Jennifer Lake's Blog

May 11, 2011

The Minimal Genome Project

“Since the early days of molecular biology, the search for the minimal genome has been the ‘Holy Grail’..”
“The search for the ‘smallest autonomous self-replicating entity,’ which subsequently became the search for the smallest cell genome, was begun in the late 1950s by Harold Morowitz… This led to studies of the mycoplasmas, showing that these microorganisms have the smallest reported cell and genome sizes [as of 1996]. The DNA sequence of the smallest known mycoplasma genome, that of Mycoplasma genitalium, recently was determined… The nature of selective pressure for repeated genome not known..[but] have been suggested to be due to selection for faster (hence, smaller) replicating genomes to produce greater progeny..yields, selection for smaller genomes to reduce the energy limiting nutrient environments, and loss..[due to] deleterious mutations… Since the early days of molecular biology, the search for the minimal genome has been the ‘Holy Grail’… subtracting the minimal gene set from an organism’s total gene inventory should reveal genes for the phenotype characters that make each organism unique.”
Harold J. Morowitz:
Oral History Interview, March 16, 2005 — “This interview chronicles Morowitz’s scientific career in detail, beginning with his education in physics, his transition to biophysics, to his ongoing attempt to apply..information theory to..biological problems. His a valuable insight of how and why physicists after WWII came to be interested in..biological problems…[and] illustrates the reciprocal interaction between scientific Yales’s biophysics program..and the Atomic Energy Commission’s promotion of the peaceful use of atomic energy (e.g. nuclear fallout debate)..”

Remember SARS in 2003? Looking back on SARS led me to something dubbed the Minimal Genome Project which I found a lot of experimental documentation for between 1998 and 2000, including the creation of completely new amino acids –until this, every biological entity that has ever existed used the same available 20 amino acids. SARS patients were found to be infected with a novel corona virus and, coincidently, a novel corona virus was created in a lab with a new amino acid in 2001. Since the original outbreak, the SARS creature seems to have disappeared. Was it part of an experiment to create a new “minimal genome organism” ?  Indirect evidence is tantalizingly suggestive that it could be the case.  First, consider this research news in the right time window, and I’ll add more to this post supporting a proof-of-concept. This link, within Sweating the Small Stuff states that coronavirus is the largest known genome in nature –ripe for a take-away project, I suppose. Since the 2003 outbreak new information about coronavirus is being published, such as this statement from August 2004: “The coronavirus replicase-transcriptase was recently predicted to contain RNA-processing enzymes that are extremely rare or absent in other RNA viruses” –in other words, the researchers have made a novel discovery about their specimen. In this case, the studied coronavirus is generating a unique protein that has an ability to preferentially cleave double stranded RNA (dsRNA): . This feature of the SARS virus is creating a handy new enzyme tool for genetic engineers.

Minimal genomes are a boon to living DNA computers:“Human cells and computers process and store information in much the same way… ‘If you look inside the cell, you find a bunch of amazing little tools,’ said Adelman, who made the first DNA-based computation in 1994. ‘The cell is a treasure chest.’ ”; Leonard Adelman is employed by George Mason University and the MITRE Corporation, producer of the JASON reports for the DoE, DoD, etc.; Leonard Adelman says “Late one evening, while lying in bed reading Watson’s text, I came to a description of DNA polymerase. This is the king of enzymes – the maker of life. Under appropriate conditions, given a strand of DNA, DNA polymerase produces a second “Watson-Crick” complementary strand, in which every C is replaced by a G, every G by a C, every A by a T and every T by an A. For example, given a molecule with the sequence CATGTC, DNA polymerase will produce a new molecule with the sequence GTACAG. The polymerase enables DNA to reproduce, which in turn allows cells to reproduce and ultimately allows you to reproduce. For a strict reductionist, the replication of DNA by DNA polymerase is what life is all about… DNA polymerase is an amazing little nanomachine, a single molecule that “hops” onto a strand of DNA and slides along it, “reading” each base it passes and “writing” its complement onto a new, growing DNA strand.; ; simpler genomes are helping this process along. Adelman’s counterpart in Israel, Ehud Shapiro, works on a project at the Weizmann Institute called “The Human Cell Lineage Tree** Flagship Initiative” An accomplishment of Shapiro and colleagues in 2004 illustrates a DNA computer at work: “Recently, simple molecular-scale autonomous programmable computers were demonstrated..allowing both input and output…. Such computers, using biological molecues as input data and bilogically active molecules as outputs, could produce a system for ‘logical’ control of biological processes… As proof of principle we programmed the computer to identify and analyse mRNA of disease-related genes associated with models of..cancer, and to produce a single-stranded DNA molecule after an anticancer drug.”

There it is: cell surveillance and cancer ‘self’ control.

