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Biotech News Science

Hidden Viral Gene Discovered In GMO Crops 391

Jeremiah Cornelius writes "Researchers with the European Food Safety Authority discovered variants of the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S in the most widely harvested varieties of genetically-modified crops, including Monsanto's RoundupReady Soy and Maze. According to the researchers, Podevin and du Jardin, the particular 'Gene VI' is responsible for a number of possible consequences that could affect human health, including inhibition of RNA silencing and production of proteins with known toxicity. The EFSA is endorsing 'retrospective risk assessment' of CaMV promoter and its Gene VI sequences — in an attempt to give it a clean bill of health. It is unknown if the presence of the hidden viral genes were the result of laboratory contamination or a possible recombinant product of the resultant organism. There are serious implications for the production of GMO for foodstuffs, given either possibility."
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Hidden Viral Gene Discovered In GMO Crops

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  • Is it in non GMO? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @08:22PM (#42663379)

    But is it found in non-GMO plants? We've seen latent genes from virii in many plants and animals.

  • by kawabago ( 551139 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @08:23PM (#42663387)
    The danger with GMO crops is what we don't know about gene splicing and the like. This is a prime example of my point. Despite all their supposed safe guards, genes with unknown potential have entered the food chain. This might be the next BSE in the food supply.
  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @08:30PM (#42663481) Journal

    There are many questions one should ask:

    * 1. Why is that viral gene in there?

    * 2. Was it put there by accident or by purpose?

    * 2(a). If by accident, how, when, what happened?

    * 2(b). If by purpose, why, and by whom?

    * 3. How come the American scientists never detected this viral gene?

    * 3(a). Was it because of incompetence, or was it because the American scientists were not allowed to publish their finding, if they had found it before the Europeans?

  • by nrasch ( 303043 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @08:30PM (#42663483)

    ...Will also screw those eating their products. Please resist the temptation to treat this so light-heartedly as just another case of hubris. These things affect not just one or two lives, but entire communities and even a couple of generations.

    Oh I wouldn't worry about the light-heated treatment of hubris. I'm sure Monsanto will pull of bunch of political strings, make some key campaign donations, and this whole thing will be forgotten. Maybe you forgot how things work here in the USA....

    In the meantime, be sure to stock up on corn and soy products!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @08:37PM (#42663555)

    There has been an increase in the last couple decades of gastrointestinal cancers affecting younger people. So, maybe. The cause(s) of this increase in GI cancer, among the young, has not been found yet.

  • by kelemvor4 ( 1980226 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @09:11PM (#42663947)
    1: Monsanto put it there
    2: On purpose
    2b: Monsanto put it there to control the world
    3: American scientists did not test the GM crops.
    3b: neither, the crops were untested.

    Actually, 1 and 2 are bullshit (most likely), but if you've followed the GM and anti GM saga (or just look it up) you'll find my answers to 3 and 3b are accurate.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @09:24PM (#42664049)

    NO. This "gene manipulation happens all the time in nature and is coooooompletely safe bullshit has to stop. It's probably the most cynical and intellectually dishonest bullshit shoveled around since shipping people to gas chambers was referred to as "relocation". In nature, potatoes does not crossbreed with fish. End of story. STFU, LIAR

  • by Will.Woodhull ( 1038600 ) <> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @09:33PM (#42664131) Homepage Journal


    There are more than enough foods produced world wide to feed everybody. There is no effective way to gather the excess of one region and distribute it to those in need in another region.

    Further, the monoculture approach that is used with GM crops damages good farm land. Monsanto's fix for that, involving the increased use of petroleum based pesticides and fertilizers, completes the destruction of the damaged soils. As a farmer once told me almost 50 years ago, "All they use the dirt for is to hold the stalks up." Things have gotten worse since his day.

    Monsanto's approach is not a sustainable agriculture.

  • by Hartree ( 191324 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @09:35PM (#42664149)

    Cauliflower mosaic virus infects various different plants that you eat (yes, even non-gmo "organically grown" ones) including turnips.

    You already get fully formed protein VI in any of them you eat that were infected. So, this isn't something new. We've been eating the protein they're upset about for millenia at least.

    The sequence for protein VI overlaps part of this 35S promoter that's used in some genetics work. It's not normally expressed (changed from DNA into the active protein) and in fact they couldn't find any evidence that it ever was.

    So, they asked the question "what if" this thing we never see happen did by some miracle happen. And when they did, they still couldn't find anything that looked dangerous. But, being scientists, they said they couldn't absolutely, completely, absitively and posolutely rule out any effects on the plants themselves.

    So, there you have it. The thing we never see happen, even if it did happen is the same as something that already happens all the time for the past millenia with no known ill effects.

  • Re:Is it in non GMO? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @10:04PM (#42664443)

    It's beyond that - a significant fraction of your DNA is fragments of virii. And a recombinant virus is the most common way of introducing new DNA for gene therapy.

    And further, this article is idiotic. The Caulilflower mosaic viral promoter is the most common mechanism for inserting genes into GMO, so of COURSE it's going to be present, that's common knowledge to anyone in the field. Now whether it's healthy or not is a different issue..

  • by Haxagon ( 2454432 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:30AM (#42665973)

    ... and millions of people have died and become gravely ill because of it. You're not going to tell me that because lots of people ingested harmful chemicals and developed cancer and terrible, terrible conditions because of it, the human race as a whole should keep on ingesting (patent-able!) feedstock from a company that's so interwoven with the government that it's earned a basic degree of effective immunity for its actions.

    I've had one friend die from lung complications and another deal with lifelong diabetes and a skin condition due to exposure to chemicals Monsanto and Dow were contracted to develop. I do not trust this company with turning my food into closed-source fodder made to sell RoundUp. If there were lean, open biohacking firms that were able to operate, I would support proper testing of their GMOs and I would trust the community much more than I'd trust such a vile group as Monsanto, but the fact is that the patents and legal restrictions bought off by Monsanto make that impossible.

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost