U.S. Navy to release genetically engineered organisms into the ocean, unleashing mass genetic pollution with devastating consequences

Image: U.S. Navy to release genetically engineered organisms into the ocean, unleashing mass genetic pollution with devastating consequences

(Natural News) No longer content to tinker with the genetic design of crops and humans, scientists – at the behest of the U.S. Military – are now turning their attention to the world’s oceans. As reported by Defense One, the Pentagon is looking at various ways in which to genetically engineer marine microorganisms into living surveillance equipment capable of detecting enemy submarines, divers and other suspicious underwater traffic.

The Military is also looking at using genetic engineering to create living camouflage in which creatures react to their surroundings to avoid detection, along with a host of other potentially nefarious applications.

While such modifications might appear to offer benefits to national security endeavors, there will be a price to pay – as is always the case when scientists interfere with genetic design. What will the effects of mass genetic pollution be on our oceans, and what irreversible and devastating results may be unleashed? (Related: First GMO ever produced by genetic engineering poisoned thousands of Americans.)

Unleashing engineered organisms without knowing the consequences

Military officials, who insist that this type of research is still in its infancy, are being supported in their endeavors by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL).

Defense One explained the research in more detail:

You take an abundant sea organism, like Marinobacter, and change its genetic makeup to react to certain substances left by enemy vessels, divers, or equipment. These could be metals, fuel exhaust, human DNA, or some molecule that’s not found naturally in the ocean but is associated with, say, diesel-powered submarines. The reaction could take the form of electron loss, which could be detectable to friendly sub drones.

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“In an engineered context, we might take the ability of the microbes to give up electrons, then use [those electrons] to talk to something like an autonomous vehicle,” explained NRL researcher, Sarah Glaven, who was speaking at an event hosted by the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab. “Then you can start imagining that you can create an electrical signal when the bacteria encounters some molecule in their environment.”

Researchers have already proven, in a laboratory environment, that the genes of E. Coli bacteria can be manipulated to exhibit properties that could prove useful for submarine detection. However, this type of research is limited because it may not necessarily be replicable in marine life found in the areas where you need them to be in order to detect unfriendly subs.

Nonetheless, Glaven believes that the team can make these types of mutated marine organisms a reality in just a year.

“The reason we think we can accomplish this is because we have this vast database of info we’ve collected from growing these natural systems,” she noted. “So after experiments where we look at switching gene potential, gene expression, regulatory networks, we are finding these sensors.” (Related: Genetic pollution harms organisms through 14 generations of offspring, stunning scientific study reveals.)

Part of a wider “synthetic biology” military program

This marine modification research forms part of a greater $45 million military program which encompasses the Navy, Army and Air Force platforms, and has been labeled the Applied Research for the Advancement of Science and Technology Priorities Program on Synthetic Biology for Military Environments. The program aims to provide researchers in these branches of the military with whatever tools they deem necessary to engineer genetic responses in a way that could be manipulated by the Military.

It is not difficult to imagine that this large-scale genetic manipulation program could create disastrous effects – effects which our children and grandchildren will be left to deal with, and which may prove irreversible.

CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna shines hope on the future of genetic modification at SXSW.

Jennifer Doudna, co-inventor of CRISPR Cas9 technology, or the ability to program genes using a special enzyme, spoke about the promises of this technology onstage at SXSW this afternoon. In a keynote today, Doudna noted that while this technology is very young (less than five years old), “it’s been deployed very rapidly for existing applications.”

For example, CRISPR Cas9 tech has important applications for treating diseases. One of the first applications we’ll see entering clinical trials, Doudna said, is using Cas9 gene editing tech to correct the mutation that causes sickle cell disease.

Another example is using the tech to create gene drives, which entails driving a trait through a population very quickly. Doudna said it’s already being deployed in the lab setting to make changes to insects that carry diseases, such as mosquitoes that carry certain pathogens.

“In the future, we could create mosquitoes impervious to infections and therefore prevent spreading diseases,” Doudna said.

Then, of course, there’s the use of gene editing in human embryos, which has attracted a lot of attention in the last few years. For example, the tech could be used to make changes to the immune systems of people with cancer, and make them more capable of fighting the disease.

