‘I want to help humans genetically modify themselves’

Former Nasa biochemist Josiah Zayner became an online sensation by conducting DIY gene therapy on himself. He explains why he did it.

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Josiah Zayner, 36, recently made headlines by becoming the first person to use the revolutionary gene-editing tool Crispr to try to change their own genes. Part way through a talk on genetic engineering, Zayner pulled out a syringe apparently containing DNA and other chemicals designed to trigger a genetic change in his cells associated with dramatically increased muscle mass. He injected the DIY gene therapy into his left arm, live-streaming the procedure on the internet.

The former Nasa biochemist, based in California, has become a leading figure in the growing “biohacker” movement, which involves loose collectives of scientists, engineers, artists, designers, and activists experimenting with biotechnology outside of conventional institutions and laboratories.

Despite warnings from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that selling gene therapy products without regulatory approval is illegal, Zayner sells kits that allow anyone to get started with basic genetic engineering techniques, and has published a free guide for others who want to take it further and experiment on themselves.

Was administering a dose of Crispr on yourself an experiment, or a stunt to show what amateur scientists/biohackers can do?
Both. The technical feasibility of what I did is not under question – researchers have done this many times, in all sorts of animals. But there’s a barrier – people are afraid of it, and just talk about the possibilities in humans. I wanted to break that down, to say “Hey look, the tools are inexpensive, and somebody with a bit of knowledge can actually go through with these experiments”.

I chose to start with the gene for myostatin [a protein that regulates muscle growth], because it has been extensively studied, and it produces an obvious change if it has worked.

So, how is your arm looking?
In similar experiments with animals, you only start to see results after four to six months of treatment. I would expect that the DNA in some of the cells of my arm has changed, but I am still working on developing assays [tests] to try and detect that. As to whether the actual size of the muscle changes, I’m more sceptical.

Changing the way one gene behaves can have a huge number of knock-on effects on the way other genes are regulated or expressed. Do you really know what you’re doing?
It’s a good question. These things are complicated, and obviously with things like this there are lots of unknowns. I look at what the possible negative outcomes are and ask: “Are those risks insignificant enough that I’m willing to undertake this experiment?” Based on the data I read, for a local injection the answer was yes. A treatment that blocks myostatin throughout the whole body? That would be much more hazardous – you would be messing with the muscles of your heart.

You support the idea of people attempting gene therapy and other experimental procedures on themselves. What’s wrong with the existing system, where treatments are thoroughly tested by professionals before being approved for use?
If we’re going to do these experiments you have to balance two things: how many people can possibly die from testing their own products or making them available prematurely, versus how many people have genetic disorders and are just dying because they don’t have access to them. I think there’s a huge imbalance, where we’re overprotective of hurting people instead of offering a chance to millions of people who are dying right now.

As human beings we’re very big on freedoms, equality, equal rights. What’s more of an equal right than being able to control what genes we have? I think people should be able to choose that. I’m not saying anything I can do can help treat people, but treating things genetically is the ultimate medicine.

I grew up in the 90s with the computer hacker movement, the development of the internet – the whole open-source movement was amazing. Who created Linux, the most used operating system ever? Not students from Harvard or Cambridge, but Linus Torvalds, a student in Finland working in his apartment.

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I don’t think for a second I’m going to be the mastermind behind a great biotech revolution, but I think there’s some brilliant person waiting to be discovered out there that could be.

In another recent biohacking experiment, a man injected himself with an unproven gene-therapy treatment for HIV which had been developed by biohacking startup Ascendence Biomedical. What do you know about what they are doing, and do you support their approach?
I think they’re at a lot more risk because they are trying to work in the medical field, saying they can cure people. I think that starts to get a little more ethically and morally sketchy, and the government will certainly crack down on that.

The reason we have hospitals is that it’s not just one random person giving you their opinion; there is oversight, checks and balances. When people start proposing new treatments without data to back them up or without consulting people, I think “Hey, be smart”. Get a second opinion, third opinion, ask doctors, ask other biohackers. Trying a therapy that doesn’t work instead of your medication obviously could be worse.

