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Your World
Biotechnology & You

Biotechnology Institute v.10, i.1 2001
A magazine of biotechnology applications in healthcare, agriculture, the environment, and industry.
The Biotechnology Institute's Founding Sponsors have funded this publication. The founding members are BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization), Monsanto, Novartis, Pfizer, Amgen, BioAlliance, Fischer Scientific, Genencor International, MdBio, PAbiotech,  Council for Biotechnology Information, More credits below.

First Questions
How is our food grown?
Which food plants are wild?
What do genes do?
What plants are safe to eat?
Can eating genes "infect" you?
Are all bacteria bad for plants?
Can carrots make you see better

Contents
Creating Better Plants
Weed Warriors
Monarch Butterfly Effect
Golden Rice
Potato Power
Profile: Florence Muringi Wambugu
Something you can try: Growing Soybeans and Researching Monarchs 

Mindfully.org note:
Your World: Biotechnology & You is produced by the Biotechnology Institute in Pennsylvania. It is being shipped to schools across the US and elsewhere. According o the Biotechnology Institute, there are over 5,000 schools that are getting copies of this propaganda. On 15apr01, the Sunday Herald of Scotland wrote "MORE than 140,000 glossy brochures sponsored by the US corporate giants of genetic modification such as  Monsanto are being pushed into Scotland's schools by Scottish Enterprise. 20,000 copies of seven editions of Your World are this month being sent to 600 schools and colleges throughout Scotland as a 'teacher's resource for biotechnology education'. In promoting the magazine, neither Scottish Enterprise nor HM Inspectorate of Education mentioned the fact that it has been sponsored by multi national GM companies." 

It allows multinational corporations direct access to children without the knowledge or consent of parents. The biotech industry is filling young minds with a completely erroneous view of biotechnology, calling it progress. Most teachers know nothing about biotech beyond what they have already been fed by industry. At the same time, their textbook and supply budgets have either not kept pace with inflation or have been cut back. Many teachers are so desperate that they spend their own money for classroom materials. So when they receive a gift such as this Trojan horse, they unsuspectingly welcome it with open arms.

In this cartoonish teachers' aid, biotech crops are heavily promoted as a solution to the increasingly problematic 'Green Revolution.' However, the Green Revolution came about by the same process of finding a problem for a solution. 

The 'Gene Revolution' won't solve the problems of the 'Green Revolution' because, like the green revolution, its purpose is profit, not people.

The biotech industry is extremely resourceful at producing solutions, but not so quick to find a problem to apply them to. Just as there is a serious flaws in the logic employed to release millions of acres of biotech crops before being tested for safety and compatibility with the surrounding environment, there are serious flaws in releasing this publication to unknowing schoolchildren. 

At the request of the BIO, this file has been reduced greatly from its original text. BIO had actually threatened mindfully.org if we did not remove this file. However, we feel that having even a small portion of this file online as an example of the depths to which BIO will stoop justifies its presence here. 

About this issue.... 
The Gene Revolution in Food

How many hours did you spend growing your food yesterday? You probably just walked to the fridge. But a hundred years ago you might have worked more hours in the fields than in school. In the developing world, that's still the case, and food is both scarce and expensive.

Throughout history, people's main concern was producing enough food. Civilization advanced as we developed agriculture. For 10,000 years we bred wild plants to produce more food with less work. Agriculture got a boost in the 1950s with new chemicals that control insects, weeds, and disease. At the same time, plant breeders developed more productive varieties of wheat, corn, and rice. Together, new farm chemicals and improved crops led to much higher yields (amounts produced). This increase in production was known as the Green Revolution. 

mindfully.org note:
Read "The Green Revolution: A Critical Look."

The Green Revolution happened at a time when the world's population was growing so fast that experts predicted massive famines. But the new, more productive crops came to the rescue. India more than tripled the wheat grown on the same amount of land. There have been localized famines caused by drought, war, and political corruption, but no worldwide starvation.

"Whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass grow upon a spot pf ground where only one grew before would deserve better of Mankind, and do more essential service for his country, than the whole race of politicians put together."

-The King of Brobdingan, Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, 1727.

mindfully.org note:
It is fitting that children's fiction is quoted because the tales of GMO crops as told by the industry are indeed fiction.

