In an interview with the magazine L’Osservatore Romano on January 5, a prominent member of the Vatican spoke out against genetically modified crops.

Cardinal Peter Turkson said that genetically modified crops are a “new form of slavery,” and went on to discuss the impact that they have on both the environment and the economy.

Regardless of religious association, anyone speaking out against genetically modified should be listened to.

As a prominent leader of the Catholic people, Cardinal Turkson has the ability to inform millions worldwide regarding the negative effects of genetically modified food.

Even farmers have risen up against Monsanto and genetically modified seeds, with Monsanto forcing thousands of farmers into debt worldwide.

In India, Monsanto has ruined the lives of so many farmers that the prevalence of their suicide has led to a large farming area to be titled the ‘suicide belt of India’.

Some have even blamed Monsanto for the recent bird and fish deaths, claiming that the poison coming from their factories may have poisoned animals worldwide.

Monsanto’s destruction isn’t limited to the environment, however.

Genetically modified foods been proven not only to be a threat to nature, but extremely harmful to humans.

The process of bioengineering GM ingredients itself is quite ridiculous.

Billions are spent each year to genetically modify the food supply, tainting it with genetically modified frankenfood.

Genetically modifying foods requires one to tamper with the very genetic coding of the crop and/or seed.

The process entails the transfer of genes from one organism to another, such as taking particular genes from a pig and transferring them to a tomato.

Not only does this defile nature, but it leads to a host of health problems.

Due to the complexity of a living organism’s genetic structure, it is impossible to track the long-term results of consuming genetically modified food.

Introducing new genes into even the most simple bacterium may cause an array of issues, highlighting the complexity of even the simplest organisms.

Introducing new genes to highly complex organisms such as animals or crops is even riskier.

When introducing the gene to its new host, it is essentially impossible to predict the reaction.

The genetic intelligence of the host could be disrupted with the introduction of the new gene, creating an adverse reaction.

There is truly no way of knowing the long-term effect genetically modified food, as there are too many variables. There is simply no room for science when Monsanto is involved.

Monsanto has inexorably pushed for wides-cale dominance of the world’s food supply by buying out competition and using FDA regulations to get around accurate labeling.

In fact, labeling has protected Monsanto from excessive criticism for quite some time.

Under the ludicrous labeling guidelines, food products in the United States do not even have to openly state that they contain genetically modified ingredients.

While countries like Australia require products to labeled genetically modified if they contain an ingredient that is more than 1% genetically modified, the United States goes by no such precautionary code.

Besides Monsanto’s crusade to alter the very genetic coding of the food, they have been charged with discharging toxic waste that included PCBs into a west Anniston creek, and dumping millions of pounds of PCBs into open-pit landfills.

The people in that area had no idea, and continued to swim and play in the creek. PCBs have been classified as a persistent organic pollutant, meaning they are resistant to environmental degradation.

While they heavily pollute the environment, PCBs are also extremely toxic. PCB production was banned in 1976 by the U.S. Congress, and ultimately by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001.

A study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences also helped to end the debate regarding the health effects of genetically modified food (GMO).

The study shows that three Monsanto corn varieties cause a direct health hazard, with the study picking up mainstream attention.


There is a world-wide debate concerning the safety and regulatory approval process of genetically modified (GM) crops and foods.

In order to scientifically address this issue, it is necessary to have access to toxicological tests, preferably on mammals, performed over the longest time-scales involving detailed blood and organ system analyses. Furthermore, these tests should, if possible, be in accordance with OECD guidelines. states the introduction.

For the first time in the world, we’ve proven that GMO are neither sufficiently healthy nor proper to be commercialized.

[...] Each time, for all three GMOs, the kidneys and liver, which are the main organs that react to a chemical food poisoning, had problems, indicated Gilles-Eric Seralini, an expert member of the Commission for Biotechnology Reevaluation, created by the EU in 2008.

source; http://naturalsociety.com

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is a plant, animal or microorganism whose genetic code has been altered, subtracted, or added (either from the same species or a different species) in order to give it characteristics that it does not have naturally.

The techniques used to produce GMO’s are generally known as genetic engineering, and the main process to create GMO’s is recombinant DNA. This technique uses DNA molecules from different sources, combines them into one molecule to create a new set of genes, and transfers the new set into an organism, giving it modified or novel genes. It’s obvious that this kind of alterations are quite new, but indeed mankind has been specially breeding or crossing species in order to achieve better results for hundreds of years. Genetic engineering enables scientists to do this much faster and with more detail.

Transgenic organisms, a subset of GMOs, are organisms which have inserted DNA that originated in different species. Some GMOs contain no DNA from other species and are therefore not transgenic but cisgenic.

Examples of GMOs are highly diverse, and include animals such as mice, fish, transgenic plants (like altered bananas mixed with genes of fish to grow quickly, bigger or with more vitamins), or various microbes, such as fungi and bacteria.

The generation and use of GMOs has many reasons, chief among them are their use in research that addresses fundamental or applied questions in biology or medicine, for the production of pharmaceuticals and industrial enzymes, and for direct, and often controversial, applications aimed at improving human health (gene therapy) or agriculture (golden rice).

