22/09/2010

Could GE be the source of new virulent superbug: NDM-1?

 

Urgent research is needed to identify if a new and virulent antibiotic resistant superbug that has been affecting people in many different countries is the result of Genetic Engineering. Scientists have been warning that transgenic organisms could mutate and cause new virulent pathogens, and there are concerns that this may have now occurred.

The new super bug called NDM-1 (New Dehli metallo-beta lactamase) genes have been detected on gram-negative enteric bacilli causing severe respiratory problems, pneumonia, fever, chills, blood and urinary tract infections that are thought to be more severe than swine flu [1].

The beta-lactamase genes (bla) or Ampicillin resistance genes are commonly used in genetic engineering. They are used as marker genes to inactivate antibiotics. Scion are using it in their GE trees, and biotechnology companies use them in GE plants.

The bla gene is often carried on plasmids in the bacterial nuclei, which could then be acquired by other pathogens [2]. Recombinant technology (genetic engineering) uses the exact same process by attaching vector systems to the genes of interest and placing them into plasmids to multiply [3].

“Could the sudden appearance of the super bug be a mutation of our own making and the result of gut bacteria taking up the genetic modifications that have been introduced into food?" said Claire Bleakley president of GE-Free NZ in food and environment.

“Research is urgently needed as so little is known about the results of mixing foreign DNA and using GE to cross the species barrier. Species integrity has been developed for a reason and the spread of super bugs from eating GE foods to gut bacteria must be closely examined.”

The FSANZ has approved 37 GE foods with some containing a bla gene. FSNAZ and just ticked through a new GE corn (Smartstax) that has six different insecticidal and herbicidal genes all sourced from common soil bacteria and antibiotic genes.

Something is rotten in the GE regulatory system and human safety is being ignored for lack of evidence and lack of motivation to conduct proper science. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) and The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) must address the risk of the transgenic bla gene being implicated in a new pandemic and must not approve GE applications that use antibiotic resistant genes while their safety remains in doubt.

ENDS

Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 348 6731

Jon Carapiet 0210507681

[1] What are the symptoms of the NDM-1 Superbug?
http://www.infobarrel.com/What_are_the_symptoms_of_the_NDM-1_Superbug%3F

[2] Kumarasamy K, et al "Emergence of a new antibiotic resistance mechanism in India , Pakistan , and the UK : a molecular, biological, and epidemiological study" Lancet Inf Diseases 2010; (9), pp. 597-602DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(10)70143-2.

[3] Plasmid Cloning http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acKWdNj936o

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