As we enter the 21st century, industrialized countries are struggling with side-effects of the Green Revolution. The overuse of agricultural chemicals is polluting our land, wildlife, and water.

mindfully.org note:
Lies, damned lies -
Teachers are on reduced budgets and some are willing to accept materials from almost any source. It is difficult for the teachers to know that the information in this free industry publication is hype meant to gain the acceptance of these future adult consumers. How are teachers to know when everything they read is written by the industry? Their newspapers, television and radio stations, for the most part, are censored by industry. Read one example about Monsanto suppressing TV news of rBGH in milk by Fox News reporters Steve Wilson and Jane Akre. Only the promises of repairing the damage of the Green Revolution, feeding the starving masses of the world, curing diseases, and so on are known to most people. But the promises made regarding genetically engineered crops have not become reality. In fact they produce less, require more pesticides, they are not feeding the poor, nor will they feed the poor. They are about profit, and only for a few corporations. It is definitely not for small farmers. The poor are entirely excluded from the picture. Just as AIDS vaccines are not getting to the masses in Africa, the food will not reach them either. 

The world already has more than enough food to feed every person with a significant amount to spare. Genetically engineered crops are not new, but are an extension of the Green Revolution. The same intensive monoculture farming that invites disease and pestilence is used for GMO crops. 
Read "Will GMOs Feed the World?"

The world's poor have never benefited from the Green Revolution because it did not solve the underlying problem: poverty. 

mindfully.org note
Poverty is but one of the problems. Others are discrimination, inclement weather, and war. At this present time--September 2002--Bush is pushing the UN to invade Iraq, a country with mostly poor people that have already suffered years of violence by the US. The area around and including Afghanistan has been destroyed by Bush already. Millions of people all around the world are being negatively affected by Bush politics. They have had their infrastructure, such as water supplies and their farms,  homes, and businesses destroyed by Bush policy. Genetic engineering will not in any way help these millions of people. (More on:
Terrorism | The Patriot Act )

More and more, Bush policy defines anyone who opposes anything he says as a terrorist. We should have learned the lessons that 

And GMOs are even more expensive than Green Revolution crops, putting them well out of reach for the poor farmers of the world. A great majority of farmers are poor, even in the USA, where farms are being owned by fewer people and the size of the average farm is always expanding.

They have no roads to stores, no fresh produce, and no vitamin pills - and their health suffers terribly What can help them? Many scientists think a new "Gene Revolution" can help both hungry humanity and the sensitive environment. The Gene Revolution uses biotechnology to create new genetically modified or "GM" crops. These crops can potentially produce more food with fewer chemicals and higher nutritional value than traditional crops.

Scientists think they can improve even more crops than the Green Revolution did: not only grains, but also the legumes, vegetables, roots, and fruits that people need for a balanced, nutritious diet. But some people worry that these crops are not safe to eat and could threaten the environment with unforeseen problems. They question whether government agencies test the products enough and whether corporate profit motives outweigh safety concerns. Some protesters have destroyed research laboratories and burned fields of GM crops.

This issue of Your World will help you unravel conflicting reports about agricultural biotechnology. Is it safe and environmentally friendly or an out-of-control experiment? You will learn how plants with specific traits are created, how to weigh the pros and cons, and how you can investigate these problems.

How do plants get different traits?

Creating Better Plants

Plants live in a hostile world. Animals chew them, insects chomp them, pushy plants surround them, and disease withers them. But plants are not helpless. They make oils, smells, and poisons to fight back.

mindfully.org note
We should all ask; better than what? The Green Revolution did indeed bring an increase in yields, but what this so-called revolution did was to make great progress in the destruction of biodiversity. Vast areas are covered with one crop with no weeds allowed. After the pesticides kill off the natural predators of pests they have free reign over the crops. So, what the pesticides do is create an open invitation to the pests, rather than kill them as advertised. The more the pesticides are poured onto the land, the greater the resistance the pests have. 

Disinformation is the chief tool of the GMO industry. They claim that GMOs reduce the amount of pesticides used and increase yields, both of which are untrue. Scientific journals and the USDA have verified this.

Do GM Crops Mean Less Pesticide Use?  
            Charles Benbrook / Pesticide Outlook Oct01
Lower Yields  
   
     Ag BioTech InfoNet Technical Paper Number 1 13jul99

If you look at a leaf of a tomato plant under a microscope, you'll see the leaf is covered with tiny hairs. These hairs emit chemicals that act like fly paper to trap little insects. How did this insect-fighting trait come about?

