On Cancer from Monsanto’s Roundup

Republished article follows – Source – http://www.gmoseralini.org/ten-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-seralini-study/


Ten things you need to know about the Séralini study

1. Most criticisms of Séralini’s study wrongly assume it was a badly designed cancer study. It wasn’t. It was a chronic toxicity study – and a well-designed and well-conducted one.

2. Séralini’s study is the only long-term study on the commercialized GM maize NK603 and the pesticide (Roundup) it is designed to be grown with. See here: Why is this study important?

3. Séralini used the same strain of rat (Sprague-Dawley, SD) that Monsanto used in its 90-day studies on GM foods and its long-term studies on glyphosate, the chemical ingredient of Roundup, conducted for regulatory approval.

4. The SD rat is about as prone to tumours as humans are. As with humans, the SD rat’s tendency to cancer increases with age.

5.Compared with industry tests on GM foods, Séralini’s study analyzed the same number of rats but over a longer period (two years instead of 90 days), measured more effects more often, and was uniquely able to distinguish the effects of the GM food from the pesticide it is grown with.

6. If we argue that Séralini’s study does not prove that the GM food tested is dangerous, then we must also accept that industry studies on GM foods cannot prove they are safe.

7. Séralini’s study showed that 90-day tests commonly done on GM foods are not long enough to see long-term effects like cancer, organ damage, and premature death. The first tumours only appeared 4-7 months into the study.

8. Séralini’s study showed that industry and regulators are wrong to dismiss toxic effects seen in 90-day studies on GM foods as “not biologically meaningful”. Signs of toxicity found in Monsanto’s 90-day studies were found to develop into organ damage, cancer, and premature death in Séralini’s two-year study.

9. Long-term tests on GM foods are not required by regulators anywhere in the world.

10. GM foods have been found to have toxic effects on laboratory and farm animals in a number of studies.


Republished article follows – Source – http://mailchi.mp/9bee9cb4816e/uncovered-monsanto-campaign-to-get-sralini-study-retracted?e=353ceafdde

Uncovered: Monsanto campaign to get Séralini study retracted


Documents released in US cancer litigation show Monsanto’s desperate attempts to suppress a study that showed adverse effects of Roundup herbicide – and that the editor of the journal that retracted the study had a contractual relationship with the company. Claire Robinson reports

Internal Monsanto documents released by attorneys leading US cancer litigation show that the company launched a concerted campaign to force the retraction of a study that revealed toxic effects of Roundup. The documents also show that the editor of the journal that first published the study entered into a contract with Monsanto in the period shortly before the retraction campaign began.

The study, led by Prof GE Séralini, showed that very low doses of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide had toxic effects on rats over a long-term period, including serious liver and kidney damage. Additional observations of increased tumour rates in treated rats would need to be confirmed in a larger-scale carcinogenicity study.

The newly released documents show that throughout the retraction campaign, Monsanto tried to cover its tracks to hide its involvement. Instead Monsanto scientist David Saltmiras admitted to orchestrating a “third party expert” campaign in which scientists who were apparently independent of Monsanto would bombard the editor-in-chief of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), A. Wallace Hayes, with letters demanding that he retract the study.

Use of “third party experts” is a classic public relations tactic perfected by the tobacco industry. It consists of putting industry-friendly messages into the mouths of supposedly “independent” experts, since no one would believe industry attempts to defend its own products. Back in 2012, GMWatch founder Jonathan Matthews exposed the industry links of the supposedly independent scientists who lobbied the journal editor to retract the Séralini paper. Now we have first-hand proof of Monsanto’s direct involvement.

In one document, Saltmiras reviews his own achievements within the company, boasting that he “Successfully facilitated numerous third party expert letters to the editor which were subsequently published, reflecting the numerous significant deficiencies, poor study design, biased reporting and selective statistics employed by Séralini. In addition, coauthored the Monsanto letter to the editor with [Monsanto employees] Dan Goldstein and Bruce Hammond.”

Saltmiras further writes of how “Throughout the late 2012 Séralini rat cancer publication and media campaign, I leveraged my relationship [with] the Editor i[n] Chief of the publishing journal… and was the single point of contact between Monsanto and the Journal.”

Another Monsanto employee, Eric Sachs, writes in an email about his efforts to galvanize scientists in the letter-writing campaign. Sachs refers to Bruce Chassy, a scientist who runs the pro-GMO Academics Review website. Sachs writes: “I talked to Bruce Chassy and he will send his letter to Wally Hayes directly and notify other scientists that have sent letters to do the same. He understands the urgency… I remain adamant that Monsanto must not be put in the position of providing the critical analysis that leads the editors to retract the paper.”

