Monthly Archives: August 2016

.

Synthetic biology is the new GMO on engineered food ingredients arriving this year

With genetically modified organisms (GMOs) quickly approaching a point of saturation in the conventional food supply, the genetic butchers responsible for unleashing things like Roundup Ready soybeans are getting ready to unveil the next phase of their predatory agricultural conquest — synthetic biology.

A Switzerland-based biotechnology company known as Evolva is set to introduce an artificial vanilla product later this year made from the nefarious technology, the first of many so-called “SynBio” products expected to hit the market in the coming months and years. The technology involves using computers to generate fake DNA, which is then injected into GM yeast for the purpose of creating synthetic additives.

In partnership with International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF), Evolva plans to eventually introduce a full line of SynBio products made from completely synthetic organisms. Unlike existing GMOs, which contain genes from other species but still resemble actual organisms found in nature, SynBio products are completely engineered from the ground up.

“Unlike the older science of splicing genes from different species together, synthetic biology is seeking to create whole new organisms that do not exist on earth,” wrote Daniel Taylor for Old-Thinker News about the technology.

Computer-generated biology threatens to destroy all life

The masterminds behind SynBio technology claim that it is completely natural, and they plan to label it as such on food packaging. In fact, the companies behind the technology are going to great lengths to distance themselves from the GMO designation, and regulatory bodies seem to be co-opting this deception against consumers.

In truth, there is nothing at all natural about SynBio, and nobody even knows how the technology will affect actual living ecosystems, let alone the human population. Like GMOs, not a single long-term safety study has ever been conducted on the complex technology, nor has the federal government established any risk assessment guidelines.

“Synthetic biology could have serious impacts on the health of people and ecosystems, on our planet’s biodiversity and for communities on the front lines of corporations’ plans to deploy new technologies and novel organisms for profit,” explains Friends of the Earth (FOE), a public health and environmental advocacy group.

Even more worrying is the self-replicating aspect of synthetic biology. With the ability to manufacture entirely new species using computers, genetic scientists will now have the power to unleash synthetic creations into the world that have the ability to reproduce without human intervention.

Once released into the wild, there is no way to ever remove SynBio products from existence. This has the potential, of course, to trigger an entirely new class of invasive species or environmental pollutant that can never be undone, a chilling prospect that puts into perspective the massive threat that this technology poses to life on planet Earth.

“Synthetic biology is an extreme form of genetic engineering, in which scientists write entirely new genetic code on a computer, ‘print’ it out and then insert it into organisms to serve specific functions,” adds FOE in a fact sheet about SynBio vanillin, the first ever SynBio creation which is expected to be released later this year.

Synthetic biology cannot be allowed

Genetic drift is already a problem with existing GMOs, the traits of which are commonly spread through pollen. Once released, in other words, GMOs have the capacity to persist and spread indefinitely, something that is also true of SynBio.

Taken to its ultimate end, SynBio threatens to completely unravel life as we know it, potentially reprogramming entire species permanently without restraint. The implications of this have not been carefully assessed by regulatory authorities, and yet the technology is on the fast-track for approval.

.

News Will the government force taxpayers to pay for failed GMO technology propaganda

(NaturalNews) In recent days, The New York Times published a story about how the biotech industry has thus far failed to deliver on its many promises regarding GMO crops. The article was published less than one month after the industry petitioned congressional leaders for $3 million in taxpayer money to “educate” the general public about how biotechnology of the sort practiced by Monsanto, Syngenta and others is supposed to benefit humankind immensely.

But, as noted by Common Dreams, there are a couple of reasons why lawmakers should turn down this request, in addition to the fact that the federal government is tens of trillions of dollars in debt.

First off, Common Dreams pointed out, the biotech and bio-agricultural industries don’t need to tap the federal Treasury for “education” funds just to market their products and attempt to make their case to the people. Secondly, Congress should not be using taxpayer funds to promote what international organizations and scientists have, for years, said is a technology that is not living up to the hype and promises and, indeed, “is counterproductive to resolving the critical issues of global food sovereignty and global warming,” the site reported.

