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lips
Posted on 2008.05.13 at 14:24
A genetically modified organism (GMO) or genetically engineered organism (GEO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques are generally known as recombinant DNA technology. With recombinant DNA technology, DNA molecules from different sources are combined in vitro into one molecule to create a new gene. This DNA is then transferred into an organism and causes the expression of modified or novel traits.
The general principle of producing a GMO is to add significant amounts of genetic material to an organism's genome to generate new traits. This process, genetic engineering was made possible through a series of scientific advances, including the discovery of DNA and the creation of the first recombinant bacteria in 1973.[


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Bovine somatotropin (abbreviated bST and BST) is a protein hormone produced in the pituitary glands of cattle. It is also called bovine growth hormone, or BGH.

BST can be produced synthetically, using recombinant DNA technology. The resulting product is called recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), or artificial growth hormone. It is administered to the cow by injection and used to increase milk production. Currently Monsanto is the only company that markets recombinant bovine somatotropin, under the trade name Posilac.


 

A cow's pituitary gland naturally secretes BST into the bloodstream. Some of it latches on to receptors in the pancreas, which then produce Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) which enters the blood as well. These two hormones have many different effects in the body, including increasing the breakdown of fat for energy and helping to prevent mammary cell death.[1] The combination of increased energy from increased fat breakdown and decrease in mammary cell death is thought to be the cause of higher milk production.


 

What is rBGH?
Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone is a genetically engineered copy of a naturally occurring hormone produced by cows. Manufactured by Monsanto Company, the drug is sold to dairy farmers under the name POSILAC, though you'll also find it called BGH, rBGH, BST and rBST. When rBGH gets injected into dairy cows, milk production increases by as much as 10-15%. The use of rBGH on dairy cows was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in late 1993 and has been in use since 1994

While rBGH is banned in Europe and Canada, and has been boycotted by 95 percent of US dairy farmers, the FDA, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture continue to license the drug (and other new genetically engineered foods) without pre-market safety tests. Thanks to industry pressure, genetically engineered foods are NOT required to carry identifying labels. According to the US Federal Office of Management and Budget the projected increase in milk production caused by rBGH introduction will cost American taxpayers an additional $116 million of dollars for further price supports in 1995 alone.

rBGH use will cause suffering to millions of animals: rBGH is like "crack" for cows. It "revs" their system and forces them to produce a lot more milk - but it also makes them sick. Even the FDA admits that cows injected with rBGH could suffer from increased udder infections (mastitis), severe reproductive problems, digestive disorders, foot and leg ailments, and persistent sores and lacerations.

There have been no long term studies of BGH's effects on humans. The congressional General Accounting Office has warned of the potential human health hazards from the consumption of milk or flesh (about 40% of the beef used to make hamburgers come from "old" dairy cows) derived from BGH-treated cows. The Consumer's Union went on to state that the FDA should not have even approved it. BGH "treatment" causes significantly increased levels of another growth hormone called IGF-1 in the milk, according to a 1990 study sponsored by Monsanto and published in Science. Bovine IGF-1 is identical to the IGF-1 naturally found in human

* rBGH makes cows sick. Monsanto has been forced to admit to about 20 veterinary health risks on its Posilac label including mastitis and udder inflammation. 
* rBGH milk is contaminated by pus from mastitis induced by rBGH, and antibiotics used to treat the mastitis. 
* rBGH milk is contaminated by the GE hormone which can be absorbed through the gut and induce immunological effects. 
* rBGH milk is chemically and nutritionally very different from natural milk. 
* rBGH milk is supercharged with high levels of a natural growth factor (IGF-1), excess levels of which have been incriminated as major causes of breast, colon, and prostate cancers. 
* rBGH factory farms pose a major threat to the viability of small dairy farms. Thus, rBGH 
enriches Monsanto while posing risks but no benefits to the entire U.S. population.

BGH is a powerful GE drug produced by Monsanto which, injected into dairy cows, forces them to produce 15%-25% more milk, in the process seriously damaging their health and reproductive capacity. 

