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.

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Pentagon developing combat chewing gum .


Reuters/Andrew Burton

Maintaining good dental health may not seem like it’d be a top priority for soldiers, but the US military is hard at work developing a new kind of chewing gum that can battle cavities.

Simply dubbed “Combat Gum,” the new product is currently under development at the Army Institute of Surgical Research. Featuring a synthetic collection of anti-microbial peptide – the same naturally-occurring molecules in human saliva that kill bacteria – the gum can potentially help reduce plaque and tooth decay, as well as prevent cavities.

The gum has been in development for roughly seven years, and after that much time and up to $12 million spent, the New Yorker is reporting it’s finally entered a testing phase that will last throughout the year. Not many people have tried the gum so far, but according to Domenick Zero, the director of the Indiana University School of Dentistry’s Oral Health Research Institute, the first set of human trials has been completed and “everything is going well.”

Although Zero mentioned “this is not intended to replace tooth brushing,” he told the New Yorker that the gum could reinforce the mouth’s resistance and “prevent pathogens from colonizing our skin, or our mouths, or our defenses.”

Still, if the Combat Gum is effective, at $2 a piece it could potentially save the military a significant amount of cash. The armed forces spend more than $100 million every year on dental procedures, some of which require shouldering the burden of transporting a soldier to another continent for emergency services. According to Colonel Robert Hale, the commander of the Army’s Dental and Trauma Research Detachment, 40 percent of recruits have at least three cavities.

“Oral health is essential to warriors on the battlefield and could potentially save the military countless hours and dollars in dental health,” he told the Army Times in a January report. “[And] it would save a lifetime of dental disease for a significant population.”

Originally intended for soldiers serving in territories lacking water, the Army is now looking to give the gum to those it considers to be high-risk soldiers, who make up 15 percent of all troops. That includes those with multiple cavities and anyone with decaying teeth.

Beyond that, however, there are also preliminary plans to bring the product to the consumer market, much like nicotine gum.

“If we can develop an anti-plaque chewing gum and offer it to a company like, I don’t know, Wrigley’s, and distribute that to the general population, then those kids will come and join the Armed Forces with less dental decay issues,” Hale said.

Modern Warfare. The future of war.


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