In response to Monsanto’s request, Chassy urged Hayes to retract the Séralini paper: “My intent was to urge you to roll back the clock, retract the paper, and restart the review process.”

Chassy was also the first signatory of a petition demanding the retraction of the Séralini study and the co-author of a Forbes article accusing Séralini of fraud. In neither document does Chassy declare any link with Monsanto. But in 2016 he was exposed as having taken over $57,000 over less than two years from Monsanto to travel, write and speak about GMOs.

Sachs is keen to ensure that Monsanto is not publicly seen as attempting to get the paper retracted, even though that is precisely what it is doing. Sachs writes to Monsanto scientist William Heydens: “There is a difference between defending science and participating in a formal process to retract a publication that challenges the safety of our products. We should not provide ammunition for Séralini, GM critics and the media to charge that Monsanto used its might to get this paper retracted. The information that we provided clearly establishes the deficiencies in the study as reported and makes a strong case that the paper should not have passed peer review.”

Another example of Monsanto trying to cover up its involvement in the retraction campaign emerges from email correspondence between Monsanto employees Daniel Goldstein and Eric Sachs. Goldstein states: “I was uncomfortable even letting shareholders know we are aware of this LTE [GMW: probably “Letter to the Editor”]…. It implies we had something to do with it – otherwise how do we have knowledge of it? I could add ‘Aware of multiple letters to editor including one signed by 25 scientists from 14 countries’ if you both think this is OK.” Sachs responds: “We are ‘connected’ but did not write the letter or encourage anyone to sign it.”

A. Wallace Hayes was paid by Monsanto

The most shocking revelation of the disclosed documents is that the editor of Food and Chemical Toxicology, A. Wallace Hayes, entered into a consulting agreement with Monsanto in the period just before Hayes’s involvement in the retraction of the Séralini study. Clearly Hayes had a conflict of interest between his role as a consultant for Monsanto and his role as editor for a journal that retracted a study determining that glyphosate has toxic effects. The study was published on 19 September 2012; the consulting agreement between Hayes and Monsanto was dated 21 August 2012 and Hayes is contracted to provide his services beginning 7 September 2012.

The documents also reveal that Monsanto paid Hayes $400 per hour for his services and that in return Hayes was expected to “Assist in establishment of an expert network of toxicologists, epidemiologists, and other scientists in South America and participate on the initial meeting held within the region. Preparation and delivery of a seminar addressing relevant regional issues pertaining to glyphosate toxicology is a key deliverable for the inaugural meeting in 2013.”

Hayes should have recused himself from any involvement with the Séralini study from the time he signed this agreement. But he kept quiet. He went on to oversee a second “review” of the study by unnamed persons whose conflicts of interest, if any, were not declared – resulting in his decision to retract the study for the unprecedented reason that some of the results were “inconclusive”.

Hayes told the New York Times’s Danny Hakim in an interview that he had not been under contract with Monsanto at the time of the retraction and was paid only after he left the journal. He added that “Monsanto played no role whatsoever in the decision that was made to retract.” But since it took the journal over a year to retract the study after the months-long second review, which Hayes oversaw, it’s clear that he had an undisclosed conflict of interest from the time he entered into the contract with Monsanto and during the review process. He appears to be misleading the New York Times.

The timing of the contract also begs the question as to whether Monsanto knew the publication of the study was coming. If so, they may have been happy to initiate such a relationship with Hayes at just that time.

A Monsanto internal email confirms the company’s intimate relationship with Hayes. Saltmiras writes about the recently published Séralini study: “Wally Hayes, now FCT Editor in Chief for Vision and Strategy, sent me a courtesy email early this morning. Hopefully the two of us will have a follow up discussion soon to touch on whether FCT Vision and Strategy were front and center for this one passing through the peer review process.”

In other email correspondence between various Monsanto personnel, Daniel Goldstein writes the following with respect to the Séralini study: “Retraction – Both Dan Jenkins (US Government affairs) and Harvey Glick made a strong case for withdrawal of the paper if at all possible, both on the same basis – that publication will elevate the status of the paper, bring other papers in the journal into question, and allow Séralini much more freedom to operate. All of us are aware that the ultimate decision is up to the editor and the journal management, and that we may not have an opportunity for withdrawal in any event, but I felt it was worth reinforcing this request.”

Monsanto got its way, though the paper was subsequently republished by another journal with higher principles – and, presumably, with an editorial board that wasn’t under contract with Monsanto.

Why Monsanto had to kill the Séralini study

It’s obvious that it was in Monsanto’s interests to kill the Séralini study. The immediate reason was that it reported harmful effects from low doses of Roundup and a GM maize engineered to tolerate it. But the wider reason that emerges from the documents is that to admit that the study had any validity whatsoever would be to open the doors for regulators and others to demand other long-term studies on GM crops and their associated pesticides.

