Dr. Mae-Wan Ho exposes the scandals of GM science that promotes GM crops in the face of damning evidence for health and the environment, and warns that further indulgence in GMOs will severely damage our chances of surviving global warming
I am a scientist who loves science, and would have happily remained an ivory tower academic had I not met some remarkable people in 1994, among them Martin Khor, director of the Third World Network, who persuaded me to look into genetic engineering biotechnology, which they saw as a special threat to poor farmers in the Third World. GM crops were looming large on the world horizon, promising to deliver miracle crops that would boost yield to feed the world, improve nutrition, and clean up and protect the environment. Monsanto’s Flavr Savr tomato, the first GM crop, had just been commercialised, though it turned out to be a complete flop.
All the signs were already there that the dream would turn into nightmare. Naively, I thought that if the public and the policy-makers were informed of the problems and dangers, everything would be fine and I could go back to my lab. But that was when I encountered GM science. I don’t just mean the science behind GM, which is bad enough, but also genetically modified science, science modified at source to mislead the public and policy-makers for the benefit of the biotech corporations.
I told the story of my encounter with GM science in a book first published in 1997/1998  Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare, the Brave New World of Bad Science and Big Business, which became an international bestseller, translated into many languages, and was recently reprinted with an extended introduction to coincide with its translation into Indonesian. Everything predicted in that book has happened. It also explained why the science behind GM is bad. A story elaborated further in  Living with the Fluid Genome.published in 2003.
, which became an international bestseller, translated into many languages, and was recently reprinted with an extended introduction to coincide with its translation into Indonesian. Everything predicted in that book has happened. It also explained why the science behind GM is bad. A story elaborated further in  .published in 2003., which became an international bestseller, translated into many languages, and was recently reprinted with an extended introduction to coincide with its translation into Indonesian. Everything predicted in that book has happened. It also explained why the science behind GM is bad. A story elaborated further in  .published in 2003., which became an international bestseller, translated into many languages, and was recently reprinted with an extended introduction to coincide with its translation into Indonesian. Everything predicted in that book has happened. It also explained why the science behind GM is bad. A story elaborated further in  .published in 2003.Genetic engineering of plants and animals began in the mid 1970s under the illusion that the genome - the totality of all the genetic material of a species - is constant and static, and the characteristics of an organism is hardwired in its genes. But geneticists soon discovered to their surprise that the genome is dynamic and fluid’, in that both the expression and structure of genes are constantly changing under the influence of the environment.
The most useful outcome of the human genome project is to finally explode the myth of genetic determinism, uncovering additional layers of molecular complexity and dynamism to our picture of the fluid genome and its overwhelming responsiveness to the environment  (Life Beyond the Central Dogma series, SiS 24).
The processes responsible for the fluid genome’ are precisely orchestrated by the organism as a whole, in a highly coordinated dance of life’ that’s necessary for survival. In contrast, genetic engineering in the laboratory is crude, imprecise and invasive. The rogue genes inserted into a genome to make a GM plant or animal could land anywhere; typically in a rearranged or defective form, scrambling and mutating the host genome, and has the tendency to move or rearrange further once inserted. That is basically why genetic modification does not work and is dangerous besides.
Independent science against GM
In 1999, I co-founded the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) with my husband and long-term collaborator Peter Saunders, Professor of Mathematics at King’s College, London, to work for science, society and sustainability and to reclaim science for the public good. We are fortunate to have the support of wonderful fellow scientists, especially Prof. Joe Cummins, who joined ISIS very early on and continues to play the leading role in monitoring GM science.
In 2003, dozens of scientists from around the world including those in ISIS formed the Independent Science Panel, and produced a report, The Case for A GM-Free Sustainable World , on all the evidence of problems and hazards of GM crops as well as the successes and benefits of non-GM sustainable agriculture. The report was republished within a year, translated into many languages and widely circulated. We presented the report to this Parliament in 2004  (Keep GM Out of Europe, SiS 24), with the help of Jill Evans MEP and her office.
We have now updated the ISP report with a dossier containing more than 160 fully referenced articles from the Science in Society archives, recording the scandals of serious hazards ignored, scientific fraud, the regulatory sham and violation of farmers’ rights  (GM Science Exposed: Hazards Ignored, Fraud, Regulatory Sham, Violation of Farmers Rights). Duped farmers in India are driven to suicide in droves. GM science is a crime against humanity.
ISIS’ scientific review paper  (GM Food Nightmare Unfolding in the Regulatory Sham) has just been published online. It exposes how national and international regulators and advisory bodies such as the European Food Safety Authority have been ignoring the precautionary principle (which is accepted by the European Commission), abusing science, sidestepping the law, and helping to promote GM technology in the face of evidence piling up against the safety of GM food and feed.
And so we are here again to press for a GM-Free Europe and a GM-free world, thanks to the efforts of our partner organization TWN, and the GreenNetwork, and Mr. Janusz Wojciechowski MEP and his office. We have in our panel key scientists from six countries, and friends of independent scientists, Caroline Lucas MEP, Jill Evans MEP, and Jeffrey Smith, who have championed our case so admirably.
Our case has grown much stronger since 2004, not only because so much more evidence has stacked up against GM crops; but especially because accelerating global warming, and the depletion of water and fossil fuel make it that much more urgent to shift comprehensively to sustainable food and energy systems as we have proposed in ISIS’ comprehensive energy report [8, 9] (Which Energy?, ISIS Publication; Dream Farm 2 - Story So Far, SiS 31) instead of wasting extremely limited time and resources on GM. Because if we do, it could seriously damage our chances of surviving global warming..
We’d had 30 years of GMOs and more than enough damage done, as documented in the ISP Report  and in our GM Science dossier .
Thirty years of GMOs are more than enough
- No increase in yields; on the contrary GM soya decreased yields by up to 20 percent compared with non-GM soya, and up to 100 percent failure of Bt cotton in India
- No reduction in pesticides use; on the contrary, GM crops increase pesticide use by 50 million pounds from 1996 to 2003 in the United States
- GM crops harm wildlife, as revealed by UK’s farm scale evaluations
- Bt resistance pests and Roundup tolerant superweeds render the two major GM crop traits practically useless
- Vast areas of forests, pampas and cerrados lost to GM soya in Latin America, 15 m hectares in Argentina alone, may worsen with the demand for biofuels
- Epidemic of suicides in the cotton belt of India involving 100 000 farmers between 1993-2003, and a further 16 000 farmers a year have died since
- GM food and feed linked to deaths and sicknesses in the field and in lab tests
- Roundup herbicide is lethal to frogs and toxic to human placental and embryonic cells; Roundup is used in more than 80 percent of all GM crops planted in the world
- Transgene contamination unavoidable, scientists find GM pollination of non-GM crops and wild relatives 21 kilometres away 
GM food and feed inherently hazardous to health 
Here are some highlights from our GM Science dossier on the hazards of GM food and feed. Dr. Irina Ermakova’s work showing how GM soya made female rats give birth to severely stunted and abnormal litters, with more than half dying in three weeks. Hundreds of villagers and cotton handlers in India suffer allergy-like symptoms, thousands of sheep died after grazing on the Bt cotton residues, goat and cows as well were reported this year. A harmless bean protein transferred to pea when tested on mice cause severe inflammation in the lungs and provoked generalised food sensitivities. Dozens of villagers in the south of the Philippines falling ill when neighbouring GM maize fields came into flower in 2003, five have died and some remain ill to this day. A dozen cows died having eaten GM maize in Hesse Germany and more in the herd had to be slaughtered from mysterious illnesses. Arpad Pusztai and his colleagues found GM potatoes with snowdrop lectin damaged every organ system of young rats, the stomach lining grew twice as thick as controls. Chickens fed GM maize Chardon LL were twice as likely to die as controls, and finally, GM maize Mon 863 was claimed to be as safe as non-GM maize by the company, and accepted as such by EFSA. But when re-analysed by independent scientists of CriiGen, they found signs of liver and kidney toxicity.
The evidence compels us to consider the possibility that the hazards of GMOs may be inherent to the technology, as I suggested ten years ago . Different animals and human beings exposed to a variety of transgenic crops with different traits either fall ill or die.
|Table 1. Summary of Exposure of Animals and Human Beings to GMOs|
|Species||GM species||Transgene trait||Effect|
|Rat||Soya||Roundup Ready||Stunting, death, sterility|
|Sheep||“||“||Death, liver toxicity|
|Mice||Pea||Alpha-amylase Inhibitor||Lung Inflammation, General food sensitivity|
|Mice||Soya||Roundup Ready||Liver, pancreas and testis Affected|
|Humans||Maize||Cry1Ab||Illnesses and death|
|Rats||Maize||Cry3Bb||liver and kidney toxicity|
|Cows||Maize||Cry1Ab/Cry1Ac||Death and illnesses|
|Rats||Potato||Snowdrop lectin||Damage in every organ system. Stomach lining twice as thick as controls|
|Mice||Potato||Cry1A||Gut lining thickened|
|Rats||Tomato||Delay ripening||Holes in the stomach|
A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose natural genetic material has been modified by having synthetic genetic material inserted into it. There are several respects in which hazards could arise in the process (see Box 1).
Potential Hazards of GMOs
Worse is yet to come if we don’t stop GMOs now : GM food crops with pharmaceuticals are already with us. And further along, GM crops overproducing nutrients, many of which are toxic in overdose; GM probiotic microbes pre-adapted to live in the human gut; and GM food animals likely to be contaminated with vaccines, immune activators, nucleic acids, and viruses and bacteria that cause diseases.
Rest of article here: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/NoToGMOs.php