Despite warnings from scientists, such as Dr. Michael Hansen from the Consumers Union and Dr. Samuel Epstein from the Cancer Prevention Coalition, that milk from rBGH injected cows contains substantially higher amounts of a potent cancer tumor promoter called IGF-1, and despite evidence that rBGH milk contains higher levels of pus, bacteria, and antibiotics, the FDA gave the hormone its seal of approval, with no real pre-market safety testing required. 

Moreover, the FDA ruled, in a decision marred by rampant conflict of interest (several key FDA decision makers, including Michael Taylor, previously worked for Monsanto), that rBGH-derived products did not have to be labeled, despite polls showing that 90% of American consumers wanted labeling -- mainly so they could avoid buying rBGH-tainted products. 

All of the major criticisms leveled against rBGH have turned out to be true. Since 1994, every industrialized country in the world, except for the US, has banned the drug. 

In 1998, Canadian government scientists revealed that Monsanto's own data on feeding rBGH to rats, carefully concealed by the company and the FDA, indicated possible cancer dangers to humans. 

Since rBGH was approved, approximately 40,000 small and medium-sized US dairy farmers, 1/3 of the total in the country, have gone out of business, concentrating milk production in the hands of industrial-sized dairies, most of whom are injecting their cows with this cruel and dangerous drug.

In a 1998 survey by Family Farm Defenders, it was found that mortality rates for cows on factory dairy farms in Wisconsin, those injecting their herds with rBGH, were running at 40% per year. In other words, after two and a half years of rBGH injections most of these drugged and supercharged cows were dead. 

Typically, dairy cows live for 15-20 years. 

Alarmed and revolted by rBGH, consumers have turned in droves to organic milk and dairy products or to brands labeled as rBGH-free. Nonetheless, use of the drug has continued to increase in the US (and in nations like Brazil and Mexico) especially in large dairy herds, so that currently 15% of America's 10 million lactating dairy cows are being injected with rBGH. 

Compounding the problem of rBGH contamination, most of the nation's 1500 dairy companies are allowing the co-mingling of rBGH and non-rBGH milk, thereby contaminating 80-90% of the nation's milk and dairy supply (including all of the major infant formula brands). For a list of organic and rBGH-free dairies in the US consult the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) website.

The major reason that rBGH is still on the market is that it is not labeled. Supermarket dairy managers, following guidelines circulated by the rBGH and biotech lobby, routinely lie to consumers, telling them either that rBGH is not in their products, or that there's no way to tell, and reassuring them that the FDA has certified that rBGH is safe. 

Of course, every survey conducted since 1994 shows that if consumers were given a choice, they would boycott rBGH-tainted products. 

Responding to the global controversy surrounding the drug, Monsanto put BGH for sale in 1998, but there were no takers. Transnational PR firms working with the biotech industry have categorized Monsanto's handling of the rBGH controversy as a "public relations disaster." 

Starbucks has been a target as 3/4 of the 32 million gallons of milk it buys every year in the US are coming from dairies that allow cows to be injected with rBGH. 

Once Starbucks' 15 million customers learn that most of the latte or cappuccino drinks they're paying top dollar for (3/4 of the volume of these drinks are milk) contain an extra dose of pus, antibiotics, and growth hormones and that Fair Trade and organic coffee constitute less than one percent of company sales, they may decide to take their business elsewhere. 

Total annual sales for the company are approximately $2.5 billion.

The worst nightmare of Monsanto and the biotech industry is starting to materialize: a mass-based consumer and environmental marketplace pressure campaign in the heartland of GE foods-North America. 

A number of major US food companies are already responding to public pressure and starting to sweep GE foods off their products lists and their grocery shelves: Gerber (baby food), Heinz (baby food), Frito-Lay (at least for their corn), Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Trader Joe's, and even McDonald's (at least for their French fries). 


 


 

Videos The Store Wars - Organic food versus chemicals and GMOs

The Future of Food

GM Milk Banned in Europe but OK in USA

Genetically Modified 04

Genetically Modified 01


lips
Posted on 2008.05.12 at 13:11
GMOs can be  dangerous. In one case, soya bean engineered with a gene from a brazil nut gave rise to allergic reactions in people sensitive to the nuts. Most genes being introduced into GM plants have never been part of the food supply so we can't know if they are likely to be allergenic.

