Humans are animals and all animals are heteroprophs, meaning that they acquire nutrition directly or indirectly from another living organism. We call
this source of nutrition food. As all other animals, humans use to hunt and gather in order to obtain their source of nutrition. This form of
gathering food led to a nomadic lifestyle, but as languages developed and intelligence increased the species began to find new and efficient means of
cultivation. Around 10,000 BC the Neolithic Revolution occurred; bringing the transition into agriculture with the developing domestication of plants
and animals. This new concept swayed humans away from nomadic lifestyles to form settlements such as tribes and villages to what would eventually
transform into towns, cities, states, nations and society as a whole.
As time unraveled humans started developing new agricultural methods such as farming, crop diversity, plant nutrition, pest control, and livestock.
Somewhere along the way, humans learned the concept of selective breeding in which organisms with preferable characteristics were bred with each other
to create an organism more beneficial to humans. This process has been used for thousands of years and is still used today. The discovery of
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) in 1869 deciphered the encrypted blueprints for the genetic characteristics of all living organisms. Further development
in the realms of agriculture, biology, technology, and science throughout the 20th century would eventually give a whole new meaning to the phrase
Prior to 1980, patents on life forms were not issued. However, the company General Electric had taken up a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court in order
to copyright a Pseudomonas bacteria used to clean up oil spills. In a 5-4 decision the court extend patent laws to include “live human-made
microorganisms,” paving the way for the era of Genetically Modified Organisms throughout the food supply. In 1982, the scientists of the U.S.
chemical giant Monsanto became the first to genetically modify a plant cell and began conducting field tests of this new biotechnology five years
later. With the breakthroughs in biology and technology, along with the ability to patent live organisms with altered genetics the people at the
Monsanto Company saw an opportunity to capitalize on genetically modifying the food supply.
Monsanto's Harvest of Fear
In 1994, the FDA approved the biogenetic company Calgene to commercially produce the first genetically modified organism approved for consumption,
FlavrSavr tomatoes. In 1996 Monsanto bought ten major seed production companies, including Calgene, and began introducing genetically engineered
foods into the free market. Monsanto began producing Round-Up Ready® wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton, and rice throughout the late 1990s. Round-Up® is
the marketing name of the potent herbicide glyphosate. Monsanto saw the opportunity to create a triangle scheme in which they would produce Round-Up
Ready® seeds so that farmers could utilize glyphosate, which was deemed non-hazardous to humans by the FDA. The seeds were also marketed to farmers
for their increased yields and lower maintenance. In the early 21st century the company began producing foods whose genetics were altered to be
resistant to pesticide, herbicide, and increase oil levels, nutrients, and amino acids and has accomplished 674 biotechnology patents, more than any
Both Monsanto and the FDA claim that genetically engineered foods are just as safe as their original counterparts. GMOs were originally produced to
create food crops that are resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, which Monsanto exclusively produced until the patent expired. Testing done by the
FDA and Monsanto both claimed that glyphosate is only harmful towards plants and not animals. Glyphosate works by competitively inhibiting the enzyme
5-enol-pyruvyl shikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) to redirect an essential step in the aromatic amino acid biosynthetic pathway creating an
overload in the photosynthesis process, thus killing the plant. This herbicide, Round-Up®, kills anything green that it comes in contact with so
Monsanto needed to create plants that are genetically resistant to glyphosate in order to market it on a massive scale. The question then arises, how
do scientists insert genes into plants so that they can resist a substance that would other wise kill it?
