of us—allergy to contemporary, big-crop wheat. It’s also possible that others of us need more exercise, less sugars, and for some of us to quit smoking (as with me a few years ago). Also, we do age. But yes, some hybrids might not be good for us. I don’t know and will do some reading, when time allows. Thanks.


9 posted on 03/27/2013 10:52:57 PM PDT by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of rotten politics smelled around the planet.)
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To: sneakers

bttt


10 posted on 03/28/2013 3:11:18 AM PDT by sneakers (Go Sheriff Joe!)
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To: Myrddin

We really don’t have to worry about all that now that Obama has appointed a “Food Safety” Czar.......that used to work for Monsanto.


11 posted on 03/28/2013 3:42:43 AM PDT by tbpiper
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To: Myrddin
Bacillus thuringiensis makes a toxin that causes the stomach of the tomato worm to become perforated. It kills the worm. Sprinkling BT bacteria laden powder on tomatoes was a common way to use that "natural" biotoxin. The smart asses at Monsanto extracted the genes for the toxin and inserted them into corn. Now, the corn makes the toxin. You don't have to spray the crop. Cool. One problem. The modified genes in the corn can transfer to the bacteria in the human gut AND also into the cells lining the human intestine. Now, you have a pesticide factory running in your digestive tract. It increases your gut permeability and the toxin is detectable a significant amounts in your blood. Oops. Unintended consequence (or not).

The toxin is activated in an alkaline environment, like that of a bug gut. Your gut is extremely acidic, so cannot activate the toxin. That is why the toxin has been deemed to be safe to spread on crops, and why it is safe when contained within the plant (instead of on the surface).

It is highly unlikely that the gene for the toxin will transfer into your gut bacteria. It would have to survive cooking and digestion, which both do an incredible job of destroying DNA. As part of your natural defense against bacteria and viruses, your body is permeated with enzymes that destroy DNA. In fact, you are so destructive to DNA that, if you were to come and work in my lab, the first thing I would tell you is to NEVER touch any vials containing DNA, or supplies meant to contain DNA. Because just by touching them, you could destroy the DNA and ruin my experiments.

Furthermore, you have been eating Bacillus thuringensis your whole life--have they ever made you sick?

12 posted on 03/28/2013 3:57:14 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
You know, if cooking were a new invention, the controversy over its safety would be deafening. Cooking food changes everything about it. It denatures proteins, causing them to take on properties they never had in nature. It breaks up cellular structure, and destroys the cell walls of plants. It combines foods and causes chemical reactions between those foods that would never happen from eating those foods raw. We are not exposed to the chemicals created through cooking through any other means. We still don't know what most of those chemicals are, nor have they been rigorously tested for safety.

We also have been genetically engineering foods for millennia. Funny, now that the process has become very streamlined and targeted, there is all kinds of fear-mongering. Instead of mixing different organisms and hoping for a result that incorporates the desirable traits while omitting the undesirable traits, we can now specifically identify traits.

You don't want that one gene that makes tomatoes susceptible to a particular blight? Fine, we can get rid of it without affecting any other genes in that tomato! Targeted gene engineering is much less random and unpredictable than the old methods.

Why targeted genome alteration causes such concern, while random genome alteration with unpredictable results is barely noticed is... well, it is an interesting facet of human psychology.

13 posted on 03/28/2013 4:12:40 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: SumProVita

Bingo! And it’s not just wheat. Why not label GMO? Because of the lobbyists like the ones featured in this article. It’s all politics.


14 posted on 03/28/2013 6:14:08 AM PDT by sarasota
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To: exDemMom
Thank you for taking the time to provide this information. I see no one has responded to your science based replies. That doesn't surprise me because most of these people prefer to live in fear.

It's been more than a few years now, but at one time we studied what happens to green coffee beans during the roasting process. During that process, hundreds of different chemical compounds are created (about 600 iirc) and, at the time, about one-third of them hadn't even been identified. Some of them are extremely toxic. I'm sure most of those fretting over this news about "toxic GMO's" are doing so while enjoying a cup of strong, heavily roasted coffee.

