A brief history of pharming; Monsanto is not trying to make you sterile


Graphics like the one below get posted to anti-GMO pages fairly often. It is also one of the biggest pieces of misinformation they post. The names and vocabulary are real, but used in an entirely fictional manner. The fact that no one put their logo on it to claim it makes me wonder if the creator is well aware that the entire thing is made up. It reminds me of something someone pro-science would make up to troll the anti-GMO pages . Or maybe they just thought Stargate was a documentary.

The Epicyte Corporation was purchased by Biolex in 2004. The corn was never designed to be eaten. It was designed to grow from a “horticultural factory” also making a jelly that could fight herpes. This is the same process involving the growth of proteins traditionally using bacteria, but corn was selected as it has cellular structures closer to that of a human. Monsanto and Dupont have no financial relationships or dealings with either Epicyte or Biolex. The process they used is the same one that is used to produce synthetic insulin.

The structure of human insulin was discovered in 1955, and insulin was then removed from the pancreas of cows and pigs that were destined for the dinner table. This harvested insulin was then altered by chemical means to be the same as human insulin. The process itself goes back even further to 1921 when Frederick Banting removed insulin from a dog’s pancreas to be administered to a 14-year-old boy with type 1 diabetes mellitus. It works, but can cause adverse reactions. This changed in 1982 when the FDA approved recombinant human insulin.

Genetically engineered bacteria that were inserted with plasmids containing artificial hormones are grown in large fermentation vessels made out of stainless steel. These specially designed bacteria are so dependent on the specific nutrition offered in that container, that they could never survive outside of the lab. The bacteria is then harvested after the process of fermentation is complete. Insulin has been produced by these bacteria, and the bacteria are filtered off and broken open to retrieve it.

After purification, the insulin is then packaged into bottles and sent out to keep people alive. This should sound familiar. Yeast produce alcohol in a very similar fashion.

The history of using transgenic crops to produce pharmaceuticals dates back to 1990. Tobacco and potato plants were used to produce human serum albumin. Field testing has continued every year since. This technique had a huge setback in 2002 when ProdiGene failed to remove its corn, and it was found in conventional soy crops grown at the same location later on. The relatively small company received a $250,000 fine and $3 million in cleanup costs.

An accident like this one has repercussions across the board. It is the reason why only large biotech firms are willing to take the risk of field testing new crops. It also create a culture of fear around the technology even though, like the Star Link corn incident, no evidence of harm to anyone was discovered and the fact that the government inspection process found it shows that regulation works. Perhaps the reason the image at the top was made, was because many of these articles would mention Monsanto and Dow as field testing other biotech crops.

If this image was made by the anti-GMO/pro-starvation movement with the intent to lie, it is a good sign for the pro-reason movement. When people have to make up facts to support their argument it is a sign they are losing.