With DNA polymerase to “process”, restriction enzymes to “cut” and ribozymes to “paste”, the working parts of DNA computers look to be on hand with the exception maybe of genetically stable, high-fidelity replicators.
I speculate that cancer cells are very useful for this purpose with their immortal qualities, and in so many cases, engineered recombinant microbes (i.e. viruses) in current therapy use end up causing cancers, that the cancer cells, and controlling the cells, in the first place is the most useful approach. Minimal genomes, real and artificial, look like other lines of pursuit running apace for the ultimate creation of DNA computer life. This general field of study is called bioinformatics and another of its Holy Grails is finding perfect cell-based delivery systems. The DNA computer ‘proof of principle’ by the Israelis (above) used a “stochastic molecular automaton” to provide the computer input, meaning a precise-targeting agent –I’m perusing the literature to find the exact agents– but this fundamentally defines the action of viruses. And the genetically small ones, like SV40 monkey virus and polioviruses are already human-adapted and under intense ‘quantitative’ experimentation to see how well they deliver genetic information.
**Human Cell Lineage Tree Project collaborators in the U.S. are Shimon Weiss of UCLA  and Stephen Quake at *Stanford; for more ‘flagship’ programs see this


Chalk this up to spooky things scientists say.
November 22, 2002 — “Craig Venter’s ‘minimal genome’ project announced Wednesday is not about creating a new life form…[that comes later with Synthia]. The high profile project was just funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) with $3 million going to the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA), one of the nonprofit research institutes Venter founded after leaving..Celera Genomics early this year.
   “The question of the minimal genome for an organism [–the base gene set required for life–] is always ‘minimal in which environment,’ said Francisco J. Silva of the University of Valencia in Spain. Silva and colleagues..are studying the genome of the insect endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola, which appears to have an even smaller genome than that of the parasite Mycoplasma genitalium, Venter’s organism of choice.
   “..pathogenic bacteria usually have more genes than their harmless relatives do..but the disease-related genes are not essential to life, so they could be the first catagory of genes a scientist would jettison from a minimal genome organism… ‘A minimal genome organism’ [Silva] said, ‘will be a prisoner of the laboratory dish where it lives, and will be unable to compete with the outer world.’
   “The minimal genome organism now being planned..will be further crippled so that it cannot survive wihout laboratory coddling. The strategy is to synthesize an artificial chromosome containing the presumptive minimal gene set, remove all existing genetic material.. and then insert the synthetic chromosome into the vacant cell… The long-term goal..will be to help the world solve some of its environmental problems. That’s why the funding is coming from DoE, where recent genetics projects have focused on bioremediation…”
>>>In June 2010, Venter announced “Synthia” –“a synthetic cell from scratch” and “a hitherto unseen lifeform…To do this, he read the DNA of Mycoplasma mycoides, a bug that infects goats, and recreated it piece by piece. The fragments were then ‘stitched together’ and inserted into a bacterium of a different species… he claimed the breakthrough had changed his views on the definition of life. ‘We have..the first synthetic cell powered and controlled by a synthetic chromosome and made from four bottles of chemicals,’ he said..”–wipe-humanity.html
“The constraints of the genetic code are history”
Feb. 14, 2002 – ” ‘The constraints of the genetic code are history,’ proclaims Peter Schultz of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California…’At least in bacteria, the genetic constraints..are gone.’ Dr. Schultz’s statement is no idle boast…[His] laboratory, along with another team of chemists based in Japan, are introducing completely new strands [of DNA]…If successful, they will fabricate..a new sort of living thing… [C] developed unnatural versions of all the ingredients in this process: the bases, the DNA, the RNAs and the amino acids. The result is a protein that could never have existed in nature… By exposing..unnatural bacteria to the sort of conditions believed to have prevailed on the early might be possible to observe whether bacteria with 21, 22, or even more amino acids might win out over those with the standard complement… Back in the present, the next order of business is to apply the research to mammals. Dr. Wang says that a certain strain of monkey cells has shown a promising tendency to incorporate unnatural amino acids. Within a year, he thinks, the group should have made mammalian cells equipped with 21 amino acids.”
>>>Dr. Lei Wang is on the faculty of the Salk Institute; it certainly seems like the Schultz team was eager to know if their creations would ‘compete’ outside the lab.
   In July 2002, Eckard Wimmer of SUNY, in conjunction with the Pentagon, announced the result of his DARPA-funded project to create viruses from scratch:
“This is the first time that a working biological entity has been made using chemicals alone…But poliovirus is easier to build than many others. It has a short and simple genome and assembles itself directly from a DNA template… More complex viruses could be synthesized, Wimmer believes, by additional chemical steps or by putting synthetic genes into living cells..”
Commenting on Wimmer’s achievement: ” ‘This work should never have been done, funded, or published,’ said J.Craig Venter…’Somehow the whole system broke down here.’ ..The work, [Wimmer] said, was intended to serve as a warning of what is now possible.”
2004— “Several attempts have been made to identify the minimal set of genes that is required for life using computational approaches… These experiments resemble those already performed by nature; a few hundred million years ago an ancestor of E. coli was domesticated by aphids which resulted in the elimination of 70-75% of the original bacterial genome. Amazingly, the small genomes of the imprisoned bacteria are more stable than those of their free-living relatives.
   ..”Obligate host-associated bacteria have among the smallest genomes known in nature… Two different scenarios have been proposed to explain the process of genome shrinkage in B. aphidicola… that the minimization..was continuous, with genes being lost individually through a large number of small deletion events..[or] that many genes were lost simultaneously at an early stage of the internalization process..through the elimination of large blocks of DNA spanning multiple genes…
 …”as computational analysis becomes more refined and the data sets grow larger, fewer genes remain that are conserved among all taxa…[and] the few remaining genes are organized in a surprisingly similar manner… The lack of..sequences..reduces rearrangement possibilities…
   “The next few years will tell whether..the..endosymbiont genomes are self-sustainable… An interesting question for the future is to determine whether the dependent partner will be ‘allowed’ to stay as a ‘silent parasite’ if the need for its functions is lost during evolution, or if such a loss will cause it to deteriorate and collapse.”
Error Catastrophe
Too many mutations, too rapid a pace and/or too few genes leads to a potential species collapse in a  nose-diving degenerative process that microbe researchers in the lab call “error catastrophe”; virus experimenters document the fundamental principle, noting, “There is an intrinsic limit to the maximum variability of viral genetic information before it loses meaning and if an RNA virus quasispecies goes beyond that mutation limit, the population will no longer be viable. The phenomenon that occurs when the loss of genetic fidelity results in a lethal accumulation of errors has been termed ‘error catastrophe’. Most cellular organisms have evolved a number of sophisticated processes to maintain their genetic information with high fidelity and stay far away from the threshold of error catastrophe. In contrast, it has been predicted that RNA viruses with high mutation frequencies exist close to the edge of error catastrophe and can be forced into error catastrophe by a moderate increase in mutation rate… We also describe direct evidence that the error catastrophe theory applies to poliovirus.”
“One very important fact to remember is that radiation increases the spontaneous mutation rate” — Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) power plant training manual on the effects of ionizing radiation
   Another important fact is that viruses are not organisms or cells and have no strategies for survival! The authors of the ‘error catastrophe’ paper are really telling us that the “edge of viability” on which polioviruses (and others) exist needs maintenance to prevent their extinction. Circulating polioviruses were determined in 2000 to be all vaccine-derived, and the buzz around the conference tables of the WHO and other agencies brought up the issue of stopping the inoculation programs. Very soon thereafter
a complete scratch poliovirus made from mail-order chemicals blitzed the science headlines invoking a new threat from terrorists. As a mode of comparison, organisms do have an array of survival strategies.