The problem is, it’s like the freedom of speech thing: it sucks sometimes. If I say I want the freedom to test something on myself, it means everybody does – even people who are stupid or want to do crazy stuff.

But if you say people should experiment on themselves outside of the traditional clinical trial system, surely that’s exactly what will happen? There will be a grey area where people are halfway there, or guessing what the effects will be.
Yeah. I don’t know – honestly, I would never put me in charge of running this stuff for the FDA or the government. I think there are people who know how to make the rules to protect the most amount of people.

People are going to get hurt with this stuff and I feel ethically terrible about that, and I don’t know how to prevent it. I see these instances of people doing crazy stuff and I’m like, “No, that’s not what I meant! Why are you injecting things in your eyeballs?”.

I have this very libertarian side of me that says people have the right to do whatever they want with their bodies. But I also have this part of me that says “Be knowledgeable! Base it on scientific data!”

What do your family think of what you do?
I usually hide stuff I’m about to do from them, in case they try and talk me out of it. If I decide to do something, it’s because I’ve carefully weighed up the pros and cons. They won’t understand how much research I’ve done. My mom supports me, but thinks I’m crazy. She was so sad when I left Nasa.

Last year, you performed a DIY faecal transplant on yourself. How did that go?
Yes, I did a DIY faecal transplant to help with my gut health issues. It still blows my mind the effect it had, and DNA samples showed I did manage to change the makeup of my gut bacteria. I don’t exactly recommend the course of action I took, because there are safer alternatives to DIY. But if people have no access to those I support their choice to try it. Faeces is quite strictly regulated in the US, like a drug, so people travel to the UK where there are clinics.

Where do you and other biohackers get the equipment, tools and chemicals to conduct genetic engineering at home? 
People don’t know that generally the same resources that are available to scientists are available to non-scientists. I can just order DNA online and they ship it to my house. If I want to get some sequencing done I send it off to a company and they’ll do it for me. It’s really inexpensive – we’re talking $6 to get a sample sequenced, or $10 to get a piece of DNA.

What are you working on next? 
We have always been slaves to the genomes we have, and giving people the ability to change that almost changes what it means to be human. It seems so sci-fi and made up, but we’ve been genetically modifying humans with gene therapy since the 1990s – it’s just been very few people and for medical reasons. I want to help humans genetically modify themselves.

If DIY genetic engineering becomes commonplace, as you hope, what do you think the world will be like in the future?
To me it’s like Blade Runner, where he goes into that back-alley science lab and there’s the guy making eyes. I imagine people going to some place like a tattoo parlour, and instead of getting a tattoo they pick out some DNA that makes them muscly, or changes the colour of their hair or eyes.

DNA defines what a species is, and I imagine it wouldn’t be too long into the future when the human species almost becomes a new species because of these modifications.

When scientists first started altering DNA just to make, say, tomatoes ripen differently, there was immense public concern. Do you expect the general public is going to be supportive of people modifying any organism, including people, in any way they can, in their garage?
The whole thing with GMOs [genetically modified organisms] was that it was “us and them”. They have the power to modify plants and we don’t know what they’re doing, and have no control over it, and so we are against it. This technology that I’m trying to do is for all of us. Whether you’re a big corporation or somebody in their basement, you have access to this stuff – everybody does. People respond very positively to that. We’ll see what happens. I’m sure we’ll get a different response when people are doing it every day, or when the first person decides to try and give themselves a tail or something. (Click to Source)

Is the public ready for Meat 2.0?

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Impossible Foods, a Silicon Valley-based company, has rolled out its new Impossible Burger, genetically engineered from plant protein to look and taste as much as possible like red meat.

The new burger, and a similar product from a company called Beyond Meat, seems to be marketed to win over people making the transition from eating meat to a more vegetable-based diet, while not depriving them of the flavor. These products are already available in some restaurants and specialty stores, but making them more broadly popular may take some time.

