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Prince Charles has his own organic farm at his Gloucestershire estate
The environment minister has challenged Prince Charles to prove his claim that GM crops could cause a global environmental disaster.
Morgellons Disease first became known in 2001, when Mary Leitao created a web site describing the illness in her young son, which she named after a 17th century medical study in France describing similar symptoms . Until then, people with Morgellons Disease have been diagnosed as cases of “delusional parasitosis”, in which the symptoms are deemed entirely imaginary, and lesions allegedly due to self-inflicted wounds.
Vitaly Citovsky is a professor of molecular and cell biology at Stony Brook University in New York (SUNY). He is a world authority on the genetic modification of cells by Agrobacterium, a soil bacterium causing crown gall disease in plants, that has been widely used in creating genetically modified (GM) plants since the 1980s because of its ability to transfer a piece of its genetic material, the T-DNA on its tumour-inducing (Ti) plasmid to the plant genome (see later for details).
Citovsky’s team took scanning electron microscope pictures of the fibres in or extruding from the skin of patients suffering from Morgellons disease, confirming that they are unlike any ordinary natural or synthetic fibres (see Fig. 1, assembled from Citovsky’s website ).
Figure 1. Scanning electron microscope images of fibres from skin biopsies of patients with Morgellons Disease - a, white fibre with calcite, scale bar 10 mm; b, green fibre with alumina ‘rock’ protruding, scale bar 20 mm; c, various ribbon-like, cylindrical and faceted fibres all coated with minerals, scale bar 10 mm; d, skin lesion with fibres stabbing through the epidermis, scale bar 300 mm
They also analysed patients for Agrobacterium DNA. Skin biopsy samples from Morgellons patients were subjected to high-stringency polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for genes encoded by the Agrobacterium chromosome and also for Agrobacterium virulence (vir) genes and T-DNA on its Ti plasmid. They found that “all Morgellons patients screened to date have tested positive for the presence of Agrobacterium, whereas this microorganism has not been detected in any of the samples derived from the control, healthy individuals.” Their preliminary conclusion is that “Agrobacterium may be involved in the etiology and/or progression” of Morgellons Disease.
Extensive genetic manipulation of Agrobacterium does have the potential to transform it into an aggressive human pathogen. Genetic engineering is nothing if not enhanced and facilitated horizontal gene transfer and recombination, which is widely acknowledged to be the main route for creating new pathogens. Mae-Wan Ho was among an international panel of scientists have raised this very issue in 1998, calling for a public enquiry into the possible contributions of genetic engineering biotechnology to the aetiology of infectious diseases which has greatly increased since genetic engineering began in the 1970s .