By Barbara H. Peterson
As anyone who has gone through the Aggie the Traveling Agrobacterium – A GMO Primer slide show knows, it is quite possible that horizontal transfer plays a major role in the unwanted spread of genetically modified organisms across the state of Oregon and the rest of the world.
Recently, a story broke regarding the spread of biotech bentgrass in Eastern Oregon, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture and USDA remain silent in the face of the public’s right to know.
CORVALLIS, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the USDA refused to alert the public that genetically modified bentgrass had spread from a test plot in Western Idaho to irrigation ditches in Eastern Oregon.
Carol Mallory-Smith, an Oregon State University weed scientist, made the discovery last month after she received samples from farmers in Malhuer County. The Roundup-resistant creeping bentgrass, under development by The Scott’s Co., isn’t approved for unrestricted commercial production.
She asked ODA and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the agency responsible for regulating the crop, to make the discovery public. Both declined…
ODA Director Katy Coba said the department didn’t feel it was its place to publicize the discovery.
“It’s not an Oregon Department of Agriculture issue,” Coba said. “Our role has been trying to find alternative pesticides for folks to use in irrigation ditches. This is strictly a federal issue, and it is an APHIS issue.”
An APHIS spokesman could not comment Wednesday. (CapitalPress)
What is it that they are hiding? What is it that they don’t want us to know? Is this an isolated case, or a regular occurrence?
My guess is some of those plants have been there for three or four years, Mallory-Smith said. They are well established; It has gone to seed; It has been spreading for a while.
Mallory-Smith said she subsequently learned that Scotts was finding escapes on an annual basis outside the two Canyon County, Idaho, trial sites since removing the fields in 2006. Scotts planted the fields in 2005. (CapitalPress)
Scotts Miracle-Gro was fined $500,000 in 2007 for uncontrolled spreading of the transgenic bentgrass.
The fine resulted from findings of a team of scientists, who reported uncovering nine genetically modified bentgrass plants among 20,400 plants sampled within a three-mile radius of a field near Madras, Ore. The field was planted to transgenic bentgrass in 2002 and plowed out in 2003. (CapitalPress)
Could horizontal gene transfer be responsible for the alarming spread of transgenic crops such as creeping bentgrass at least in part? If GMO planted in 2002, and plowed under in 2003, shows back up alive and kicking, then something is going on besides normal cross-pollination issues.
According to the Aggie show, an agrobacterium used to transfer genetic material to host plants actually infects the host plant with the new genes. This ability is called horizontal gene transfer.
The genus Agrobacterium has a wide host range, and is able to transfer DNA to plants such as:
Rapeseed (Canola oil)
Aggie is also able to transfer DNA to yeast, other fungi, and even animal and human cells.
Contrary to popular multinational propaganda, transgenic agrobacteria used in the genetic modification process can escape and enter the soil where the GMO plants are growing. These agrobacteria can live in the soil for up to two years, and bacterial populations can double as quickly as every 9.8 minutes. That’s exponential folks! And while the agrobacteria are multiplying like crazy, they maintain the ability to infect plants with transgenic DNA via horizontal transfer.
What does this mean? In a nutshell, the soil is becoming saturated with genetically engineered material and bacteria that have incorporated transgenic DNA into their genome. There is currently no way to remedy this situation, and we can expect to see more and more sitings of rogue GMO plants cropping up years after and miles away from where GMO fields have been plowed under.
Planetary contamination by genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is only just beginning. The only way to deal with this situation is to put a stop to any form of genetic modification of crops. Period. Then figure out a way to clean up the mess we have inherited from multinationals that have no conscience, nor regard for our future.
© 2010 Barbara H. Peterson