A related danger for Monsanto, pointed out by Goldstein, is that “a third party may procure funding to verify Séralini’s claims, either through a government agency or the anti-GMO/antl-pesticide financiers”.

The documents show that Monsanto held a number of international teleconferences to discuss how to pre-empt such hugely threatening developments.

Summing up the points from the teleconferences, Daniel Goldstein writes that “unfortunately”, three “potential issues regarding long term studies have now come up and will need some consideration and probably a white paper of some type (either internal or external)”. These are potential demands for
•    2 year rat/long-term cancer (and possibly reproductive toxicity) on GM crops
•    2 year/chronic studies on pesticide formulations, in addition to the studies on the active ingredient alone that are currently demanded by regulators, and
•    2 year rat/chronic studies of pesticide formulations on the GM crop.

In reply to the first point, Goldstein writes that the Séralini study “found nothing other than the usual variation in SD [Sprague-Dawley] rats, and as such there is no reason to question the recent EFSA guidance that such studies were not needed for substantially equivalent crops”. GMWatch readers will not be surprised to see Monsanto gaining support from EFSA in its opposition to carrying out long-term studies on GMOs.

In answer to the second point, Goldstein reiterates that the Séralini study “actually finds nothing – so there is no need to draw any conclusions from it – but the theoretical issue has been placed on the table. We need to be prepared with a well considered response.”

In answer to the third point, Goldstein ignores the radical nature of genetic engineering and argues pragmatically, if not scientifically, “This approach would suggest that the same issue arises for conventional crops and that every individual formulation would need a chronic study over every crop (at a minimum) and probably every variety of crop (since we know they have more genetic variation than GM vs conventional congener) and raises the possibility of an almost limitless number of tests.” But he adds, “We also need a coherent argument for this issue.”

EU regulators side with Monsanto

To the public’s detriment, some regulatory bodies have backed Monsanto rather than the public interest and have backed off the notion that long-term studies should be required for GM crops. In fact, the EU is considering doing away with even the short 90-day animal feeding studies currently required under European GMO legislation. This will be based in part on the results of the EU-funded GRACE animal feeding project, which has come under fire for the industry links of some of the scientists involved and for its alleged manipulation of findings of adverse effects on rats fed Monsanto’s GM MON810 maize.

Apology required

A. Wallace Hayes is no longer the editor-in-chief of FCT but is named as an “emeritus editor”. Likewise, Richard E. Goodman, a former Monsanto employee who was parachuted onto the journal’s editorial board shortly after the publication of the Séralini study, is no longer at the journal.

But although they are gone, their legacy lives on in the form of a gap in the history of the journal where Séralini’s paper belongs.

Now that Monsanto’s involvement in the retraction of the Séralini paper is out in the open, FCT and Hayes should do the decent thing and issue a formal apology to Prof Séralini and his team. FCT cannot and should not reinstate the paper, because it is now published by another journal. But it needs to draw a line under this shameful episode, admit that it handled it badly, and declare its support for scientific independence and objectivity.

Read this article on the GMWatch website and access sources here:
http://gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/17764

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Genetically Modified Cannabis


Republished article Link Monsanto, Bayer and the Push for Corporate Cannabis — Patients for Medical Cannabis

(Photo: Adria Vidal) truth-out.org Ellen Brown California’s “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” (AUMA) is a voter initiative characterized as legalizing marijuana use. But critics warn that it will actually make access more difficult and expensive, squeeze home growers and small farmers out of the market, heighten criminal sanctions for violations, and open the door to patented, […]

via Monsanto, Bayer and the Push for Corporate Cannabis — Patients for Medical Cannabis

Victory! Florida v The GE Mosquito

Man with two heads, one happy, one sad,also two pairs of arms and legs

Republished article follows // Emphasis added


Citizens/environment will not be impacted by novel experiment releasing millions of GE mosquitoes

EXCERPT: “FDA knew it was reckless to approve the release of a novel species without first assessing the potential impacts. The agency didn’t do its homework so the local community spoke up and they had the law on their side,” said Jaydee Hanson, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Food Safety.

Victory! GE mosquitoes will not be let loose on Florida community

Friends of the Earth, December 7, 2016
http://www.foe.org/news/archives/2016-12-victory-ge-mosquitoes-will-not-be-let-loose-on-florida-community

* Citizens/environment will not be impacted by novel experiment releasing millions of GE mosquitoes

The Food and Drug Administration announced that it will not move forward with the controversial release of millions of genetically engineered mosquitoes in the community of Key Haven in Monroe County, Florida. The release of the GE mosquitoes would have been the first-ever in the United States, but the FDA failed to conduct adequate testing for potential impacts to people, threatened and endangered species, and the environment. During the November 2016 election, local citizens voted against the release of the insects.

A coalition of public interest groups – including Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, Foundation Earth, the International Center for Technology Assessment, the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition, and Food & Water Watch – yesterday received a response to their 60-day notice of intent to sue the FDA under the Endangered Species Act for failing to take into account impacts to federally listed species in a fast-tracked approval of the release of the GE mosquitoes.

In a letter to CFS attorneys, counsel from the FDA noted, “per the public referendums which took place on November 8, 2016, and the subsequent board meeting of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) on November 19, 2016, the proposed field trial is no longer moving forward in Key Haven, FL. Because residents of Key Haven voted against the trial, FKMCD commissioners agreed that the trial will not be conducted there.”

Release of GE mosquitoes elsewhere in Monroe Country will require the manufacturers, Oxitec, to resubmit a new application for a trial release with environmental data for the new site. If the FDA considers alternate locations proposed by Oxitec for a trial release, it will need to conduct the mandatory Environmental Assessment and indicate Findings of No Significant Impact for any new site.

“FDA knew it was reckless to approve the release of a novel species without first assessing the potential impacts. The agency didn’t do its homework so the local community spoke up and they had the law on their side,” said Jaydee Hanson, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Food Safety.

“This is a victory that protects local communities from reckless experiments,” said Dana Perls, senior food and technology campaigner with Friends of the Earth U.S. “The FDA should never let people and ecosystems be treated as laboratories. We need long-term and sustainable solutions to prevent mosquito breeding grounds.”

“We are glad the FDA finally recognized that it should not allow a company to release experimental GE mosquitoes into a community without their consent,” said Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food & Water Watch. “The FDA needs an entirely new approach to evaluating the potential risks form GE insects.”

“We expect Oxitec will reapply for a permit to include all of Monroe County. FDA must push Oxitec to answer questions the company has avoided, like why have the mosquitos not been tested for pre-existing disease, especially when Zika transfers to eggs; and what is the likelihood of antibiotic-resistant bacteria promotion. Finally, FDA must require a full Environmental Impact Statement on the long term effects of the GE Mosquito DNA entering the sustainable wild populations,” said Barry Wray, Executive Director, Florida Keys Environmental Coalition.

Background:

On November 9, residents of Key Haven, Florida, the proposed release site of the GE mosquitoes, voted against the release of the insects, which were not adequately assessed for risk before being approved by the FDA.

The lack of independent scientific research on the release of GE mosquitoes constitutes a most troubling factor in the drive to release millions of these insects. While the desire to control viral diseases like zika and dengue is understandable, Oxitec, the company manufacturing the GE mosquitoes, has not demonstrated that its release of the mosquitoes in Brazil, Cayman Islands and Malaysia has reduced disease. Few studies, if any, have been done to understand the unintended evolutionary effects of introducing new genes into a species. GE mosquitoes are intended to be sterile, but not all are.

In addition to potential threats to sensitive ecosystems and a lack of evidence to support the GE mosquitoes’ efficacy at minimizing the spread of disease, there is little information about what ingesting these insects could do to people. So many mosquitoes are released in the Oxitec trials (millions are released multiple times a week) that people complain of being forced to breathe in and eat mosquitoes.


Source:  GMWatch.org // Full Story :  http://gmwatch.org/news/latest-news/17357-victory-ge-mosquitoes-will-not-be-let-loose-on-florida-community

Guess who funded those studies!

If you guessed it was Monsanto, you are correct and yes, it is no surprise to be certain.

monsanto-corn-organ-damage


Republished article follows /images  added / source http://gmwatch.org/news/latest-news/17253


Glyphosate Spraying and Monsanto money

Surprise! Monsanto-funded papers conclude glyphosate not carcinogenic or genotoxic

Co-Formulants in Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Disrupt Aromatase Activity in Human Cells below Toxic Levels

Image added


Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(3), 264; doi:10.3390/ijerph13030264

Co-Formulants in Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Disrupt Aromatase Activity in Human Cells below Toxic Levels

1
Institute of Biology, University of Caen Normandy, EA2608 and Network on Risks, Quality and Sustainable Environment MRSH, Esplanade de la Paix, CS 14032, Caen Cedex 5, France
2
Agro-Environmental Research Institute, National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, H-1022, Herman Ottó u. 15, Budapest, Hungary
3
CRIIGEN, 81 rue Monceau, 75008 Paris, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Huixiao Hong
Received: 2 November 2015 / Revised: 19 January 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 26 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrine Disruptors and Public Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [5195 KB, uploaded 26 February 2016]   |

