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MannGram®: Big M at it again?
9-11-03


                 Big M at it again?

http://www.enn.com/news/10-29-2003/s_9860.asp
Monsanto working on soybean with less harmful fats

         - Agri-chemical company Monsanto says it is developing soybeans
with less harmful trans- and saturated fats to coincide with new government
labeling requirements on packaged foods in 2006.


Comment:
        We can fairly safely assume such pharmaphytos, pharmapseudicals,
nutraceuticals, etc have been under development by Monsanto, and several
other large chemical companies, and some small startup corporations, lately
pouring billions down the gene-tampering rathole.  This latest fantasy
seems to conform to a commercial  pattern lately become distressingly
common:
gene-jockeys
*  declare a need (e.g AAT to treat lung diseases {PPL corp} )
*  suggest a GM-method to supply the 'needed' material, e.g slap synthetic
AAT genes into sheep embryos
*  assert the hoped-for protein will be OK  e.g  rhAAT will be
'substantially equivalent' to genuine hAAT   -  assuming proteins made by
this radical method of mutagenesis will be exactly like the real human
protein that is 'needed'
*  project a huge market, and huge price, for the 'needed' product
*  lure in venture-drongos, mesmerising them with chants
        e.g  The Big Four Rule OK
               One Gene One Protein
               One Protein One Trait  -  and a commercial one at that
               Primary Structure Dictates Tertiary  -  well, that's close
enough for jazz, tho' we may have to go to yeast like the GM-insulin firms
               One Trait One Billion
               Ein DNA Ein Fuhrer
               The double helix, although irrelevant to primary-structure
DNA scrambling, works like a charm to quell criticism.  Slap it into the
corporate logo  -  and patent the bastard while we're about it.  What a
trademark!  We are talking IP, IT, IDIOCY here!  Uphold "the" double helix
as a sign, a talisman!  It numbs their brains!
               Slap in your synthetic DNA cassette anywhere; if something
like the desired new protein is biosynthesised by a surviving target cell,
bingo!  that's practically all it takes for marketability
              OK, we admit there'll be regulatory hoops to buy our way
thru; but we can handle them
               The old Industrial Biotest® top team who certified Roundup®
as OK is out of jail now; they or others will sell us 'results' of analyses
for any chemicals you like in the phytopseudical  -  certifying
Substantially Equivalent® even if their own amino-acid figures do show a
significant difference
                We can market lo-fat, or Heart Foundation-endorsed
cis-fats, or other healthier lipids  to the chronically obese.  (This
market will open among the numerous obese Kiwis already sold Xenical by
direct TV ads  -  the quacks are signing on big there  -  to prevent
absorption of lipids !   We're discussing with the concept teams at
Bechtel, etc the sewage-works upgrades for New Zealand.)
                Back at the lab, we're working on  -  no, make that
'looking at'  -  bigger cassettes encoding not only better geometric
isomers of fatty acids but also omega-6, lipoate, and suaver vitamin
A uptake which the WHO will endorse.  We expect to get Fergie to front the
TV ads.  We are talking kmpetitiv'ty here!


               On the basis of bullshit on that approximate paradigm,
gene-jockeys order up bulk enzyme kits (firms supplying lab gear for GM may
well be the only commercial winners in the GM fad, to date) to indulge
their lust for life-creation.  I wonder how many of the movers & shakers
have thought much about the ecological significance of their expts.  I
would like to learn how many of them acknowledge any validity in Genesis 3
(i.e the Fall).

        GM PR routinely asserts that gene-jiggering is based on good
science.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The top experts
critical of GM are very respected scientists  -  many on www.psrast.org  -
in the Henry Kendall UCS tradition, but less organised.  David Schubert's
one page in Nat Biotech Oct 2002) would alone serve to justify vastly more
caution before letting GMOs loose.  David S Williams of UCSD, Patrick Brown
of UCD, Garth Cooper of U Auckland, and many others are accomplished
gene-jockeys who hope for benefits from carefully contained GMOs but warn
that current gene-tampering 'technologies' are far too crude for
predictable traits.  Richard Strohman continues to pub in Nat Biotech sound
science implying severe unpredictability in gene-tampering.   Margaret
Mellon & Jane Rissler at www.ucsusa.org continue the Kendall tradition of
reliable scientific criticism.  Other biochemists such as myself, tho'
never actual gene-jockeys, apply their experience in technology assessment
to gene-jiggering.  The reasoning of these experts is ignored by the
'scientists' and propagandists  -  sometimes the same agent  -
spearheading the selling of the GM fad.  The good science is almost
entirely restricted to the critics of gene-tampering.  Such creative
developments as PCR among gene-jiggerers get incorporated within an
intellectual brothel.
        A major confusing cross-current arises with the media misuse of the
GM issue as a vehicle for politicians whom they favour ideologically.  In
New Zealand, any assertive woman can get presented as an expert critic of
GM, even if she has a degree in French & Music, or no degree at all and
doesn't know a nucleic acid from a protein (Pres 'GE-Free NZ').  Fake
experts thus dominate the info flow to the public, not only the PR agents
for the GM trade but also anti-GM politicians incapable of discussing the
matter.
        Novel pathogens of humans or main economic plants are real threats
from many current gene-jiggering methods.  This 'technology', generally,
poses ecological hazards worse than nuclear winter  -  and perhaps
longer-lasting.  Yet the main scientific advisory bodies of nations hosting
incubi like Monsanto have endorsed GM in its early crude versions, have
failed to point out the hazards, drastically understated the risks, and
vilified scientists e.g Pusztai, Ewen for science-based warnings.

        This 'gram is liable to be used by hostile parties.  I expect any
who intend to imply in any legal process any fault in this memo to identify
themselves within a reasonable time.  Indeed I challenge them to let the
list know at least an outline of any disagreements.  I say nothing
controversial, but in stressing the neglect of science, and of ethics, by
the GM trade, I condemn especially the sudden, drastic degradation of
science by gene-jiggerers, an accusation that may not have occurred to some
of them, so they are likely to be shocked by my suggestion.  All I can do
is to invite them into the ostensibly less predictable waters of proper
science, and more widely of truth and respect for nature.
        One of the greatest human intellectual creations, science  -
unifying at its best the principled atheist with the devout explorer in an
implied code of truth-telling  -  has become dominated this past couple
decade by PR, the mercenary trade of deliberate deceit.  And some of the
main PR agents are also gene-tamperers, e.g Conner.  Such agents should be
ineligible for licensing to conduct dangerous processes involving GMOs.
        Back to the 1970s: lab containment was a main concern soon after
the invention of gene-splicing for insertable cassettes.  The Royal
Commission recommended a review of containment in NZ
but the govt fails to set up such a review.  An agent like Conner who can
persist in drastically misleading the public is likely to feel containment
is absurd, and unlikely to conduct properly a 'conditional release'.  Such
expts as he desires with GM-potatoes should not be entrusted to this man
who fed GM-potatoes to conferees in Nelson a half-decade ago, and has I
fear not arranged medical follow-up of those test humans.
        So let's have that review of containment, please.  And can we have
known experts on it, rather than GM-faddists?