Ms. M.W.,  a regular reader here, sent me this article, and you'll note that it comes from no less a "reputable" source than The New York Times, and it's all about the latest tactic of agribusiness to avoid having to deal with (what little) government regulations as affect their "bottom line." The tactic is to use "genetic editing" rather than "genetic engineering," and it raises a number of new issues that we're probably going to be dealing with in 2015:

By ‘Editing’ Plant Genes, Companies Avoid Regulation

The key here is that genetic editing is not transgenic, a point made toward the end of the article:

"Other companies, including Cellectis, are using new genome-editing techniques that can change the plant’s existing DNA rather than insert foreign genes. Cibus, a privately held San Diego company, is beginning to sell herbicide-resistant canola developed this way.

“'With our technology, we can develop the same traits but in a way that’s not transgenic,' said Peter Beetham, chief executive of Cibus, using a term for a plant containing foreign genes. Regulators around the world are now grappling with whether these techniques are even considered genetic engineering and how, if at all, they should be regulated."

And the tactic is elegant, for it can appeal to natural processes and even appear as but the latest technological "assist" to agronomy selective breeding practices:

"Some researchers argue that using genome editing to inactivate a gene in a plant, or to make a tiny change in an existing gene, results in a crop no different from what could be obtained through natural mutations and conventional breeding, though it is achieved more quickly.

“'Those are basically comparable to what you get from conventional breeding,' said Neal Gutterson, vice president for agricultural biotechnology at DuPont Pioneer, a seed company. “We certainly hope that the regulatory agencies recognize that and treat the products accordingly.”

"The gene editing, they argue, is also more directed and precise than the existing technique of exposing plants to radiation or chemicals to induce random mutations in hopes of generating a desirable change. This technique has been used for decades and is not regulated, even though it can potentially cause unknown and unintended changes to crops."

But as the New York Times article is honest enough to admit, even this does not really amount to the same thing, for

"... critics of biotech crops say the genome-editing techniques can make changes in plant DNA other than the intended one. Also, the gene editing is typically done on plant cells or plant tissues growing in a dish. The process of then turning those genetically altered cells or tissues into a full plant can itself induce mutations."

So in other words, behind the rhetoric and even the fact that this is a distinct technology different from the transgenic methods previously used to create GMOS, what we end up with is still a GMO, just not a transgenic one, but one with the possibility of unintended mutations...

... and like the transgenic GMO, that carries with it the possibility of unintended human health and larger environmental consequences that are also unintended. The new technology, in other words, is driving a change in operational tactics from agribusiness, and it will have to similarly drive a change in tactics from the community skeptical and critical of GMOs.

What will be of interest here - if my prediction that the BRICSA nations will, if they're smart, attempt to make the GMO issue a geopolitical one - is to see whether Russia or China will also address this new technique in their studies. Thus far, as regular readers of this site are aware, they have been conducting studies of GMOs, studies often critical of the underlying assumptions of GMO trustworthiness that have basically subverted argiculture in the West. If my prediction holds true, then we should expect to see, over the next year or two, similar such studies coming from those countries, addressing human health and environmental concerns with the new genetic editing techniques.

See you on the flip side...

Posted in

Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. jedi on January 7, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Imagine if organic matter could not differentiate organic form plastic based….
    ever wonder about those plastic fruits on the table?

    You will know them by there fruits.

    or could be fear mongering of the hunters vs the vegans….but in this case vulcanized rubber for brains.
    my red rubber ball.

  2. Patricia on January 6, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    January 6, 2015
    Scientists urge revamped regulations for genetic engineering

  3. Blue Dragon Lord on January 6, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Well Marco Toledo to answer your first question how many inmates have taken over the madhouse is 300(BBG BilderBerg Group as they were once called) they are the shadow that rules the with out having a vote cast. Now you may be interested in one of the new word that made it into the dictionary last year (2014) ‘Ineptoctacy’ which means government run by the least able, further explanation not needed right as they need puppet to control to do their bidding. Walking Dead here also said that in paraphrase Humans neither have the smarts or will to look forward, this is no true think about all the study that went into this b4 it was out there like with so many other examples the antidote was perfected first the for elites no doubt. The word we hang onto is Hope and believe the Humans will survive long enough for the others who watch to help in time but the solution as with any answer is in the question it is all a matter of balance Newtons 3rd law is sound equal and opposites forces.