15 posted on 03/28/2013 7:36:17 AM PDT by Mase (Save me from the people who would save me from myself!)
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To: exDemMom

Bingo.

I think people need something to fear. This spoiled rotten country is FULL of liberals always complaining about something, even though really all these things are non-issues.

Every time something new comes up, it’s “bad”.


16 posted on 03/28/2013 9:16:06 AM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: exDemMom
Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada.

"Pesticides associated to genetically modified foods (PAGMF), are engineered to tolerate herbicides such as glyphosate (GLYP) and gluphosinate (GLUF) or insecticides such as the bacterial toxin bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between maternal and fetal exposure, and to determine exposure levels of GLYP and its metabolite aminomethyl phosphoric acid (AMPA), GLUF and its metabolite 3-methylphosphinicopropionic acid (3-MPPA) and Cry1Ab protein (a Bt toxin) in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Blood of thirty pregnant women (PW) and thirty-nine nonpregnant women (NPW) were studied. Serum GLYP and GLUF were detected in NPW and not detected in PW. Serum 3-MPPA and CryAb1 toxin were detected in PW, their fetuses and NPW. This is the first study to reveal the presence of circulating PAGMF in women with and without pregnancy, paving the way for a new field in reproductive toxicology including nutrition and utero-placental toxicities."

Looks like cooking and digestion might not be the remediation we thought they were.

17 posted on 03/28/2013 9:34:09 AM PDT by Black Agnes
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

More people have been harmed from taking herbal supplements than have ever been harmed from eating GM foods.

They are popular with farmers, their customers. If the farmers didn’t think they were worth the money - they wouldn’t spend the money buying GM crop seeds.

Due to fears about GM foods only the big players can pay the great expense to enter the market, and they must lobby the government to prevent even more regulation. So now those that produce GM foods are condemned as “big business” that lobby the government! Yeah - kind of a necessity in the environment created by the fear mongers.


18 posted on 03/28/2013 9:40:35 AM PDT by allmendream (Tea Party did not send GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism)
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To: exDemMom
Bt effects on humans and livestock
19 posted on 03/28/2013 1:28:33 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Black Agnes
"Pesticides associated to genetically modified foods (PAGMF), are engineered to tolerate herbicides such as glyphosate (GLYP) and gluphosinate (GLUF) or insecticides such as the bacterial toxin bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between maternal and fetal exposure, and to determine exposure levels of GLYP and its metabolite aminomethyl phosphoric acid (AMPA), GLUF and its metabolite 3-methylphosphinicopropionic acid (3-MPPA) and Cry1Ab protein (a Bt toxin) in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Blood of thirty pregnant women (PW) and thirty-nine nonpregnant women (NPW) were studied. Serum GLYP and GLUF were detected in NPW and not detected in PW. Serum 3-MPPA and CryAb1 toxin were detected in PW, their fetuses and NPW. This is the first study to reveal the presence of circulating PAGMF in women with and without pregnancy, paving the way for a new field in reproductive toxicology including nutrition and utero-placental toxicities."

Looks like cooking and digestion might not be the remediation we thought they were.

Just because they were detected, that means what, exactly?

You can detect all kinds of chemicals. With current technologies that can detect to parts per billion (or maybe even smaller amounts), the relevance of being able to detect something becomes questionable. You eat Bacillus thurigensis whenever you eat certain vegetables; it is a normal component of the environment, which waits around in soil until a suitable host comes along. It's very difficult for me to become concerned that Cry1Ab, a Bt protein, can be detected in blood, since it is such an unavoidable component of our diet. You can detect beef proteins in blood after eating beef, too. I'm sure all kinds of other food-specific proteins are detectable after eating, as well.