April 28, 2011

Transgenic Round-up


NATURE is literally forced at the point-of-a-gun to permanently accept mutant biological shrapnel or die. Only the survivors, be they microbes or caged lab rats are allowed to multiply and pass on their new genes while a potentially unlimited variety of species are being cross-linked for use. An alarmingly escalated pattern of ‘blight’ and disease which threatens world food supplies and human survival appears to closely precede the mass introduction of transgenics wherever they take root. I’ll write more about this pattern in future posts — for now, here’s a sample roll call of transgenic progress.
The Helios Gene Gun..”uses..DNA- or RNA-coated gold particles..loaded into the gun and you pull the trigger.”

“..Monsanto researchers encountered enormous diffculties in introducing [a mutant gene] into soybean cells… In the face of this resistance from nature, [they] decided to bring out..a “gene gun” invented by two Cornell University scientists…When John Sanford and his colleague Ted Klein came up with the idea for this last-ditch weapon, they were considered crazy, even though laboratories at the time were prepared to do anything to force the desired DNA to penetrate the target cells… But nothing was working. The gene gun is now the insertion tool most frequently used by the ‘artillerymen’ of genetic engineering. It works by attaching genetic constructs to microscopic gold or tungsten* bullets and shooting them into a culture of embryonic cells… As Arnold Apotheker points out..,’In their determination to subjugate nature, humans use the technologies of war to force cells to accept genes of other species’.” [pp140-141] >>>Monsanto found its pesticide-resistant mutant gene near its most highly glyphosate-contaminated production plant. So what about us? Is the purpose of forced healthcare to search for mutant DNA?

..”The New York Times was able to get its hands on a draft of a secret document, dated October 13, 1986, in which the company’s directors established a veritable battle plan to impose GMOs in the United States. Among the primary objectives were ‘creating support for biotechnology at the highest U.S. policy levels’, and ‘working to gain the presidential the 1988 election’… On June 2, 1987..Monsanto researchers conducted their first field test of transgenic crops in Jerseyville, Illinois… George H.W. Bush assumed the presidency in January 1989… Dan Quayle..presented American policy on GMOs…’We are taking this step as part of the President’s regulatory relief initiative..’ [and published by the FDA as] its regulatory policy on ‘foods derived from new plant varieties..developed by methods of genetic modifications are regulated within the existing framework..utilizing an approach identical to that applied to foods developed by traditional plant breeding.’ ” [p143-145]  “..the techniques of genetic manipulation have absolutely nothing to do with the genealogical selection that has been practiced by breeders since the..mid-nineteenth century… genealogical selection is based on natural laws”.. [p136, The World According to Monsanto, 2008, Marie-Monique Robin]

