Do GMOs Cause Cancer & Why the Secrecy to Avoid Real Testing?
By R. Subramanian
So you had a big vegetarian dinner with fresh plump corn kernels, wonderfully firm soybean tofu, and a salad of squash with delicious dressing made with canola oil. Later, you had vegan ice cream with sweetener from sugar beets. What a healthy meal! Or, was it?
A new study, just completed by the research team of the Systems Biology Group of the International Center for Integrative Systems, and published in a peer-reviewed journal, Agricultural Sciences, suggests that those ingredients, all of which were likely genetically modified (GM), are not the same as the ones your grandma made. Those are likely filled with higher levels of formaldehyde, a known cancer-causing chemical --- a carcinogen.
The research was led by Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, an MIT-trained systems biologist, and widely recognized as the inventor of email. The research team, after reviewing 11,000 papers, used an advanced computational systems biology tool to discover and model critical molecular pathways native to all plants. They published these findings in three earlier papers.,
In their latest and fourth paper in this series, the computational results suggest a substantial difference in concentrations of formaldehyde and glutathione in genetically engineered soybean (GMO). Non-GMO plants do create some formaldehyde, but detoxify it to near zero levels; however, the genetic modification appears to disrupt this natural process.
Dr. Ayyadurai says that “I am confused why the FDA allowed this GMO, as it’s clearly not ‘substantially equivalent’ to a non-GMO, as our study suggests.” As of 2014, nearly 94% of the soybeans in America were genetically modified. What's perhaps even more puzzling for Dr. Ayyadurai is why his alma mater’s globally respected technology journal, MIT Technology Review, in its Jan/Feb 2014 issue, featured the lead article declaring GMOs are safe by plastering "Buy Fresh, Buy GMOs" on its front-page. Ironically, CytoSolve, the tool we used to perform this study, came out of his MIT Ph.D. research, and is suggesting GMOs are not the same as their non-GMO counterparts, and should never have been approved, without formal field-testing.
So, what is going on? The fact is that it's nearly impossible to do field-testing to compare a non-GMO with a GMO without violating laws written in favor of the producers of the GM products; specifically, it’s a violation of their licensing agreement to even use their seeds for such testing, except for limited cases. And, on top of all of this, given the massive debate on GMOs, anyone who does testing, from either pro- or anti-GMO, is attacked by the other camp that their testing methods are flawed.
So, what are we to do? The paper concludes with the need to define Industry Standards that provide a consistent methodology so scientists can have access to verified source material e.g. the seeds and products, as is done in every other industry, to objectively test a GMO with its non-GMO counterpart. The only institution that can make this happen is the U.S. government.
And, for some reason the FDA and the U.S. government have been rubber-stamping and approving GMOs, without any such standardized and replicable testing methods, which anyone can independently verify. In fact, the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, Michael Taylor (and former Vice-President of Public Policy at Monsanto), adopted a more nebulous concept called “substantial equivalence,” originally developed for fast-tracking testing of medical devices in the 70s, as the gold standard for approving GMOs.
The publication of the paper coincides with release of a bulletin by the Obama Administration on July 2, 2015, calling for “Improving Transparency and Ensuring Continued Safety in Biotechnology.” Over 40 scientists and physicians are supportive of the recent study, formally being signatories of an official statement (see below), and believe that the results are substantive enough to conclude that it is premature to approve GMOs until such Standards are created.
Ayyadurai shares, “This is not a pro- or anti-GMO question. But, are we following the scientific method to ensure the safety of our food supply? Right now, the answer is ‘no.’ We need to, and we can if we engage in open, transparent and collaborative scientific discourse, based on a systems approach.”
By the way, the study also showed the GMO depletes glutathione, a master anti-oxidant, necessary to flush toxins out of the system. But, that’s for another day.
And, perhaps, given all this, that MIT front page should have been, something like this: