New pathogen in GM crops found to affect animal health

Genetically modified (GM) crops now account for the majority of soybeans, corn, cotton and other major crops grown in the United States – see They are also a major component of U.S. food exports, our human diet, and often account for the entire feed of cattle, poultry and other farm animals.

GM plants are altered profoundly from the defining characteristics that differentiate a plant from an animal or bacteria in nature. For example, so-called “Roundup Ready” GM corn, soy and other crops carry a bacterial gene that makes them resistant to the powerful herbicide Roundup.

Without this extra gene, they would succumb to the application of Roundup at the same rate as weeds and other grasses. With the bacterial gene – given that Roundup does not kill bacteria – the GM plants survive unscathed. Does that make them plants or bacteria? And – more importantly – is it now conceivable that they could cause infections or other health effects that are typical of bacteria?

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