Muzzled By Monsanto: Is Big Ag squelching research showing its new RNAi GMOs may be dangerous?
This is an incredibly well researched article that must be read. After reading it I am convinced there are scientists who are good decent people who are trying to use this research in RNA to cure diseases and they know how to do it without making it dangerous for humans. The crux of this story is the muzzling and intimidation by Monsanto in league with their minions that is actually seeking to stop this kind of research in lieu of continuing down a path they know is potentially dangerous to human health as well as stopping it in order to give preference to pharmaceutical companies and their expensive drugs.
That Dr. Zhang would have his research dismissed and not even want to mention Monsanto by name along with the experience of Dr. Vance solidifies the reality of the GMO /biotech junk science taking over that is clearly for profit without any concern for the precautionary principle in deliberately making a product that is dangerous not only to the environment but to the health of humans and all other species.
I am more convinced than ever now that Monsanto in league with the "scientists" they employ who are selling out good science that could potentially work to cure diseases must be stopped. The corporate takeover of science must be stopped. The corporate takeover of our planet must be stopped. Those involved in it have no morals. All they care about is their agenda at any cost.
I am against using RNA technology in food especially where long term/cumulative effects on health and transmission as well as environmental effects have not been studied. The real scientists mentioned in this article know of the risks and they are the ones who must be listened to regarding not allowing this technology to fall into the wrong hands. Think Monsanto had no hand in the Seralini study being retracted now? I don't think there's any doubt- which makes it all the more important for it to be read and for us to FIGHT FOR LABELING AND ULTIMATE BANNING OF THESE ORGANISMS.
By Caitlin RockettRead rest of article at link.
After nearly 30 years studying how plants use their genes to defend against viruses, Vicki Vance, a professor at the University of South Carolina, doesn’t see genetically modifying plants as a malevolent or arrogantly God-like endeavor.
“There’s DNA in the world and it gets passed from one organism to another and it’s the natural thing. If that’s the problem you have with transgenic plants, that’s not a good reason to be against them,” Vance says.
She does, however, have a problem with mega corporations allegedly using their money and power to hide the risks of new forms of genetic technology.
“I didn’t use to be an anti-GMO person and I didn’t use to have strong feelings about Monsanto, but …,” she says, her voice trailing off.
But that was before the Chinese research, before the calls from Monsanto, before she couldn’t get funding for work that she feels could change the way we treat cancer and other diseases. Her research put her at odds with one of the most powerful corporations in the world.
End of excerpt.
Vance is less convinced in the innocence of the partnership.
“I think Monsanto was trying to get some legitimacy by bringing in these people from [miRagen] because they have some, what I would consider, establishment animal microRNA people — there are some highly thought of people on their scientific advisory boards,” she says.
“But it’s Monsanto who’s spearheading this thing, and they have this company as first author and last author, whereas they’re all in the middle. That’s another thing that’s saying, ‘This isn’t really Monsanto. Pay no attention to the Monsanto people. First author and last author, that’s the important thing,’ and that is the important thing,” Vance says. “First author, that’s typically the one that did the most work. Last author, in [the microbiology] field, is the person usually who is the communicating author, the one who takes responsibility for the work. But is Monsanto driving this from behind?”
Vance believes both companies have a financial interest in discrediting the Chinese paper.
“On the other hand, I think [miRagen] has some interest in discrediting this Chinese paper. They are trying to use microRNAs therapeutically, and it’s hard to get them [through the blood stream to the cell], and so there’s all sorts of things you have to do to make them work and those things are expensive and they have their downsides. And so what this Chinese paper says is, “Well, you don’t have to do any of that stuff, all you have to do is make it in plants and then eat it. All you have to do is ingest it.”
Such a finding would have major implications on drug industry research and development which desires to create expensive, profitable medicines that can be sold as opposed to developing foods that could fight certain diseases simply by being ingested.
While Zhang declined to comment directly on Monsanto steering any research, he did say he felt slighted by Nature Biotechnology.
Zhang published a response to the correspondence from Monsanto/miRagen critiquing Zhang’s study, and while Nature Biotechnology published the response immediately following the critique, Zhang says he’s disappointed that the journal didn’t mention his response in the editorial about the importance of reproducibility.
“They did not mention at all our reply, they just said, ‘Well, somebody reproduced this study and they couldn’t reproduce our data.’ I cannot believe — it’s really unbelievable — that such a decent scientific journal had such unfair and unprofessional behavior,” says Zhang.
“I just want to say,” he adds, “obviously something is going on. It’s not pure science. I just think something is maybe behind them.”
He pauses, then adds quickly, “I don’t want to say anymore.” Zhang seems uncomfortable saying the word Monsanto, often calling it “the company.”
“I don’t want to attach to them,” he says. “[When the paper came out] they contacted me, the Chinese office. I don’t want to have any relationship to them. Even right now I don’t want to say anything about transgenic or GM food.”
End of excerpt
Prior to the release of the Zhang paper and Vance’s refusal to be listed on ILSI’s risk assessment paper, Monsanto had invited Vance to give a talk at the International Symposium of Biosafety of GMO Plants, a biennial international meeting organized by the International Society for Biosafety Research.
The meeting was, perhaps oddly enough, held in St. Louis that year, where the agricultural behemoth Monsanto is headquartered. According to Vance, Monsanto was in charge of the session on the safety of RNAi plants.
“They asked me to give the same overview of RNAi that I had given at the [ILSI] meeting. They had already paid my way, made my hotel reservations, I had an abstract, I was listed on the schedule and everything. Then this fuss came up over the [Zhang] paper,” Vance says. “They called me and asked, was I going to talk about [the Zhang paper] at the symposium and I said, ‘Well yeah, that’s part of the story, it has to be discussed.’”
Vance says Monsanto was adamant that she not mention the Zhang paper in her overview. Her insistence on bringing it up only made the situation more complicated.
“I had to participate in a conference call and [Monsanto] had lawyers present. They eventually called me back and uninvited me from the [International Symposium of Biosafety of GMO Plants],” she says.
But the calls didn’t end.
“They kept calling me because I’d said [my lab] had data consistent with the Zhang paper, and they wanted to ‘help me with experiments’ because I had results that were in conflict with their results. They said they wanted to make sure I was doing the right controls on my experiments. I said, ‘I’ve been a scientist for 30 years, I think I know what I’m doing and when I publish the paper you can comment on it.’
According to Vance, Monsanto representatives told her, “We were hoping to get to it before that happens.”
After another series of phone calls in which Monsanto asked if they could send only two scientists instead of a team to Vance’s lab, Vance told them they were simply not invited.
“I was really surprised that Monsanto took the time and effort to try to squash my research because it’s such a contrast — I’m a little old lady running a little lab in South Carolina,” Vance says.
“Maybe I’m being paranoid,” offers Vance, “but I feel there’s an effort from a large company with a lot of money toward discrediting the work of this other group and keeping people from publishing their work.”
End of excerpt
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