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In a recent report published by the journal Nature, European researchers demonstrated some alarming findings about one GM crop.  Critics have been vicious and vociferous, but few are toxicologists, and many have ties to agribusiness.

“NK603 maize (corn), developed by biotech company Monsanto to resist the herbicide glyphosate and approved for animal and human consumption in the European Union, United States and other countries. It reported that the rats developed higher levels of cancers, had larger cancerous tumours and died earlier than controls. The researchers have not conclusively identified a mechanism for the effect.”

Our produce and grocery aisles are filling up with GM corn, wheat, and soybean products with no FDA oversight on what we consumers are ingesting.   One of the first attempts to genetically modify plants began with corn (maize), which is deficient in the amino acid lysine.   That made it unsuitable as a staple for humans, and it seemed like a beneficial and noble idea at the time.  

“Typically, the protein in corn seeds contains around 2% lysine, while we require 5% lysine in our diet to avoid protein deficiency disorders. Globally, nearly 195 million children younger than five years are undernourished for protein, and in 1992 an estimated 12 million American children were estimated to have diets that were significantly lower in protein than what is recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. Poor nutrition leads to a number of health problems in children, including stunted growth, weakened resistance to infection and impaired intellectual development.”  

However, the entire agrochemical industry is innocent of any concepts of evolution.  The biological reason for lysine-deficient corn is that it makes it unsuitable for many insect pests that would otherwise happily feed on it.  By producing lysine-rich corn, the pests multiplied and had to be fought with extensive use of insecticides, which also end up in our food.

But Monsanto and its allies march onward with new GM tricks.  Our large-scale corporate agricultural monoculture system can only work if the fields are free of “weeds.”   Enter extensive use of Roundup™, by the hundreds of millions of gallons.   But herbicides kill all plants, including corn, right?   So now the issue is to produce Roundup™-resistant crops, which are currently available as GM seeds sold by Monsanto.

Left out of the equation is the development of herbicide-resistant “weeds,” then fought with larger doses of Roundup, which is now being incorporated into our food supply, and no one is testing for it.

But let us return to the development of cancer in lab rats fed NK603 corn.  This is the first clear evidence of the carcinogenic effects of GM foods, which we are told is good for us to eat and feed our livestock.  Betcha money this story does not get picked up by anyone in the media.

Bon appétit on those corn chips!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    The last sound on earth will be the squawk of an optimist.

    by CT yanqui on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 12:15:58 PM PDT

  •  Good Lord, do you even read what you link to? (16+ / 0-)
    Many scientists, however, have already questioned the study’s methodology and findings. They assert that the data presented in the paper do not readily allow the claims to be independently assessed, and they question the study’s experimental design and its statistical analysis of any differences between the treated groups and controls. Other scientists point out that the Sprague-Dawley strain of rats used in the experiments has been shown to be susceptible to developing tumours spontaneously, particularly as they grow older, making it difficult to interpret the results. Monsanto itself said that the study “does not meet minimum acceptable standards for this type of scientific research”.
    The whole rest of the world has looked at this study and judged it bad science.

    I'm not saying that GM foods don't cause tumors, or warts, or dogs and cats living together in the streets, or whatever.

    I am saying, along with, ya know, actual science, that this study proves nothing.

    •  The paragraph after is also relevant if you want (4+ / 0-)

      to make accusations of bias:

      The €3.2-million (US$4.1-million) study was led by Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen, France, in collaboration with the Paris-based Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN), whose scientific board he heads. CRIIGEN bills itself as an “independent non-profit organization of scientific counter-expertise to study GMOs, pesticides and impacts of pollutants on health and environment, and to develop non polluting alternatives”. The article’s publication coincides with the launch this week of a book by Séralini, Tous Cobayes? (All of Us Guinea-Pigs Now?), which tells the story of the research project and is accompanied by a film and a television documentary.

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 12:37:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, I read it. (0+ / 0-)

      I posted an excerpt, but included a link so that the information was available.  Did you read what I said about my concerns about the evolution of resistant strains of plants and pests?

      The last sound on earth will be the squawk of an optimist.

      by CT yanqui on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 05:23:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The study warrants careful scrutiny, but I resist (11+ / 0-)

    the suggestion that just because something is GM, it Has to be bad for you. Thats an ideological or religious stance, not a scientific one.

    •  Fine but GM food cannot be tested for safety. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CT yanqui

      Science cannot respond to questions about the validity of theories that support GM.  It is reasonable to question those theoretical frameworks and the assumptions about how we produce the food we eat.  I am not claiming this study is valid, but those scientists who question the validity of studies that challenge the safety of GM are often not neutral parties, and it is a fallacy to assume that.