Containment of Herbicide Resistance Through Genetic
Engineering of the Chloropast Genome
The concept of biotechnology is nothing new to humans and has been used for thousands over years, such as using yeast to make bread rise and other
forms such as fermenting beer and wine. But with the discovery of DNA and genetics, the world would see a new form of biotechnology called genetic
engineering. In order to insert a new gene into an organism the gene must be taken and inserted into a cell. Cells of plants and animals naturally
ward off outside genes and DNA from penetrating them, but bacteria and viruses naturally penetrate these cells. The scientists of Monsanto discovered
a naturally occurring bacteria in soil that is immune to Round-Up®. They then took an E. Coli bacteria cell and combined it with the bacteria immune
to glyphosate to create a desired gene. Since plant cells have a cell wall that prevents foreign DNA, scientists needed to find a way to insert the
genes into the plant cells. A bacteria found in some soils called Agrobacterium, which creates tumors in plants, is used to taxi the new DNA into the
plant cell. In order to “activate” the genes scientists used a “promoter” gene from the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus along with an Antibiotic
Marker gene to test the expression of the new gene.
The Monsanto Chemical Works company, founded in 1901, was a chemical manufacturer and its first product, saccharine (which was linked bladder cancer
in rodents in a study in 1970), was sold to Coca-Cola and is still used in multiple foods today. Throughout the 20th century, until the 1990s,
Monsanto produced, amongst other things, the herbicide DDT, and Agent Orange (both founded to be highly carcinogenic and banned by the FDA) and PCBs
(linked to cancer) which would become the center of large-scale environmental contaminations. In 1996 Monsanto purchased the biotechnology company
Calgene, seed producing companies Euralis, Agracetus, Agripro, and Golden Harvest. In 1997 it spun-off its chemical and fiber productions into Solutia
Inc. and purchased the seed companies Holden’s Foundation, Asgrow, Custom Farm and Stine Seed. In 2000 it merged with the Pharmacia Corporation and
two years later was spun-off to create the “new” Monsanto Company. These series of mergers and spin-offs transformed Monsanto from an industrial
chemical manufacturer into an international agriculture biotechnology corporation. In 2005 it purchased the Seminis Seed producers and in 2007 it
purchased the Delta Pine Land Co.; today Monsanto is the largest seed manufacturer in the world.
Purchased by Monsanto
With a track record of environmental disregard of the manufacturing of toxic substances, people’s skepticism of GMO food is foundationally sound.
But are GMO foods hazardous to health and the environment? The scientific environment of studies for GMOs by Monsanto and the FDA were distorted in
order to provide evidence that supports genetic engineering in food. This type of scientific fraud has been a practice of Monsanto and the
Environmental Protection Agency even caught scientists at Monsanto falsifying test results on the impacts of glyphosate on two occasions. While The
FDA and Monsanto both claim that genetically modified food is perfectly safe for human consumption, independent studies by multiple scientists from
around the world point to possibly large-scale ramifications to human health and the environment.
The genetically modified corn NK 603 has been modified to be resistant to multiple herbicides such as Round-Up®. Original lab testing on its effects
on rats founded little to none ramifications towards health, but these were only tested for a small amount of time so the test period was extended to
90 days. The latter test results showed that ion concentrations are enhanced in male GM fed rats, increase in the weight of the liver, and an up to
11% increase in the weight of the heart. The studies showed that males are more susceptible to physiological changes than females.
The GM corm MON 810 is modified to synthesize Bt pesticides as well as to be resistant to external pesticides. Studies showed that 11/15 female rats
suffered changes in blood cells, adrenal glands, and kidney weights, an increase in blood urea nitrogen and increased spleen weight. In male rates fed
a diet consisting of 33% GM corn suffered disturbed parameters in the liver function and small diminution of serum albumin production. Again the
studies showed different effects in the two sexes.
The third GM corn tested, MON 863 (also engineered for pesticides), resulted in serum glucose and triglyceride increases (up to 40%) in females and an
overall 3.7% increase in body weight. Elevated creatinine, blood urea nitrogen and urine chloride excretion in females along with similar adverse
effects from MON 810 and NK 603 noticed in males. These studies done by the Universities of Rouen and Caen in France concluded that while the health
effects on mice differ depending on sex, dose and corn variety all pose potential health risks in the majority of tests subjects and induce a state of
hepatorenal toxicity. The different residues found in these varieties of GM corn/maize are not naturally integral in human/animal diets and their long
term effects are unknown, however in only 90 days scientists noticed negative impacts on multiple organ functions.