“Vegetarians are not their primary market,” says Garrett Broad, a professor of communications and media studies at Fordham University. “In fact, in a lot of ways, they don’t want their products to be associated with vegetarians at all. They’re really aiming for those meat reducers. They’re aiming for those folks who are maybe looking to switch out a meat option once, twice, three times a week. They want this to be a product that is meat. It’s just meat from plants.”

The genetically modified ingredients in the Impossible Burger remain a source of controversy. In fact, it can’t be sold at all in certain European countries. The US, on the other hand, has a longer history of accepting genetic modification in our food systems, Broad notes.

The specific genetic modification occurs in the construction of a substance known as heme. Heme gives the familiar flavor, smell and texture to meat as we know it, but it’s also found in a variety of plant-based sources. The Food and Drug Administration has decided not to certify this key plant protein as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), but this is not an indication that the burger is unsafe to eat, Broad says.

“The FDA hasn’t said that the hemoglobin ingredient is not safe. What they have said is that it has not passed their Generally Recognized As Safe requirement, as yet,” Broad explains. “They’re looking for more testing from Impossible Foods to meet this GRAS requirement. … The history of the FDA and the history of food science and technology suggests we’re likely to see these ingredients get the Generally Recognized As Safe designation.”

Environmental groups and food activists don’t speak with a unified voice on this topic, Broad says. While some are generally supportive, in large part because of the known environmental harms caused by contemporary animal food production, Broad says, others are asking Impossible Foods to pull the burger from the market until it gets official FDA approval.

These groups are concerned “as much about process as they are about the product,” Broad explains. Their concerns center on who is making decisions about “what we’re going to eat and the transparency in the regulatory process,” as well as a general skepticism about genetic modification, which they see as potentially harmful to the environment and human health.

Plant-based burgers have seen significant growth in market share in the last few years, but much of that has been at high-end grocery stores and high-end restaurants. That might, however, be changing, Broad says. Beyond Meat now has a deal with Safeway, and their “burger” is now available at other major mass-market grocery stores, primarily in California.

Price is still an obstacle for the average shopper, but Broad points out that if consumers paid the full price of a beef hamburger, taking into consideration all the costs to environmental and human health, “that couple-of-dollar burger from McDonald’s really costs more.”

“That’s an argument that these folks make, too,” he points out. “If we were able to have a level playing field here, these prices could get to parity even quicker. But there is still a way to go. … With scale and with time, I think something like a quarter of the market in the next 20, 30 years would be huge, going from this very niche space that we’re in now.” (Click to Source)

DARPA developing “genetic doomsday” weapon to exterminate populations on demand… GMOs to become WMDs

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(Natural News) The U.S. military agency known as DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is investing $100 million into so-called “genetic extinction technologies” that could be deployed to exterminate targeted human populations.

Emails acquired under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), “suggest that the US’s secretive Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) has become the world’s largest funder of “gene drive” research,” reports The Guardian. “The use of genetic extinction technologies in bioweapons is the stuff of nightmares…” The Guardian reports.

The disclosure of this genetic extinction technology comes on the heels of Natural News blowing the whistle on a global eugenics program to target and exterminate people of African descent as part of an ongoing global depopulation agenda. In a one-hour video lecture published a few weeks ago, I detail the six vectors through which the weaponization of science and medicine is being deployed right now to exterminate blacks. See “The Science Agenda to Exterminate Blacks” for full details (full lecture video below).

Crispr gene editing technology becomes weaponized

The genetic doomsday weapon system now being developed by DARPA is based on the Crispr-Cas9 gene editing technique which allows simple, low-cost laboratories to achieve previously impossible genetic editing goals in almost any organism… including humans. “These might, for example, distort the sex-ratio of mosquitoes to effectively wipe out malarial populations,” explains The Guardian. But they could also be used to wipe out targeted genetic sub-species of humans, too.

“The dual use nature of altering and eradicating entire populations is as much a threat to peace and food security as it is a threat to ecosystems,” explained Jim Thomas, co-director of the ETC group, as reported by The Guardian. “Militarisation of gene drive funding may even contravene the Enmod convention against hostile uses of environmental modification technologies.”

