tv [untitled] June 6, 2011 2:30am-3:00am PDT
welcome back here with r t here's a look at the top stories. thousands of pakistanis protesting against deadly u.s. drone strikes could soon be joined by angry americans as washington looks to bring unmanned air superiority closer to home. economist war and more european aid for greece could bring the country to the brink of the full debts as a major sponsors of the bailout the germans questioned why they have to pay for athens financial failures. activists accuse the georgian government of snatching
peaceful protesters and keeping their whereabouts secret after a bloody crackdown two weeks ago they say truly says and points of your man in the name of democracy. up next a special report on the hazards posed by genetically modified fish. the purpose of this experiment is to determine if genetically engineered fish will outcompete and mate with wild fish and if they do that whether their genes will spread in a wild population or whether they will disappear over a number of generations and we're interested in that because that's one of the main questions about ecological risk if genetically engineered fish are being produced in a fish farm and if they were to escape from the farm and if they were able to make if they were fertile the question is they skate and if it is based taken to waters where there are wild relatives what will happen if they interbreed with the wild
relatives and our experiment is designed to test that question. so this and rico wooden building your purdue university developed a computer model in which they created a population of sixty thousand wild creatures into which sixty transgenic individuals penetrate a catalog of questions was compiled for instance other survival strategies or mating advantages and other mixed offspring stronger or weaker. these phenomena are observed and the results recorded then the computer calculates the possible future results.
what we're doing in these types of testers to look for mating and bad use of transgenic male roles of the wild eyed males. training males are larger than wild type males and they could have increased mating success because of that and they could have increased success because either the female prefers to mate with larger males or but by being larger they can drive away the smaller wild type competitors that are around and as a result of that combined. advantage with other males as well as the female preference we found that the transgenic males get more than seventy five percent of all the mating so for example one thing that we've also measured is that the young don't survive as well. mating advantage of tragedy males would
drive that trans gene into the population they were born more transgenic but the survivorship of the. less and less through time. resulting in a smaller population size. quite likely the population could go extinct. genetic engineering to some extent is about a four hundred year old mistake that was a mistake that began with the cartesian revolution and this idea that life is a machine. you know that basically animals are better machines that animals are basically machines and yet they continue to try and treat life as a machine and engineer is it for a machine and the cruelties of the early going to sections are now being repeated by the genetic engineers who are literally changing the makeup of the entire living
kingdom based on this pathological mistake of thinking that life is a machine that's why they believe in genetic engineering they're engineering life as if they were engineering machines and that's the fundamental mistake of genetic engineering. as a lawyer and author andrew kimbrell old battles his way through all the issues raised by the new genetic technology he heads an environmental agency in washington which vigorously campaigns for food safety literally legally as an attorney i find is very important for the very first time in history in the last twenty years we define plants animals even humans now as machines and manufacturers under section one one of our patent law that's what you can panic and chains and manufacturers so we've decided as a government as a as a polity and as this pumpkin and the beagle is
a human and primate that these are machines and manufacturers no different than refrigerators at all stripes or any tennis racket they can be patented and commodified is a shocking commodification of life and a shocking philosophical development as well as they thought about. this was a greenhouse that was used for a story and so one year ago. this facility had a lot of things that had been stored over the years which we had to clear out and then construct this entire facility to hold the and for the channel we have about one hundred fifty tons of water in here right now. some buildings converted greenhouses it has improvised and inventiveness this is welcome risk assessment research looks like conducted by
a handful of idealists around the world one would think that it is the obligation of industry and government controlling agencies to conduct these tests thoughts markets and profits are at stake not the mills and food. our environment this is not in the south of the effects that may even be in grave jeopardy. the research that we're doing here and looking at the transgenic mating advantage and so forth is very unique because there we know of no other lab in the world that is looking at the success of transgenic individual in the wild like that and actually when the reasons why we began this research in the first place is to set a methodology where industry where regulators could have organisms and see whether they would be safe or safe if they were the environment.