Abstract

Pesticide formulations contain declared active ingredients and co-formulants presented as inert and confidential compounds. We tested the endocrine disruption of co-formulants in six glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH), the most used pesticides worldwide. All co-formulants and formulations were comparably cytotoxic well below the agricultural dilution of 1% (18–2000 times for co-formulants, 8–141 times for formulations), and not the declared active ingredient glyphosate (G) alone. The endocrine-disrupting effects of all these compounds were measured on aromatase activity, a key enzyme in the balance of sex hormones, below the toxicity threshold. Aromatase activity was decreased both by the co-formulants alone (polyethoxylated tallow amine—POEA and alkyl polyglucoside—APG) and by the formulations, from concentrations 800 times lower than the agricultural dilutions; while G exerted an effect only at 1/3 of the agricultural dilution. It was demonstrated for the first time that endocrine disruption by GBH could not only be due to the declared active ingredient but also to co-formulants. These results could explain numerous in vivo results with GBHs not seen with G alone; moreover, they challenge the relevance of the acceptable daily intake (ADI) value for GBHs exposures, currently calculated from toxicity tests of the declared active ingredient alone.

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0).
MDPI and ACS Style

Defarge, N.; Takács, E.; Lozano, V.L.; Mesnage, R.; Spiroux de Vendômois, J.; Séralini, G.-E.; Székács, A. Co-Formulants in Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Disrupt Aromatase Activity in Human Cells below Toxic Levels. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 264.

Show more citation formats


Abstract republished http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/13/3/264 // Images added

Joint PR: Court Documents Reveal Oxitec’s Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Could Cause Increased Numbers of Different Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes

 


GeneWatch UK – 2016

29th September 2016

Contact: Jaydee Hanson; +1-202-547-9359, jhanson@icta.org

WASHINGTON- Genetically engineered (GE) mosquito company Oxitec has admitted a major risk of its technology – reducing one mosquito species may increase the numbers of a second disease-carrying species. The information surfaced today when four environment and food safety groups including International Center for Technology Assessment, GeneWatch UK, Food and Water Watch and Friends of the Earth released court documents from the Cayman Islands. Oxitec, a subsidiary of Intrexon, applied for trial releases of its GE mosquito, which, according to the new information, would be inefficient and risky.

Oxitec previously denied that releasing millions of GE Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, with the aim of suppressing wild mosquito numbers, would result in increased numbers of the Aedes albopictus species (known as the Asian Tiger mosquito). The Aedes albopictus also transmits viral tropical diseases such as dengue and zika, and recently has been shown to be a vector of chikungunya, a devastating and sometimes lethal viral disease. The FDA recently approved trial releases of the GE mosquitoes in Florida.

 “These court documents show that Oxitec’s GE mosquito trials are not worth the risk. The State of Florida and its mosquito control boards have in the past effectively controlled disease from multiple mosquito species using much more benign approaches such as vaccines, screens, repellents, larvicides and removing breeding sites like abandoned tires,” said Jaydee Hanson, policy director of the International Center for Technology Assessment.

This new evidence from the Cayman Islands highlights that Oxitec is aware of a major flaw in its single-species, technological approach to eradicating disease-carrying mosquitoes. Oxitec makes clear that the release of the GE Asian Tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus might be needed if the release of the GE Aedes aegypti results in an increase of the numbers of Asian Tiger mosquitoes. Oxitec’s 2014 application to the Cayman Islands Department of Environment states, “Should Aedes albopictus begin to occupy the Aedes aegypti niche upon reduction in their numbers, a concurrent operation will begin to reduce the numbers of Aedes albopictus”.

“It might be a good business model for a company to sell a technology to reduce one mosquito species, so then they can also sell a technology to deal with the species that replaces it,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “But it’s not worth the effort, expense and potential risk for communities in the U.S. to start down this path.”

Aedes albopictus is a more invasive species than Aedes aegypti and can be found in all east coast U.S. states from Maine to Florida, all southern states, most Midwestern states and in the states along the US-Mexico border from Texas west to California.

“Current permits for releases should now be revoked until regulators recognise the downsides of Oxitec’s technology and the need to consider all the impacts on the ecosystem. The consequences of mass releases of GE mosquitoes could be harmful if other disease-carrying mosquito species move in as a result. Risk assessments in Brazil, the Cayman Islands and the USA need to be revised,” said Dr. Helen Wallace, director of GeneWatch UK.

 The company has also previously hid information about the mosquito’s potential to survive. Company data noted that 15 to 18 percent of its GE mosquitoes survive when fed on cat food containing industrially farmed chicken, which contains the antibiotic tetracycline. Environmental groups have warned that this could lead to the survival and spread of large numbers of GE mosquitoes, when they encounter this common antibiotic in the environment e.g. in discarded takeaways or septic tanks.

