GM Free Cymru

Russians threatened by GM Genocide

(See Note 1 on title)

Only in "MK": the shocking results of checking GM products

Until now, scientists cannot accurately say whether genetically modified (GM) products are dangerous for man. Serious and independent studies are necessary. But now after the "Frankenstein Food" scare it will cost a great deal of money, and to find the means to undertake research is very difficult. This problem has been encountered by our scientists, among them the leading scientist of the RAS [Russian Academy of Sciences] Institute, Irina Ermakova. She and her team conducted a series of experiments on rats, but they were not given funding to finish the work - they ran over their limited budget. However, even those results which it was possible to obtain, proved very shocking to the scientists involved. The sensational studies of Irina Ermakova were described in "MK".

Studies of trans-genes should be free from lobbying or interference.

Q- Why can GM products be dangerous?

First, during the process of introduction genes can be mutated themselves and also exert a negative influence on the genome of plants. Second, in the GM plants novel toxic proteins can be formed, and therefore trans-genes can cause toxicoses or allergy in man. A fantastic story appeared about how as a result of genetic manipulations the new plants led people to blindness – but that can become reality even today. Third, the methods of gene insertion are not perfect and do not guarantee the safety of the plants created with their help. There exist two most common methods. The first - bombardment of cells by the microparticles of gold or tungsten with the substituted genes on them. In this case it is unknown how many new genes there will be and where in the genome of the cell they will be incorporated. The second (more extended and more dangerous) - the introduction of genes with the help of the plasmids from Agrobacterium tumefaciens. In studies by German scientists mice were fed with food containing plasmids with the green fluorescent protein gene. Green fluorescent proteins were found in different organs of the mice and their offspring. Before beginning my studies I also hypothesized that the plasmids and foreign DNA from the GM plants could reach the cells of different organs of human body - the blood, sexual organs, the sperm, etc., causing subsequently tumors, mutation and the disturbance of reproductive function.

Q - Was it important to you to conduct your experiments exclusively on animals?

Yes. With the help of the tests which are currently used to investigate GM plants, it is impossible to determine whether they are dangerous. But in animals fed by GMO, results can be seen sufficiently rapidly: an animal will begin to be ill, and will experience damage to its reproductive functions, behavior, etc.

Q - And why precisely rats? Some scientists assure us that people and rats are very different!

Research has shown that people differ genetically much less, for example, from the mice, than had been assumed. Although we do not have any tails and whiskers, in the structure of our organism and in biochemistry we are very close. Rats - convenient objects for a study - are unpretentious and inexpensive. However, it is true that the authorities rapidly stopped the financing of my experiment. As soon as it started, there was pressure on the Institute from the GM product lobby. And they recommended to me that I should not persist with this study. I was also told that in this interview I should not mention the full name of the Institute where I work.

Q- What form, specifically, did that pressure take?

As I said, two academicians, lobbyists for the GM industry, approached the presidium of RAS [Russian Academy of Science] with a requirement that I should terminate my studies. This was connected with the fact that there is already a large flow of transgenic products into our market, that nothing can be done to stop it, and that it is not desirable to disturb people. Their position is this: you are being targeted, and we will stand to one side.

Q- But now, it is probable that everything will be different? Hasn’t Yuri Luzhkov personally allocated some money from the capital budget to the continuation of your experiments?

That money is already allocated, but our Institute has rejected our application for investigations on this theme. So now studies will continue in other scientific research institutes, and to carry them out there will be not only I, but also other scientists as well. Glory to God, that desire was recognized by others and then supported. Moreover the National Association of Genetic Safety announced the beginning of the world's first truly public experiment. It is principally important to gather resources from independent sources so that no one can suspect lobbying. In the experiment, which will go online, not only Moscow scientists have agreed to participate, but also scientists from other municipalities. Funding is needed in order to lease accomodation, to install video cameras, to begin to employ people. In my previous studies I had to use my own personal money, and I had the help of just one woman. Thanks to that freedom, I could conduct the experiments without interference, and now very many people speak quite freely about my findings. References to the studies exist on 40 thousand web sites. My experiments have been described in different countries: in England, USA, Australia and elsewhere. I have been invited to give lectures in Japan. The influence of GM plants on other organisms is an enormous scientific problem, which most biotechnologists (in view of their vested interests) cannot solve. Moreover scientists must be allowed to carry out the scientific protocols of a study, independent from funding companies and producers of GMOs.

Q- Is it complicated to undertake these experiments?