I should also point out that our bodies have evolved quite extensive mechanisms for removing toxins, which exist in virtually all foods of plant origin (and, to a lesser extent, foods of animal origin). While I wouldn't deliberately overload the toxin removal system by taking massive herbal or vitamin supplements, I also wouldn't worry about the levels of toxins that we normally consume in food every day.

I'm also not going to try to differentiate between "natural" and "GMO" foods, since humans have been altering the food supply for millenia. The only difference is in methodology. Instead of breeding and cross-breeding, and altering who knows how many genes, we can target one specific gene and leave the rest of the genome intact. In other words, GMO plants have been modified far less than plants developed through hybrid breeding methods.

20 posted on 03/28/2013 5:37:41 PM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: Mase

You’re welcome.

I try, whenever I can, to spread scientific information and educate people. I have found that many people don’t want to be calmed with scientific fact, nor do they have any desire to rationally consider and weigh risks against each other. They would much rather live their lives in fear of technology. I do not know why this is so. Nevertheless, I will continue to spread scientific information and try to guide people towards positions based more on weighing facts and less on fear-mongering.


21 posted on 03/28/2013 5:46:00 PM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: Myrddin

That is a link from Mercola. That is a well-known quack site devoid of accurate scientific information. I will not give Mercola the page views; I do not want him to profit by my visit.


22 posted on 03/28/2013 5:52:12 PM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: exDemMom
From your previous statement:

"You know, if cooking were a new invention, the controversy over its safety would be deafening. Cooking food changes everything about it. It denatures proteins, causing them to take on properties they never had in nature. It breaks up cellular structure, and destroys the cell walls of plants."

"Just because they were detected, that means what, exactly?"

That, clearly, they've passed through the digestive tract intact and entered the blood stream. Not just the metabolites of a small molecule, but a fairly large, kD wise protein itself.

The feel good message wrt placing a pesticide protein in a commonly eaten food was 'it'll be digested and even if it isn't digested it's too big to pass through the intestine'. Which I believed.

That might have been a hasty statement. Which makes me wonder if the manufacturer ever bothered testing this before introducing it into the food supply.

And you're right about eating being an 'experimental' process. Which is why a lot of people would feel more comfortable with the new technology if the safety studies were intergenerational primate studies and for longer than 90 days. We've been told BPA is safe and any concern with it is just so much 'plastic hysteria'. As it turns out the intergenerational epigenetic effects of exposure might be just a little more than 'plastic hysteria'.

Plastics Derived Endocrine Disruptors (BPA, DEHP and DBP) Induce Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Obesity, Reproductive Disease and Sperm Epimutations

Would love to see a similar f3 study done, even a rat study, on the effects of exposure to GLYP and CryAb1. Until then I remember the denials of RJR.

23 posted on 03/28/2013 5:55:15 PM PDT by Black Agnes
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To: exDemMom
Bt Crops Failures & Hazards
24 posted on 03/28/2013 6:22:48 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: exDemMom
There's a big difference between Mendelian genetic manipulation by selective breeding and jamming foreign DNA/RNA into a cell via electroporation and viral vectors. Rice and corn would never have naturally acquired bacterial DNA to manufacture Bt toxin. Now that it is spliced in place, it replicates and spreads unchecked. In my early days as a molecular biologist, we routinely used cells that had some kind of metabolic deficiency that required a supplement to survive in the lab. A mistaken release died. It seems that ethic got lost along the way.

You argue that manipulating a single gene results in less manipulation. As a molecular biologist turned software engineer, I see a flaw in that logic. You have injected a single feature stripped of the control and feedback mechanisms that evolved with it. A conventional hybridization effort creates a working system of processes that exhibit hybrid vigor or fail. The diversity provides protection against a single point failure.

I point to the single point failure when observing that Roundup Ready crops have a new competitor...Roundup Ready weeds. The single point wizardry has given us super weeds.

25 posted on 03/28/2013 7:06:39 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: gleeaikin
If Monsanto GM pollen drifts over a neighbors field and pollenates some of the farmers crop, Monsanto will sue the farmer and get as much as they can from him.

