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Fluid Genome: Collapse of the Biotech Empire

by compound eye on Ventria Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2004 at 3:14 AM

Mae-Wan Ho's book "Living With the Fluid Genome" exposes the biotech corporation's faulty science of genetic determinism and other outdated neo-Darwinian eugenics theory..





In Sacramento, Ventria Bioscience corporation is still desperately lobbying to get their GMO pharm-rice out into the field ASAP. Their "emergency" appeal was luckily denied by CA Food and Ag, but it is becoming clear that when their faulty science is challenged, Ventria and other biotech corporations resort to fast moves..

"VICTORY! California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) rejects emergency protocol for Ventria BioScience’s proposed commercial pharmaceutical rice production in California, USDA denies permit! Decision to go ahead under normal regulatory process.

On March 29th, the California Rice Commission (CRC) gave their approval for the planting and milling of two genetically engineered drug-producing rice varieties spliced with synthetic human genes. This would be the first commercial pharmaceutical food crop in the world. The CRC recommended that CDFA treat the pharm rice approval under emergency decision-making guidelines, giving the CDFA only 10 days to approve or reject the protocol and NO public comment period.

This "pharm" rice is produced by Ventria Biosciences, a Sacramento-based company. Ventria's rice has been genetically engineered by inserting human genes, and it produces drugs for infant formula and as antibiotic substitutes in poultry feed.

Farmers and consumers across the country were outraged at the process, demanding they allow public comment, all necessary USDA permits, and that the decision not be rushed through as an emergency approval, as the only emergency was that Ventria wanted to plant this spring."

above article from;

http://www.truefoodnow.org/crop/pharmcrops_feature.html





The "emergency provision" would give Ventria the chance to immediately begin growing their GMO pharm rice on the Sacramento Delta without first going through the public approval process. Once the GMO pollen is out there, Pandora's box is open and the CA GE Free, NO GMO Mendo people would find their organic GMO-free food contaminated via pollen drift. Since Ventria contributed millions to defeat the GMO-Free Mendo measure, it is reasonable to guess that their hurry to introduce GMO pharm rice into California's ecosystem is a last ditch effort of desperation..

Don't think Ventria Bioscience has given up either, along with Monsanto and other biotech giants, these corporations are joining together to form biotech consortiums that pool their resources to form a stronger political lobby..

Thankfully Mae-Wan Ho's book "Living with the Fluid Genome" points out the inherent flaw of the biotech corporation's science, favoring a return to a balanced ecology..





Following article from GMWatch;

1.Collapse of the Biotech Empire

Guest Editorial, One World, May 2003

Mae-Wan Ho

http://www.oneworld.net/article/view/56393/1/4281

The biotech empire is fast collapsing because it has got the science wrong. The whole biotech enterprise, from GM crops and gene drugs to human cloning, is a phenomenal waste of public finance and scientific imagination.

One of the most persistent dogmas in Western science is genetic determinism, the belief that our genetic makeup, or our birth, ultimately determines who and what we are. This neo-Darwinian theory is very comforting for those who derive the most benefit from the status quo, and they are responsible for a huge 'Darwin industry' dedicated to 'explaining' why this is the best of all possible worlds, which is masquerading as mainstream science.

Genetic determinism was the guiding principle in the development of the modern science of genetics, which in turn gave rise to the eugenics movement that lasted at least until the mid 1970s in the United States and Europe. Not only were 'inferior races' persecuted; 'inferior' and 'disabled' individuals were also considered 'unfit' and targeted for elimination.

Eugenics is surfacing again as human 'genomic' science. Spawned by the sequencing of the human and other genomes, it promises to identify all the 'bad' genes that cause diseases and disabilities, so they could be eliminated at conception or before birth, while the 'good' genes would be promulgated, and, better yet, used for the 'genetic enhancement' of anyone who can pay for the privilege.

Genetic engineering greatly enhances horizontal gene transfer and recombination, the very processes that create new viruses and bacteria that cause outbreaks of infectious diseases and spread drug and antibiotic resistance.

An 'academic-industrial-military complex' has matured with the rise of gene biotechnology that is increasingly active in suppressing scientific dissent in the genetic engineering debate, threatening the survival of science and endangering lives. This time round, eugenics will not be sanctioned by the state. It will be up to the 'global market' to decide. The poor will become a genetic 'underclass'. Social inequality will be redefined as, and transformed into, genetic inequality.

Fortunately, science as knowledge of nature is never just subject to our arbitrary whim and prejudice. We can delude ourselves, but only for so long. Nature has a way of fighting back, of puncturing our illusions. It is futile to think that we can go on ruining our ecosystem and stay healthy so long as we have 'good' genes. Genes, unlike diamonds, are not forever.

The story of the 'fluid genome', as related in my new book Living with the Fluid Genome, tells how geneticists came face to face with scientific findings that completely undercut the old genetic determinist paradigm. It makes nonsense of all the eugenicist claims and promises, and exposes the futility as well as the hazards of genetic engineering for the health of human beings and the entire life-supporting system that is our planet.

It is time for us to liberate ourselves from the genetic deterministmyth and to recognize that the only way to keep genes and genomes healthy is to have a balanced ecology.

© Mae-Wan Ho 2003

Dr Mae-Wan Ho is Director of the Institute of Science in Society, editor of Science in Society magazine and author of Living with the Fluid Genome.

___

The OneWorld Guest Editorial represents the viewpoint of the author and not necessarily that of the OneWorld network. Comments can be posted at: http://www.oneworld.net/article/view/56393/1/4281



http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=923

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