That is an interesting request. It tells me that you are assuming Bt
corn is safe unless proven otherwise. On the other hand, I believe in
the precautionary principle: I assume it is unsafe unless proven
otherwise. (It produces a pesticide in every cell throughout the
plant's life, doesn't it?)
Nonetheless, I will give you some plausible biological arguments:
1. The study of Ewen and Pusztai recently published by Lancet suggests
that engineering lectins into food can make the food harmful to rats.
The Bt toxin is a lectin. It is therefore plausible that Bt corn can
also be harmful to rats and other mammals.
2. The toxin in Bt corn is different from the natural toxin produced
by the Bt bacterium. The transgene inserted in corn is shorter and
has been reengineered so it is different from the bacterial gene. It
also produces a toxin which is already semi-activated, unless the
natural toxin which in not active and must be activated in the insect
gut. So this toxin is a chemical which not natural, and our gut has
never seen it until we start eating Bt corn. We have experience with
other synthetic chemicals which we ingest: they tend to be harmful and
even carcinogenic. It is therefore plausible that Bt corn can be
harmful and even carcinogenic.
3. When the corn plant produces the toxin (in all cells, throughout
the plant's life), it will be using up amino acids and other chemicals
from the plant's store. These will therefore not be available for the
production of those other substances which the corn plant normally
produces. This means there will be less of these substances in the
corn plant. If one such substance (of which the corn now produces
less, having used the raw materials to produce the Bt poison instead)
contributes to the nutritive quality of the corn, then Bt corn would
be less nutritious. If such substance happens to block the production
of some harmful chemicals, such production will now be unblocked, and
Bt corn will now contain more of these harmful chemicals.
I'm not sure these will happen. But they are all plausible and since
very little safety studies have been done on Bt corn (because the
industry convinced FDA and EPA that Bt corn is substantially
equivalent to natural corn and therefore does not need thorough
>>> The truth is that these terrible life forms ARE with us,
>>> but we accept them because we regard them as "natural."
>> I presume you are referring here to GMOs.
>No, I was referring to ordinary weeds.
I somehow cannot associate ordinary weeds with the term "terrible life
forms". Bt corn or GE-soya maybe. Even ordinary weeds have an
ecological role. Some of them have roots that dig deep into the soil
and therefore bring near the surface the minerals and micronutrients
that otherwise will be inaccessible to other plants. Others serve as
alternate food for pests. Some weeds have medicinal properties.
>There is no problem as far as I can tell, other than hysteria and
There is no problem of genetic contamination in the US? I believe this
is now the second year that you can't export your contaminated corn
and soya crops to Europe. Please don't bury your head in the sand.
>As I have written to you privately, Pioneer is deeply concerned with this
>issue, and we are studying it vigorously (you would be awestruck at the
>scale of this research). But it is purely a response to an imaginary
>problem (IMO - I don't know what our official policy is!).
I should be awestruck at the scale of your research, and you tell me
the problem is imaginary? All seed companies are probably scared to
death, due to the contamination they've caused. Is Pioneer insured
against liability? What if corn farmers whose fields are contaminated
sue you for damages?
>farmer-customers need to be able to meet thresholds for genetic
>contamination set by the EC. Those European consumers who care so much
>about this are simply mistaken. But we can, and will provide genuinely
How do you know they're mistaken about their safety concerns, when
Pioneer has done no research which has been published on peer-reviewed
journals concerning the safety of Bt corn for animal or human
>PS: We would stand on our head and recite poetry to the seed if our
>customers wanted that.
That's a nice PR line. If your customers wanted you to remove any risk
of genetic contamination by not selling Bt corn and other GE-crops,
would you do that?
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