“Oxitec has misled the public about the risks. These GE mosquitoes may thrive in the wild or may lead to an increase in more aggressive mosquito populations,” said Dana Perls, senior food and technology campaigner with Friends of the Earth, U.S. “We should be using the least toxic alternatives that don’t have unintended consequences for our environment and health.”

Florida Keys residents will have a non-binding vote on whether they support the release of Oxitec’s genetically engineered Aedes aegypti mosquitoes on November 8, 2016. A separate but related vote will occur in Key Haven, Florida, where Oxitec has received permission from the Food and Drug Administration to release its GE Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the first U.S. trial. Residents of Key Haven have strongly opposed the release of these mosquitoes.


Source http://www.genewatch.org/article.shtml?als%5bcid%5d=576198&als%5bitemid%5d=576847

Republished in full // images and emphasis added


 

Seralini ruled Defamed


Séralini wins defamation case against French news magazine Marianne

Original author of the defamation was American ex-tobacco lobbyist Henry I. Miller

The French news magazine Marianne and its reporter Jean-Claude Jaillette have lost their case in the Court of Appeals in Paris on 7 September 2016, according to a report from CRIIGEN, the research organisation where Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini is chairman of the scientific council.

Marianne and Jaillette were sentenced for defamation for denigrating Prof Séralini and his 2012 research study showing that Roundup and GMO maize caused ill health effects in rats, including liver and kidney damage and hormonal disturbances.

The study was retracted by the first journal that published it after a sustained campaign of defamation by lobbyists. It was subsequently republished in another peer-reviewed journal.

Jaillette’s defamatory article appeared in Marianne in September 2012, in the same month that Séralini’s study was first published. The article said that “researchers around the world” had voiced “harsh words” about the research, which it called a “scientific fraud in which the methodology served to reinforce pre-determined results”.

Séralini, his research team, and CRIIGEN challenged this allegation. They were assisted by lawyers Bernard Dartevelle and Cindy Gay.

On 6 November 2015, after a criminal investigation lasting three years, the High Court of Paris passed sentence. Marianne and its journalist were fined for public defamation of a public official and public defamation of the researchers and of CRIIGEN.

Marianne and Jaillette appealed against the judgement but the 7 September ruling at the Court of Appeals marks the final defeat for their case.

Details of the sentence have not yet been publicly announced but Prof Séralini told GMWatch via email that the defendants will have to pay a 24,000 Euro fine.

Original author of fraud accusation was lobbyist Henry I. Miller

The initial case presented at the High Court demonstrated that the original author of the fraud accusation, before Marianne ill-advisedly took it up, was the American lobbyist Henry I. Miller in Forbes magazine.

Miller had previously lobbied to discredit research linking tobacco to cancer and heart disease on behalf of the tobacco industry. Since then he has tried to do the same in support of GMOs and pesticides.

For more details of the case, contact Maître Bernard Dartevelle’s law firm on 01 43 12 55 80.

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Article Republished in full / Source – GMWatch / Images added


The perils of planned extinctions

 


1. The perils of planned extinctions

Claire Hope Cummings
Project Syndicate, Sept 6, 2016
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/gene-drive-conservation-risks-by-claire-h–cummings-2016-09?referrer=/YJvmtosOVo
[links to sources at the URL above]

A cynical move is underway to promote a new, powerful, and troubling technology known as “gene drives” for use in conservation. This is not just your everyday genetic modification, known as “GMO”, it is a radical new technology, which creates “mutagenic chain reactions” that can reshape living systems in unimaginable ways.

Gene drives represent the next frontier of genetic engineering, synthetic biology, and gene editing. The technology overrides the standard rules of genetic inheritance, ensuring that a particular trait, delivered by humans into an organism’s DNA using advanced gene-editing technology, spreads to all subsequent generations, thereby altering the future of the entire species.

It is a biological tool with unprecedented power. Yet, instead of taking time to consider fully the relevant ethical, ecological, and social issues, many are aggressively promoting gene-drive technology for use in conservation.

One proposal aims to protect native birds on Hawaii’s Kauai Island by using gene drives to reduce the population of a species of mosquito that carries avian malaria. Another plan, championed by a conservation consortium that includes US and Australian government agencies, would eradicate invasive, bird-harming mice on particular islands by introducing altered mice that prevent them from producing female offspring. Creating the “daughterless mouse” would be the first step toward so-called Genetic Biocontrol of Invasive Rodents (GBIRd), designed to cause deliberate extinctions of “pest” species like rats, in order to save “favored” species, such as endangered birds.

