Sunday, February 14, 2010

Protect the Alfalfa

I, Elisa Beck, worked for the United States Department of Agriculture when I was an undergraduate at the University of Maryland studying Biology with an emphasis in Ecology back in the early 1980's. We isolated the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) from the environment and worked with it in our laboratory. Bt was used as a biological insecticide at that time. Its commercial name was Dipel. My understanding at that time was that it was an excellent alternative to chemical insecticides as it will biodegrade, or disappear from the environment within a short time period. I believe it was Monsanto that then incorporated Bt into the genetic code of corn and created Bt corn.

I remember panicking and calling the scientists I worked with at the time, Phyllis Martin and Russell Travers, both Ph.D.'s and employees of the USDA. I knew the physiology of how Bt worked. It disrupted the gut of lepidptera larvae (moths and butterflies) and basically blew the animal larvae to pieces.

What would happen to our butterfly and moth populations, I wondered? And how would it affect the human population and all other living species in between?

Phyllis Martin reassured me not to worry, that baby food would always be protected. She did mention that there would certainly be unintended consequences. These unintended consequences are happening in our world every moment now. Whenever the pollen from Bt corn is ingested by a butterfly or moth it not only kills that individual insect, but prevents that insect from pollinating other flowers.

The huge experiment that is being conducted by Monsanto (most recently they want to start a new experiment with Alfalfa) is unacceptable. Once the population at large begins to grasp the enormous complexity of what is going on and how this company called Monsanto is experimenting with the genetic structure of humanity, I am certain any human being that can will express a resounding "NO" to Monsanto's plan. I urge you to go this link and work to to reject Monsanto's application to market GMO alfalfa.

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