Benefits of GMOs? What benefits?

While the so-called “global warming” issue isn’t real, the lack of food sovereignty certainly is, as is the fact that GMO foods are not delivering as Bio-Ag has promised.

Farm Futures reports that 56 groups, including biotech and food industry lobbying organizations, have penned a letter asking four members of the House Appropriations Committee to add $3 million to the 2017 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, to “ensure key federal agencies responsible for the safety of our nation’s food supply – the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – are able to more easily convey to the public science- and fact-based information about food.”

The dozens of groups are attempting to justify their outlandish request to have taxpayers foot the bill for an industry marketing campaign, by claiming that the “benefits” of GMO foods and the knowledge thereof will be passed along to consumers, who will experience lower food prices, greater nutritional access, strengthened rural economies and greater “food security” at home and abroad.

The groups also claim that the funding and resultant campaign are necessary due to a large amount of “misinformation about agricultural biotechnology” in the public sector.

But opponents of the appropriations request would argue what The Times investigation confirmed: Most of the “misinformation” about GMOs and other crop biotech is due to the fact that the technology has not been built on honesty.

No ‘education’ campaign should be permitted by Bio-Ag because the science doesn’t support the claims

In particular, as The Times noted, GMO crops have not produced higher yields, and have led to greater, not reduced, use of pesticides.

In its investigation, The Times noted that two decades ago Europe was largely rejecting GMO crops just as the United States and Canada were embracing them. Using independent academic and industry research data supplied by the United Nations, The Times compared results on both continents. The data analysis is clear: The technology has not delivered as promised.

There was no discernible advantage in crop yields when measured against Western Europe, a part of the continent with comparably modernized agricultural operations like France and Germany. Other data showed that there was little evidence to suggest that introducing GM crops in the U.S. has produced gains beyond those in conventional crops.

What’s more, herbicide use has also increased in the U.S., The Times reported, even as major crops including corn, soybeans and cotton are all now pretty much genetically modified. The U.S. has fallen behind Europe’s largest grower, France, in cutting back on the overall use of pesticides, which includes both insecticides and herbicides.

As such, there is no reason why taxpayers ought to be funding a campaign that would be built entirely on falsehoods. For that matter, the Bio-Ag industry shouldn’t be allowed to launch a campaign at all, even with its own funds, since the science doesn’t support its claims.

.

Mind control: New light technology can manipulate memories, emotions and thoughts

(NaturalNews) New research on mice has shown that blue light stimulation of brain cells can recover memories in mice with Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, they found that artificial reactivation of positive memories through light could suppress the effects of stress-induced depression.

A team led by RIKEN Brain Science Institute center director, Susumu Tonegawa, identified a population of brain cells that can be altered with light so that memories, emotions and even thoughts can be manipulated through a unique technique called optogenetics.

Optogenetics integrates genetic and optical methods to control the mind. Its key molecule is a light-sensitive protein extracted from green algae, called channelrhodopsin. This particular protein can be inserted into memory cells and activated with fiber-optic blue light. Once activated by light, this protein stimulates its host.

Curing depression through optogenetics

The scientists found that optogenetics could successfully be used to manipulate memories in a mouse brain. They were able to implant a false memory causing depression which was then cured through the activation of happy memories.

As reported by Open Transcripts, depression is a terrible brain disorder that globally afflicts 350 million people. In most cases, depression is caused by chronic stress and a series of negative memories.

According to Susumu Tonegawa and his team, negative and positive memories are always competing with each other in the brain. Through the use of optogenetics, the scientists were able to cure depression in mice by overwriting negative memories with positive ones.

First, they implanted positive memories into the brain of a male mouse by letting it play with a female mouse. Then the mouse was subjected to chronic stress treatment which caused symptoms of depression. These feeling of depression were then cured by activating the positive memory through the use of light technology.

Recover memories lost to Alzheimer’s disease

Apart from being able to overwrite negative feelings, scientists were also able to recover memories lost to mice with early-stage Alzheimer’s, through the manipulation of genetically tagged cells and light.