More seriously, in 1989 there was an outbreak of a new disease in the US, contracted by over 5,000 people and traced back to a batch of L-tryptophan food supplement produced with GM bacteria. Even though it contained less than 0.1 per cent of a highly toxic compound, 37 people died and 1,500 were left with permanent disabilities. More may have died, but the American Centre for Disease Control stopped counting in 1991.

The US government declared that it was not GM that was at fault but a failure in the purification process. However, the company concerned, Showa Denko, admitted that the low-level purification process had been used without ill effect in non-GM batches. Scientists at Showa Denko blame the GM process for producing traces of a potent new toxin. This new toxin had never been found in non-GM versions of the product.

The problem with GM foods is their unpredictability. A person may prove unexpectedly allergic to a food he has previously eaten safely. For this reason, people who are hyperallergenic or environmentally sensitive may want to avoid GM foods.

Health-risk assessment of GM foods compares only a few known components (e.g., certain nutrients, known toxins and allergens) between GM and non-GM equivalent varieties. If things match up then all is assumed to be well. Short-term animal feeding trials are conducted in some cases. All the research is done by the biotech companies themselves. Then government approval committees judge whether they believe that the evidence of safety is convincing.

No evidence from human trials for either toxicity or allergy testing is required. No independent checks of the company's claims are required. The fact that the L-tryptophan tragedy would repeat itself by these criteria highlights the inadequacy of the system.

Last year, 71 percent of all GM crops grown were genetically engineered to be herbicide resistant. A field can now be sprayed with chemicals and everything will die except for the resistant crop. The sales of one of the herbicides being used are predicted to rise by $200 million as a result.

Graham Wynne, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, says: "The ability to clear fields of all weeds using powerful herbicides which can be sprayed onto GM herbicide-resistant crops will result in farmlands devoid of wildlife and will spell disaster for millions of already declining birds and plants."

There are also GM virus-resistant crops. Prof Joe Cummins says: "Probably the greatest threat from genetically altered crops is the insertion of modified virus and insect virus genes into crops - genetic recombination will create virulent new viruses from such constructions. The widely used cauliflower mosaic virus (present in the GM soy and maize currently on supermarket shelves in the UK) is a potentially dangerous gene. It is very similar to the Hepatitis B virus and related to HIV. Modified viruses could cause famine by destroying crops or cause human and animal diseases of tremendous power."

Presently certified organic foods are the best bet for the anti-GM consumer. However, even with the best intentions, companies attempting to exclude GM ingredients from their products have found contamination from GM crops. De Rit recently had to recall a batch of organic tortilla chips after tests showed that they contained GM maize. The company believes that cross-pollination of crops was to blame. Iceland, the only supermarket chain to try to ban GM ingredients from its own-brand products, recently wrote to its suppliers acknowledging that some GM contamination is unavoidable, because of cross-pollination of crops. The Linda McCartney range of vegetarian meals has also been discovered to be contaminated with GM soya.

Meanwhile, organic farming is under threat from the biotech companies. In the U.S., lawyers from the biotech companies are trying to force the government to require that GM crops can be declared organic. Some U.S. states have succumbed to Monsanto's pressure and banned GM-free labels on food. Monsanto has successfully sued dairy farmers who labelled dairy products as free or Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.

Due to so-called free trade agreements established by the World Trade Organisation, it may become illegal for individual countries to maintain higher organic standards than the U.S. So what happens in the U.S. has a direct knock-on effect on Europe.

human health:

Early indications show that when we alter the structure of our food, we may unwittingly place human health in peril. GM plants commonly contain "marker" antibiotic resistance genes that help engineers determine how implanted genes have been taken up by the plant. However, the use of these genes may undermine our ability to fight disease. Bacteria are able to absorb genetic information from their surroundings, raising concerns that antibiotic resistance genes will be transferred to bacteria (in the guts of animals or humans or the environment in general through soil), stripping us of our ability to use these antibiotics to save lives. Health officials are also concerned about direct effects from consuming GM plants, such as increased food allergies.

