Jonathan Latham Upcoming Talks: Guelph, Ontario, CANADA and in New Orleans, U.S.A. at the World Aquaculture Society Meeting
Guelph, Ontario, Canada on Sunday, January 27th 2019 (12:45pm) Dr. Jonathan Latham, Executive Director of the Bioscience Resource Project will be be giving a Workshop on Gene Editing at the Guelph Organic Conference and Trade Show (Link: https://guelphorganicconf.ca/)
How France and Germany Are Ousting Glyphosate In A Search For Healthy Soils and Pesticide-Free Crops
Dr. Jonathan Latham will speak in Featherston, Wellington, Palmerston North, Raglan, Hamilton, Tauranga and Auckland.
We expose our world to unique hazards with every new technology. Gene Editing technologies are becoming one of the most discussed issues of our day.
There is documented evidence into the unpredictability of genetic engineering. Yet there is mounting pressure for new gene technologies to be used with no regulatory supervision.
Dr. Latham will talk on the politics of food. The problems with both the internal culture of decision makers, the legal framework that is often fraught with industry influences that prevent precautionary decision-making, even when the science clearly points to danger. The importance of a strong regulatory system that will ensure we have a healthy food system and a healthy world.
Come and discuss Gene Editing with Dr Jonathan Latham.
1 Sept FEATHERSTON 7pm Community Centre, Wakefield St.
2 Sept WELLINGTON 6.30pm Southern Cross, Guest Room.
4 Sept PALMERSTON NORTH 5pm City Library, Events Central, Ground Floor.
5 Sept RAGLAN 7pm Raglan Town Hall, Supper Room.
6 Sept HAMILTON 11am Celebrating Age Centre, 30 Victoria St, Hamilton.
7 Sept TAURANGA 12 -1.30 Greerton Hall, 1263 Cameron Rd.
8 Sept AUCKLAND 7pm Unite rooms, 6A Western Springs Road, Sandringham.
For more information go to:
BSR has published a new Scientific Review Paper: The Distinct Properties of Natural and GM Cry Insecticidal Proteins
PDF of Press Release: Are GMO Pesticides Super Toxins (Press Release)
Press Release: Are GMO Pesticides Supertoxins? A New Analysis Raises Questions of Food and Environmental Safety
Oct 4, 2017, The Bioscience Resource Project, Ithaca, New York, USA
Summary: The chief benefit claimed for GMO pesticidal Bt crops is that, unlike conventional pesticides, their toxicity is limited to a few insect species. Our new peer-reviewed analysis systematically compares GMO and ancestral Bt proteins and shows that many of the elements contributing to this narrow toxicity have been removed by GMO developers in the process of inserting Bt toxins into crops. Thus, developers have made GMO pesticides that, in the words of one Monsanto patent, are “super toxins”. We additionally conclude that references to any GMO Bt toxins being “natural” are incorrect and scientifically unsupportable.
New Publication Title: The Distinct Properties of Natural and GM Cry Insecticidal Proteins
Authors: Jonathan R. Latham, Madeleine Love & Angelika Hilbeck (2017), in Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Reviews, 33:1, 62-96,
Available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02648725.2017.1357295
Bt toxins are a diverse family of protein toxins produced in nature by the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, which is a gut pathogen of many species. Naturally occurring toxins (also known as Cry toxins) of B. thuringiensis are believed to all have very limited toxicity ranges. These toxins exist in nature as crystals packaged around DNA. Through a complex sequence of unpacking and protein processing steps these molecules are converted to active toxins and kill their targets by creating holes in the membranes of the gut lining of their victims.
Commercially, GMO pesticidal corn, cotton, and soybeans are widely grown around the world. GMO Bt crop varieties constitutively synthesize these Bt toxins and can contain numerous different Bt transgenes (1), each with somewhat different pest control properties. For this publication, we reviewed biosafety application documents for 23 globally traded Bt pesticidal GM crop events as well as peer-reviewed research and patents. We sought to compare GM proteins with natural ones. Our analysis is the first to explore the chemical and functional differences between GMO Bt toxins and natural ones.