A Comparison of the Effects of Three Gm Corn Varieties in Mammalian Health
Round-Up® resistant plants were the first to be developed for market production. The health effects of the active ingredient glyphosate have been the
subject of scientific study for over 35 years, and glyphosate has been deemed environmentally safe. It is important to note that over 100 million
pounds of Round-Up® are sprayed on U.S. farms each year. Monsanto insists that Round-UP® is completely safe when used as directed. Until recently
the studies on Round-Up®’s adverse health effects have been focused on the active ingredient glyphosate rather than the other ingredients in the
In a study conducted in 2009, scientists decided to test the health effects of other ingredients in Round-UP®. One particular ingredient,
polyethoxylated tallowamine (POEA), was showed to be more deadly than embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than Round-UP® itself. The
research infers that Round-UP® can cause pregnancy complications such as lower abnormal fetal development, low birth weight or miscarriages due to
interfering with hormone production. Other ingredients throughout multiple brands have been found to alter DNA and thus cause cancer. Glyphosate is
considered a class E-Chemical by the EPA, meaning it doesn’t cause cancer in humans; Monsanto also supports these claims. However in May of 2009,
Argentine scientists reported a high rate of birth defects and cancers in people living in the near-by vicinity of crop spraying.
Weed-Wacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells
Also since ingredients in these potions are considered “trade secrets” companies aren’t legally obliged to disclose them, thus limiting studies
that can be carried out on their effects. The ingredients are categorized as inert, meaning that they aren’t harmful to animals. A study in France
tested four types of Round-Up® solutions concluding that glyphosate by itself is harmful to embryonic, placental, and umbilical cells but not as
harmful as POEA. But whenever they are mixed together their damage capability is increased. The team concluded that the ingredients work together to
“limit breathing of cells, stress them, and drive them towards suicide.” Monsanto countered the study saying that the scientific environment is
nothing like what instances would occur in the real world. It is important to note that these studies were conducted with solutions that were 100,000
times diluted than the recommended dosage.
Another issue regarding Round-Up® is the fact that farmers who once used GM foods and glyphosate and stopped saw their soil to be infertile, some
crops non-productive, and plants less nutritious. This is due to the effects that the ingredients in Round-Up® do to the soil, since it is meant to
kill live organisms it renders the fertility of the soil to a lower level. Since additional genes are added to genetics of a plant, the plants have to
focus less energy on producing nutrients to produce and activate the extra genes that were embedded in their genetic code. The possibility of certain
GMOs carrying inactive traits of certain genes cross-breeding with each other activating these traits in future generations and possibly creating
unforeseeable environmental consequences is of dire concern. Organic Consumers
There are other ramifications to the environment and health than toxicity of GM plants and their tangent toxins. Potential allergens related to food
are also a concern to opponents of genetic engineering. For example, if a gene with a certain desirable trait from a source known to cause allergies
in humans is inserted into foods the potential for increased allergies could possible increase. Even though this hypothesis has not been directly
proven, in vitro evidence suggesting this has been discovered.
Another issue is decreased nutritional value of certain GM strains. Phytate is genetic compound found in seeds that inhibits the development of
nutrients that can be absorbed by humans. A gene inserted with the intention to increase yield or herbicide and pesticide resistance could potentially
increase the levels of phytate and lower the original nutrient levels of the finished product. Today Monsanto is developing a strain of soybeans that
produces a tasteless oil that produces Omega-3s used to combat heart disease. This is the opposite of GM soybeans that are currently on the market
that are proven to produce a lower level phytoestrogen compounds that combat hearth disease and cancer.
