Learn what genetically modified crops are all about. Contrary to the claims of the health food industry, GMOs are healthy and have to potential to revolutionize …
Genetically modified organisms GMOs) are used
to produce much of the food we eat. Is it
safe? Why are companies doing this? Are we
playing God? Here's a short video clip from
an opponent of genetic modification of organisms.
GMOs pose unparalleled threats. Nothing like
them has ever existed in the entire course
of life on this planet.
If you search the Internet for the term "genetically
modified," you will find these kinds of pictures
and articles in abundance. My favorite is
the one showing how your children will become
zombies if they eat Monsanto's GM corn.
Frankenfish – There is even a movie that uses
genetic modification of a catfish as the main
part of its plot. However, instead of us eating
the fish, the fish eats us!
We have an idea about what food products contain
or do not contain GMO because of trends in
US and global agriculture. First, we are going
to look at corn production. Here is a plot
of percent of global acreage devoted to GM
corn. And, in the US, Argentina, and South
Africa. And, in the second graph are acreage,
in million hectacres, for planted GM corn.
As you can see, most of the global corn comes
from the US, and at this point about 90% of
it is genetically modified.
Here is the graph for GM soybeans. The big
producers are again, the US, and also Argentina
and Brazil. And again is the graph for millions
of hectacres planted. The US produces nearly
half of the world's soybeans, and greater
than 90% of it is genetically modified.
Here is the graph for GM cotton. The big producers
are again, the US, and also China and India.
And again is the graph for millions of hectacres
planted. The US produces about a third of
the world's cotton, and about 90% of it is
genetically modified.
Here is the graph for GM canola. The big producer
is Canada. Canada produces over 90% of the
world's canola and over 90% of it is genetically
modified. The other major GM crop is sugar
beets, with about 90% total production being
genetically modified. Since half the sugar
comes from sugar beets, about half the U.S.
sugar supply is genetically modified. Cane
sugar is not genetically modified. So to sum
up, in the United States, virtually any product
containing corn, soybean, cottonseed or canola
oil is almost certainly genetically modified.
Anything containing corn, including high fructose
corn syrup, or soy is almost certainly genetically
modified. It is estimated that about 70% of
all US food contains genetically modified
ingredients. The top three opponents of Proposition
37, the GMO labeling proposition were Monsanto,
DuPont, and Pepsi. Yes, your Pepsi contains
high fructose corn syrup from genetically
modified corn.
Now, let's look at how genetically modified
plants are made. First, scientists start with
a plant, which is disrupted to produce individual
plant cells, which can be grown in tissue
culture. The scientist then creates a plasmid,
a circular piece of DNA that contains the
gene of interest, along with a gene that confers
antibiotic resistance. The plasmid is introduced
into the plant cells, and an antibiotic is
added to the tissue culture medium so that
only plant cells that have incorporated the
trans gene which confers antibiotic resistance)
can grow. The tissue culture medium is changed
to encourage the plant cells to differentiate
into whole plants. Unlike animal cells, all
plant cells are totipotent, meaning that each
cell can form an entire plant. After successful
differentiation, the new transgenic plant
is backcrossed with the original to render
it as close as possible to the original breed.
To create a transgenic animal, scientists
must incorporate the trans gene into a fertilized
egg cell.
Why would scientist want to incorporate foreign
genes into crop plants? One reason are these
hungry guys. Pests that eat crops can do a
tremendous amount of damage and reduce crop
yields significantly. For years, farmers sprayed
insecticides on crops to prevent pests from
eating them.
One of the most popular insecticides comes
from the soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis
Bt for short) which produces a toxin when
it sporulates. When nutritional conditions
become poor, the bacterium encloses its DNA
in a hard shell, called a spore. At the same
time, it produces a toxin. Here is a close-up
electron micrograph of the toxin crystals.
Scientists discovered early in the 20th century
that this toxin kills caterpillars, and farmers
have been using it as an insecticide for nearly
100 years.
Here is how the Bt toxin works. The toxin,
either sprayed on plants or contained within
the leaves of, GM crops that produce it, is
ingested by the caterpillar. The toxin goes
down the caterpillar's digestive tract where
it becomes solubilized and then activated.
The toxin binds to the midgut cells of the
caterpillar, forming an oligomer. It turns
out that the toxin binds to a specific protein
found only in the midgut of Lepidoptera butterflies
and moths). Once the oligomer binds to the
membrane, it activates the gut cells' death
pathway, which creates pores in the cells,
leading to osmotic lysis. When the integrity
of the gut is disrupted, the caterpillar dies
of septicemia.