The farmer should counter sue for contamination of his land and products by Monsanto's experimental crap. Treat it like a superfund cleanup site. Insist that they clean up every bit of the contamination from their product.

26 posted on 03/28/2013 7:09:31 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: exDemMom

Thanks for your insight.


27 posted on 03/28/2013 7:19:50 PM PDT by riri (Plannedopolis-look it up. It's how the elites plan for US to live.)
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To: Black Agnes
"Just because they were detected, that means what, exactly?"

That, clearly, they've passed through the digestive tract intact and entered the blood stream. Not just the metabolites of a small molecule, but a fairly large, kD wise protein itself.

I repeat my question: That means what, exactly? Just because you can detect a protein consumed in food in the blood does not mean anything. Proteins that you consume can and do enter blood. Unless it has been shown that the protein in question is a human pathogen, there is no particular reason to panic. Humans have already been consuming Bt proteins for millenia; now that a single Bt protein has been engineered to be expressed in plants, it's suddenly a problem? That makes no logical sense. The reason Bt was selected was precisely because it *is* a common component of food. Bacillus thurigensis is a common and ordinary bacteria found on food of plant origin. You cannot avoid consuming Bt proteins if you want to.

The jury is still out, as they say, on the BPA. There are procedural problems with the studies. In the study you linked, it appears that the rats were given extremely high doses--a practice which tells us about the effects of high critical exposure, but little about low dose exposures. Another recent study purported to have found high levels of BPA in blood; however, since most labware is made of plastic these days, it is difficult to say whether those supposed high levels are real, or came from the lab.

Lastly, I'm not sure why you think the Bt hasn't been tested. Decades of testing and characterizing that protein preceded its being engineered into corn, and more testing followed. It would not have been selected for that purpose if it was not something humans have consumed without ill effect for millenia.

28 posted on 03/28/2013 7:40:00 PM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: exDemMom

” Unless it has been shown that the protein in question is a human pathogen, there is no particular reason to panic. Humans have already been consuming Bt proteins for millenia; now that a single Bt protein has been engineered to be expressed in plants, it’s suddenly a problem?”

Your prior statement that cooking denatured and inactivated proteins. Obviously that’s an incorrect statement.

Proteins that cross the intestinal barrier can and DO cause significant problems. Witness the issues people have with simple gluten intolerance. Their problem isn’t the entire protein, simply a snippet of it.

Prion diseases are also an issue. Those are just a few peptides.

Dose dependent. I’m not aware of any cultures that consume Bt as a food group. Most bacteria is washed off prior to food prep.

I’d like to see a safety study that determined before and after blood levels of Bt toxin. And a longer term study that determined the epigenetic and intergenerational effects.

Also a study to determine any changes in the intestinal microbiome. That would be the biggie. Does the presence of Bt toxin, in macro doses, change the biome enough to cause long term health issues? Does it change the microbiome of primates in a different way than in the FDA approval test rats? Why haven’t we seen any studies on this food longer than 90 days? We certainly haven’t consumed it for 3m and then stopped.

A 90 day study on the effects of smoking cigarettes would undoubtedly indicate they were safe and effective appetite suppressants. It would also be incomplete.

If you’re happy with the safety studies done so far, by all means consume these foods and feed them to your children. I sincerely hope your trust in the workings of government and industry is well placed. I’m sure the science of global warming is just as rigorously tested. And neither of these fields is tainted by any outside funding or bias.


29 posted on 03/28/2013 8:03:45 PM PDT by Black Agnes
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To: Myrddin
There's a big difference between Mendelian genetic manipulation by selective breeding and jamming foreign DNA/RNA into a cell via electroporation and viral vectors. Rice and corn would never have naturally acquired bacterial DNA to manufacture Bt toxin.