Creating a Vitamin-Rich Tomato with a Carrot Gene

The bacterium Agrobacterium naturally infects plants. It carries some genes in a circular piece of DNA called a plasmid and inserts those genes into plant cells. Scientists are now able to remove the bacterium genes that cause plant disease and add a gene for a desirable trait.

mindfully.org note:
The gene is not the only thing that needs to be known before setting this stuff lose in the wild. However, the market requires that the technology be profitable. Therefore, it MUST be done even though next to nothing is known other than how to manipulate a few genes. Scientists are eons from knowing even which questions to ask when it comes to the safety of GMO crops, and yet the pollen is already contaminating the ancient seed stocks of remote regions of the world such as the maize in Mexico.

1) Scientists copy a carrot gene converts a pigment to beta-carotene.

 2) They insert the carrot gene into a plasmid.

3) The plasmid is reintroduced into the Agrobacterium.

4) The Agrobacterium transfers the carrot gene to the cells of tomato leaves in a petri dish.

5) T he tomato cells grow and divide in a culture with hormones that encourage the cells to become new shoots and roots.

6) As the tiny new plants grow, the carrot gene converts the tomato's pigment into beta-carotene, creating an enhanced tomato.

Now could plants improve medicine and health?

Potato Power
Edible Vaccines and Healthy French Fries

You may have cried when you got your first vaccine shots, but at least you haven't died from the horrible childhood diseases they prevent. Millions of children around the world can't get vaccines, so they still die of preventable diseases.

Mindfully.org note:
In crops that contain vaccines, the vaccines are always "turned on." This means that even if you don't need the vaccine, you will be getting it. The same applies to any other stuff genetically manipulated to contain vitamins, minerals, and so on. You will get too much of a good thing. 

The main point we'd like to make is that this is manipulative, disinformation taught to our children inside of schools that we have assumed are teaching the truth. The outcome of this industry-produced propaganda is that our children will not be given the vital information they need to judge this technology properly. This is happening at a time in which all ecosystems are severely stressed
and many are or already have collapsed. 

Valid alternatives are available, but are not being taught in most schools. We need to tell the truth to our children. Some in education believe that children must be sheltered from the ugly truth that life as we know it is rapidly fading. But think how our children will feel when they find the truth at age 30 or later, at a time when no timely recovery of the ecosystems is possible. They will be far from happy. 

What are the answers to starving people?
Small sustainable organic farms have much higher yields and are actually good for the earth, rather than the least worst solution. Small sustainable organic farms increase biodiversity and provide more jobs. In general, they are good for the health of a community, as opposed to bringing about the collapse of it, as large-scale commercial farming has done. 

Benefits of Small Farm Agriculture In the Context of Global Trade Negotiations
        Peter M. Rosset, Ph.D., Director, Food First Sep99
Small Farms: A Time to Act 
        Report of the USDA National Commission on Small Farms Jan98
How Monsanto's Biotech Miracle Undermines Organic Farming
        Sierra  Jan/Feb97

There is quite a lot that can be accomplished if we are willing to treat all people as equal. Exclude one race, one religion, one truth, and it all falls apart. Biotechnology exists only because greed and of the present patent laws and the determination that life can be patented. Without such judicial interpretation of patents, the endless profits would not be possible. For millennia, people around the world have eaten and used the biodiversity of the earth to sustain life. Today, the transnational corporation (TNC) places a patent on one of these plants and then claims it as their property. Patent laws are forced on the world by globalization, which is driven by TNCs, through organizations such as the WTO. This is a continuation of the colonialization process, enslaving people everywhere. 

In North America, Percy Schmeiser, a farmer in Canada, has been sued by Monsanto. First they illegally trespassed on his property and stole a several clippings from his crop in different areas of his property. After the illegally-taken samples tested positive for genes from Monsanto's Roundup Ready® canola, they first tried to extort money from him with threats. When that failed they sued him. (More on
Percy Schmeiser).

Finally. . .GMO crops are about controlling the food supply of the world, period. Send questions to info@mindfully.org 

Biotechnology

The Biotechnology Institute thanks our founding sponsors. whose generous support has launched the Institute and made this issue of Your World possible. For more information on the Institute, to look at or order previous issues, or to let us know your thoughts, please visit our web site at vvww.Biotechlnstitute.org. The next issue of Your World will address Genomics.

The direction of plant science can profoundly change our approach to the world's food, medical, and environmental problems. Will we make of this science a "harvest of thorns or of flowers"? People have a responsibility to keep informed about these rapid advances so they can guide the outcome of scientific research. You probably now understand more about these complex issues than most adults. Go and educate your elders!