The second main reason why scientists have
created genetically modified crops is to make
them resistant to herbicides, which kill weeds.
The problem with most herbicides is that their
action is not restricted to killing weeds,
but will also kill crops and are somewhat
toxic to animals. So farmers had to apply
herbicides before planting crops and let those
herbicides decay before planting seeds. Alternatively,
they would plow all of their fields, turning
over the weeds and burying them. Both processes
cost farmers money, either in additional fuel
costs or time lost between plantings. With
herbicide resistant GM crops, farmers can
apply herbicides while crops are growing,
preventing weeds from interfering with the
growth or harvest of the crop.
Herbicides have varying degrees of toxicity
to animals. One of the least toxic to animals
is Monsanto's herbicide Roundup. Roundup acts
by inhibiting the plant's shikimate pathway.
The pathway, partially shown here, produces
the aromatic amino acids phenylalanine, tryptophan,
and tyrosine. Roundup, or glyphosate, acts
by inhibiting an upstream reaction in the
pathway, blocking the production of all three
aromatic amino acids. No animals possess the
shikimate pathway but instead get all their
aromatic amino acids from their diet, the
so-called essential amino acids), so Roundup
is much less toxic to animals than other herbicides.
Now we are going to look at some other transgenic
or genetically modified plants.
This is a table of most of the genetically
modified plants, to date. Other than the five
main crops mentioned previously, most are
not yet grown extensively. There are some
unusual plants in this group. One is creeping
bentgrass, a favorite of golf courses. Now,
the grass can be grown and sprayed with Roundup
to get rid of all the weeds. Several crops
have been developed with resistance to various
viral diseases. Scientists have also genetically
engineered oils from plants to be healthier
and better tasting than oils from non-GM crops.
Scientists have altered flower pigmentation
pathways to create the Blue Rose and the Moonshade
Artist Eduardo Kac wanted to create a flower
that was a combination of a plant and animal.
So, he employed Dr. Neil Olszewski University
of Minnesota professor of plant biology. Dr.
Olszewski attempted to put a transgene from
Kac's blood into a petunia to give it red
veins. However, the idea didn't work, so Kac
selected a Petunia that already had red veins
and had Dr. Olszewski add one of his genes
that did nothing to change the appearance
of the flower. However, it seems that Kac's
sole purpose was to create shock at his "plantimal"
Now we are going to look at some genetically
engineered animals.
A 1989 genetically engineered salmon was the
inspiration for the Frankenfish movie, mentioned
previously. AquaBounty took an Atlantic salmon
which are already extensively grown in farms)
and added a growth hormone regulating gene
from a Pacific Chinook salmon and a promoter
gene from an ocean pout. So, instead of growing
only during warmer months, the AquAdvantage
salmon grows all year long, achieving maturity
in about half the time as wild Atlantic salmon.
This graph shows the growth rate of the AquAdvantage
salmon compared with wild salmon. No, the
fish does not turn into a giant Frankenfish,
but just reaches full size earlier. Here is
a picture of two comparably-aged salmon. Although
these genetically modified salmon could probably
out-compete wild salmon because of their high
growth rate, they are provided by AquaBounty
as sterile females, to prevent breeding, should
they be inadvertently released into the wild.
Despite these precautions, activist groups,
along with the Alaska salmon fishing lobby,
convinced the FDA not to approve AquaBounty's
application in 2010. From a scientific perspective,
the genes inserted into the genetically modified
salmon are naturally-occurring, and have been
eaten in their respective host species without
incident. The FDA finally released the environmental
report for AquAdvantage salmon immediately
before Christmas, 2012, after the November
election, although the report itself was dated
May, 2012. So, it is likely the AquAdvantage
salmon will be the first transgenic animal
approved for human consumption in 2013.
Enviropig is a genetically modified pig that
produces the enzyme phytase, which allows
the pig to digest phytic acid, which contains
a form of phosphorus that is normally indigestible
to pigs. This results in reduced phosphorus
being excreted into the environment, reducing
pollution of waterways. Another novel idea
in genetic engineering was the cloning of
pigs that were rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
With this GM pig, you could get healthy omega-3
fatty acids by eating bacon, instead of smelly
fish. Genetic engineering has been used to
alter cows so that they produce milk that
is free of ?-lactoglobulin which many people
are allergic to) and high in casein protein.