Right, how can you possibly know which DNA organisms can or can't acquire "naturally"? Organisms receive exogenous DNA all the time. The last I checked, we were still symbiotic organisms dependent on microbial DNA for our very survival. Mitochondria and chloroplasts are ancient bacteria. Virus genes are necessary for placenta formation. Our genome is packed with thousands of viral genomes. Personally, I think the focused targeting of a single gene is trivial when compared to the vast amount of random mixing of DNA both between and within species that occurs "naturally" all by itself.

You claim to have some background in molecular biology. In that case, I'm surprised you aren't aware that whenever an exogenous gene is inserted into an organism, it is inserted as a cassette with all kinds of translational controls attached. You can't get gene expression without the regulatory elements being present. Inserting a gene all by itself without controls will only result in a minimal increase in the size of the genome with no other effect.

The fact is, when you randomly mix genes from two related organisms through older breeding methods, you have no way of predicting what the final outcome will be. You might come up with a hybrid that is 20% more productive--or a hybrid whose fruit is caustic and unsuitable for food. You have far more control and far less uncertainty about the outcome by using modern molecular biology methods.

BTW, before you try any more to intimidate me with your superior knowledge of molecular biology, let me point out that my PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology gives me a HUGE body of knowledge in this area. I understand this subject VERY well.

30 posted on 03/28/2013 8:11:22 PM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: exDemMom
Molecular biology has come a long way since I graduated in 1976. There were few jobs available. I headed to grad school to pursue a masters in pathogenic bacteriology just after my 20th birthday. The second semester I was down with pneumonia for 6 weeks. I decided to take a different direction. We won't be playing dueling degrees. Electrical engineering and computer science have paid my bills nicely since 1977. My copy of Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology is a relic. I still have an interest and competence in the biological sciences, but it is very dated.

Right, how can you possibly know which DNA organisms can or can't acquire "naturally"? Organisms receive exogenous DNA all the time.

How can you claim that the Bt genes aren't being passed to the gut flora or intestinal wall cells of food consumer? How can you possibly know which ones can or can't pick it up? The EcoR1 mutant was a favorite target organism when I was in school.

There is evidence of harm to both humans and livestock from Bt modified corn and cotton. Ignoring it doesn't make it less true. Getting back to the topic of the thread...writing law to protect corporations from legal jeopardy when their products cause great harm is corrupt politics in action. Nobody buys politicians better than Monsanto.

31 posted on 03/28/2013 9:57:27 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Myrddin
Molecular biology has come a long way since I graduated in 1976. There were few jobs available. I headed to grad school to pursue a masters in pathogenic bacteriology just after my 20th birthday. The second semester I was down with pneumonia for 6 weeks. I decided to take a different direction. We won't be playing dueling degrees. Electrical engineering and computer science have paid my bills nicely since 1977. My copy of Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology is a relic. I still have an interest and competence in the biological sciences, but it is very dated.Molecular biology has come a long way since I graduated in 1976. There were few jobs available. I headed to grad school to pursue a masters in pathogenic bacteriology just after my 20th birthday. The second semester I was down with pneumonia for 6 weeks. I decided to take a different direction. We won't be playing dueling degrees. Electrical engineering and computer science have paid my bills nicely since 1977. My copy of Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology is a relic. I still have an interest and competence in the biological sciences, but it is very dated.Molecular biology has come a long way since I graduated in 1976. There were few jobs available. I headed to grad school to pursue a masters in pathogenic bacteriology just after my 20th birthday. The second semester I was down with pneumonia for 6 weeks. I decided to take a different direction. We won't be playing dueling degrees. Electrical engineering and computer science have paid my bills nicely since 1977. My copy of Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology is a relic. I still have an interest and competence in the biological sciences, but it is very dated.

One of the first widely available cloning vectors, pBR322, was created in 1977 by two postdocs at UCSF, Bolivar and Rodriguez (hence the name, plasmid Bolivar Rodriguez, the 322nd one tested). Many years later, I was fortunate to have Dr. Rodriguez as a professor, and learned much about the early history of genetic engineering and the creation of pBR322.