 

Here is a video of the battle between GMOs and organic food. It is not linked with an explanation of GMOs bus it is funny and we like it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfTQergr29M

  • Advantages and disadvantages of GMOs:

Advantages:

  • Fewer pesticides are needed to be used due to insect pest resistant plants.
  • Decrease in costs of growing and farming, due to the reduced use of pesticides.
  • Higher crop yields.
  • Less deforestation needed to feed the worlds growing population.
  • Decrease in food prices due to lower costs and higher yield. As people in poor countries spend over half of their income on food alone, lower food prices mean an automatic reduction of poverty.
  • More nutritious products.
  • Strict and very complete standards that GMOs have to full achieve.
  • Creation of “super foods” due to better knowledge. Super foods are types of food that are cheap to produce, grow fast in large quantities, highly nutritious.
  • New products. For examples, scientist identified the gene responsible for caffeine in coffee beans; by excluding this gene, decaffeinated coffee beans can be grown naturally.
  • Reduction of sicknesses and illnesses, as GMO crops are more nutritious. Vitamins and minerals can be provided to children and to people, where they were inaccessible before.
  • Developments of new kinds of crops that can be grown at extreme climates, for example, dry or freezing environments (like deserts). For example, scientist developed a type of tomato that grows in salty soil.

Disadvantages:

  • Harm to other organisms. For example genes and their effect included in a crop may turn out to be poisonous to insects.
  • Cross-pollination with traditional, organic plants. Cross pollination can occur at quite large distances. New genes may also be included in the offspring of the traditional, organic crops miles away. This makes it difficult to distinguish which crop field is organic, and which is not, posing a problem to the proper labelling of non-GMO food products.
  • Spread of new, more resistant “superweeds” and “superpests”.
  • Major trading countries that obtain most of the benefit from the production and trade of genetically modified crops. This might cause more geopolitical conflicts.
  • Although it is not proved, GMOs may cause health problems.
  • Possible damages to the environment.
  • Variations in tests and safety standards around the world that led to uncontrollable crops.
  • Unforeseen risks and dangers due to the complexity of nature.
  • Allergies may become more intense, and also, new allergy types may develop.

Links:

http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/home/

http://www.gmo-safety.eu/en/

http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/gmfood.shtml

source; http://bio4esobil2009.wordpress.com Work by  David, Iratxe, Perseo, Rubén and Santi.

Yields of corn and soybeans over 1970-2009


The debate about genetically modified crops is sometimes difficult to follow. Some claim they did not deliver on their promises. Others claim that yields are higher thanks to GMOs. Obviously, the answer is not obvious.

When in doubt, it is good to go to the basics and see what the stats show us. I have collected the yield data from the FAO over the period 1970 to 2009 and compiled them in graphs. For soybeans, I show yields for the US, Brazil and Argentina, as they are the main producers.

For corn, I show the same three countries, plus France and the Netherlands. The Netherlands are interesting because they have much higher yields than other countries (30% higher than the US and France). However, they are not a large producer, but Dutch farmers are quite highly technically skilled farmers. France is interesting because it is a major agricultural producer, and also a strong opponent to GMOs.

I also added trend lines to show any divergence between the countries. The Netherlands are shooting up on corn. France is slowly catching up on the US, while yields in these two countries have been very close all along. For soybeans, Brazil shows a stronger uptrend than the US and Argentina, while it seems to lag the others for corn.

What these graphs also show is how much potential there is. If the Netherlands can produce 13 tons/ha (without GMO technology, mind you), this means that the genetic potential is higher than that number.

Here are the graphs (click on them to have the larger version). Can you spot when GMOs were introduced?

The annual yield variations for corn and soybeans for the countries mentioned are as follows:

Average yield variation per year (ton/ha) Average yield variation per year (%)
1970-’95 1996-’09 1970-’95 1996-’09
Corn
Argentina 0.90 1.41 3.9% 3.5%
Brazil 0.46 0.96 3.2% 3.6%
USA 0.83 1.41 1.8% 1.8%
France 1.21 0.61 2.4% 0.7%
Netherlands 1.57 3.43 3.8% 4.3%
Soybeans
Argentina 0.34 0.31 3.3% 1.5%
Brazil 0.37 0.38 3.2% 1.7%
USA 0.25 0.19 1.4% 0.7%

Keep in mind that yields vary depending on production conditions, and that the numbers for the years 1970, 1995, 1996 and 2009 can influence the annual yield variations to some extent. I took the averages of the three years at the beginning and the three years at the end of both periods to eliminate the incidental “abnormal” data. It gives an idea of the comparative performance between the two periods.

These are just stats. I will leave to everyone what conclusions they may want to draw from the numbers and the charts.

source; http://hfgfoodfuturist.com

A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health

We present for the first time a comparative analysis of blood and organ system data from trials with rats fed three main commercialized genetically modified (GM) maize (NK 603, MON 810, MON 863), which are present in food and feed in the world.

NK 603 has been modified to be tolerant to the broad spectrum herbicide Roundup and thus contains residues of this formulation. MON 810 and MON 863 are engineered to synthesize two different Bt toxins used as insecticides.

Approximately 60 different biochemical parameters were classified per organ and measured in serum and urine after 5 and 14 weeks of feeding. GM maize-fed rats were compared first to their respective isogenic or parental non-GM equivalent control groups.

This was followed by comparison to six reference groups, which had consumed various other non-GM maize varieties. We applied nonparametric methods, including multiple pairwise comparisons with a False Discovery Rate approach. Principal Component Analysis allowed the investigation of scattering of different factors (sex, weeks of feeding, diet, dose and group).

Our analysis clearly reveals for the 3 GMOs new side effects linked with GM maize consumption, which were sex- and often dose-dependent.

Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs.

Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system.

We conclude that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.

full research articles; http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

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