The University of California Berkeley professor and founder of biotech startup Caribou Bioscience was until recently embroiled in a hotly contested two-year patent battle with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard over key portions of the technology, namely the ability to edit living cells.

 The Broad Institute won in that case last month, but, as Doudna pointed out to TechCrunch shortly after the decision went public, it still allows her team and the company she founded to work with the technology in a variety of ways.

CRISPR is a technology potentially worth hundreds of billions, if not trillions, as it could change entire industries. While the Broad Institute won the rights to its patent under a “no interference” ruling, UC Berkeley must still obtain the more basic CRISPR patent. Should that happen, companies interested in using the technology would likely have to pay both institutions for the rights.

During her keynote, Doudna noted how the development of this technology has been a very collaborative effort between professors, academic institutions, regulators, students, etc.

What ultimately creates the most stress for her is the fear that people will get out ahead of the tech, “getting so excited they start to deploy it before it’s even ready,” Doudna said. “I worry most about that kind of overextension that might lead to some sort of harmful effect that would then turn the public against it.”

Addressing the issue of horizontal gene transfer from a diet containing genetically modified components into rat tissues


Genetically modified (GM) food crops are considered to have the potential of providing food security especially in developing countries. Scientists have raised concern over the hazards associated with the consumption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). One of these hazards, which have great controversy reports, is the possible horizontal gene transfer from GM-food or feed to human or animal tissues. Many researches were conducted to investigate the presence of some transgenic sequences in animal tissues fed on GM- crops. Many of the inserted genes in the GM-crops are under the control of the promoter of the Cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMVP35S) and produce insecticidal proteins. Health hazards are suggested to accompany the ingestion of this promoter. CaMVP35S can function in a wide range of organisms (plants and animals). It has also been demonstrated that the CaMV-P35S promoter sequence can convert an adjacent tissue- and organ-specific gene promoter into a globally active promoter. The present work was conducted to evaluate the possibility of horizontal gene transfer from a diet containing DNA segments from Cauliflower mosaic virus -35S promoter (CaMVP-35S) to the cells of different organs of rats fed for three months on diets containing genetically modified components. Analysis of the results revealed that: 1) ingested fragments from the CaMV-35S promoter incorporated into blood, liver, and brain tissues of experimental rats, 2) The total mean of transfer of GM target sequences increased significantly by increasing the feeding durations, and 3) The affinity of different transgenic fragments from the ingested GM-diet, to be incorporated into the different tissues of rats varied from one target sequence to the other.


Our results support the suggestion that monitoring for transgenic flow is a way to measure the possible environmental impacts of GMO and to serve as a warning system for deleterious effects

US Army: ‘Super Soldier’ Genetically Modified Humans Won’t Need Food, Sleep Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/us-army-super-soldier-genetically-modified-humans-food-sleep/#ixzz3DOn2LpB2 Follow us: @naturalsociety on Twitter | NaturalSociety on Facebook

The next frontier of genetic modification is not centered around a certain fruit or vegetable, but humans. More specifically, military personnel. Genetically modified humans is the next venture for biotechnology companies working with the United States military, with the admitted goal of producing a ‘super soldier’ that does not require food or sleep to perform Olympic-style physical feats.

The genetically modified humans, or ‘super soldiers’, will even be able to regrow limbs that were destroyed by enemy fire and live off of their fat stores for extreme lengths of time.

geneticallymodifiedhumans 235x147 US Army: Super Soldier Genetically Modified Humans Wont Need Food, Sleep

Backed by $2 billion a year in funding, the Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently unleashed the news after years of secret experimentation and study. The organization did not say whether or not genetically modified humans currently exist to such an extent, however it is known based on previous reports that human chimeras have already been created outside of the public spotlight. Such scientific experiments have drawn fire from scientists and activists alike, who are demanding for laws to forbid the creation of ‘monsters’.

As of right now, DARPA has a functioning exoskeleton that enables soldiers to run far faster and handle heavy weights. This is but a step in the direct of full modification of the genetic coding of soldiers.

DARPA, of course, has earned the nickname of the ‘mad scientist’ wing for its rampant experiments in modifying life and fusing biology and technology. In working with killer drones, DARPA earlier this year was developing research into contact lens-mounted displays that could transport information from drones into the eyeballs of soldiers. Furthermore, the agency is also developing helmets in which the soldiers could communicate ‘telepathically’ with the kill drones.