We must not hope to be mowers, And to gather ripe, golden ears, Unless we have first been Bowers, And watered the furrows with tears. It is not just as we take it, This mystical world of ours, Life's field will yield as we make it, A harvest of thorns or of flowers.  -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

mindfully.org note to BIO
We agree 100% with this quote. We only wish that you (BIO) and your member organizations, and corporations understood it. In other words, when you lie, cheat, steal, bully, and in general, treat people as if they are trash placed on Earth only to pay your price, then you will indeed get what you sowed. And the money that you gain, will it make you happy? We think not. But then, judging by your actions, it is difficult to imagine that you have any idea of what happiness truly is.

Scotland: Genetically modified textbooks
Campaign:
Anti-GM campaign group Scottish Genetix Action is demanding that a biotechnology industry-funded magazine on GM crops should not be distributed in Scottish schools. The magazine, Your World, is a US publication funded by the Biotechnology Institute, whose members include Monsanto and Novartis. Targeted for a launch in Scottish schools by Scottish Enterprise, it is a piece of blatant pro-biotechnology propaganda, with the biotech companies behind the magazine turning the provision of education into a marketing opportunity.

It is imperative that the topic of GM crops is recognised as highly controversial, not least since opinion polls throughout the UK and Europe suggest the majority of people are opposed to it. Experience tells us that these corporations can not be trusted to be impartial with the education of children. These are the very same companies that have used stealth and deception to introduce GM food crops into the food chain and the environment. They have backed their actions with continual misinformation campaigns, of which Your World is just another part.

The silence on the issue has been deafening from the Scottish Education department. Nor are Scottish Enterprise, with their close industry links, and their pro-business agenda, best placed to initiate a balanced discussion on this issue. By linking with the Biotechnology Industry Organisation, they have taken a stance and declared themselves pro-GM. What’s more, if Your World and the one-sided interests it represents begin dictating the education agenda it will set a dangerous precedent.

Write to: Jack McConnell, Minister for Education, The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP; email Jack.McConnell.msp@scottish.parliament.uk. Peter Lennox, Network Head of Biotechnology Scottish Enterprise, 5 Atlantic Quay, 150 Broomielaw, Glasgow G2 8LU; email: peter.lennox@scotent.co.uk. Ronnie Smith, General Secretary, Educational Institute of Scotland, 46 Moray Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BH; email: rsmith@eis.org.uk. Please copy your letters to Scottish Genetix Action, PO box 2619, Baillieston, Glasgow, G69 7WA or email scottishgenetix@ziolip.com. Visit Norfolk Genetic Information Network on www.members.tripod.com/~ngin/11101b.htm  for a perfect sample letter.
source of this alert: http://www.theecologist.org/article.html?article=218 


Credits: Volume 10, Issue No. 1 Published by: The Biotechnology Institute In Partnership with: Pennsylvania Biotechnology Association, Biotechnology Industry Association. Originally Developed by: The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Association, The PBA I Education Committee, Snavely Associates, Ltd Writing by: The Writing Company Cathryn M. Delude and Kenneth W Mirvis Ed.D. Design by: Snavely Associates, Ltd., Illustrations by: Patrick W Britten, Science Advisor: C S Prakash, Professor Tuskeegee University. www.agbioworld.org Special thanks to: Peggy Lemaux, Ph.D., UC Berkeley, Wayne Parrott, Ph.D. University of Georgia. For more information: Biotechnology Institute 1524 W College Ave. Suite 206, State College, PA 16801 800-796-5806 www.BiotechnologyInstitute.org Copyright 2000, B1. All rights reserved The Biotechnology Institute is dedicated enhancing the understanding of bioscience among lay audiences and in fostering public education among bioscience companies, universities, and non-profit organizations. Your World describes the application of biotechnology to problems facing our world by bringing scientific discoveries to life We publish issues on different topics each fall and spring. If you would like information on subscribing for individual, teacher, or library sets, or if you would like to sponsor distribution in your area, contact the Biotechnology Institute.  Some of fifteen back issues are available. On The Cover: For thousands of years, farmers have been crossbreeding plants to create better and healthier crops. Today, scientists are using their understanding of DNA to develop plants with specialized traits, ranging from disease and pest resistance to better taste and nutrition. The Biotechnology Institute would like to thank the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Association, which originally developed Your World.

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