The sheer volume of knowledge that exists on the subject of molecular biology these days is staggering.

How can you claim that the Bt genes aren't being passed to the gut flora or intestinal wall cells of food consumer? How can you possibly know which ones can or can't pick it up? The EcoR1 mutant was a favorite target organism when I was in school.

There is a whole lot going on here (that the fear-mongers probably have no clue about).

First of all, as a front-line defense against microorganisms, we are saturated with DNases. DNases cover our skin and our bodily fluids are full of them. Even if that plant DNA (containing the one Bt gene) were to somehow survive the cooking process, it is highly unlikely to survive being exposed to the DNases in our skin and mucous membranes lining our digestive tract.

Even if we were to eat the plant material raw, that DNA still wouldn't be able to gain direct access into our cells, because plants have no mechanism for inserting their DNA into animal cells.

Now, it is true that bacteria exchange DNA with each other all the time (they don't care about species), and viruses commonly carry DNA from species to species. And some microorganisms do like to pick up DNA. I suppose, by some circuitous route, it would be possible for a virus to pick up that segment of DNA that contains the Bt gene, and somehow pass that gene to an animal virus capable of infecting humans, which could inject it into a human cell. But if that happens, it's much more likely that any genes inserted would be plant genes (because a single gene of, for example, 10,000 nucleotides is a tiny part of a plant genome of billions of nucleotides). Even if, by that long chance, a Bt gene made it into a cell through viral action, that would most likely be the end of the story. A piece of DNA by itself does nothing. Even if the cell didn't immediate destroy that tiny fragment of DNA, and the DNA were inserted into a chromosome--the chance that it would have an effect is infinitesimal.

Furthermore, humans have been consuming Bacillus thurigensis probably for as long as we have been consuming food. It is a common soil bacterium. It commonly gets onto plants. If the presence of a minuscule piece of Bt DNA stuck into the corn genome, or of a single Bt protein stuck among the thousands of corn proteins, is worrisome, then, certainly, eating countless intact bacteria that all contain that specific gene and protein (along with thousands of other bacterial genes and proteins) must be extremely distressing. The reason the Bt protein was selected to engineer into plants is because it *is* a commonly consumed bacteria, and the mechanism of action of that protein is very well known. It is inert except at high pH--a condition that does not exist in human bodies. We like low to neutral pH environments.

I'm not sure what you mean by "the EcoR1 mutant." I've used the restriction endonuclease designated as "EcoR1" countless times in genetic engineering experiments. It cleaves the sequence "GAATTC" right after the G. Would an "EcoR1 mutant" be a strain of E. coli in which that specific restriction endonuclease is defective?

There is evidence of harm to both humans and livestock from Bt modified corn and cotton. Ignoring it doesn't make it less true. Getting back to the topic of the thread...writing law to protect corporations from legal jeopardy when their products cause great harm is corrupt politics in action. Nobody buys politicians better than Monsanto.

As I said before, the characteristics of that one protein from B. thurigensis were well known long before it was selected to insert into plants. If that protein causes harm, then we've all been damaged by it continually throughout our lives--independent of its use to engineer plants to be pest resistant. And the "organic" farmers who spray live B. thurigensis onto their crops would be guilty of intentionally adulterating food to make it unsafe. Aside from the claims of a few fear-mongers trying to sell books, there is no credible evidence that Bt proteins are harmful. You eat uncharacterized and unidentified proteins all the time--aren't you worried about how safe they are?

32 posted on 03/29/2013 8:54:54 PM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: exDemMom; Black Agnes
The EcoR1 mutant was an early E. coli that had defective restriction and modification enzymes. That permitted DNA to be passed across the cell wall where it could be replicated, transcribed and passed though multiple cellular divisions. The other crude tool was a species of Bacillus with the "f pilus" that could pass genetic material.