Spying on our cells – “Gold, DNA Mix Could Result in Biological Nano Spies; A current use of nanogold is “laser-guided” treatment: NanoPulse Biosciences: “We at NanoPulse Biosciences harness the power of optically excited nanomaterials  by pulsed lasers to develop some of the most precise targeted-therapeutic  technologies available…  NPB’s diverse product portfolio and intellectual capital is based on two  scientific technologies: noble-metal nanoparticles and short-pulsed lasers.  Currently, NPB is working with The University of Texas at Austin to obtain  exclusive licensor of the ‘Plasmonic Laser Nanoablation Methods’ patent… Disease-specific targeting of functionalized gold nanoparticles enables highly  selective and precise treatment.”; NanoPulse cofounder Daniel Eversole wrote: “Gold nanoparticles have shown great potential as in-vivo, optically-active, biospecific probes with highly controllable and tunable optical properties for simultaneous molecular imaging and phototherapy. The strong plasmon resonance has led to the development of a variety of nanoparticle-based cancer therapies we term Plasmonic Laser Phototherapy (PLP). “

Transformation of Filamentous Fungi, “over the last few years, microprojectile bombardment has become a powerful tool for transformation on intact cells, particularly for the transformation of fungal strains…such as obligate plant pathogens”
“Stable transformation of..mitochondria was achieved by particle bombardment..using plasmid DNA coated onto to gold or tungsten microparticles. Results demonstrate that the kind and size of microparticles are important factors in determining efficiency of transformation…approximately five-fold [to ten-fold] more efficient with 0.6 gold particles…”


“Just as some people live by the sword, we shall live by science” —Chaim Weizmann
                                                           The Transgenic Human?
Maxine Singer and Paul Berg
In 1972, one of [Maxine] Singer’s colleagues and personal friends Paul Berg of Stanford University was the first to create recombinant DNA molecules… In the early 1990s.. Singer issued an article encouraging the public to try the first genetically engineered food to reach American supermarket shelves.”
Berg wrote in his Nobel Prize autobiography:..”After 6 years in St. Louis, I moved to Stanford University’s Medical Center (1959) to help Kornberg set up the new department of biochemistry. In time, my interests shifted from..microorganisms to mammalian cells and I spent a year experimenting with Polyoma and SV40..with Renato Dulbecco at the Salk Institute. Soon after, I returned to Stanford [and] conceived of using SV40 as a means for introducing new genes into mammalian cells… My colleagues and I succeeded in developing a general way to join two DNAs together in vitro; in this case, a set of three genes responsible for metabolizing galactose in the bacterium E. coli was inserted into the SV40 DNA genome. That work led to the emergence of the recombinant DNA technology ” >>>SV40 monkey virus was a vaccine contaminant in the 1950s & 60s, now thought to be possibly contagious as well as heritable.

“So it was at Stanford, not in St. Louis, that the first genetic manipulations took place. In 1972, as Monsanto was preparing to launch Roundup, Paul Berg succeeded in ‘recombining’ DNA– that is, putting together two fragments of DNA from different species into a hybrid molecule. A little later, his colleague Stanley Cohen announced that he had succeeded in transferring a frog gene into the DNA of a bacterium… These discoveries, which broke a law that had been considered inviolable, the impossibility of crossing what was known as the ‘species barrier’, created great excitement, along with deep concern, in the international scientific community. The worries turned into an uproar when Paul Berg announced his intention to insert a carcinogenic virus, SV40, from a monkey into an E.coli cell*, a bacterium that colonizes the human digestive tract. Some scientific authorities, such as Robert Pollack, a cancer virus specialist, worried: “What will happen if the manipulated organism inadvertantly escapes from the laboratory?” The general outcry led to a temporary moratorium on genetic manipulation and, on February 25, 1975, the first international conference on recombinant DNA… But, at no point did they broach ethical questions, which were excluded from the outset. It was as though the biologists had already decided to ‘limit the involvement of the public and the government in their affairs to the minimum’. The message was soon received loud and clear by the future world leader in biotechnology.” [pp133-134, The World According to Monsanto]

*Berg’s “success” was a done deal long before 1972. SV40 was the “cancer-causing” virus transferred to polioviruses used in the Salk and Sabin vaccines –viruses known to have been cultured on human HeLa cells (immortalized cancer cells).  Berg’s original work with SV40 seems to parallel its discovery in 1960 and its public outing as a vaccine contaminant in 1963.  While Berg supposedly perfected his recombinant techniques using SV40 as a carrier ‘mule’, Maxine Singer was on a year’s sabbatical at the Weizmann Institute (1971-72) while Albert Sabin was its president (1970-72), working on SV40 research which proved that the host cell transferred its genes into the SV40 virus (creating a defective virus that was still able to replicate and pass on its genes ). The polio vaccines of the 1950s and 60s were not just a radiation experiment, or an anti-cancer vaccine as the government insiders may have believed, but in fact an unacknowledged transgenic alteration of the human population, presented as an after-the-fact occurrance in scattered, stepwise scientific studies.