Because much of the funding for modern-day science comes from military and government, scientists are finding themselves forced to work on “weaponization” programs or face a loss of funding. Via The Guardian:

Todd Kuiken, who has worked with the GBIRd programme, which receives $6.4m from Darpa, said that the US military’s centrality to gene tech funding meant that “researchers who depend on grants for their research may reorient their projects to fit the narrow aims of these military agencies”.

The weaponization of gene drive technology — turning genetics into a doomsday weapon — is widely known to be capable of spreading through a population and causing deliberate extinction. “Think of it as a way to supercharge evolution, forcing a genetic modification to spread through an entire population in just a few generations,” reports WIRED. The technology is so potentially devastating that former national intelligence director James Clapper classified gene drive technology as one of many “weapons of mass destruction and proliferation,” according to WIRED, which also said:

Taking into account things like how often Crispr screws up and the likelihood of protective mutations arising, their work shows how gene drives could be ruthlessly aggressive.

Natural News warned the world about weaponized GMOs five years ago

As usual, Natural News was years ahead of the lagging scientific community in sounding the alarm over the weaponization of genetic engineering technology. In a 2012 article entitled, “S.O.S. alert: Help STOP Out-of-control Science from destroying us all,” I wrote about weaponized GMOs as a danger to human civilization:

Humanity has reached a tipping point of developing technology so profound that it can destroy the human race; yet this rise of “science” has in no way been matched by a rise in consciousness or ethics. Today, science operates with total disregard for the future of life on Earth, and it scoffs at the idea of balancing scientific “progress” with caution, ethics or reasonable safeguards. Unbridled experiments like GMOs have unleashed self-replicating genetic pollution that now threatens the integrity of food crops around the world, potentially threatening the global food supply.

In an accompanying infographic, which I developed and published in 2012, I wrote:

SCIENCE must exist to serve the long-term interests of humanity, not to serve the short-term profits of corporations. To protect the future of life on Earth, science must operate under the Precautionary Principle.

In that infographic, republished below, I categorized genetic engineering technology as a “Level IV” hazard to humanity because it is self-replicating. Other risks posed to humanity by out-of-control science and named in the infographic include artificial intelligence, nano-technology, pollinator disruption chemicals, weaponized vaccines and nuclear weapons. Since 2012, we’ve seen devastating effects on humanity and the global ecosystem from nearly all of these vectors:

(Click to Source)

Monsanto’s RoundUp is more dangerous than we realized: Even the inert ingredients have proven to be dangerous

roundup1-706x403“Inert ingredient” is a fickle, deceptive term used on pesticide and herbicide labels to shield severely toxic ingredients from safety testing and consumer scrutiny. “Inert” sounds harmless, but these ingredients fly under the radar untested by U.S. regulatory agencies, and as intended, these inert ingredients make “active” ingredients more potent.

The “active” ingredient of Roundup herbicide is a carcinogen called glyphosate. This chemical has been extensively studied by international research teams that make up the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization (WHO). After a yearlong study, IARC concluded in 2015 that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” But the toxicity doesn’t end there.

While glyphosate by itself is carcinogenic to humans and destructive to microbe ecology, the parts that don’t get studied are the “inert” ingredients and how their synergy makes glypohate even more devastating to human health. What role do “inert” ingredients play in disrupting human endocrine systems, cellular processes, and assisting the permeation of toxins across the blood-brain barrier?

“Inert” ingredients are designed to enhance glypohsate’s toxicity as an herbicide. Since glyphosate is also a registered antibiotic, it is inevitably doing great damage to human gut health. Becoming part of the food and water supply, glyphosate and its host of inert ingredients work together and deplete the good bacteria that control much of the human digestive and immune systems.

The inert ingredients of Roundup that often go ignored, are actually powerful adjuvants that make glyphosate more pervasive in the environment, delaying the breakdown and decay of glyphosate, while allowing the carcinogen to more readily penetrate tissues. These “inert” ingredients are making glyphosate more of a nightmare long term. It’s the synergistic chemistry that should trouble consumers the most. Consequentially, we are now being exposed to glyphosate in organic products. Human breast milk passes these toxins on to infants. The U.S. regulatory agencies are not monitoring and testing products for glyphosate toxicity or heavy metal accumulation.

