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Friday, April 27, 2012

Monsanto and ArborGen set their sights on GM trees and grasses

© foodfreedomgroup.com
Monsanto and ArborGen set their sights on GM trees and grasses by Tony Isaacs

(NaturalNews) 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.

The USDA recently handed Monsanto and their client lawn seed company Scotts a huge victory by deciding to not regulate Roundup Ready Scotts Kentucky Bluegrass. The USDA had previously echoed warnings by the Center for Technology Assessment that GM bluegrass could become an "environmental nightmare".

Grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass have light and easily dispersed pollen. Thus, the likelihood of polluting existing strains is virtually certain as has happened in Oregon where Roundup Ready bentgrass has become a scourge.

So, get ready for even more toxic poisons in the coming plague of glyphosate-resistant plants gone wild. Also expect Monsanto to demand that payment for infringing on their patents, as they have with farmers whose crops have been adulterated by Monsanto's seed pollen.

A sure formula for disaster


Easy approval of GM grasses and trees combined with insufficient testing and lack of oversight is an almost certain formula for future disaster. As we have seen with other Monsanto GM plants, once the GM genie is out of the bottle it is pretty much impossible to put it back in.

Sources for this article included:

http://globaljusticeecology.org/connections.php?ID=607
http://www.sourcewatch.org
http://www.allthingsnow.com
http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/05/04-0

About the author:
Tony Isaacs, is a natural health author, advocate and researcher who hosts The Best Years in Life website for those who wish to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Mr. Isaacs is the author of books and articles about natural health, longevity and beating cancer including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and is working on a major book project due to be published later this year. He is also a contributing author for the worldwide advocacy group "S.A N.E.Vax. Inc" which endeavors to uncover the truth about HPV vaccine dangers.

Mr. Isaacs also has The Best Years in Life website for baby boomers and others wishing to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. In addition, he hosts the Yahoo Oleandersoup Health group of over 2500 members and the CureZone Ask Tony Isaacs - Featuring Luella May forum, where he also serves as the local moderator for the Cancer Alternatives forum. Mr. Isaacs serves as a consultant to the "Utopia Silver Supplement Company and he and his partner Luella May recently began hosting The Best Years in Life Radio Show for Rumor Mill News on the Micro Effect Radio Network.

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