“Molecular biologists knew very well that plant organisms possess defense mechanisms designed to protect them from the intrusion of foreign bodies, including, of course, genes coming from other living species. From the very beginning, those biologists understood that genetic manipulation could not be carried out without using an intermediary, or a ‘mule’, able to transport the selected gene and make it enter by force into the target cell. For this purpose, they turned to [bacteria with] the capacity to insert some of its genes into.. cells to cause tumors… In 1974, a Belgian* research team succeeded in identifying the plasmid (a ring of DNA) constituting the vector by which the gene that induces the tumor is transferred from the bacterium to the [host]. In St. Louis, as in laboratories around the world at the time, they then attempted to isolate in the plasmid the gene responsible for the tumors and replace it with the gene of interest by adding a gene ‘promoter’, a sequence of DNA that triggers the expression of the gene to be triggered.” [p137, The World According to Monsanto]
“Vectors [plasmids] based on recombinant SV40 viruses (rSV40) are highly effective in delivering transgene expression”..
*”From 1960-1965, [Charles] Thomas was Chairman of the Board and during his tenure Monsanto established a permanent overseas headquarters in Brussels . “Monsanto was also a key player in nuclear reactor development…”



“Transgenic: Having genetic material (DNA) from another species. This term can be applied to an organism that has genes from another organism. It is understood that the foreign genes are in the transgenic animal’s germ-cell DNA and so can be transmitted from one generation to the next.” ”

“Transfection: The introduction of DNA into a recipient eukaryote cell, and its subsequent integration into the recipient cells chromosomal DNA..”

Recombinant DNA technology: A series of proceedures used to join together (recombine) DNA segments..from 2 or more different DNA molecules..”

Example of an applicaton:
“Recombinant virus-like particles as drug delivery system; The drug delivery system described here is based on a virus-like particle consisting of the recombinant protein of Polyomavirus VP1… The VP1 protein acts as a major ligand for certain membrane receptors during virus infection… VP1 proteins provide a targeting a well as a drug binding site when used as a..drug carrier for gene therapy.”
Horizontal gene transfer “is any process in which an organism [or virus] transfers genetic material (i.e.DNA) to another cell that is not its offspring… common among bacteria..[and] thought to be a significant cause of drug resistance… Also, [intestinal] bacteria appear to exchange genetic material with each other within the gut in which they live..”;
**gut bacteria can cause pneumonia and flu:


“[T]his direction was followed by the Democratic administration of Bill Clinton, whose campaign director was Mickey Kantor, later U.S. trade representative and commerce secretary..[who] became famous for the harsh comments and the threats he made against his European counterparts when they announced their intention to label GMO products. In this area, his greatest ally was Dan Glickman…Appointed secretary of Agriculture just after Monsnto’s transgenic soybeans had gone on the market, Dan Glickman was the one who authorized all subsequent GMO crops …in September 2004 he had been apponited CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, which brings together the six majors in Hollywood. [p165-166]
“[In 1992]..the FDA..felt that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which ensures the safety of all foods except meat, poultry and egg products, which are regulated by the [U.S.] Department of Agriculture (USDA), had enough deal with new technologies..[using] the ‘principle of substantial equivalence’… Roundup Ready soybeans as an a plant which has a modified [mutated] enzyme that is essentially the same enzyme that’s already in the plant: it has a very small mutation..[pp146-147]  …[A]s Maryanski acknowledged, the document published by the FDA in 1992 was in no way a regulation, since its purpose was primarily to provide justifications for not regulating GMOs… drafted so the biotechnology industry could propagate the myth that GMOs are regulated, which is completely false. [p156] …Decided on at the highest levels..this huge enterprise of disinformation was carried on by an unshakable team: James Maryanski and Michael Taylor. [p159].
…Mickey Kantor, U.S. trade representative from 1992-1997 and commerce secretary from 1996-1997, immediately thereafter joined [Monsanto’s] board of directors.. [p163, The World According to Monsanto]
1991 — “We have established a regeneration protocol for melon…to produce transgenic melon plants..”
“On January 31, 1992, Samuel Shibiko of the Toxicology Section of the FDA wrote: ‘We cannot assume that all gene products, particularly those encoded by genes from non-food sources, will be digestible. For example, there is evidence that certain types of proteins..are resistant to digestion and can be absorbed in biologically active form.’ ” [p154, The World According to Monsanto]
1992 — “Bioengineers at one company learned that the Arctic flounder produces an antifreeze to protect itself in freezing waters. They plan to find the gene that regulates production of the antifreeze and introduce it into strawberry plants.”

