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Monsanto and spinoff ArborGen set their sights on GM trees and grasses
by Tony Isaacs
(The Best Years in Life) Not satisfied to own or control our food crops, Monsanto and its spinoff ArborGen have also set their sights on genetically modified trees and grasses. Despite a groundswell of objections by scientists and activists, the USDA has turned a deaf ear to their concerns and has instead aided and abetted Monsanto's plans.
Coming soon to a forest or landscape near you: Franken trees and Franken grasses
In recent years, Monsanto and ArborGen have been developing GM trees including trees modified to withstand Monsanto's Roundup, trees designed with a reduced lignin content to appeal to paper making and construction industries (lignin gives trees their strength and rigidity) and "terminator trees" which don't produce seeds. In Hawaii, there has already been a contamination issue with GM papaya - the world's first commercially planted genetically engineered tree.
One of the GM trees currently being readied planting is GM Eucalyptus, despite numerous unresolved and unstudied concerns such as:
*Cryptococcus neoformans gattii, a yeast pathogen hosted by a variety of Eucalyptus species. It causes systemic fungal infections in humans, leading to fungal meningitis and death.
*Cold tolerance C-Repeat Binding Factor (CBF) genes such as those found in transgenic Eucalyptus trees that have been associated with stunted growth and production in potatoes. CBF gene modification produces highly pleiotropic effects but there does not appear to have been any investigation on the production of unintended metabolites, proteins, or nuclei acids in the modified trees.
*Transgenes, such as the ones involved in the Agrobacterium vector used in creating the transgenic trees, which can enlarge their host range to infect other species and exchange genes with them through hormones produced at the site of plant wounds.
*As reported by MSNBC and PLoS Pathogens, a new strain of a deadly fungus, Cryptococcus gattii, that has been causing fatal human illnesses throughout the Pacific Northwest. The fungus, which is known to grow on eucalyptus trees, has killed 40 out of 220 people infected throughout the region. The reduced lignin in GM eucalyptus has raised concerns that the trees could be more susceptible to infection.
*Pollen from GM Eucalyptus trees can travel almost twice as far as the ArboGen application stated. Pollen from other GM trees can travel for over 40 kilometers.
One way Monsanto has used to escape scrutiny of their GM Eucalyptus is by declaring most, if not all of the genetically modified components to be 'Confidential Business information' (CBI). The CBI designation prevents independent evaluation of the full impact of GM eucalyptus on the environment and on human and animal health.
Sources for this article included:
About the author
Tony Isaacs is a member of the National Health Federation and the American Botanical Council. He is a natural health advocate and researcher and the author of books and articles about natural health including "Cancer's Natural Enemy." Mr. Isaacs articles are featured at The Truth About Cancer, the Health Science Institute's Healthiertalk website, CureZone, the Crusador, Health Secrets, the Cancer Tutor, the Silver Bulletin, the New Zealand Journal of Natural Health, and several other venues. In addition, he hosts the Yahoo Oleandersoup Health group of over 3500 members and the CureZone Ask Tony Isaacs - Featuring Luella May forum. He is also the local moderator of the CureZone Cancer Alternatives forum. Tony and his partner Luella May host The Best Years in Life natural health website where their motto is "It's never too late or too early to begin living longer, healthier and happier lives."
You can also find articles by Tony Isaacs at:
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AlignLife - http://alignlife.com/author/tisaacs/
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