Written and compiled by Mae-Wan Ho, Angela Ryan, Joe Cummins and others
Edited by Mae-Wan Ho
Institute of Science in Society and Department of Biological Sciences,
Open University, U.K.
I-SIS News is back and in a double issue 7/8. The science war continues. Many thanks to all who sent donations or moral support, or both; and please forgive us for failing to reply to you personally. We promise to do better from now on, as there has been a major upheaval and re-organisation.
Our story is told in "Corporate Takeover of Science", a review of George Monbiot's book. But please hold on for highlights of other news, both good and bad.
Top of the bill for the mainstream media must be the Starlink disaster, the contamination of human food by a GM maize approved only for animal feed because it contains a toxin suspected to be an allergen; Starlink and the BSE epidemic have both gone global for the same reason: corporate control of our entire food chain. But Starlink is by no means the only problem, as all bt may be toxic to mammals, see "Bt is Toxic".
The good news is that, GM crops are dead, as pronounced in The New York Times Jan. 25. More significantly, scientists in John Innes Centre seem to be saying that GM crops are no good, see "Top Research Centre Admits GM Failure"; although they have strenuously denied that since. The bad news is that the UK and US Governments are now promoting terminator crops, and ISIS discovered that these killing crops have been around since the early 1990s (see "Terminator Crops are Here!"). To find out how terminator technology works and why it is lethal, read "Killing Fields - Terminator Crops at Large" and "Terminator Recombinase Does Scramble Genomes".
The terms of the GM debate have significantly shifted. It is time to call a complete halt to all GM releases, and for scientists to go back to the drawing board, especially in accordance with the precautionary principle (see "The Precautionary Principle and Scientific Evidence"). There are signs that even Monsanto is in the process of giving up GM crops to go into 'genomics' (see "Continuing Blair Whitewash over UK Field Trials"). Genomics involves using genetic engineering as a research tool to study gene and protein function, tracking useful traits such as yield, salt tolerance and so on with genetic markers to assist conventional selective breeding.
Of course, no one is under the illusion that the biotech industry has suddenly relinquished control of our food chain. After all, they still hold all the patents and are thirsty for more. Corporate giant Syngenta has completed the rice genome sequence (see "Syngenta Takes over Rice Genome"), raising alarm that a crop on which many of the world's poorest depends has fallen into corporate ownership, rather like the human genome. We are indeed facing a complete corporate take over of every aspect of our life.
There are also very worrying trends in genomics research, as spelt out in the last issue of ISIS News. But, genetic determinism is dead, and it is official, as pronounced by prime sequencer Craig Venter himself, see "Human Genome Map Spells the Death of Genetic Determinism". It is time to take stock and rethink healthcare, such as "The Unecessary Evil of 'Therapeutic' Human Cloning" and why "Xenotransplantation Must End". What we must also end is our tax money being hi-jacked into mega-projects that benefit corporations, are not in the public interests and extremely dubious on ethical grounds - see "Human Studies on GM Food Risks" and "UK Government to Establish Population DNA Database". In the biopatents section, you will also read about the biopiracy of Chinese DNA by academic researchers and the sale of the Tonga DNA database to biotech companies. For a taste of the alternative, read "Rethinking Cancer, from Cure to Prevention".
Finally, to find out how the scientific establishment is stifling dissent and open debate, all part and parcel of the corporate take over of science, read "The New Thought-Police".
With all these burning issues and more, we really need your comments and suggestions as to what ISIS can do. Please write in to let us know. We are planning to update our World Scientists Open Letter in order to reflect the change in the terms of the debate and to relaunch it to call for an outright ban on all GM crops made with the first generation GM technology. We might also consider broadening our list of concerns to include human genomics and health and the corporate take over of science, for example.
I-SIS is not anti-science, and not against molecular genetics. We support sound molecular genetics research, under strictly contained conditions. At the same time, we believe in diversification of research funding into other approaches, in particular, all forms of non-corporate, sustainable agriculture and non-invasive, preventative, holistic medicine which, along with peoples themselves are being threatened with extinction by globalisation and the activities of corporations.