Other cows have been genetically modified
to produce milk that is nearly identical with
human milk, which would allow mothers who
cannot nurse the opportunity to give their
infants milk that is more "natural" than standard
baby formula. Due to intensive lobbying efforts,
none of these GM animals have been approved
for human consumption.
Fluorescent proteins have been used for years
in molecular biology research to report expression
of genes to which they are attached. When
the gene of interest is transcribed, the fluorescent
protein is also expressed, which shows up
as a fluorescent glow that can be measured.
Most of these fluorescent proteins have been
isolated from species of jellyfish that naturally
glow. Entrepreneurs have incorporated different
fluorescent proteins into tropical fish. Here
is shown the Glofish Electric Green Tetra.
Here are transgenic zebrafish, which have
been genetically engineered with different
colors of fluorescent proteins. These "Glofish"
have been marketed as unique tropical fish,
notable for their stunning fluorescent colors.
Now, we are going to examine the studies that
have looked at GMO food safety. Here is a
short video clip from a GMO opponent.
Every single independent study conducted on
the impact and genetically modified food shows
that it damages organs. It causes infertility.
It causes immune system failure. It causes
holes in the GI tract. It causes multiple
organ system failure. When it's eaten, it
causes a variety of changes, some of which
we can't even guess at, as new proteins are
coded for by the altered DNA we've never seen
before. We are playing with genetic fire.
If genetically modified food were really bad
for you, one would expect that life expectancy
in the United States would have decreased
during the 17 years since their introduction.
However, this graph shows that the life expectancy
of both males and females from different races
has continued to increase since the introduction
of GMO crops in 1996. In addition, cancer
deaths have declined about 20% since that
For a number of GM crops, the genes/gene products
never enter the food supply, since those parts
of the plants are removed during processing.
For example, sugar from GM sugar beets is
chemically identical to non-GM sugar. Likewise,
oils purified from GM canola, soybean, cottonseed,
and corn are identical to non-GM oils. Much
of the corn crop is dedicated to generating
ethanol, which, of course, is identical to
non-GM ethanol. Genetically modified cotton
is worn, rather than ingested, and there have
been no reports of adverse effects of wearing
GM clothing. For GM crops in which whole plant
cells are ingested, the genes and gene products
are usually destroyed through digestion in
the stomach and small intestine. So, it is
unlikely, even in theory, that eating GM crops
can harm human beings. Here is another video
There was an 8 year process in which all the
countries in the world came together and talked
about whether there should be safety assessments
for genetically engineered crops, genetically
engineered animals, and genetically engineered
microorganisms we went to all these meetings
over eight years. There's now global agreement
that there should be required safety testing
for these crops before they come on the market
and you know what — the US does not require
In the United States all applications for
the approval of GMO released for public consumption
are handled by the FDA. Development and testing
of a new GM crop typically requires 8 to 12
years, including more than 4 years of safety
and environmental testing, before regulatory
approval and commercial release. The so-called
"Frankenfish" has been in the loop for over
20 years. No particular food is safe to eat
for all human beings, since about 6% of the
human population has allergies to one or more
food groups. FDA testing for food allergies
to GM foods is identical to similar testing
for non-GM foods. Any gene products found
in GM food that is not found in non-GM food
must have its chemical structure analyzed
to determine if it matches any known allergen
containing a sequence greater than 35% identical
to any 80-amino-acid segment of known allergens,
where an average protein contains hundreds
of amino acids). In nearly all instances,
commonly inserted genes would never be expected
to be similar to food allergens. However,
if a match were found, the protein would have
to be tested with sera from allergy sufferers
to establish allergenicity. A GM product that
exhibits "substantial equivalence" to the
non-GM variety is declared to be safe. There
is no published evidence of allergic reactions
to any GM protein or any adverse human health
reactions associated with consumption of foods
from GM crops since the introduction of GM
products into the food supply in 1996.
This is a polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis
comparison of?GMO vs. non-GMO soy proteins.
The left two lanes show the protein profile
of whole soybean extracts from non-GMO left)
and GMO right) soybeans. As you can see, the
bands from each lane look identical, showing
that there are equal amounts of each protein.
In the second set of gels, soy proteins were
blotted, then sera from allergic individuals
were added to see what proteins they bound
to. Again, non-GMO left) and GMO right). Sera
from allergic individuals bound to both lanes
equally, showing that the allergenicity of
GM soy is identical to non-GM soy. The right
two set of lanes are controls showing the
lack of binding to soy from non-allergic sera.
The safety of GM foods has been tested in
numerous animal studies including mice, rats,
pigs, chickens, and monkeys). Nearly all the
studies have shown no difference between the
health of animals fed GM vs. non-GM diets.
Some negative studies have come from one laboratory
headed by Dr. Gilles-Eric Séralini at the
University of Caen, France. However, the conclusions
of those studies have been refuted by numerous
scientists who have noted flaws in study designs
and statistical evaluations. In addition,
Séralini is funded by the Committee for Research
and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering,
in Paris, France, which opposes genetic engineering
of crops.
There are a few realistically possible environmental
concerns about GM crops. First, is development
of resistance in Bt crop target organisms.
Resistance to Bt toxin by pests was anticipated
prior to commercialization of those crops.
For this reason, Many crops include multiple
variations of the Bt toxin in their products.
In addition, all farms growing GM Bt crops
must plant a small percentage of corresponding
non-GM crop in the vicinity. In theory, these
non-GM crops would attract pests, which would
reproduce abundantly, overwhelming the gene
pool of any potential Bt-resistant mutant
pests. So far, the strategy has worked. A
second concern is tolerance in weeds to herbicides
used in GM crops. Although herbicide resistance
has been described, it has not presented a
major problem so far. Some of the newer varieties
of GM plants are tolerant to multiple herbicides,
reducing the likelihood of weeds developing
multiple resistances. The third concern was
whether the eating of pests feeding on GM
crops might pose a threat to the predators
that eat such pests. Studies have shown few,
if any impacts on predator species. A fourth
question is whether GM traits could be transferred
to wild, non-GM relative plants. For example,
there are wild relatives of Brassica which
includes GM canola) and Beta species which
includes GM sugar beets). Although pollen
from some species can fertilize other species
in the lab, this has never been demonstrated
to have occurred in nature.
The main benefit of most GM crops at this
point is economics. The economics of GM crops
was analyzed in a study of 196 publications
containing 721 entries for the statistical
analysis in 2011. The meta analysis found
that crop yields for GM Bt cotton were up
to 50% higher than conventional cotton in
India). However, yields in developed countries
were only 1-28% higher, since pest management
was aggressive before the introduction of
GM cotton. However, reductions in pesticide
costs range from 16% in the USA to about 70%
in China. Yield levels of Bt corn are 5%-25%
higher compared to conventional corn, and
along with lower pesticide costs, which results
in higher gross margins of 10%-17% higher
for farmers. For GM soybeans, marginally increased
yields and reduced pesticide costs did not
make up for the higher cost of GM seed. In
general, benefits of GM farming are higher
in developing countries compared with industrialized
countries. Overall, it was estimated that
GM crops benefit farmers by $7 billion per
year, worldwide.
We are now going to look at some ways GMOs
might impact Christianity.
There are no dietary restrictions in Christianity
other then an admonition against gluttony
and eating foods sacrificed to idols. An example
would be Colossians 2:16-17, which says, "Therefore
no one is to act as your judge in regard to
food or drink…" Although Judaism does adhere
to a strict dietary code, Orthodox Rabbis
have ruled that genetic modification of food
is irrelevant to the Jewish dietary laws.
So, obviously there is no restriction on the
eating of GMOs by Christians or Jews.
Some Christians say that by creating GMOs,
scientists are "playing God." However, human
beings have been breeding plants for thousands
of years. Here are two examples.
This is the familiar corn plant with large
ears of corn. However, corn originally comes
from the teosinte plant, which produces only
a few grains of seed from each ear.
These are drawings of yellow and red carrots
done in a Flemish botanical book from 1554.
These carrots came from wild carrots, shown
on the right. Since this time, carrots have
been bred to be orange and sweet, vastly different
from the wild variety. These examples show
that the crops we now grow are quite different
from those that God originally created. In
essence, we have been "playing God" all along.
Besides providing a financial benefit, GMOs
can provide tangible help to people of third
world countries. Vitamin A deficiency kills
~670,000 children under the age of 5 each
year. So, scientists genetically engineered
into rice the beta-carotene gene, which is
a precursor of vitamin A. An average serving
of this rice supplies more than half the daily
vitamin A requirement. Since a large percentage
of the world's children primarily eat rice,
this would be a good way for them to get extra
vitamin A and prevent childhood deaths.