A major potential ramification of GM plants is antibiotic resistance. A large amount of GM plants are modified so they can be resistant to herbicides
such as glyphosate and pesticides such as Bt. These Antibiotic/Selectable Markers, mentioned in paragraph six, are attached to the desirable gene to
verify if the plant inherited the desirable gene. When the plant is grown in a solution including an antibiotic and lives it is then verified that the
plant inherited the two genes. Certain scientists are concerned that bacteria living inside the stomach of humans can inherit the antibiotic marker
from a GM plant before the DNA is digested creating a new bacteria resistant to medicine. Even though no one has scientifically observed bacteria
inheriting antibiotic genes in the stomach the possibility is a concern and the FDA urges biogenetic companies to stop the practice of selectable
markers. Harmful Effects of the Agent
Amongst these and other countless possible health and environmental consequences of GM foods is the effect GMOs will have in the biosphere and food
chain once introduced into the environment. Unintentional cross-pollination is a consequence of introducing GMOs into the ecosystem on a large scale.
These “tainted” plants could in fact cross-pollinate with organic plants carrying the altered genes with them. Since these genes are patented
Monsanto is able to sue farms that have been found to include genetics that haven’t been sold to the farmer, even if it was due to natural
pollination. There are means to stop this type of cross-pollination such as placing nets around large crops, but these are too expensive and unviable
to do on a large scale. Monsanto is a major sponsor of the International Seed Vault, which is an “insurance” for the Earth if cataclysmic events
were to take place, and is filling it with their genetically engineered seeds. If a global catastrophe was to happen and humans had to rebuild
society, the seeds that would be used to do this wouldn’t be the original genetics that were found on Earth and which humans evolved with.
The spread of awareness of GMOs and their tangent herbicides and pesticides is not an issue of mainstream media since Monsanto is a big lobbyist of
government and sponsor of multiple corporate attractions. Information regarding these sensitive topics are merely acknowledged by those who are
interested rather than those whom it concerns. Monsanto executives share a revolving door with the federal government and the agencies that regulate
environment, food, drugs, agriculture, and other aspects of biotechnology and its market.
To name a few of these people is merely scratching the surface of the power Monsanto holds over food regulation. The former FDA deputy commissioner
for operations Michael Friedman became a Monsanto vice president in 1999. Michael Taylor helped develop acceptability of Bovine Growth Hormone (used
to increase milk yield in cows, also linked to cancer) for Monsanto and is the Obama appointed “Food Czar.” Linda Fisher worked in the
Environmental Protection Agency before becoming a Monsanto VP from 1995 to 2000 just to work for the EPA again. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
was an attorney for Monsanto; he wrote the courts opinion of GM seeds in 2001 giving more corporate power to companies such as Monsanto. Former
Secretary of Commerce Micky Cantor served on Monsanto’s board of directors. Former Secretary of Agriculture Anne Veneman was on the Board of
Directors of Calgene, purchased by Monsanto in 1997. Chief Administrator of the FDA William Ruckelshaus also served on Monsanto’s board of
Scientific evidence showing that these agricultural practices are unsafe and hazardous to humans and plants alike are suppressed by mainstream media
outlets, and the vast majority of food consumers haven’t the slightest notion that the food they eat is genetically altered. The federal government
seems to have an agenda of lobbying foreign governments to accept GMOs. For example in Iraq steps have been taken place to allow GMOs to be grown on a
massive scale and in a recent Department of State Cable released by the whistle-blowing website
, the U.S. lists it a top priority for the countries in the Great Lakes region
of Africa to accept GMOs. With the federal government laying in bed with Monsanto it is no wonder that testing is hurried and distorted just to push a
profit. Is it for profit means or control of the food supply? What ever the case may be it seems that these scientists are concentrated on what they
can do rather if they should.
"I wrote this for people who may find themselves in a position when they need to scientifically cite their arguments against Genetically Modified
edit on 11-12-2010 by elfulanozutan0 because: Don't Panic, Eat Organic!