      Speak softly and carry a big can of tuna.

      by Cat Whisperer on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 03:24:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Where did I say that? (0+ / 0-)

      The last sound on earth will be the squawk of an optimist.

      by CT yanqui on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 05:23:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your first line is false. (11+ / 0-)

    Nature ran a news article about the study, which was published in a much more obscure journal. The Nature article was quite skeptical about the methods of the research article.

    Michael Weissman UID 197542

    by docmidwest on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 12:29:50 PM PDT

  •  Is there anything that doesn't cause cancer in lab (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy


    Our ears hear symphonies through wireless headsets, but our knuckles still drag the ground.

    by ZedMont on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 12:36:52 PM PDT

    •  asdf (5+ / 0-)

      At Slate, they said that, "Many critics pointed out that the researchers chose a strain of rodents extremely prone to tumors."

      From that second link (at Discovery News):

      One immediate problem, Newell-McGloughlin said, is that the line of rodents used in the study, known as Sprague-Dawley rats, are frequently used in cancer research because a large majority of them naturally develop tumors at a high rate, regardless of what they eat or how they're raised.

      What's more, the rats were allowed to eat an unlimited amount of food, which increases their chances of developing tumors. And two is a very old age for these rats, which could account for the large rate of cancer seen across all groups, including the controls.

      The small size of the control group also raised red flags. Even experienced scientists in the field had trouble interpreting data in the study, as seen in comments collected by the UK's Science Media Center, but it appears that the study included just 10 or 20 control animals.

      That means there were at least nine times more test animals than control animals. If anything, studies of this kind usually include two or three times more controls than experimental animals.

      Weathering Michigan's recessions since the '70s.

      by jennifree2bme on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 01:16:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not at high enough dosage (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZedMont, erush1345, FarWestGirl

      It's like the latest kerfluffle over caramel color in soda. The mg/kg levels required were so high you'd probably have all sorts of other problems caused by drinking enough soda to hit those levels in humans. For one thing, I'm pretty sure your kidneys wouldn't be happy. I believe the comparison was something like 100,000 cans a day.

      •  Yup. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345, FarWestGirl

        Like anything, moderation is often key.

        Like vitamins.  Obviously, getting vitamins in sufficient amounts are a necessity for healthy living.  But they can be dangerous in excessive amounts, for example if you give someone massive doses of B vitamins and they can develop dizziness, hives, blood clots, vomiting, insomnia and anxiety.

  •  High lysine corn is bad? (0+ / 0-)

    Based on this logic, all of our food crops are bad because they are more nutritious than their wild ancestors. Obviously we should plow up all the corn fields in Iowa and plant teosinte instead.

  •  Um... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erush1345, PeterHug, FarWestGirl

    ...I've kept rats for 20 years now, and let me assure you, LIFE causes tumors in rats.  Some female rats grow adenomas like popcorn.  I want stronger data before I start running around shouting about GMOs killing us all.

    Hell, maybe they are, but I don't want to believe, I want to KNOW.  

    "Shit-dripping pond scum" may not advance the English language but it shows people are working to see our common tongue doesn't stagnate at some elitist level.

    by Ratmum on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:12:03 PM PDT

  •  Interesting. Using cancer-prone animals to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl, CT yanqui

    test things like this is a fairly common first step. It doesn't mean that it's necessarily carcinogenic in humans but it does suggest that there may be smth going on there and worth looking at in more detail. Lack of does dependence is problematic. The authors explain it by saying that even the smallest dose was above the threshold. It would be interesting to see the study with a wider dose range and maybe on less tumor-prone animals to see the dose dependence.

  •  I see all the comments are pro-GM corn (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cat Whisperer, CT yanqui

    Why is that?

    Personally, and I know it's anecdotal, any corn that is not organic causes me GI problems. Pain, upset stomach, and bloating. Organic is fine.

    So, what is in the non-organic that is causing that reaction? Pesticides? The fact that so much is GM these days? Who knows. All I know is that organic doesn't do it.

    Women create the entire labor force.

    by splashy on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:22:19 PM PDT

    •  The comments aren't so much pro-GM corn (7+ / 0-)

      as anti-"this study", because this study was objectively awful, and because it was initially eaten up and promoted aggressively by people who are fundamentally anti-GMO.

      GM corn may not work for you yourself, but GMO involves a huge category of things outside of that, too.  Some people on the left have an unfortunate tendency to turn anti-science when it comes to this issue.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:31:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My major concerns... (0+ / 0-)

    are ecologic and evolutionary.  We have experienced major crop failures among monoculture crops, like Texas self-sterile corn and corn blight in the 70's.  DDT was phased out because insect pests were becoming immune to it, and because it caused reproductive failure in carnivorous birds.  Newer pesticides are causing colony collapse among bees.  The other major issue is that Monsanto and companies like that are dominating the market with GMO seeds that require heavy inputs of fertilizer and pesticides that third world farmers can ill afford.

    The last sound on earth will be the squawk of an optimist.

    by CT yanqui on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 05:42:25 PM PDT

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