However, Greenpeace and several other environmental
organizations have strongly opposed the introduction
of any kind of GMOs, even those that might
help third world populations. In this article,
Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore said that
Greenpeace should be charged with crimes against
humanity for opposing the introduction of
golden rice, which could save hundreds of
thousands of children from blindness and death
each year.
Hawaiian papaya was wiped out on the island
of Oahu in the 1950's by the papaya ringspot
virus PRSV), so production was moved to the
big island. However, PRSV infection on the
big island began in the 1970's and by the
early 1990's had destroyed most of the crops.
So, in 1996, scientists genetically engineered
a gene that produced defective viral coat
protein and put it into the papaya plant.
When PRSV infects the genetically-engineered
plant, RNA from the defective coat protein
gene silences the expression of the real viral
coat protein, preventing replication of the
virus. However, scientists didn't discover
how their defective gene actually worked until
many years later. The $60,000 U.S. government
project saved the multi-million dollar Hawaiian
papaya industry and has provided hundreds
of jobs for Hawaiians.
Worldwide there are 300,000 deaths from pesticide
poisoning each year. Even in California there
are about 1,200 poisonings each year though
not necessarily fatal). Since pest resistant
GMOs can be grown in the absence of pesticides,
these deaths and injuries could be eliminated
through expanded culture of GMO crops. Likewise,
GMOs can allow farmers to use less toxic herbicides
to control weeds. The result is lowered environmental
impact by agriculture.
The population of the world is expected to
rise from the current 7 billion to 9 billion
by 2050. This rise will require an increase
in global crop production of nearly 50%. Since
most of the arable land is already dedicated
to agriculture, gains in production will require
significant increases in productivity. In
third world countries, where most of population
increases will occur, agricultural production
is significantly impacted by pests, disease
and weeds. GMOs can dramatically improve productivity
under these conditions.
Genetic modification of plants hold promise
for the future. Plants cannot use nitrogen
directly from the atmosphere, but require
it to be in a chemical form that can be absorbed
by the roots. Only certain classes of bacteria
can fix nitrogen from the air. Legumes, such
as peas and beans, live in symbiosis with
these nitrogen-fixing bacteria, providing
them high energy carbon molecules in exchange
for fixed nitrogen. However, through genetic
engineering, it would be possible to insert
the genes involved in nitrogen fixation directly
into plants, allowing them to produce their
own nitrogen. These crops would require little
or no fertilizers, reducing the carbon footprint
and environmental impact of fertilizer runoff
from farms. In many parts of the world, climate
change has resulted in reduced rainfall, such
as in much of northern and eastern Africa.
Drought resistant crops would markedly increase
crop yields in these regions, contributing
to food sustainability. There are also a number
of areas where plant diseases greatly impact
yields. GMOs engineered for resistance to
these diseases would contribute to food sustainability.
In general, opponents of GMOs are the same
organizations that are environmental advocates
or part of the nutritional health community.
Since environmentalists tend to be on the
left side of the political spectrum. Keith
Kloor of Slate wrote an article saying GMO
opponents are the climate skeptics of the
left, implying that they are ignoring the
data and acting irrationally.
42 nations require labeling of food that contains
GMO components. These are countries throughout
the world, with most of the countries belonging
to the European Union, which dictates the
laws of all those countries. In countries
where GMO labeling is required, GMO food products
have all but disappeared, because stores will
not carry GMO products for fear of being unable
to sell them, even though surveys show that
consumers do not usually read the labels.
Now, we are going to look at GMOs and the
All genetically modified organisms contain
patented DNA technology. The licensing terms
require that users of the patent i.e., farmers)
not save any seed from any harvests, but buy
licensed seed every year it is planted. Without
such licensing restrictions, patents on genetically
engineered seeds would be useless to protect
a company's investment in creating the patent.
However, to insure patent protection, some
GM seed companies are now producing seed that
when grown does not produce viable embryos,
preventing the replanting of harvested seed.
Some interesting cases of patent infringement
have resulted from farmers planting unlicensed
GM seed. The most famous case involved Percy
Schmeiser, a canola farmer from Saskatchewan,
Canada. The case inspired an extremely biased
"documentary" entitled David vs. Monsanto.
Let's look at some excerpts.
In 1996, the chemical giant Monsanto introduced
its brand of canola into Canada, a brand resistant
to the pesticide Roundup. In Schmeiser's region,
three farmers agree to plant Monsanto's new
GM canola. Due to a heavy storm during the
harvest, freshly cut GMO canola drifted into
Percy Schmeiser's fields. His work to fifty
years of breeding was destroyed because his
harvest was contaminated by Monsanto's seed.
