biotech

Biotech companies could become real-life 'Body Snatchers' - are patents on people next?

Wednesday, August 07, 2013 by: Summer Tierney
Tags: biotech, body snatchers, gene patents

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(NaturalNews) If big, bad biotech companies keep getting their way in patent cases, next on the agenda could be patenting people. In the same way their genetically modified (GM) crops have quietly invaded our food supply, the biotechnology industry has also been secretly invading our bodies for years, with perhaps yet another unaddressed potential scare imminently on the horizon. As the risks and dangers inherent in the consumption of genetically modified foods become clearer and more hotly debated, an even darker agenda may simultaneously be lurking. Though current opponents continue raising consumer awareness by taking up the loudspeaker against a biotech industry gone wildly unchecked - as with California's GMO labeling initiative, Proposition 37 - companies like Monsanto may, in fact, be preparing for a surprise attack on a whole other level.

Think science fiction turned fact. Think rise of The Body Snatchers... only in your home.

Upcoming Supreme Court decision could pave the way for Monsanto to claim patent rights on newborn children

When the Supreme Court hears Monsanto's case against 74-year-old Indiana soybean farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman this winter, they will have to consider the future of patent laws in this country - specifically, those related to genetic engineering. The issue on the table in that particular case is whether Bowman infringed on Monsanto's patent policy by harvesting and planting seeds that had (unbeknownst to him) been contaminated by Monsanto's genetically modified version of the same crop. The biotech giant holds a policy forbidding farmers to save seeds from their GM crops for replanting, thereby requiring farmers to purchase new seeds every year. With the blessing of patent laws currently in place, Monsanto aggressively enforces this policy, filing about 145 lawsuits annually, against increasingly disgruntled farmers.

Bowman had appealed to the Supreme Court after first losing against Monsanto in the lower courts in 2009, when he was ordered to pay Monsanto more than $84,000 in damages and costs, and after losing again last year in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The latter court ruled that next-generation crops grown from the contaminated seeds Bowman planted constituted "a newly infringing article."

The words themselves may not seem frightening, but their implications very well could be. Though it may be difficult to imagine this already disturbing scenario getting even worse, what could be at stake in this game very soon might be much, much more than just the future of food and the livelihoods of farmers. Make no mistake, these issues are central and very important, but consider for a moment that studies indicate this type of contamination occurs not just in the fields where seeds are sown, but in the bellies of folks who eat that GM crop.

In the process of genetic modification - considered by many to be a gross violation of the natural world - biotech companies like Monsanto take a gene from soil bacteria, known as Bt (a naturally occurring toxin-producing pesticide) and then forcibly, and imprecisely, deposit that gene into the DNA of the food itself - the soy, corn, sugar beet, etc. But because the bacteria pesticide is now part of the very genetic structure of those GM crops, the technology does not wash off in the sink; instead, it breaks open the stomachs of whatever insects might eat it, killing them. And then humans consume it and are told it is safe for them. Makes sense, right?

Wrong. Not only might the covert introduction of genetically modified crops into our food supply back in 1996 account for the striking increase in gastrointestinal illnesses, autoimmune diseases, food allergies and various other health conditions since that time, according to physicians, it may also have transformed our bodies into human factories for the ongoing and experimental growth of toxic alien DNA.

Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology, has cited studies indicating this deadly toxin actually transfers to the DNA of human intestinal bacteria, where it continues to self-replicate. What this means is that people may have this dangerous GM protein continually produced inside them, long after abandoning the consumption of genetically modified foods. Perhaps even more shocking is the news - according to a Canadian study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology - that same toxic Bt gene has now turned up in the blood of pregnant women and their fetuses. It's a revelation which the UK's Daily Mail reported "appears to blow a hole in" any prior safety claims regarding GM foods. Responses to the study are serious and far-reaching, triggering some countries to place a ban on imports and some to call for further investigation.

But what are the longer term implications of this particular brand of reckless and irresponsible technology? So long as there is continually self-replicating Bt toxin (the patented property of Monsanto) growing inside the human population and its unborn children, might those children not soon be under threat of similar patent infringement claims as are the next-generation crops grown from farmer Bowman's contaminated seed? According to the aforementioned court decision, is the GMO-contaminated child growing in the belly of a pregnant woman not also considered "a newly infringing article"? At what point must ordinary American citizens begin to prepare themselves for lawsuits from Monsanto claiming ownership over their children - or even themselves?

Perhaps the ideas seems a bit far-fetched, but in a nation whose legal and judicial systems so far persist in allowing, protecting and upholding patents on living organisms, this quite conceivably becomes the most controversial dialogue of a not-too-distant, and horrifying, future. The already delicate and dicey issues of abortion and women's rights would take a whole new direction. And unless more reasonable limits are quickly imposed on the biotech industry, Americans may soon find themselves hiring defense attorneys to argue exactly why their children (contaminated by this genetically modified "alien" DNA) should not be considered the exclusive property of Monsanto and friends. Accidental contamination seems not to have stopped their insidious reach so far.

Take a stand against GMOs, start by backing labeling laws

How can you protect yourself and your family from the science-fiction horrors of tomorrow unless you know what's in your food today? By far, the very best way to assert your right to choose healthy foods is to first defend your right to know what's in those foods. If you live in California, please vote YES on Proposition 37, to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. Stay informed and visit (http://www.justlabelit.org) and (http://www.labelgmos.org) for updates and to learn more about how you can support the cause.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.responsibletechnology.org/posts/?p=1412

http://www.rodale.com/genetically-modified-food-0

http://www.naturalnews.com/037589_Monsanto_saving_seeds_farmers.html

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