Down the hill from the Revelle campus, Kerry Mullis at Scripps was polishing his new PCR technique for multiplying his DNA samples into useful volumes. Some of my fellow students opted for the genetics lab where Dan Lindsley taught them the fine details of Drosophila. Pulling their tongues out to access the giant polytene chromosomes in the salivary glands was one of the exercises. Achieving a nice "squash" with subsequent staining to reveal the banding patterns was a big deal to my buddies.

Suffice to say, the field was young and crude at the time I graduated. Cold Spring Harbor and Scripps were two of the "hot" possibilities. Hybritech and Genentech went into business right around the corner from my office at PacBell in the early 80's. I came to the field just a bit too early.

Please check in the conclusions section around line 681 of the paper at link. The presumptive safety of Bt toxin applied to plants that requires the high mid-gut pH to activate is not applicable to the circulating Bt toxin synthesized inside a transgenic plant. That Bt toxin is already active. It is active when you stuff it in your mouth.

33 posted on 03/29/2013 11:01:56 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Myrddin
The EcoR1 mutant was an early E. coli that had defective restriction and modification enzymes. That permitted DNA to be passed across the cell wall where it could be replicated, transcribed and passed though multiple cellular divisions. The other crude tool was a species of Bacillus with the "f pilus" that could pass genetic material.

Every strain of E. coli used for genetic engineering has various (introduced) defects in DNA modification, repair, and replication enzymes, as well as a host of other defects. These defects are introduced in order to reduce the chance that the bacteria will alter or destroy the engineered DNA we're trying to force them to produce. So the EcoR1 mutant had a defective EcoR1 enzyme.

DNA does not normally pass through the cell wall (of bacteria or anything else). If we want to put DNA into an organism, we typically have to use some fairly harsh methods which involved chemically weakening the cell wall, and then using heat shock to physically introduce holes in it and the cell membrane through which the DNA can pass, or we electrocute the organism (it is unclear how that works). Making organisms "competent"--that is, able to receive DNA--is a fairly time-consuming and laborious process. Competent microorganisms are very fragile; once, I was trying to introduce DNA into yeast, and dropped the vial of yeast on the floor. You can throw vials of ordinary yeast on the floor all day, and they won't even notice--but that small shock killed my competent yeast. Several days' worth of work died right then...

Bacteria use pili to transfer DNA amongst themselves, and they are not really picky about the species they transfer it to. All of the bacteria I used were F'--they expressed the pili--but I never exploited the pili for lab use.

Down the hill from the Revelle campus, Kerry Mullis at Scripps was polishing his new PCR technique for multiplying his DNA samples into useful volumes.

Kary Mullis developed PCR in the 1980s while working at Cetus Corp. in Emeryville (which is not far from where I grew up, but that's another story). I have never had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mullis, although I've met people who knew him. I've met 3 Nobel laureates--Dr. Watson twice--and would love to meet Dr. Mullis. Having used PCR for many years and designed hundreds of PCR experiments, I am awed by Dr. Mullis' genius.

I don't recall ever pulling the tongues out of Drosophila larvae. I do recall pulling off their heads to get at the polytene chromosomes. Just thinking about it makes me kind of queasy... I'm not normally sympathetic to insects, but yanking off their heads, poor little things--it really makes me wonder about the mental status of the person who discovered/developed that method.

Please check in the conclusions section around line 681 of the paper at link. The presumptive safety of Bt toxin applied to plants that requires the high mid-gut pH to activate is not applicable to the circulating Bt toxin synthesized inside a transgenic plant. That Bt toxin is already active. It is active when you stuff it in your mouth.

Okay. That paper you linked is a term paper, which appears to be written by a university senior chemistry major, probably as a graduation requirement. It is clear that the writer does not have a strong biochemistry background, and knows next to nothing about protein chemistry. This is *not* a peer-reviewed study or literature review.

