Posted on May 29, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
After university studies in North Carolina, Thierry Vrain began his scientific career as a soil biologist before entering the field of genetic engineering in the late 1980’s and early 90’s. This was the “heyday” of genetic engineering, and not only was Thierry Vrain a believer in the new technology, but a very committed enthusiast. He spent many years in Canada’s government agriculture department before retiring around twelve years ago.
A few years post-retirement he began to become concerned about GMO technology and Roundup/glyphosate herbicides, after becoming aware of uncertainties revealed in scientific studies that have been published since those “heydays.” In the interview with “Food Integrity Now” he does an outstanding job of explaining for those without scientific training the process of creating GMOs, in what he assures listeners is “more simple than most people realize.” The woman host does a fine job by asking short, straightforward questions then allowing Dr. Vrain to fully answer. All through the interview she never interrupts her guest, in the best of interviewing styles.
Genetic modification technology is changing a living organism through forcing bacterial genes into animal and plant chromosomes, basically taking new proteins (enzymes) and introducing them in cells, producing a new function – like herbicide resistance. If you want to modify, you look for bacteria that are resistant to Roundup through experimentation then, after finding a suitable one, insert that Roundup resistant bacteria into corn, soy etc., and you have a patentable product that won’t be killed/harmed by Roundup spraying.
The Roundup-resistant bacteria are shot into plant cells as the gene from that resistant bacteria enters the nucleus of the plant’s cells, similar to stem-cell technology, whereupon the “new” plant now has the foreign bacteria gene in every cell. If you want the “new” plant to become antibiotic-resistant, the same process of finding antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the lab is copied, as well as the same insertion process as that used to introduce Roundup-resistant genes.
Then you have created a plant that is both Roundup-resistant and antibiotic-resistant, which can then be patented. When bacteria that match the criteria you are looking for become identified during lab testing, then inserted into the target plant for modification, Dr. Vrain and genetic scientists call this a “successful event.”
The initial dream for genetic engineering of plants/crops was elimination of farmers’ need for pesticides. “BT” crops represent 10-15% of current GMOs over 500,000,000 acres on Earth, which are genetically engineered with bacteria, producing proteins in every plant cell that kill insects when they try to feed on the plant. Unfortunately, just as those in the medical profession have seen with antibiotic-resistant disease bacteria, insects have become resistant to the killing effects of BT crops, so after a few seasons pesticides became necessary to apply.
The other 85% of those 500 million acres of GMOs are Roundup-ready, by far Monsanto’s biggest “success” story, as Roundup is the world’s largest-selling pesticide/herbicide. So much Roundup gets applied to farmers’ crops/fields that glyphosate (Roundup’s active ingredient) residues are now found everywhere in the environment – polluting water, food, rain, soil, animals, and humans. In America’s supermarkets, 80% of the food products contain significant residues of glyphosate.
Thierry Vrain explains that there are certain “myths” which have grown up around the industry-touted benefits of GMOs. Industry sales claims about “increased yields” are what Vrain considers “having no bearing on genetic modification, a play on words, and not real.” Marketing slogans such as “feeding the world” he finds “pie-in-the-sky.”
Regarding anti-GMO activists’ worries and concerns, Dr. Vrain then mentions what he calls “genetic pollution”, where the two kinds of genes in every cell of GMO plants – antibiotic-resistant and/or herbicide/Roundup-resistant – are moving unabated in the natural environment. These genes/DNA are now everywhere in nature, raising more and more concern from both environmentalists and those in the medical profession.
Environmentalists’ concerns are clear and obvious, including spread of possibly toxic, dysfunctional proteins with unknown, because unstudied, negative health consequences. The medical establishment has concerns because intestinal bacteria of humans are perfectly capable of picking up technological byproducts of genetic engineering.
Thierry Vrain believes glyphosate is more dangerous and harmful than GMOs
While genetic engineering technologies have evolved with regard to understanding initially unidentified negative consequences from approval to production in the environment, Dr. Vrain feels that, although there have emerged uncertainties about GMOs, glyphosate – the molecule which makes Roundup “effective” – has a far greater potential of harming living things, and that includes men, women, and children.
Glyphosate is a very small molecule chemical which was first patented as an effective descaling agent. It became discovered that glyphosate also kills bacteria, then Monsanto patented it as a herbicide in 1969. When genetically modified organisms became approved for production, sale, and release into the environment on farmland in 1996, Roundup with glyphosate quickly became the largest volume selling pesticide in the world.
Glyphosate remove metal ions from plant proteins which are necessary for the protein – the plants – to survive. When Roundup gets sprayed/applied it kills every plant but the Roundup-resistant ones which are genetic engineered, not only killing plants but also all enzymes of every living cell. This has led Thierry Vrain to believe that glyphosate is more dangerous – perhaps much more dangerous – to life than GMO crops themselves.
Glyphosate in doses as low as 1 or 2 parts per million (PPM) kill exactly like an antibiotic, according to Vrain killing only the good bacteria in human digestive tracts, while having no effect on the bad ones in the gut which cause disease. This may explain the rising concerns in the medical professions over antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria recently. Medical research in the past 10 to 20 years is telling us that the bacteria in our intestines are not just there for a ride and being fed, are not parasitic at all, and are actually absolutely needed for good health.
The bacteria in our gut are now known as so important that a new name has been given for this newly discovered organ in our bodies – the “Microbion”. Each person has one hundred trillion bacteria in their Microbion, ten times the number of human cells in the body. These bacteria are responsible for many, many aspects of our functioning – of our health. They are responsible for our immune systems. If the Microbion gets damaged, through eating glyphosate for example, the person is going to get very sick because of a compromised immune system.
The Microbion is also responsible for our mental health
Bacteria in our guts are responsible for synthesizing and creating almost all the serotonin in our systems – our brains. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain – one of the important ones. A damaged Microbion equals a damaged mental state, and low levels of serotonin lead to depression. Can you say anti-depressant? If serotonin levels become lower still, persons will suffer from mental illness like schizophrenia etc.
“This is very real” said Thierry Vrain in this interview.
“The Microbion is primary; it’s just as important as your brain, heart, or liver. It is extremely important. Basically, to make it very simple, the toxicity of engineered crops is not necessarily from the engineered crops themselves, but is from the pesticide that is applied on all engineered crops. This is where the conversation should be. Food in stores is contaminated with residues of a pesticide that is incredibly toxic to the Microbion. This is reality.”
(Thank you to Food Integrity Now at YouTube)