In the U.S., pesticide manufacturers are only required to test the active ingredient by itself and not required to test the full formulation; therefore, the true toxicity of Roundup is beyond fathomable.

Caroline Cox of the Center for Environmental Health and Michael Surgan of the Office of the Attorney General of New York State took it upon themselves to study the synergy of glyphosate and the inert ingredients in Roundup. Their paper, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that the entire pesticide formulation induced toxic effects greater than the herbicide’s lone active ingredient. Most concerning is the damage the whole product causes to the genetic information of cells. While glypohsate alone causes cancer, the inert ingredients allow glyphosate to penetrate further, damaging chromosomes and causing DNA mutations. In another study, Roundup as a complete formulation was much more lethal to human placenta cells than glyphosate alone. The formulation inhibited the activity of the enzyme aromatase, which plays an important role in the human endocrine system.

Some of the “inert” ingredients by themselves may actually be more toxic to humans than glypohsate. When studying the toxicity of nine pesticides and their individual ingredients, Caen researcher, Gilles-Eric Seralini found that an adjuvant of glyphosate, polyethoxilated tallowamine, was more deadly than glyphosate when tested on human umbilical, embryonic and placental cells. Eight of the nine formulations were “one thousand times” more toxic than the active ingredients alone.

In conjunction, French scientists concluded that “inert” ingredients in Roundup are 10,000 times more toxic than glyphosate alone. Their study, “Major Pesticides Are More Toxic to Human Cells Than Their Declared Active Principles,” was published in Biomedical Research International in 2014.

Sources include:

BaumhedlundLaw.com

GMO. news

Glyphosate.News

NaturalNews.com


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Organic Trade Association sues the USDA for refusing to enforce its own organic livestock standards

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(Natural News) On January 18, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its final rule on organic livestock and poultry production practices, known as the Organic Animal Welfare Rule. This legislation represented the culmination of 14 years of hard work by Congress and organic stakeholders, and contained rules that had to be implemented in a structured way over the next five years. When a White House Memorandum was published just days later requesting a freeze on all recently published or pending rules, the implementation date was extended to 19 May 2017. The USDA then pushed that date back even further, and now the Organic Trade Association (OTA) is suing the regulator for failing to implement its own standards.

The rule was established to provide for the humane treatment and slaughter of certified organic poultry and meat, and includes regulations regarding:

  • Indoor and outdoor space for poultry;
  • How to ensure the health and well-being of livestock during their lifetimes, and how to safely and humanely transport and slaughter them;
  • Specific timelines for when various aspects of the rule have to be implemented; and
  • Clarification of existing organic standards.

While the implementation of organic standards is purely voluntary and only accepted by farmers who wish to carry the USDA certified organic label, they are important because the organic market is booming and consumers have specific expectations of foods labeled in this way.

A press release from the OTA explains:

American consumers are eating more organic food than ever before, show the findings of the Organic Trade Association’s 2017 Organic Industry Survey. Organic food sales in the U.S. totaled $43.1  billion in 2016, marking the first time organic food sales in this country have broken through the $40 billion mark. Organic food now accounts for more than five percent of total food sales in this country, another significant first for organic.

Organic meat and poultry sales posted new records in 2016, increasing by more than 17 percent to $991 million, for the category’s biggest-ever yearly gain. Sales are expected to surpass the $1 billion mark for the first time in 2017. Growing awareness of organic’s more encompassing benefits over natural, grass-fed or hormone-free meats and poultry is spurring consumer interest in organic meat and poultry aisles.

These consumers expect the USDA label to be a guarantee that the highest standards are being maintained, and that animal welfare practices are being carefully upheld.

The OTA, farmers and businesses are pushing for the implementation of the rule because they believe it is “the right thing to do and it is what our customers expect.” (Related: Read about other important issues affecting animals and the environment at Environ.news)

The USDA, however, has dragged its heels in the implementation of the rule, even though those most directly involved – the organic farmers – have welcomed it with open arms.  (Related: USDA running massive glyphosate cover-up, refuses to test foods for traces of cancer-causing herbicide chemical used on GM crops.)