ways that transgenic organisms like fish can get into the environment in the first place. would more likely be an accidental occurring where they would be there and. more expense. area in the ocean that the fish would it stay for and then go into the natural. really every year thousands and thousands of fish paid for these types of situations so it's a very common type of event there is a storm off the coast of maine a couple years ago that destroyed some of the closure of family were being farmed and that one storm one hundred thousand fish. they can extract from the situation and they get a great number there are certainly environmental hazards associated with transgenic animals in particular with fish because they can escape and they're free ranging after that it's real hard to find one after to get out as the as the salmon farming
industry has discovered on its own in order to protect against the fish either colonizing new habitat or interbreeding with with wild fish what we're doing is developing a fish that is our production line fish that will be sold will be sterile so they can't reproduce and they will be all female and the reason why they're all female is because. sterile female salmon tends not to come back from the ocean they have no reason to come back to the rivers to spawn because they never mature so they stay out to sea they feed they live their lives there and they die there and one of the things that well i find so curious about the argument of the biotechnology companies that often call themselves life sciences. is that when you talk to them about the environmental threats about all the other threats they say don't worry we're making genetically engineer sterile we'll make sure they're sterile by the
way who checks on this millions of fish being sterile is ridiculous and for us maybe don't worry biologic push the plants we're going to put a terminator technology in these plants will commit suicide after one growing season. and i find it very strange that a company because of life sciences is telling us that their technology only will work if we make all life on earth sterile. we're terrifying concept you know if i was an engineer and i an engineer came to me said i have invented a technology about like the only problem is we have to sterilize all living things i say go back to the drawing board you have a failed technology that's what i'd say. because that's he's going to tell you about it are going to make it sterile.
in norway not only of the effects of foodstuffs on humans and animals being examined terri or traffic has brought together a group of scientists from numerous different fields to work out a holistic perspective they include molecular biologists geneticists immunologists ecologists and most recently a philosopher. and those questions are both concerned the whole ecosystem disturbances in ecosystems by introducing new foreign possibly different d.n.a.
and also directly related to changes that may take place in animal organisms and implant organisms we are concerned of both recall the net pollution and we are concerned of both making everybody understand that genetic pollution is something totally different from the chemical pollutions we had been stupid enough to initiate over the past fifty years or so because chemicals never replicate themselves even know even if you're rich chemical pollution get over time get smaller. value for d.n.a. it may be the order of area wrong because d.n.a. is self replicating in principle so a small pollution may replicate itself to become a huge pollution. in theory and all this different types or risk aspects that we are concerned i bolt contributing to getting answers to so far is
a lot of questions no answers mum was. was. just like their american colleagues the norwegian team wonders about what effect these new forms of life will have side of our tree experience gathered with genetically modified farming has shown that there are and will be grave repercussions to the environment. just as pollen fly in the modified plants drift
unwelcome fields fish that escape will undo the predictions made by industry and no longer be subject to control. the man is the only one link in the food chain link entire ecosystem is affected. thomas burns is a member of terry attributes team and sees the matter from an ecological viewpoint yes i have been to cuba and we have some cooperation with a group of scientists from q q. box and as a very interesting example of transgenic fish it has some of the traits that it was not expected when they modified the genes of the fish and they have found that the till after fish it is growing about twice as fast as the norm. that's a side effect of a totally different effect it also tolerate salt water and that may be very
important in for example the further spread of that speech and. also shows that the . transgenic plants or organism it may suddenly have some of the traits that it was not expected maybe no one thought and just come with a side effect of the case the difference is that. we don't put that first generation of of crops or animals out onto the market we observe them as i said in our case we have five generations that have been under cultivation where we have been observing these fish and we've been calling anything that has an unexpected result something that grows continues growing fast or grows too quickly or gets sick or whatever it is we will we call those fish and we only select the ones that don't have those unintended side effects for for actual production by the time
these fish are ready to go on the market they will have been through six generations that's over fifteen years of observation. and we're quite confident that there's nothing occurring there that was unexpected. back to the united states for the past eighty years genetically modified grain has been cultivated as if this were completely normal canola cotton and soya dominate the market the plants have been manipulated so that they produce their own in such decide to kill pests. apart from humans who of course this is well how this is a fake nature. professor of entomology at the university of minnesota is attempting to examine just this point is that the. bt corn bt cotton and even beekeeper cato's were commercialized before many of the potential
effects of these crops on the environment were investigated so. how much gene flow a kind of non-target affects how to whether or not resistance in the target will occur and how to deal with these things were not figured out before that before the plants are commercialized and it was as they were commercialized people were raising these issues and and frankly what it is is that takes a while it takes a number of years to figure these things out and the. the people who made these plants knew that they wanted to get them commercialized as fast as possible so you run into a problem where the people who are trying to sell these things and want to sell them as soon as possible because the sooner they sell them faster they can make their investments back in the same time we need to take the time to evaluate the environmental effects and so in the united states the route that's been taken this
to allow them to be commercialized and then sort of play a. game of trying to chase after it and find out whether or not we have any effects and characterize what they might be. a laboratory visit to college ee we are interested in various factors affecting insects in the environment. so many things we do we actually work on endangered species problems there's an endangered recent butterfly nearby that we work on. i think the importance of monarchs so the ecosystem is a pretty interesting thing to think about so probably if monarchs went extinct tomorrow there probably wouldn't be a big ecological impact. there are a few parasites that's a panda predator but not nothing that's really they are what we call.
facts huge numbers of other species. and monarchs because they migrate depend on habitats in many different parts of north america so an individual monarch butterfly that emerges in minnesota or somewhere else in the northern part of its breeding range will migrate through the central part of the united states through texas and into say it's in central mexico where they spend about four or five months and then fly back into the southern part of the united states where they start another generation of monarchs. so what we're doing is we're trying to figure out the relative impacts of the genetically modified crops and all of the other things that might be killing markets in there in. the moment but also fly lays its eggs on the wheat the so-called milk wheat that grew
on fields after the industry had developed the supposedly ingenious method of killing all plants except for the desired useful plant by the council if you do use of a certain herbicide you took away the butterflies habitat. and the only intentional side effect of gene technology in the culture. we know no experience with corn in the united states the biological pollution. oh these you know your garage is uncontrollable there's no buffer zone you can't control the way insects fly over that rainwater will carry any vector can take this these new genes and spread them to other crops and so we relatives it's happening all of the united states can't control it but the companies are not taking responsibility for that and they're not being held liable for this biological pollution in the future that
a company like monsanto is going to go out of business there they're teetering economically months and isn't meant as economic problems think of the guy who has it all is already out there and biological pollution costs are not going to pay so they're going to be long gone i mean when we look at our major crops or not care for corn soy cotton wheat rice and are all going to be polluted perhaps indefinitely the future because of these companies actions which they can never pay for that's gross corporate responsibility. not to consider. a field in minnesota and you ask how many species of insects are there in a typical me field through a growing season. what we can say is that the studies have shown this is approximately seven hundred species of insects that visit maize every year and so if you think about how many past there are there's maybe about. five to ten species of pests so all the rest of those bases the there are six hundred ninety five or so
species would be considered the non-target species so they're far more non-target species and they're our target species and so when you try to control the target it's very likely that you're going to affect some of those other species as well the industry attempts to destroy five insect species that cause loss is worth millions that is understandable what is more difficult to comprehend is that industry does not seem to care that almost seven hundred other animal species are also affect it. scientists of norway and america just at the beginning of their research quite frightening for the grain is already on the market that industry is impatiently awaiting approval of transgenic fish. i'm trying very hard to get. the government regulators the other scientists and the consumers to all understand that risk assessment has to be done and it has to be done in a scientifically sound way and it's complicated we're looking at each kind of
thinking here figuring out a good methodology to do the risk assessments and then on a case by case basis figure out what is the most reasonable answer we're always going to have uncertainty and the scientists can't get all the answers that's why the democratic process is so important because it's society that has to decide what uncertainty are we willing to accept trade off with what possible benefit some what possible risks. as i mentioned earlier you know we don't suggest that our salmon are going to feed the world we do suggest that our to happy and carp which require the salmon to demonstrate the proof of concept and to build up a business but the two lapierre car in fact are going to be significant contributors to food security and will feed the world but they contribute to food security and every piece every contribution that brings us closer to the point where you don't have to face. famine where you don't have to face starvation in
particular where you don't have to have eight hundred thousand people i'm sorry eight hundred million people a year going to bed hungry. i think that's important the truth is the only value to genetically modified animals or plants is for the companies who own those patents it doesn't make for better tasting food it doesn't taste better production of food it's really not good for the planet but it really is good. for the people who own those patents we're trying to own our food and the more that people know about this the more resistant they will become so well obviously work is hard at work here being label way as worth anything else because it's in their interest to keep the consumer ignorant every time you walk into a fast food place every time that you know that you buy conventional vegetables you and i am responsible for the pesticides being used the incredible cruelty to these
animals the destruction of our forests and wildlife and seventy percent of our endangered species are created through farming and ranching united states were complicit in those moral crimes whether we know it or not so it's not just an environmental crisis it's a moral crisis and we're never going to solve that by being near consumers we have to say no we are creating either the solution or the problem as one of the few mollica biologists who are also skeptics of course i travel quite a lot and given talks many pay so little. the proponents of genetic engineering all this. and say that a lot of the scientific arguments i use are exaggerated but i have one particular argument that they never start discussing and that is when i say that von all the main risk issues all genetic engineering is that ninety five percent
of all competent scientists in these fields are verkin for their produce aside and only five percent are really genuinely independent they never discuss that and that makes me suggest that maybe just situation is even worse. because i have no data for this it's my own invention. the reason i mention it is of course that the day the percentages are one hundred to go in for all the industrious and ciro percent that are really independent then be both a very serious scientific problem in society i feel so very very serious democratic problem as you may imagine and yes.