1994— FDA approved Flavr Savr tomato on May 17, 1994: “The tomato was fed in laboratory trials to mice who, normally relishing tomatoes, refused to eat..and had to be force-fed by tubes… seven of forty mice died within two weeks.” ; “a significant number  of them..developed stomach lesions…The cultivation of the transgenic tomato..turned out to be a catastrophe: yields in California were so low that the inventors decided to move production to Florida…Flavr Savr was then shifted to Mexico… [and]’Since 1996, Flavr Savr tomatoes have been taken off the fresh produce market in the United States. The manipulation..had unintended consequences such as soft skin, strange taste and compositional changes…In the interim, Calgene* had fallen into the pocket of Monsanto, which had definitely buried the doomed tomato.” [p149, World According to Monsanto]*”.. produced by the Californian company Calgene and submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1992″ ; the Fish Tomato “was created when a tomato plant..was infected with bacteria containing recombinant DNA”


1995— Generation of Transgenic Banana; “An Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation system was developed..which demonstrated chromosomal integration of foreign DNA..with no indication of chimeric tissues..” ;
[2005] Banana vaccine: “..The group succeeded in transferring a Hepatitis B antigen to bananas..”
Uganda prepares to plant transgenic bananas [2010]
Transgenic tobacco — “protein involved in nicotine synthesis..corresponding to affect nicotine content in transgenic tobacco” [1998] “Recent..studies have indicated that smoking or nicotine or both may have protective effects against certain diseases… nicotine may prove useful as a tool..”
In 2006, transgenic tobacco was used to create an experimental vaccine against Shiga toxin E. coli (STEC)
Transgenic cotton..carries its own insecticide within the plant tissues ..  “The toxin kills caterpillars by paralyzing their guts… In 1995 the EPA granted final clearance for..Bt-carrying cotton..released by the Delta and Pine Land Company.”
1996 — Transgenic Crops
Over 20 engineered crops are now being commercialized and quickly brought to market… While transgenic seed introductions in the major field crops (corn, soybeans, cotton and potatoes) have taken the early lead, specialty crops in fruits, vegetables, and forages are not far behind. Major agribusinesses such as Novartis, Monsanto, Dekalb, and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, are putting the full efforts of their research..into engineered crops.”
Seeds of Doubt – “In June 1996, the University of California, Davis, began an unprecedented effort to help the West African nation of Mali, using the promising and controversial new tool of agricultural biotechnology…disease-resistant rice to help feed the impoverished country…So far – like UC Davis’ effort to aid Mali – biotechnology has not delivered.”
“[E]xamples of unpredicted immunogenicity or toxicity are two food products. In the 1990s, in feeding trials with rats (and mice), genetically engineered (GE) tomatoes in the US (Calgene) as well as GE potatoes in the UK [6,7] were found to cause damage to the gut and its mucosal cell lining. In both cases, the transgenes used were coding for proteins regarded as harmless when ingested by mammals. Another major risk in the IMR project is horizontal gene transfer
”In 1996, Genzyme Transgenics Corp., working with Bristol-Myers, announced the birth of a genetically altered goat, which carried the gene for an anticancer drug. Beginning in 1996, Bristol-Myers scientists collaborated with BioServe Technologies, a NASA-funded non-profit, to explore the use of space for developing commercial products.” [Bristol-Myers-Squibb ]
1998 — “Transgenic potatoes engineered to generate an immune response to E.coli infection have passed their first test in human beings… [The potatoes were] developed at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research [BTI]*..[and the human trials] were conducted at the University of Maryland Center for Vaccine Development.” ; *the BTI was founded in 1920 by William Boyce Thompson (1869-1930), the first Director of the New York Federal Reserve Bank (1914-1919) and owner of Newmont Mining, 3rd largest mining operation in the world (for some time) behind DeBeers and Anglo-American. Thompson financed Tobacco Products Co. and Cuban Cane Sugar Co. ;
[2000] Jellyfish potato, tagging potato leafroll virus…aphids fed on extracts ..transmitted [the gene] test plants”
[2005] Potato vaccine for HepB
“The fact remains that the transgenic potatoes had unexpected effects on the [test] rats’ organisms… First, the rats in the experimental groups had brains, livers, and testes less well as atrophied tissue, particularly in the pancreas and the intestine. We also found a proliferation of cells in the stomach, and that is troubling because it can facilitate the development of tumors caused by chemical products. Finally, the immune system of the stomach was overactive which suggests that the rats’ organisms were treating the potatoes as foreign bodies… Apparently, contrary to what the FDA claimed, the insertion technique was not a neutral technology because by itself it produced unexplained effects.” –Arpad Pusztai, [pp180-181, The World According to Monsanto]
“In the late 1980s, the group of Gonsalves at Cornell..and Hawaii started a research project to develop transgenic papaya resistant to PRSV [Papaya Ring Spot Virus] by biolistic transformation method…By May, 1998, PRSV-CP gene transgenic papaya Rainbow and SunUp were deregulated..and granted approval..”
1999 — “In its lab the Cornell team..fed monarch butterfly larvae with milkweed leaves, their favorite diet, dusted with Bt corn pollen. ‘Four days later, 44 percent of the larvae had died, and the survivors had lost their appetite… none of the larvae exposed to leaves..with natural pollen had died.’ …Cornell team’s results were confirmed by a University of Iowa study published on August 19, 2000..with milkweed leaves gathered in proximity to transgenic crops…’We found that after five days exposure to Bt pollen, 70 percent of monarch butterfly larvae died ” [pp230-231, The World According to Monsanto]
Genetically modified forests: “ArborGen is the world’s biggest GM tree company. Formed in April 1999 as a joint venture between Monsanto, International Paper, Westvaco and Fletcher Challenge… [Also] Formed in 1999, GenFor is a joint venture between Chilean technology think tank Fundación Chile and Cellfor (Canada).”
