GMO Gene makes Cry1Ac protein that causes Sterility

India Telegraph
June 2, 2011

Indian scientists have discovered that the genetic modification of plants with a gene already used in crops worldwide may severely damage the plants, a surprising finding that may stir a debate on current crop biotechnology science.

The scientists at the University of Delhi have shown that inserting a bacterial gene that makes a protein named Cry1Ac into genomes of plants appears to cause developmental defects, growth retardation and sterility in the plants.

Several experimental and commercial genetically-modified plants, including GM cotton cultivated in India and other countries, make the Cry1Ac protein which is toxic to some insects. The insects die when they try to eat parts of these GM crops.

The Delhi scientists have now shown through laboratory experiments that modifying cotton or tobacco with Cry1Ac has a detrimental effect on these plants. Their results have appeared in the Journal of Bioscience published this month by the Indian Academy of Sciences.

“This is a completely unexpected finding,” said Durgadas Kasbekar, a senior biologist with the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad who was not associated with the study, but is the editor of the Journal of Bioscience.

“Until this point, if you asked someone in the plant biotechnology community what the Cry1Ac toxin does in plants, they would say it kills insects. No one has yet demonstrated harm to plants as this study has done,” Kasbekar told The Telegraph.

The Delhi researchers say such observations may have been overlooked in the past as most previous studies were aimed at finding plant varieties that can be genetically altered just enough so that they are suitable for cultivation.

Independent studies have earlier shown that levels of Cry1Ac in some commercial GM cotton decline progressively over the life-cycle of the plant and are produced at such low levels in vulnerable parts of the crop that insects can continue to consume them.

“We find a very strong correlation between the levels of Cry1Ac and abnormalities —higher the levels of Cry1Ac in the plants, the greater the damage,” said Pradeep Burma, a plant geneticist at the University of Delhi South Campus, who led the study.

Burma said these findings do not in any way suggest that GM crops are either unsafe for consumption or can cause damage to other crops or the environment. “But they reveal a previously unrecognised effect on GM plant development,” Burma said.

“It’s a hurdle we need to overcome to improve insect-resistance in crops,” he said.

The researchers have themselves shown that if the plants are modified in such a way that the Cry1Ac is confined in their chloroplasts – the site of photosynthesis in plant cells — they do not show any developmental defects.

“This could be a future strategy to protect plants from damage,” Burma said.

But scientists caution that the study describes observations and the mechanism of how the toxin harms host plants remains unclear. “We need to understand why the plants are being affected — and use that knowledge to make better plants,” Kasbekar said.

The Indian government had approved commercial cultivation of GM cotton containing Cry1Ac in 2002, and research groups have been trying to equip other plants with this protein. But a proposal to introduce GM brinjal with Cry1Ac has been stalled by the environment ministry amid concerns among sections of scientists and environmental activists about safety and environmental impact of edible GM crops.

“Designing Humans With Unique Abilities” Under Global Governance

Jurriaan Maessen

Recently a document was disclosed by the grace of the Freedom of Information Act entitled Global Governance 2025: At a Critical Juncture. The document, written by the American National Intelligence Council (NIC) and the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), outlines the agenda from now to 2025 for global government. It discusses the many obstacles in the quest for achieving global government and discusses the possibility, the desirability, of “designing humans with unique physical, emotional, or cognitive abilities.”

“While not being policy prescriptive, the report shares a strong belief—as exemplified by multilateralist approaches of the US and EU governments to resolving global problems such as the recent financial crisis—that global challenges will require global solutions.”, the document reads.

Stressing that issues such as proliferation and cybersecurity are already subject to sufficient international cooperation, the document states:

“(…) we focus on such issues as intrastate conflict, resource management, migration, and biotechnology. Although recognized by many as ongoing challenges, we believe the long-term impact of these issues on the strength of the international order has not been fully appreciated.”

Recognizing that the push for global governance (which is a euphemism for global government) is meeting with increasing resistance worldwide, the authors blame a “multipolar world” for this fact:

“Diverse perspectives and suspicions about global governance, which is seen as a Western concept, will add to the difficulties of effectively mastering the growing number of challenges.”

The document also recognizes international unease with large-scale military adventures- “if (…) driven by the “West””. Furthermore, it proposes an “overall framework to manage the interrelated problems of food, water and energy.”

“Other over-the-horizon issues”, the document goes on to say, “—migration, the potential opening of the Arctic, and risks associated with the biotechnology revolution—are likely to rise in importance and demand a higher level of cooperation. These issues are difficult ones for multilateral cooperation because they involve more preventive action. Under current circumstances, greater cooperation on those issues in which the risks are not clear-cut will be especially difficult to achieve.”

The document goes on to outline several “potential scenarios” of future developments that may threaten the “international system”, the first being that “formal institutions remain largely unreformed and Western states probably must shoulder a disproportionate share of “global governance” as developing countries prevent disruptions at home. This future is not sustainable over the longer term as it depends on no crisis being so unmanageable as to overwhelm the international system.”

The second scenario projected is that of “fragmentation”, or “Powerful states and regions try to wall themselves off from outside threats.”

The third scenario is the most worrisome- not according to the authors of the document, but to all of free humanity:

Under this scenario, severe threats to the international system—possibly a looming environmental disaster or a conflict that risks spreading—prompt greater cooperation on solving global problems. Significant reform of the international system becomes possible. Although less likely than the first two scenarios in the immediate future, such a scenario might prove the best outcome over the longer term, building a resilient international system that would step up the level of overall cooperation on an array of problems. The US increasingly shares power while China and India increase their burden sharing and the EU takes on a bigger global role. A stable concert could also occur incrementally over a long period in which economic gaps shrink and per capita income converges.”

Mentioning the possibility- even desirability- of a “looming environmental disaster” or conflict as a means to establish world government is the preferred path ahead, according to the authors. But, even more disturbing that global governance to “combat” looming threats, is the possibility and desirability of “designing humans with unique physical, emotional, or cognitive abilities”, pondered upon by the US and EU intelligence councils.” Here is the quote in full:

“In addition, biotechnology—which the OECD thinks will potentially boost the GDPs of its members—can drive new forms of human behavior and association, creating profound cross cultural ethical questions that will be increasingly politically contentious. Few experts believe that current governance instruments are adequate for those challenges. For example, direct modification of DNA at fertilization is widely researched with a goal of removing defective genes; however, discussions of future capabilities open the possibility for designing humans with unique physical, emotional, or cognitive abilities.

There it is. The document is upfront about it. “Current governance instruments” are insufficient for the goals of the global elite. To facilitate “designing humans with unique physical, emotional, or cognitive abilities” a global framework is needed.