The announcement ties in with the 2045 project, which I’ve covered in the past. The project offers ‘immortality’ to the wealthy elite who financially back it, and touts artificial bodies and brains for humans to achieve ‘immortality’. This entire system, of course, ties into a larger ‘singularity’ project as outlined by the creator of the 2045 plan and others like Ray Kurzweil. In a nut shell, ‘consciousness singularity’ can be defined by a merging of all ‘transhuman’ bodies into one ‘hive mind’ of sorts. Likely a massive super computer of some sorts that has full control over the minds of those ‘hooked in’.

It truly sounds insane, yet it is plainly stated out in the open. A number of issues arise from this singularity plan (not to even mention the fact that ‘soldiers’ are slowly becoming more of DARPA creations than human), such as the serious threat to humanity’s very integrity. We’ve seen the many issues regarding traditional GMOs on public health and the environment, now what about human modification?

Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/us-army-super-soldier-genetically-modified-humans-food-sleep/#ixzz3DOn9RImo
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Indigenous malaria vaccine shows promise in mice studies.

The vaccine candidate appeared to prime the immune system of the mice against the disease

Indian scientists experimenting with a novel vaccine candidate against malaria say they have found “promising results” in mice, with “80 to 85 per cent efficacy” observed in a dozen animals they recently vaccinated.

In this 2005 photo made available by the University of Notre Dame via the CDC, an Anopheles funestus mosquito takes a blood meal from a human host.

The new vaccine candidate, created by a team at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), contains live malaria sporozoites (an immature stage of the parasitePlasmodium berghei) with an important genetic modification. The researchers knocked out a gene that produces “heme,” a molecule central to the pathogen’s survival. The vaccine targets the pathogen as it enters the liver, the first destination in the host.

Modus operandi

INSA Senior Scientist, Department of Biochemistry, IISc, G. Padmanabhan, who leads the research at P.N. Rangarajan’s laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry, said that the vaccine candidate appeared to prime the immune system of the mice against the disease, most likely by kickstarting a T cell immune response.

These results are, however, yet to be published, he said.

“We need to repeat the experiment in a few more animals to confirm our results first,” said Viswanathan Arun Nagaraj, a Ramanujan Fellow IISc, and part of the team working on the vaccine. They will next conduct safety trials on their animal models, he added.

The premise of the vaccine — containing mutant, inactivated sporozoites (or genetically attenuated sporozoites) — draws from two critical discoveries made earlier by the same team. The first discovery, made 20 years ago, was that the parasite can produce its own “heme” to sustain itself (although it also draws the molecule from the host’s haemoglobin when the parasite finally colonises in the host’s blood stream).

Second breakthrough

In 2013, the team made its second breakthrough when it identified all the heme-producing genes and found that the parasite’s ability to manufacture heme on its own was essential in its earliest “human stage” — when it enters the host’s liver.

“Inactivating the sporozoites is always the main challenge while researching a malaria vaccine,” Prof. Padmanabhan said. By knocking out one of the heme-producing genes — ALA synthase gene — the researchers essentially created a parasite that was no longer capable of surviving in the liver, let alone being released in exponential numbers into the host’s bloodstream where it manifests as malaria.

“The heme-biosynthetic pathway could be a target for antimalarial therapies in the mosquito and liver stages of infection. The knockout parasite could also be tested for its potential as a genetically attenuated sporozoite vaccine,” Dr. Nagaraj and coauthors had anticipated in a paper published inPLoS Pathogens journal last year.

A vaccine against malaria has been a longstanding research problem especially because drugs have proved inadequate against the parasite that often develops resistance, Dr. Nagaraj said. “Only recently did we have reports from Cambodia of the parasite developing resistance to artemisinin, the most important anti-malaria drug. The parasites are developing resistance to even combination drugs.”

Among the vaccine candidates under various stages of trial around the world is the RTS,S vaccine based on a protein from the malaria sporozoite, which has shown a 30 to 50 per cent efficacy in human trials. Another vaccine being tested uses attenuated irradiated (weakened) sporozoites.

According to the WHO, malaria infected 207 million people across the world in 2012 and killed 627,000 people; nearly 80 per cent of the deaths were of children under five years of age.