2001Jellyfish gene in a monkey: Gerald Schatten, “The biologist who took a gene from a jellyfish and inserted it into a rhesus monkey egg, creating the world’s first transgenic primate.. will join the..faculty of the University of Pittsburgh..[and] continue to focus on how to transfer foreign genes into monkeys… These genetically engineered monkeys promise to be particularly effective animal models of disease..[for human] health problems..”;
Green glowing monkeys have green glowing babies
Transgenic Rice and Potato Plants Expressing Human Cytochrome [enzyme] — “The transgenic plants metabolized exogenous chemicals, including herbicides, which they were able to tolerate..”
“Epicyte [biotech] 2001 announced..genetically engineered corn which contained a [human] spermicide which made the semen of men who ate it sterile…”
GM canola, has, in fact, spread much more rapidly than we thought it would. It’s absolutely impossible to control.” –Martin Entz, U Manitoba [p216, The World According to Monsanto]
2002Spider gene “switches on” in the mammary glands of dairy goats to make “milk silk” for the materials industry, marketed as ‘Biosteel’ super-strong fiber. “The mammary gland is a perfect natural factory for the synthesizing and production of proteins….’In the future, animals will be our factories,’ Turner says..’Very cheap factories.’
 “[T]his project [will] evaluate transgene expression and milk properties for a number of transgenic dairy goat lines harboring three separate transgenes..”
“Bactofection, a novel technology for introducing genes into cells using live, attenuated invasive bacterial vectors, has been licensed to Microscience Ltd. by the University System of Maryland (USM)…Microscience, based in Berkshire, United Kingdom, will use its proprietary attenuated Salmonella serovar Typhi and serovar Typhimurium derivatives to deliver a range of DNA antigens … The inventors of DNA Bactofection are with UMBI’s Institute of Human Virology….Robert Gallo, director, UMBI’s Institute of Human Virology, comments, “Bactofection has the potential to get vaccines to people in developing areas of the world where they may have been unaffordable and unavailable”…
October, 2002 — “Japanese organic foods test positive for GMOs… 33% of products tested…”
Pharma-crops ‘jump the fence’ –USDA “orders ProdiGene to destroy 155 acres of corn..developed to produce trypsin for diabetes as well as another chemical to treat diarrhea..”
2003 — Yorktown Technologies of Austin Texas introduces ‘GloFish’ to the pet market
Genetic Engineering and Animal Rights
“In 2003, countries that grew 99% of the global transgenic crops are the United States (63%), Argentina (21%), Canada (6%), Brazil (4%), China (4%) and South Africa (1%) and today the Grocery Manufacturers of America estimate that 75% of all processed foods in the U.S. contain a GM ingredient.”
  “Greenhouse and field testing of transgenic wheat…”
[In Egypt]..”Dr. Bahieldin used microprojectile bombardment to transform immature embryos of Egyptian and American bread wheats with genes for salt and drought tolerance..”
[2008] “Seven transgenic lines [of wheat] were identified that expressed the..transgene..”
“..all our foreign customers, led by Japan and Europe, have clearly stated they did not want transgenic wheat… Canada could have gone out of business..” [p226, The World According to Monsanto]
[Aug2003] “U.S. company AviGenics has successfully produced biologically active human interferon and human monoclonal antibodies in transgenic chickens.”
[Oct2003] “France’s BioProtein developed..therapeutic [vaccine] proteins in the milk of transgenic rabbits
2004 — “We have developed transgenic cucumber the expression of rice chitinase..”
 Xenotransplantation: “Embryonic pig liver, pancreas, and lung as a source for transplantaion.. represent an atractive option for organ transplantation..” Weizmann Institute of Science
2005 — GMO alfalfa released:
[2005] “Recent advances in molecular biology and plant biotechnology have shifted the concept of growing crops as a food source to serving as a bioreactor for the production of therapeutic recombinant proteins. Plants are potential biopharming factories because they are capable of producing unlimited numbers and amounts of recombinant proteins safely and inexpensively” ; “The vegetative type [gene] expression system uses plants such as tobacco, lemna, and alfalfa while grain-based systems use corn, rice, and others.”
2006 — European Union approved “ATryn..a recombinant form of human antithrombin..isolated from the milk of goats that have been engineered to produce the protein.”
2007Chicken eggs make human drugs: “engineered chickens may become a more economical and effective method of drug production than current industrial techniques… The genes for the desired proteins were injected into the embryos of newly-laid eggs…The eggs hatched, giving the researchers a transgenic cockerel..who was mated with normal hens to produce more transgenic hicks that also carried the genes. The protein is only found in the whites of a chicken egg… ‘There is also some evidence that proteins [from] chickens may have characteristics closer to human protein than if they are produced in bioreactors,’ said [Roslin Institute team leader, Helen] Sang.”
“Biotechnology now allows us to genetically engineer animals so that they produce proteins that are human pharmaceuticals. For certain drugs that are difficult to produce using existing methods or are needed in large quantities, production in GE animals offers the most efficient and practical solution… Other applications include making animal organs compatible with humans, a technology known as xenotransplantation. Research is being conducted to produce transplant organs in pigs that may be a source of organs for humans.”
2009 — “Only a few countries have the technology to clone farm animals and Iran is one of them, having proven its capabilities..[with its] first cloned sheep in the Royan Institute. The success rate of cloning proceedures at Royan Institute is comparable with pioneer countries in this field such as New Zealand, Denmark and the USA… Producing the first transgenic goat cells that contain a genome for producing t-PA is another achievement of Royan Institute, which gives the hope of producing transgenic goats that can secrete their milk. The Institute is also ready to revive animal species which are exposed to extinction by using cloning technology.”
GE trees: genetically modified eucalyptus from ArborGen approved by the USDA for planting in 7 states
GM mosquitoes:

[fall 2009] “British company Oxitec announced that it carried out the world’s first..outdoor trial in the Caribbean island of Grand Cayman; flightless female mosquitoes developed in a collaboration between U.California Irvine  (UCI) and Oxitec Ltd.
Oxitec is introducing sterile males into India: “The sterile insect technique (SIT), as it is called, may work in the lab but not in the field… it will be disastrous if the released sterile males get back their fertility as a result of random gene mutations. “Probability of such an accident cannot be dismissed when millions of GM mosquitoes are released day after day or week after week,” [Pushpa Bhargava, renowned biologist] says. He says fertility can also be restored with terrible consequences, by the antibiotic tetracycline that may be found in soil or water bodies because, according to Oxitec, its GM mosquitoes are designed to stay sterile only as long as its diet does not contain tetracycline.”
Is this an ‘unexpected consequence’ of transgenic grain: mutant food susceptible to mutant microbes? “Flour..emerged as a ‘new’ potential carrier of pathogens like E.coli and Salmonella..when Nestle’s raw cookie dough was blamed for infecting 72 people in 30 states with 0157:H7..[but] the research did not lead to a ‘root cause’ for the 2009 outbreak… [T]he flour was the only ingredient not cleared at the supplier level.”; deadly 0157:H7 E.coli
Toxic E.coli learning page (includes worst outbreaks, genetic engineering and bioweapon potential from the Stx toxin)
[2009]Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation purchased 500,000 shares of Monsanto
2010 — “The first attempts at GE in animals resulted in some physiological problems in the transgenic animals… studies focusing on the health and welfare of the GE livestock are lacking in the literature… The hLZ [human lysozyme] line was generated by pronuclear microinjection with a transgene consisting of the hLZcDNA linked to a bovine..promoter..[and] transmitted in a Mendelian fashion..currently in the fifth generation”
Engineered microbial Bioremediation in the Gulf of Mexico
2011 — [Jan] GM mosquito..”has been southeast Asia..”
Food Safety Modernization Act “allows the FDA to administratively detain food the agency believes has been produced under..unsafe conditions. Previously, the FDA’s ability to detain food products applied only when the agency had credible evidence…”
“..the genetic engineering of these foods can take a safe food and make it toxic… not only that..but there can be novel allergens.. new allergens never seen before… This food is not safe.” –Andrew Kimbrall [minute 12]
May 2011 — Stink bug spread worries growers across nation…”If I was a mad scientist doing gene splicing and putting together a bug that would really be nasty and I was turning it loose on my enemy, I probably couldn’t do a better job,” Bartlett said. “One might define this thing as the bug from hell.”
July 2011 —GMO Kentucky Bluegrass : “This is perhaps the most serious change in US regs for (genetically modified) crops…” ; “Going Rogue: USDA may have just opened the GMO floodgates”
Aug 11, 2011“Researchers say they have created the first ever animal with artificial information in its genetic code.. [which] could give biologists ‘atom-by-atom control’ over the molecules in living organisms… Sebastian Greiss and Jason Chin have re-engineered the nematode worm’s gene-reading machinery to include a 21st amino acid, not found in nature. Dr. Chin..describes the technique as ‘potentially transformational’..[built] on techniques first developed at the Scripps Research Institute, in La Jolla [San Diego, CA]..where Dr. Chin worked 10 years ago… But that was in the bacterium E.coli; until now, no one had succeeded in doing the same in a whole animal… Dr. [Mario] de Bono suggests the approach could now be used to introduce..designer proteins that could be controlled by light …tiny laser flashes.”
Feb, 2012 — AquaBounty awaits FDA approval for its GE Salmon
VIDEO — Monsanto and recombinant E.coli– the timeline is faulty (the technologies have been around much longer than stated) but worth watching:
GMO FOOD Warnings
“It turns out the soy in Kashi cereals come from genetically modified Roundup-ready soybeans… The ‘natural’ label is unregulated and companies can define it as they please…’One Kashi product in particular, GoLean Shakes, is composed almost entirely of synthetic and unnaturally processed ingredients…”; made by Kellogg’s
“There are almost 300 non-organic and synthetic compounds approved for use in organics, including a genetically mutated algae that’s linked to cancer..”

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