Quoting from the paper: Previous pesticides using Cry proteins 680 through spray application released toxins in an inactive state and only expressed toxicity 681 under specific midgut conditions in organisms[3]. However, active Cry toxins released by 682 transgenic plants already express insecticidal properties and do not need to be activated [25]

Reference #3 is a paper describing the insecticidal properties of Bt toxin, and is referenced appropriately here. However, reference #25 is a paper talking about resistance to Bt toxin (presumably insect resistance, but the title does not make that clear), published in an obscure journal in 1990, before anyone cloned Bt toxin into corn (or while people were working on it). So that reference does not even support the claim that it presumably supports.

And this is where we get into the fact that the student who wrote the paper has minimal understanding of biochemistry. What she meant by "active Cry toxins" is unclear. The Bt Cry protein is changed to its receptor binding conformation (shape) only under alkaline conditions--which do not exist in B. thurigensis, humans, or plants. This change exposes the receptor-binding site. Once exposed, that binding site is very specific about the receptors it will bind. It shows very high affinity for gut receptors of certain species of caterpillars--and that's it. Without binding those receptors, the protein can do nothing. Like all enzymes, it must bind to its substrate before it can act on it. It is unclear how the Cry protein would be induced to fold into its receptor-binding conformation in the acid environment of corn cells, since that is a purely chemical reaction driven by pH--and even if it did, it still has nothing to bind to. Except receptors on the cells of insect guts--which might be a problem for the guy in that old movie, "The Fly", but not anyone else.

Here is an interesting factoid: most people know that ricin is an extremely potent toxin. You don't want to eat it. But toxins nearly identical to ricin are made by plants we eat every day. Ricin acts by killing ribosomes so that cells cannot make proteins. So do the almost identical toxins produced by wheat and many other plants we routinely eat. The difference is that the toxin has two parts--the cell receptor binding part, and the enzymatic part. Ricin has both parts. The food plants only have the enzyme part. Without the binding part, that enzyme part does nothing. If I remove the binding part from ricin, the ricin enzyme also does nothing.

It occurs to me that I am becoming very technical here. I think these details are necessary for understanding exactly how the fear-mongerers attempt to hoodwink people--the more you understand protein structure and function, the better you can judge their claims.

34 posted on 03/30/2013 6:38:05 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: exDemMom
The technical level is perfect. I enjoy discussion at this level of detail. My staff is running short handed due to sequestration, so I've had limited time to read FR today. A bit more fun tomorrow as I make sure all 40 computers are back up after a scheduled power down on Saturday. I have staff going to the customer site Monday, so everything has to be back up and ready to build/test/debug the 3 million lines of code before they arrive on site. We lost the system administrator Friday, so I have to do his job and mine now.
35 posted on 03/31/2013 12:33:11 AM PDT by Myrddin
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To: exDemMom
I call it anti-technological mysticism. Anything natural is good, anything technological is bad unnatural evil and unhealthy.

Beaver dams made for a beaver's purpose are a good and wonderful part of nature.

Human dams made for a human’s purpose are evil and an affront to nature.

Toxins are anything they want it to be, and nothing natural is a toxin.

Unregulated herbal remedies kill people due to there being no standards as far as dose, no required data on efficacy or drug drug interactions; and that is fine because they are “natural”.

GMO foods are well characterized and studied out the wazoo, but they will always require more regulation and further studies because they are NOT “natural”.

36 posted on 04/01/2013 11:37:51 AM PDT by allmendream (Tea Party did not send GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism)
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To: allmendream
I call it anti-technological mysticism. Anything natural is good, anything technological is bad unnatural evil and unhealthy.

There is that. I've run into that attitude many times.

I also think there is more to it than that. There is also a basic distrust: of the government, of anything that is determined through a systematic examination of physical facts, of conclusions based in logical analysis.

I do not understand why some people are so repelled by logic--perhaps because I have a strong affinity for logical people (Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek was my hero).

37 posted on 04/01/2013 7:41:26 PM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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