Our review describes numerous differences between naturally occurring and GM Bt proteins. Some are intentionally introduced but others are inadvertent in origin. First, all GMO Bt toxins are soluble proteins rather than crystalline structures; many GMO Bt toxins are truncated proteins; parts of natural Bt toxins are often combined to make hybrid GMO molecules that don’t exist in nature; GMO Bt toxins often have added to them synthetic or unrelated protein molecules; GMO Bt toxins may be mutated to replace specific amino acids. Sixth and not least, all GMO Bt proteins are further altered inside plant cells. GMO crop plants themselves thus cause changes to the nature of Bt toxins.
Surprising as it may seem, these changes are poorly taken into account in GMO risk assessment. For example, GMO regulators frequently refer to the “history of safe use” of specific natural Bt toxins. Regulators also controversially allow most tests of safety to be on surrogate toxins, rather than GMO crops themselves (2). Our next question was therefore to determine whether these physical changes enhanced Bt protein toxicity, which would imply real world food and biosafety implications.
In the publication, we identify clear theoretical reasons, and sometimes direct evidence, to suppose that each of the six types of changes noted above enhances Bt toxin activity. For example, Ciba-Geigy measured their Bt-176 toxins to be 5-10 times more toxicologically active when inserted into plants. Monsanto patented a series of novel Bt toxins with up to 7.9-fold enhanced activity and called it these “super toxins” having “the combined advantages of increased insecticidal activity and concomitant broad spectrum activity.” The most powerful of these is now found in commercial MON863 corn. Additionally, there are theoretical reasons to expect all GMO Bt toxins to have broader spectrums of activity. Natural Bt toxins are large, insoluble, and non-toxic precursors requiring unusual chemical conditions to become active toxins, but thanks to the processing undergone by all GMO Bt proteins these are far closer to the toxicologically active form having bypassed key specificity requirements.
Apparently ignored by GMO biosafety regulators, Bt developers have been commercialising pesticide-containing GM crops with increased and broadened toxicity, undermining the chief safety advantage of Bt toxins over conventional pesticides.
“We are raising important questions here. This publication reveals compelling scientific reasons to be concerned about the toxicological consequences of GM Bt toxins in food and in the environment. But it also reveals the complex interplay between corporations which carefully select the data they share with regulators and, on the part of regulators, a willingness to ignore the science if it threatens to derail a GMO approval.” says Jonathan Latham, Executive Director of The Bioscience Resource Project.
“Naturalness is a key claim about pesticidal GM crops. But it is constructed to justify the omission of actual testing of the GMO. “O” stands for organism, after all, but what we observe in the use of surrogate proteins for risk assessment is the reduction of biology to chemistry.”–Angelika Hilbeck of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
The publication is available open access from:
Citation: Jonathan R. Latham, Madeleine Love & Angelika Hilbeck (2017) The distinct properties of natural and GM cry insecticidal proteins, Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Reviews, 33:1, 62-96, DOI: 10.1080/02648725.2017.1357295.
Jonathan Latham, PhD, Executive Director, The Bioscience Resource Project
Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Phone (1) 607 319 0279
Angelika Hilbeck, PhD, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Phone: (41) 44 632 4322
(2) Dolezel, M., et al. (2011). Scrutinizing the current practice of the environmental risk assessment of GM maize applications for cultivation in the EU. Environmental Sciences Europe, 23, 33. doi:10.1186/2190-4715-23-33
Download the press release at: https://bioscienceresource.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Are-GMO-Pesticides-Super-Toxins-Press-Release.pdf
Published today (Wednesday, July 19, 2017) in Independent Science News, “The Biotech Industry Is Taking Over the Regulation of GMOs from the Inside” was written by Jonathan Latham, PhD.
Synopsis: The corporate takeover of the International Society for Biosafety Research (ISBR) and its biennial ISBGMO conference is a case study in the methods and the goals of the biotech industry. This year’s key industry talking points were “harmonization” and “data transportability”, “need to know vs nice to know,” “trait-based risk assessment,” and “tiered risk assessment.” Regulatory acceptance of these anti-scientific concepts would spell the end of biosafety regulation.