Building on previous work that identified and activated memory cells, they found that fiber-optic light stimulation could regrow lost spines and help mice remember past experiences. As Tonegawa explained, mice with Alzheimer’s are still able to form memories; it is the ability to retrieve these memories that is lost.

Through the use of optogenetic technology, the researchers were able to restore such memories. Their findings suggest that impaired retrieval of memories, rather than poor storage or encoding, may be the underlying cause of early Alzheimer’s disease.

“The successful retrieval of memories in AD [Alzheimer’s disease] mice by increasing the number of spines for normal memory processing only in the memory cells, rather than in a broad population of cells, highlights the importance of highly-targeted manipulation of neurons and their circuits for future therapies. This level of specificity has not yet been accomplished in current deep brain stimulation therapies,” said Tonegawa.

While optogenetics has demonstrated proof of concept for a broad range of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and depression, the big question that remains is whether or not they will be able to convert these animal model studies into therapy for human patients.

.

New laser technology being tested to protect crops from some birds, rats and pests as alternative to poison

(NaturalNews) It’s not often these days that we get to view rapidly advancing technology in a favorable light, but this is one of those rare occasions where high-tech is an incredibly good thing.

As reported by the BBC, researchers are bringing high-tech to agriculture, as a way to raise crops while protecting the environment.

Specifically, scientists are set to launch a trial funded by the European Commission that utilizes high-power laser light to protect crops from pests, rather than Monsanto’s poisons. Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University are hoping that a “fence” of laser light will scare away rats and other pests, and serve as a viable alternative to environmentally harming poisons.

The EC will test the technology in Scotland, the Netherlands and Spain beginning in November. It wasn’t clear why these countries were chosen.

The National Farmers’ Union, or NFU, said that the innovation was a potentially important support to the farming industry, after Britain decided in a referendum over the summer to leave the European Union, in an action dubbed “Brexit.”

‘We are looking at wider agricultural uses’

The EC has contributed 1.7 million euros (or about $1.85 million) to the research effort, the BBC reported, citing a similar report in another UK newspaper, The Register.

“The laser has already been produced,” said Dr. Alex Mason, the project coordinator for the Life Laser Fence project, in an interview with the BBC. “It’s a commercial product used in a number of situations – but we are looking at using it in agricultural situations, on a wider range of species.”

Already, lasers are used to keep birds out of crop fields, Mason said, adding that researchers hope the laser – called the Agrilaser Autonomic – will work as well on rats, badgers, rabbits and foxes.

The laser is presently sold as a device the repels birds, which “perceive the approaching laser beam as a physical danger” that they do not want to fly through, the manufacturer says, as cited by the BBC.

Now, researchers are hoping that the device will work just as well on other unwanted pests and animals that destroy crops, eat food that is meant for livestock and spread disease.

Up to now, fields have been protected (if you want to call it that) with poisons and chemicals that can run off during storms and leach into local drinking water systems, as well as harm cattle and other livestock. They also lead to other unintentional victims like birds that actually help the agricultural ecosystems.

Researchers hope that using the laser in trial areas will reduce crop damage by 50 percent, while cutting back on bird exposure to pesticides by as much as 80 percent.

Technology likely will help an expanding UK economy

“Continuing support and funding of the agri-tech sector is vital in ensuring British science and innovation can reach more farm businesses,” said Dr. Helen Ferrier, chief science advisor for the NFU. She added that such agriculture technology can help the British farming industry become more competitive, efficient and productive, all while reducing waste, managing volatility and establishing “a fair, transparent and functioning supply chain.”

Bolstering the agriculture technology sector is an “extremely important” endeavor, as Britain will face “potential political and economic changes in the next five to 10 years which could severely impact the farming industry,” ostensibly due to Brexit.

There have been many dire predictions about Brexit that have yet to come true, namely that it would doom Britain financially, though Britain’s economy has actually grown more than anticipated after the Brexit vote. This technology, which will benefit a GMO-averse Europe tremendously, let alone agricultural operations everywhere else, will certainly be a boon to environmentalists and organic farming operations as well.