The assumption underlying these proposals seems to be that humans have the knowledge, capabilities, and prudence to control nature. The idea that we can – and should – use human-driven extinction to address human-caused extinction is appalling.

I am not alone in my concern. At the ongoing International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in Hawaii, a group of leading conservationists and scientists issued an open letter, entitled “A Call for Conservation with a Conscience,” demanding a halt to the use of gene drives in conservation. I am one of the signatories, along with the environmental icon David Suzuki, physicist Fritjof Capra, the Indigenous Environmental Network’s Tom Goldtooth, and organic pioneer Nell Newman.

The discussions that have begun at the IUCN congress will continue at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Mexico this December, when global leaders must consider a proposed global moratorium on gene drives. Such discussions reflect demands by civil-society leaders for a more thorough consideration of the scientific, moral, and legal issues concerning the use of gene drives.

As I see it, we are simply not asking the right questions. Our technological prowess is largely viewed through the lens of engineering, and engineers tend to focus on one question: “Does it work?” But, as Angelika Hilbeck, President of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) argues, a better question would be: “What else does it do?”

When it comes to the GBIRd project, for example, one might ask whether the “daughterless mouse” could escape the specific ecosystem into which it has been introduced, just as GMO crops and farmed salmon do, and what would happen if it did. As for the mosquitos in Hawaii, one might ask how reducing their numbers would affect the endangered hoary bat species.

Ensuring that these kinds of questions are taken into account will be no easy feat. As a lawyer experienced in US government regulations, I can confidently say that the existing regulatory framework is utterly incapable of assessing and governing gene-drive technology.

Making matters worse, the media have consistently failed to educate the public about the risks raised by genetic technologies. Few people understand that, as MIT science historian Lily Kay explains, genetic engineering was deliberately developed and promoted as a tool for biological and social control. Those driving that process were aiming to fulfill a perceived mandate for “science-based social intervention”.

Powerful tools like genetic modification and, especially, gene-drive technology spark the imagination of anyone with an agenda, from the military (which could use them to make game-changing bio-weapons) to well-intentioned health advocates (which could use them to help eradicate certain deadly diseases). They certainly appeal to the hero narrative that so many of my fellow environmentalists favor.

But the fact is that we have not created the intellectual infrastructure to address the fundamental challenges that gene drives – not to mention other powerful technologies – raise. And now we are supposed to suspend our critical faculties and trust the techno-elites’ promise to use gene drives responsibly in the service of seemingly positive environmental goals. No open public discussion is needed, apparently. But why should we blindly believe that everything is under control?

In my view, the focus on using gene-drive technology for conservation is a ruse to gain public acceptance and regulatory cover. Why expose something to public scrutiny and possible restraints when you can usher it in through the back door by pretending it will do some good? The risks are too obvious for gene-drive advocates to risk talking about them.

In my 20-plus years of researching and reporting on transgenic technologies, I thought I had seen the worst of the false promises and hype that they engender. But gene drives are unlike anything we have witnessed, and amount to the ultimate test of our self-control. Can we really trust science to guide us, or do we recklessly throw in our lot with technological “silver bullets” as the way forward?

Fortunately, we still have a choice. The fact that gene drives can change the basic relationship between humanity and the natural world is both a challenge and an opportunity. We can do now what we should have done a long time ago, with regard to both nuclear and transgenic technologies: start paying more attention to the dangers of human ingenuity – and more respect to the genius of nature.

2. Argument builds around a genetic tool that can erase an annoying species

By Ron Meador
MinnPost, 7 Sept 2016
https://www.minnpost.com/earth-journal/2016/09/argument-builds-around-genetic-tool-can-erase-annoying-species

What if scientists could wipe out an entire species of malaria-carrying mosquito across sub-Saharan Africa, and other tropical regions of the world, with a bit of genetic editing that would drive its swarms to extinction in just a few years?

Or, with the same tool, stop the spread of Lyme disease by eliminating the white-footed mice that serve as reservoirs for that parasite? Maybe rescue portions of the Galapagos by rubbing out invasive rats?

If this sounds like the stuff of futuristic fantasy fiction to you, you have missed the coverage gathering this summer around the promise and perils of “gene drive” technology, a simplified approach to genetic engineering with a clear capability to erase entire species within just a few generations. (The target insect’s or rodent’s generations, that is, not human ones.)

The topic is front and center this week at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii, the quadrennial meeting of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Delegates there have voted overwhelmingly to call a temporary halt to development of gene drive techniques until the world has had to chance to reflect upon the many ways in which it could go way wrong.