  4. TRM on January 6, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Of course the USDA & FDA will let this go. No need to test even it must be safe. That and they are too busy getting all the states to harass and persecute traditional seed exchanges

    Whoa there farmer boy! You didn’t buy seeds? You grew them? That’s just crazy talk. We’ll have to investigate a lot on you!

  5. WalkingDead on January 6, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    The genie is already out of the bottle, GMO plants are already showing up in places where they have never been supposedly grown or imported. Contaminated shipping containers, clandestine sowing, and natural diversification from animals, birds, and bees are most likely to blame for this. Even if we stopped the planting of GMO crops etc. it’s too late now to put a stop to them; all we could hope to do is limit the damage from becoming too wide spread.
    They will continue to spread through natural means eventually mutating even heirloom varieties until the traits are eventually bred out of them. The truly monstrous part of this tale is the hubris of the science and the total lack of long term studies of their effects on mankind and the environment along with the fact that those responsible will never be held accountable for the damage they have done.
    Mankind has neither the knowledge nor the maturity to pursue such courses of action at the present time, yet the greed of those involved spur them into irresponsible acts with disastrous outcomes.

  6. Robert Barricklow on January 6, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    That’s why the Comedy Channel News is more accurate than the so-called “real” news. They do it with a knowing wink at the audience. I prefer The Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, & The Three Stooges for getting close to reality.

    Western News is fit only for regurgitation.
    And that’s, in essence, a compliment.
    [It assumes consumption].

  7. RAJM on January 6, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    The geneticist Bruce Lipton PhD in his excellent book on epigenetics ‘ The Biology of Belief ‘ raises a very interesting point.

    If a vegetable plant is changed either by modification or editing then our micro flora responsible for digesting that modification will by definition mutate. These probiotic organisms for millions of years are used to very slow adaptations in flora and fauna hence are very used to organic or heirloom tomato for example.

    Extend this a little to the vastness of our entire bacterial community which out numbers our cells by 10:1 and we have potentially a very worrying scenario.

    • Guygrr on January 6, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Yeppp I’m currently fighting this battle to return my gut micro biome back to normal and I’m losing terribly. I didn’t realize this could be the very reason why.

      • RAJM on January 6, 2015 at 4:55 pm

        By flooding the GIT with probiotic especially plentiful in fermented (organic) foods we can still make a difference.
        I also believe that there are unknown factors in immunity & the blood that helps regulate genetic invasion. In dark field microscopy one can see the ‘prions’ as they have been labelled, as yet unknown structures that according to that field of analysis are representative of vitality.
        This is all personal opinion, I have no evidence to show other than what I feel.

  8. Button on January 6, 2015 at 11:37 am

    “This is preposterous. We’ve never approved of anything like that!”

    “Our source was the New York Times.”

  9. marcos toledo on January 6, 2015 at 10:41 am

    What’s the quote the inmates in charge of the asylum that’s what we have here. Welcome everyone to fantasy planet and our oligarchs don’t need drugs to stone themselves out. Parkinson’s Law at work our ruling incompetent rulers downward march to murder-suicide I don’t remember what Taylor screamed out at the end of the 1968 film Planet Of The Apes but that is what the title of this article should have been.

    • unclejed on January 6, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      Chuck Heston Said ….

      “Oh my God… I’m back.”

      “I’m home.”

      “All the time, it was… We finally really did it.”


      • marcos toledo on January 6, 2015 at 7:24 pm

        I think unclejed that’s what he said at the end or pretty close thanks for the answer.

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