threats to biodiversity:

Biodiversity is also threatened by GM crops. Special herbicide resistant crops (such as maize, oilseed rape, sugar beet and fodder beet) are now being created so that weeds may be eradicated from fields without harming the product. Farmland is one of the last refuges for native fauna; many “weeds” have already been so successfully treated by herbicides that they are on the endangered species list (as are many of the birds and other wildlife they supported). GM crops threaten to push these vulnerable species over the edge. Once new genes are introduced they cannot be recalled. Research shows that GM plants are able to cross-pollinate with related wild plants; potentially passing on their herbicide resistant genes. Experts fear that this may create a new breed of “super-weed” which would require the use of even heavier chemicals and further imperil wildlife. Similar threats are posed by new insect resistant strains, whose introduction may cause the destruction of helper and benign species of insects such as ladybugs and Monarch butterflies.

the right to choose:

Given all the uncertainty about GMOs, how will producers and consumers maintain their right to choose what they grow and eat? Once GM crops are grown on a large scale it will be nearly impossible for farmers to guarantee their crops are GM-free. The distance each type of pollen can travel is unknown, but sugar beet has already been documented to travel over 3km and maize over 8 km. Organic producers are particularly at risk; if their fields are contaminated by neighboring farmers they will lose their designation as organic producers. Consumers are similarly constricted. There are no international labeling standards, and regional laws are full of loopholes. EU law requires labeling of GM foods, but excludes products that contain GM derivatives (oil, additives) and processed foods. International trade rules are lax: currently beans and maize imported to Europe from the US are not separated from normal crops, making it impossible for consumers to know whether their foods contain GM material.

variants, the US government has given preliminary approval for the large-scale planting of GM rice strains containing human genes.

Having apparently abandoned plans to use their GM rice as an additive to animal feedstuffs, Ventria Bioscience is initially aiming to market their human protein-producing rice as a cure for diarrhoea in developing countries. Since diarrhoea can be highly effectively and inexpensively treated with simple rehydration salts, producing a GM alternative is clearly an absurdity. This has led to speculation that sick children in developing countries are being used in a cynical campaign of pretence suggesting that Ventria Bioscience is motivated by altruism. Their longer-term plans are to include the GM human proteins in yoghurt, granola bars and sport re-hydration drinks.

Do we really need a GM cure for diarrhoea? Is it acceptable to release GM rice into the environment where it will inevitably contaminate other rice strains? Do we really find it acceptable to consume human proteins? Even Ventria’s own scientific publications have raised questions about safety.


 

Virus genes are used very widely in genetic engineering. Experiments have shown that the artificial insertion of virus genes through genetic engineering make them prone to combine with genes from infecting viruses (so called recombination). Thereby viruses with new properties can be created. Some scientific observations indicate that such viruses tend to be more harmful than the natural viruses.


lips

Hello

Posted on 2008.01.22 at 14:58

I have come back from vacation.
It was fun, i went to NM, where most of the family on my mothers side lives.

I found out alot of dissappointing news about my brother though.
I also am now inked!!!! 
I cant wait to get more work done. lemme see, what else. Oh, yes, I finally got an iPod...which is amazing to me.
I figured that i'd never get one. Now all i need is a laptop. and a place of my own to live in, which means i need a job.
I hope that everything is going well with all of you try adding me to ym or aim...


lips

YAY!!!

Posted on 2007.12.07 at 13:54

Yay, I've been Published! One of my poem that is. And I now have a hardcopy :)
I hope that I will get more things published. I want to begin to publish some short stories soon. Only this time, I want cash from it :) I Made no money on it, but its okay, I want people to relate to my writing. Because that is more important to me then the money...though it'd be nice.


lips

HALLO

Posted on 2007.11.29 at 14:19
Current Location: school :(
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: Beast Of Blood-Malice Mizer
Hallo, I created a new account :)
I had forgotten about my old ones and grew tired of the old ones as well. I'm back and ready to write :)
I really just need a place to write....