The OTA’s lawsuit alleges the following:

  • The USDA’s repeated delays in this matter are a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act;
  • The USDA has proposed action which could indefinitely delay or kill the rule, which is also a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act;
  • The USDA is in violation of the Organic Foods Production Act; and
  • The Executive order freezing regulations should not be applied to the rule because these standards are voluntary and industry-driven, rather than an example of government overreach. (Click to Site)

TRANSHUMANISM: THE ULTIMATE AIM OF THE SYNTHETIC AGENDA AND THE DISTORTED HEART OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER

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The synthetic agenda is the overarching agenda of the New World Order worldwide conspiracy. Think about it – so many aspects of the conspiracy are about supplanting the real with the fake, the organic with the inorganic, the carbon with the silicon and the biological with the artificial.

In the synthetic agenda, everything in our world is being threatened with replacement by an inferior version or fake replica of itself – which sells itself as superior so as to increase the acceptance and assimilation of it. Almost everything around us is a facade, fake or fraudulent. For instance, we have vaccines, petrochemical drugs and radiation masquerading as “medicine”, foreign corporations masquerading as “government”, mainstream science masquerading as “knowledge”, GMOs masquerading as “food” and fiat paper masquerading as “money”.

However, as David Icke in Phantom Self has been saying, the deeper reason is that all these fake things are being created from some sort of virus or distorted force that has hacked the source and digital-genetic code of life itself – and is madly spewing out an inferior version of everything in the only way it knows how. Ultimately, this force is using the synthetic agenda to entrain us onto its frequency and transform us into a hybrid species that will no longer be able to be called human. (Click to Site)

Disclosed emails prove that SCIENCE has been totally corrupted by Monsanto, and regulators have become prostitutes and shills for GMOs

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(Natural NewsA new batch of internal company documents has been releasedshowing that agricultural giant Monsanto suppressed key data about the potential dangers of its Roundup (glyphosate) herbicide. These documents also suggest that the multinational chemical corporation worked with United States regulators to make Roundup appear safer than it is in order to gain regulatory approval.

More than 75 documents have been made public revealing discussions, text messages, and other communications between Monsanto executives and various academics and scientists about its products. Some of these documents show that Monsanto employees offered cash payments to scientists in exchange for their stamp of approval.

The documents have been made public as part of a lawsuit filed against Monsanto by individuals who say that exposure to Roundup caused themselves or their family members to fall ill with serious health conditions. Among these is non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that’s increased in prevalence alongside increased use of Roundup.

Attorneys at the firm Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman, which is just one of many firms representing the thousands of plaintiffs who are pursuing claims against Monsanto, posted the documents, which collectively account for more than 700 pages of information. Upwards of 100 of these lawsuits have reportedly been consolidated in multi-district litigation in the federal court of San Francisco, while others are pending in places like Missouri (Monsanto’s home state), Delaware, and Arizona.

“This is a look behind the curtain,” stated Brent Wisner, one of the Baum Hedlund attorneys representing the case.

“These show that Monsanto has deliberately been stopping studies that look bad for them, ghostwriting literature and engaging in a whole host of corporate malfeasance. They (Monsanto) have been telling everybody that these products are safe because regulators have said they are safe, but it turns out that Monsanto has been in bed with U.S. regulators while misleading European regulators.” (Click to Site)

GMO industry now screaming that delays in government approval of genetically engineered crops are KILLING people

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(Natural News) It looks like the pro-GMO propaganda machine has been at work again after a new study published in Plos ONE says that children will die because of the government’s slow approval of GM crops.

In the study, a group of researchers calculated the effects that the delays could cause on the population of five countries in Africa. They used a calculation model that looks at the economic benefits for consumers and producers as well as the advantages of reduced malnutrition in subsistence farm households.

