QHow do you prevent pesticide from being consumed by grazing cattle, goats, etc ??Monsanto and friends just shift the toxins from the contaminated soil directly into the chain of the ecosystem. So insects or cattle that feed off of the toxic rich plant wil

How do you prevent pesticide from being consumed by grazing cattle, goats, etc ?? Monsanto and friends just shift the toxins from the contaminated soil directly into the chain of the ecosystem. So insects or cattle that feed off of the toxic rich plant will also get contaminated and the heavy metals will migrate within months not years, all the way up the food chain until they reach the top predator which unfortunately happens to be us humans.

AExpert Answer

Biotechnology has nothing to do with heavy metals, so I’m going to focus on the question it appears you’re asking about Cry proteins (i.e., Bt proteins), which have been expressed in genetically modified (GM) crops to protect them from insect damage. You offer an interesting perspective, but remember that the soil is just soil (as it has always been) and it contains bacteria (just as it always has) and some of that bacteria is Bt, or Bacillus thuringiensis (just as it always was). These bacteria are ubiquitously distributed in the environment, and therefore, their Cry proteins also are ubiquitous. Thorough testing has shown that modifying a crop plant to express Bt proteins is safe.  And in fact, these insect-resistant crops mean decreased use of chemicals that are used to protect against insect damage.

 

With regard to a Bt protein moving “up the food chain”―it will not happen.  The human digestive system treats Bt proteins the same way it treats dietary proteins.  In other words, it easily breaks them down into individual amino acids and small peptides that are absorbed for nutritive purposes.  Bt proteins have long been used in agriculture without any effects on mammals, birds or other non- target (non-pest) species.  They have a very narrow spectrum of activity because they have to bind to specific receptors on the lining of the gut of insects, and those receptors are not present in these other organisms. 

Posted on January 31, 2018
Thank you for your question. There are various aspects of your question. I assume your question refers to the use of Agrobacterium rhizogenes by scientists to intentionally transfer genes from the bacterium to plants. Infection and DNA transfer from this bacterium occurs in nature all the time to cause disease. Such transformed plants are not classified as GMOs since transfer occurred naturally. If this is done by scientists then it would be classified as a GMO. Rules and... Read More
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Posted on March 1, 2018
I’m a Monsanto scientist who has more than 20 years of experience with genetic modification of plants. I will try to answer your question, even though I don’t ever do experiments on animals, certainly not on humans, of course! Can humans be genetically modified…but a much bigger question is should humans be genetically modified? There are two ways to think about genetic modification of humans (or any animal). One way is modification of somatic cells, and the other is the... Read More
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Posted on May 10, 2017
The simple answer is that 20+ years of composition assessments of GMO crops have demonstrated that crop composition is not appreciably affected by the GM process (1). In addition, data collected through that time have indicated that general factors such as the growth environment can contribute to notable variation in component levels (2). Plant agglutinins (or lectins) and amylase inhibitors are examples of anti-nutritional compounds that may be present in crops. The relevance of such a... Read More