tv [untitled] June 12, 2011 1:31pm-2:01pm EDT
about the environmental impacts if it transgenic fish escapes what kind of horrible impact will it have on the rest of the fish population you don't know what this might do to us or our children or our children's children in our congress here in the united states legislatures throughout the world to vote all these different laws tax laws and corporate laws what could be more important than deciding on the permanent genetic future of life on earth.
live from moscow this is the artsy international news channel thanks for being with us my name's kevin now in our top stories now news of you with a week nato launches its heaviest of most punishing a strikes of the libyan capital killing dozens as the rebels complain the alliance is ignoring the real frontline meanwhile the chorus of international condemnation over syria. and it comes supporting greece is the government moves to make deeper cuts in public spending in exchange for another you bailout and in germany those footing the bill say they're getting tired of paying the. u.s. guided missile warship sails into the black sea for naval exercises with ukraine
but the move provokes moscow's anger which claims it's of pressure from nato is controversial missile shield program. thirty one pm here in moscow up next part two of our special report about the alarming impact of genetically modified salmon on both human life and the environment. 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 mate if they were fertile the question is they skate and if it is they scape into 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 would and bill 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 council lot of questions was compiled for instance other certain survival strategies or mating advantages and other mixed offspring stronger or weaker if 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 advantages of trade agenda grail of roles of the wild type males. males are larger than wild white 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 bred 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 and the mating advantage of the males would drive that trans gene into the population it would become more and more transgenic but the survivorship of the young. 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 it was a mistake that began with the cartesian revolution and this idea that life is a machine. deckard said that you know basically animals the best machines that animals are basically machines and yet they continue to try and treat life as a machine and engineer it as if it were machine and the cruelties of the early
vivisection is 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 their engineering life is if they are engineering machines 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 this very important for the very first time in history in the last twenty years we've defined plants animals even humans now as machines and manufacturers under section one of our patent law that's what you can patent machines and manufacturers so we
have decided as a government as a polity united states that a pumpkin that a beagle that a human in a primate that these are machines in manufacture is no different than refrigerators or toasters or new tennis racket they can be patented and commodified this is a shocking commodification of life in a shocking philosophical development as well as legal development. there's 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 but really 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. old farm buildings converted greenhouses improvise ation and inventiveness this is what 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 but markets and profits are at stake not animals and food most certainly not. environment that is not only suffered the effects but 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 individuals in the wild. and actually one of the reasons why we began this research in the first place is to set a methodology where industry. regulators could test
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 occurrence where there would be there in and. or fence. area in the ocean that the fish would expand from and then go into natural population and every year thousands and thousands of fish scape 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 enclosures that atlantic salmon were being farmed in and that one storm one hundred thousand fish at state so they can expand from the situation and they can stay put great numbers 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 they 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. pretty. 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're never mature so they stay out to sea they feed they live their lives there and they die there one of the things that 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 are
making genetically engineered fish sterile we're to make sure they're sterile by the way who checks on this millions of fish being sterile is ridiculous enforcement idea don't worry biologic pollution of plants we're going to put a terminator technology in these plants so they'll commit suicide after one growing season and i find it very strange that a company that calls itself life sciences is telling us that their technology only will work if you make all life on earth sterile. what a terrifying concept you know if i was an engineer. an engineer came to me he said i've invented a technology about life but the only problem is we have to sterilize all living things so go back to the drawing board you have a failed technology that's what i'd say. because that's going to tell you about how they can make it sterile.
there. 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 are numerous different fields to work out a holistic perspective they include molecular biologists geneticists immunologists ecologists and most recently a philosopher. and those christians are both concerned vade 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 what we call genetic pollution and we are concerned of both making everybody understand that genetic pollution is something totally different from the chemical pollutions we have. been stupid enough to initiate over the past fifty years or so because chemicals never replicate themselves and even now even if you much chemical pollution it over time get smaller value for d.n.a. it may be the old of ariel sharon 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 a bolt contributing to getting answers to so far is a lot of questions no answers was. was. just like their american colleagues the norwegian team wonders about what effect these new forms of life will have outside the bar 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. man is the only one link in the food chain the entire ecosystem is affected. thomas burns is a member of terrier traffics team and sees the matter from an ecological viewpoint as i have been to cuba and we have some cooperation with a group of scientists from cuba cuba and 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 they have found that the their fish is growing about twice as fast as the norm.
but that's a side effect of a totally different effect it also tolerate. and that may be very important in for example the further spread of that species. also shows that the new transgenic or organism may. have some of the traits that was not expected maybe. just come with a side effect. the difference is that. we don't put that first generation 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 is 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 insecticide to kill pests. apart from humans who of course this is well how does it affect nature. david and professor of entomology at the university of minnesota is attempting to examine just that it's a point is that the. bt corn bt cotton and even bt potatoes
were commercialized before many of the potential effects of these crops on the environment where investigated so all the how much gene flow what 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 were 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 who want to sell them the soon as possible because the sooner they sell the 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 this been taken is 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 e 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 species of butterfly nearby that we work on. i think the importance of monarchs to 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 depend on the predator but not nothing that's really they are what we call a keystone species in a species that affects 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 and there is. the
moment butterfly lays its eggs on a wheat the so-called milkweed that grew on fields after the industry had developed to supposedly ingenious method of killing all plants except for the desired useful plant by the calculated use of the herbicide you took away the butterflies habitat . and only intentional side effect of gene technology culture. we know no experience with corn in the united states that the biological pollution . of these you know clinton across is uncontrollable there's no buffer zone you can't control the way insects fly or that rainwater will carry any vector can take this these new genes and spread them to other crops and to weedy 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 billions of dollars already out there and biological pollution costs are not going to pay so they're going to be long gone i mean what we look at our major crops if we're not careful corn soy cotton wheat rice and they're 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 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 pests there are there's maybe about. five to ten
species of pests so all the rest of those species the six hundred ninety five or so species would be considered the non-target species so there are far more non-target species than there are 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 hundred 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 species are also affected by the scientists of norway and america just at the beginning of there is such a quite frightening for the grain is already on the market 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 gently engineered fish figuring out a good methodology to do the risk assessment 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 benefits and 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 lappie and carp which require the salmon to demonstrate the proof of concept and to build up a business but the to laugh in a car in fact are going to be significant contributors to food security they won't 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 company's own those patents it doesn't make for better tasting food it doesn't taste better production of food it's really not good planet but it really is good for the people who own those patents were trying to own are and the more that people know about this the more resistant they will be so lobbyist work as hard as prohibiting label a is for anything else because it's in their interest to keep the consumer even every time you walk into a fast food place you know 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 and so it's not just an environmental crisis it's a moral crisis and we're never going to solve that by being mere consumers we have to say no we are creating either the solution or the problem as one of the few mollica by old this who are also skeptics of course i travel quite a lot and given talks many places of the world. and 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 thought discussing and that is when i say that
von all the main risk issues of 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 demene the independent. they never discuss that and that makes me suggest that maybe just situation is even worse because i have no data for this is my own invention. the reason i mention it is so calls that day the percentages are one hundred to go clean for the industrious and ciro percent that are really independent then we have both a very serious scientific problem in society but you also have a very very serious democratic problem as you may imagine and be a that's. true