That action follows publication of an open letter [PDF] signed by such luminaries as Jane Goodall, David Suzuki and Fritjof Capra declaring that gene drive technology, “which has not been tested for unintended consequences nor fully evaluated for its ethical and social impacts,” brings humanity to “a moral and ethical threshold that must not be crossed without great restraint”.

Most mainstream media coverage, however, has carried the sort of cheerful, gee-whiz tone of Saturday’s Wall Street Journal piece headlined, “Mosquitoes are deadly, so why not kill them all?”

There is no shortage of sound answers to that question, but before turning to them let’s talk a bit about the science that has made it necessary and really rather urgent. Since mosquitoes are the primary near-term targets of the technique, they offer a fine illustration.

Making mosquitoes all male

When a male and female mosquito mate, each of their offspring has a 50 percent chance of being female and a 50 percent chance of being male. This is more or less the same for all traits passed down genetically by all species, plant and animal, that reproduce sexually.

With the development of genetically modified crops, like pest-resistant corn, the goal was to insert new genetic traits within the organism. The gene drive method, in contrast, uses a simplified editing technique to make sure that only one version of a trait, like gender, can be passed along.

British scientists have demonstrated, at the petri-dish level, that it is possible to modify the chromosomes of a malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquito so virtually all of the offspring are male.

This carries a dual advantage for disease control: Only females can inject the malaria parasite with their bites. And an all-male population — already shown to be achievable in just a few generations of the fruit fly, that workhorse of testing for genetic inheritance — can no longer reproduce itself.

This is not the only high-tech approach under consideration right now for advanced mosquito/malaria control. It’s not to be confused, for example, with a work on getting insects to carry new genetic material that can resist or kill a virus like Zika. Or torpedoing population growth by introducing insects made sterile with radiation, or outfitted with bacteria that can be passed along to offspring with lethal effects.

Those tools have a lot of potential and have inspired their own controversy. But in potential impact they don’t approach the gene drive with its simple, quick capacity for engineered extinction.

Problem is — assuming that something might just possibly go wrong — it’s an extinction mechanism without a kill switch.

To its credit, the Journal story acknowledges (if only glancingly) that there are arguments for going slow with the gene drive approach to fighting Zika, malaria and other insect-borne diseases. So does an earlier piece (with a highly similar tone and headline) in Time magazine.

The case for precaution

They can be grouped in a few categories, and are discussed in more detail in this fine piece of a month ago in the journal Science:

* Mosquitoes play key roles in ecosystems, such as providing food for bats and other insectivores, and “scientists have minimal experience engineering biological systems for evolutionary robustness”.
* It’s possible that a gene drive might not distribute the intended trait throughout a target population, or might find its work blocked by a naturally occurring mutation, or might spread the trait to nontargeted species.
* It’s also possible that a gene drive could stimulate other unforeseen evolutionary responses over a longer term in both target and nontarget species.
* And, again, the ability to redress any of these unintended consequences could be sharply limited by the lack of reliable reversal mechanisms.

Even scientists championing gene-drive technique recognize and discuss these limitations and risks, but generally as little hurdles to be crossed somewhere down the road.

For example, the entomologist Zach Adelman of Texas A&M, who is trying to engineer a males-only rewrite to the chromosomes of the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito, told the Journal that he sees the technology as “an all-powerful tool that will win the war for us, but that is exactly the sentiment that people felt when things like DDT first came along. … It’s good to be optimistic. But we need to be realistic as well. “

On the other hand, he says frankly that, “I think it is our moral duty to eliminate this mosquito.”

And at the moment, that notion of a moral imperative in favor of rapid deployment rather than precautionary restraint seems to be dominating the conversation among many scientists — the views of Jane Goodall and the IUCN notwithstanding — and other powerful actors including Bill Gates, whose foundation has invested many millions in both the development of gene drive techniques and their eventual application.

Speaking to a Bloomberg reporter in June, Gates acknowledged that “there’s a still a fair amount of work to be done” and that “nothing is ready to be deployed today,” but these points were secondary to “my basic belief … that children dying of malaria is a bad thing, and that we should be able to meet these objections”.

“Gates says he hopes to see gene editing used against HIV. His foundation has funded older gene-editing efforts against HIV, which were less efficient than [the new gene drive tool]. ‘HIV is still a lifelong disease, and any type of cure approach or some sort of way that you’d protect somebody on a lifelong basis, that would be invaluable, but that’s at a very early stage.’”

And as a former Namibian health minister, Richard Kamwi, told Time:

“A malaria vaccine has been 10 years down the road for 25 years. We need something now, before the tools we have stop working. I want to call on all the researchers and say that where they have been walking, they must start running. Where they have been jogging, they must start sprinting.”

Full article http://gmwatch.org/news/latest-news/17202

Republished in full / illustrations added

 

 

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