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How GMOs are Created

Posted in Basic GMO Information, GM Health Effects by stopmonsanto on July 18, 2010

The first step to understanding what a genetically modified organism is, is to learn how they are created. To make a genetically modified plant that has a built in insecticide to kill insects, for example, a protein from a gene that kills insects is inserted with signals that enable the protein to be made by the cell, which is called a promoter, and to stop the production of the protein called the terminator. The end product which includes the promoter, gene, and terminator, is known as a unit construct. The outcome of several unit constructs stacked together is a plasmid, which is part of the DNA in bacteria that multiplies so that the construct is copied millions of times. These copies are launched into the cells or embryos of organisms so the construct can be inserted into the genome of a cell. To get the constructs into the cells, geneticists either use mechanical means or gene splicing into a vector. Mechanical methods include using a glass pipette to inject fine gold and tungsten particles with the genes coated on them to fire it into the cell membrane, which most of the time causes a lot of damage to the cells. Vectors are created by viruses or bacteria that can get into cells; the construct is spliced into the vector which is then able to get it into the cell.

Sources:
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/FAQ.php

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Monsanto’s Patent Policies Restricted in Europe

Posted in Basic GMO Information, Crop Failure by stopmonsanto on July 17, 2010

Last week, Europe’s highest court decided that patents on DNA only apply to live plants.

Panna.org explains:
“The ruling comes as a result of a suit by Monsanto against Dutch companies who were importing soy meal from Argentina – where Monsanto doesn’t hold a patent and farmers can grow RoundupReady soybeans (designed to withstand heavy applications of Monsanto’s flagship herbicide, Roundup) without paying any of the licensing agreements or fees imposed on American and European farmers. After Monsanto found traces of its RoundupReady DNA in soy meal imported from Argentina to the Netherlands, the company filed suit in a Dutch court, demanding seizure of the imported soy meal. The Dutch court asked for a ruling, but Monsanto decided to settle out of court for an undisclosed amount after a preliminary opinion indicated that they would probably lose the suit. The European Court of Justice decided to proceed with its ruling in order to clarify the European Union’s biotechnology directive, which was passed in 1998.”

This recent court decision is wonderful news for it places restrictions on Monsanto’s patents and control of the food supply. However these restrictions are narrow and this ruling is just one small step in the right direction.

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Labels on GM Foods Gaining Lawmakers Support

Posted in Basic GMO Information by stopmonsanto on July 15, 2010

Dennis Kucinich is a well respected advocate for GM labeling and is helping stop the madness Monsanto has created for this world. He recently introduced three new bills to the House realting to GM food labeling. More specifically, “labeling of food containing genetically engineered material, the cultivation and handling of genetically engineered crops, and the establishment of a set of farmer rights regarding genetically engineered animals, plants, and seeds.” (GMO Journal)
Kucinich stated:

To ensure we can maximize benefits and minimize hazards, Congress must provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for all Genetically Engineered products. Structured as a common-sense precaution to ensure GE foods do no harm, these bills will ensure that consumers are protected, food safety measures are strengthened, farmers’ rights are better protected and biotech companies are responsible for their products.

This is Kucinich’s fifth attempt to label GMOs. In both 2003 and 2008 his Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act bills only made it to House sub-committees. His newest bill holds more hope because it is backed with the support of the recent Suprme Court decision on GMOs.

Sources:
http://blogs.alternet.org/gmojournal/2010/07/14/lawmakers-propose-labeling-in-response-to-supreme-courts-monsanto-decision/

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