Contamination and destruction of his own breed
was irrevocably damaging to Percy Schmeiser.
But on top of that, Monsanto turned him, the
victim, into a culprit. August, 1998, Schmeiser
was sued by Monsanto for having illegally
planted the corporation's patented GMO canola.
And what the trial judge ruled, the first
trial judge ruled is what made the case become
internationally-known overnight what can happen
with farmers when you introduce GMOs. And
the judge ruled this; number one, it does
not matter how a farmer is contaminated.
The truth is that the facts are not quite
the same as those presented in David vs. Monsanto.
Percy Schmeiser was found guilty of patent
infringement by three courts including the
Canadian Supreme Court). According to Schmeiser's
account, in 1997 he sprayed the herbicide
Roundup around telephone poles at the edge
of his farm and discovered that the canola
plants survived, indicating that they were
GM canola plants. He then sprayed an additional
4 acres of the adjacent field and found that
60% of the plants survived the spraying. The
documentary suggested that the 60% came from
wind-blown contamination. Does anybody believe
that? At harvest, Schmeiser saved the Roundup-resistant
seed separately, and the following year intentionally
planted an additional 1,000 acres out of the
1,400) of land with the saved seed he knew
to be Roundup resistant. Fortunately for Schmeiser,
he did not use the herbicide Roundup on this
crop, so the Canadian Supreme Court voided
the lower court financial judgments. Monsanto
had dropped the lawsuit for the 1997 crop,
even though Schmeiser's story of "accidental"
contamination was almost certainly false.
Monsanto's Technology Agreement allows farmers
to sell their genetically-modified crops to
commodity markets, which are allowed to sell
those seeds as a commodity, for anything but
planting. So, Vernon Bowman, after planting
Roundup Ready soybean seed from Monsanto,
decided to obtain second season crop seed
from the commodity market, saving money on
seed costs and avoiding the licensing fee.
Since 94% of the soybean market in the U.S.
uses Roundup Ready soybeans, the seed from
the commodity market was probably nearly pure
GM seed. Bowman planted the seed from the
commodity market and harvested the seed from
that crop and saved it for next season's planting.
Then, amazingly, Bowman wrote Monsanto, telling
them exactly what he had done! Monsanto, of
course, sued Bowman, since he had violated
the terms of the license agreement, which
prevented the planting of patented seed from
previous harvests. Monsanto alleged that Bowman,
in planting the seed from the commodity market
violated the terms of the license agreement.
A judge agreed with Monsanto, along with the
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal
Circuit. The case is currently before the
U.S. Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court rules
against Monsanto, patents on GM seed will
be basically worthless, since any farmer could
buy commodity seed and avoid Monsanto's licensing
fee. Here is another video clip.
In 2001, the small California biotech company,
called Epicyte, patented a product, patented
a gene, which causes both men and women who
eat it, in the form of any product on to produce
antibodies to sperm. If the men eat the Epicyte
gene, they produce antibodies to their own
sperm, rendering them the irreversibly sterile.
If women eat the Epicyte gene, when they have
intercourse, their bodies produce antibodies
to the sperm that has been deposited, and
they become infertile through the destruction
of the sperm. Now, Dupont and Monsanto formed
a joint venture, purchased the Epicyte firm,
and "commercialized" the Epicyte gene. Do
you want to know if the food that you were
eating contains the Epicyte gene?
The story is immediately suspect, since Monsanto
and Dupont are competitors and would be unlikely
to do any kind of joint venture. Epicyte Pharmaceuticals
developed 5 patents between 1997 and 2000,
related to the ability to produce monoclonal
antibodies in plants. None of the patents
involved antibodies to sperm. Neither Monsanto
nor Dupont ever purchased Epicyte. In fact,
Epicyte was purchased by Biolex Therpeutics
in 2004. Biolex attempted to produce monoclonal
antibodies in the aquatic plant Duckweed,
not corn. However, they sold their antibody
system to Synthon in April, 2012, and went
bankrupt in July, 2012. The Monsanto sterilization
gene claim is a ridiculous hoax, but is widely
circulated on the Internet.
In conclusion, GM crops and food are safe
to eat. Genetic engineering technology can
make our food more nutritious and contribute
to sustainable global agriculture. GM opponents
use false and misleading information to thwart
development of GM technology. I believe Christians
should support research into GM technologies
to improve living standards in third world

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