According to their calculations, had Kenya adopted GE corn back in 2006, somewhere between 440 and 4,000 lives could have been saved. If Uganda had seized its opportunity to introduce a type of banana that is resistant to the black sigatoka in 2007, they believe that between 500 and 5,500 lives could have been saved during the last ten years.

It would be interesting to see a similar calculation of how many people would have died had these countries introduced those crops as planned. How many new cases of cancer would there be? How many butterflies, honeybees and livestock would have died? What condition would the soil and water be in now?

Let’s not forget what happened in India, where more than 290,000 cotton farmers have killed themselves since the introduction of GM cotton there. The high price of the GM seeds placed many of these farmers into cycles of debt they couldn’t break free from, with fresh seeds needing to be purchased each year and replanting not a possibility. Here’s a calculation those in charge of approving those Bt crops in Africa might want to consider: One Indian farmer kills himself every 30 minutes because of the devastation caused by GM crops.

Overall, the researchers believe that a year-long delay in approving the Bt cowpea in Nigeria could end up costing the country anywhere from $33 million to $46 million along with as many as 3,000 lives.

Their estimates come as authorities mull the approval of Bt cowpea in Niger, Nigeria and Benin. It was intended to be introduced this year, but approvals are still pending. They say this delay could be particularly harmful to Nigeria, where malnourishment is rampant. One of the study’s authors, Justus Wesseler, even goes so far as to say that these approvals could be important for all of Europe because it would reduce migration. (Click to Site)

DARPA unveils gene editing infrastructure to build genetically engineered “super soldiers”

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(Natural News) In the Marvel comic books, Steve Rogers is a character that transforms from a rather weak and skinny man into a supersoldier with the help of gene editing technology. For decades since fans were officially introduced to Captain America in 1941, this fictional character has fascinated people throughout the country and across the world. Now, thanks to new technology and millions of dollars spent on research, it appears that you no longer have to live in a fictional world full of superheroes and villains to become a supersoldier similar to Captain America.

According to the official website for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), “The Safe Genes program aims to deliver novel biological capabilities to facilitate the safe and expedient pursuit of advanced genome editing applications, while also providing the tools and methodologies to mitigate the risk of unintentional consequences or intentional misuse of these technologies.”

Recently, DARPA announced that it has assigned seven teams to fulfill the goals set forth by the Safe Genes Program in order to better understand how gene editing technologies work. If all goes well, the program could potentially help troops become immune from infectious disease, defend certain forms of wildlife against invasive species, and limit the spread of mosquitoes that carry diseases (Related: Genetically modified humans are now a reality in China.)

Over the next four years, DARPA is set to distribute $65 million amongst the seven teams, which include the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, UC Berkeley and UC Riverside. (Click to Site)

The Biotech Industry Is Taking Over the Regulation of GMOs from the Inside

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by Jonathan Latham, PhD

The British non-profit GMWatch recently revealed the agribusiness takeover of Conabia, the National Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology of Argentina. Conabia is the GMO assessment body of Argentina. According to GMWatch, 26 of 34 its members were either agribusiness company employees or had major conflicts of interest*.

Packing a regulatory agency with conflicted individuals is one way to ensure speedy GMO approvals and Conabia has certainly delivered that. A much more subtle, but ultimately more powerful, way is to bake approval into the structure of the GMO assessment process itself. It is easier than you might think.

I recently attended the latest international conference of GMO regulators, called ISBGMO14, held in Guadalajara, Mexico (June 4-8, 2017). ISBGMO is run by the International Society for Biosafety Research (ISBR). When I first went to this biennial series of conferences, in 2007, just one presentation in the whole four days was by a company. ISBR had some aspirations towards scientific independence from agribusiness.

I went for a second time in 2011, to the ISBGMO held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Company researchers and executives were frequent speakers and the conference had become an opportunity for agribusiness to present talking points and regulatory initiatives as if they had the blessing of science. This year, in Guadalajara, companies were now on the conference organising committee and even conferring conference travel scholarships from the podium. A former conference organiser and ISBR board member told me that the previous ISBGMO (St. Louis, USA, in 2015) had been almost entirely paid for by Monsanto. (Click to Site)