There are no technical problems. But, unfortunately, something incomprehensible has happened. I have obtained many letters from scientists from the different parts of the world. And all acknowledge that they do not have the possibility to conduct truly independent studies. Thus, an Austrian scientist wrote: "I just wish you much luck in the future, because such results will mean, that you will have a hard conflict with a lot of western industry interests. Industry-affiliated scientist will lobby against you - and for sure a lot of so-called scientific panels for food-safety and “competent” authorities will try to ignore your results or will try to hinder the publication of your papers.” There is also the history of an associate from Australia, who submitted to the government of her country a proposal to repeat my experiments. At once attacks began in the Internet, while pressure was exerted on the government from the side of the GM product lobby. Then a letter arrived from the Netherlands. First they wrote: "We do not believe you". I answered: "This is unscientific - to believe or not believe. You can verify". After several months I again received a letter from one of them: "My expert friends in England know of no similar experiment elsewhere. Neither do I. It was to be expected. They know what they would if they were to look. The only "safe" way for them is to close their eyes. These people are led and misled by an evil force which is unimaginable. That's my impression. We must keep up our good work! We'll win eventually.” Please note the fact that it is almost impossible to obtain funding for such studies by grants, but even if it is possible to find resources and do the work, it is almost impossible to publish the results in the peer-reviewed scientific publications. Companies refuse to allow GM material for studies, or they require instead complete control over the experiments. When farmers buy in a company’s GM seeds, they have to sign a contract saying that they may not pass them on for research purposes. By the way, very frequently the GM seeds do not germinate, and farmers are forced to buy them again. In India there was an increase in suicides among farmers. Mixed seeds were sold to them (both traditional and GM). After only two years they could not obtain a harvest: their seeds did not germinate. Even normal plants as a result of repollination became barren. In this situation the producers of transgenic seeds quite simply can arrange hunger at any point on the planet (in the future including Russia), having simply refused to sell seeds to the country. That important producer of GM cultures, the Monsanto Corporation, has already stated that all of the seeds on the planet will be transgenic in 10 - 15 years’ time.

Q- Can you describe your experiment in more detail?

I developed nothing new. It is all described in the documents on the checking of GM products. In such cases and in the operating instructions of the chief sanitation inspector of Russia Onishchenko in 2000. Approximately the same scheme of experiments was used, although I did not know about these guidelines. True, in the document signed by Onishchenko it is recommended that the experiments must be carried out on five generations of rats, but you will not find such studies anywhere! Although some producers of GMOs carry out experiments on animals, they feed them very cunningly - they begin to feed females during the pregnancy, when the maternal organism protects embryos from harmful effects. But here if we begin to feed before mating and then continue to the end of the growing phase of the young rats, the probability of negative impacts on the organism sharply grows. To companies, which conduct similar studies, negative results are undesirable. According to available data, of 500 scientists, who work in the biotechnology in Great Britain, 30% were forced on the request of sponsors to change the data from their experiments. I conducted several series of experiments. In essence we studied the physiological conditions and level of mortality of young rats in the first and second generations. In the first block 30 females, divided into 4 groups, were investigated. To the 1st group we gave together with the usual chow GM soybean flour; normal soya was added into the chow of 2nd group; the 3rd group had protein isolate flour made from GM soy, and the 4th group (control) was fed with standard chow without any additives. Rats were fed before mating and during mating, pregnancy and lactation. In the whole experiment we investigated 221 young rats. The most negative result (we did not expect that everything would go so badly!) we obtained in the group "GM soya". More than half of the young rats (51,6%) from the first generation died during the first three weeks of life, and of those remaining alive, more than a third proved to be 1,5 - 2 times less in size and weight, compared with the young rats from the control groups. They were weakened and underdeveloped. Curiously, even in the group "usual soya" we measured a reduction in the weight of the animals, although, according to theory, the addition of protein to the usual food should have led to the opposite result. When then we took the surviving females and the males of the first generation from the group "GM soya", we did not obtain any progeny from them. With the mating of the females of the first generation from the group "GM soya" with the males from control group there were offspring, but they were very weakened. In another series of experiments morphologists investigated the state of the internal organs of animals. Serious pathologic changes were revealed in the liver (it was like a sieve) and in the testes in the males (they proved to be cyanotic, but not pink). It was desirable to further investigate the heart, brain, spleen and other organs, but we did not have the resources at that moment. I did not expect that the results obtained by me would cause such stormy discussion. But it is still more surprising to me, that these simple experiments have not been repeated by anybody in one-and-a-half years. So I have been conducting a new series of experiments using again, mainly, my own money.

Q- Are the results already available?

Results obtained thus far are processed, but already it is possible to say the following: the results of the first experiments have been confirmed. These new studies were necessary also in order to exclude the action of herbicide on rat posterity . It is considered that in the GM soya, resistant to Roundup herbicide (I used precisely similar), the herbicide can be accumulated and can negatively influence embryos. Therefore I changed the scheme of the feeding a little: males and females were fed by GM soya only 2 weeks prior to mating and 2--3 days during the mating (for each case). However the females didn’t get GM soya during pregnancy and lactation. The picture came out the same as in the previous experiments. In the group "GM soya" the mortality of young rats was more than 50%, and there are very many underdeveloped young rats.

Q- Have they put personal pressure on you during your studies?

Yes. Indeed, they put pressure not only on us as researchers, but also on those who supported us. But I do not want to speak about this. Another thing is important. The risks which are associated with GM plants, can lead to the extinction of all life on our planet. Plants and animals play an important role in the creation of climate, and which is currently created by the weather! This can be a consequence of the large-scale propagation of GM cultures. The majority of GMOs, through 1--2 or several generations, become barren. And it is possible that those who eat them, through just two generations, will also become incapable of the reproduction of their own kind. Specifically, this is connected with the sharp reduction of biodiversity in fields containing GM crops.

Q- Aren't you afraid of conducting such studies?

I am frequently asked about this. But what am I to make of it? There is no other way to proceed. I cannot fail to be involved in this problem. We underestimate the dangers of GM, and if we do not now undertake action, then tomorrow it may be too late. This is the first stage: to study, to test and to take measurements. And to do this as quickly as possible. I will be grateful to all who will support the beginning of this public scientific experiment on checking the safety of GM products.


As early as 2000, 828 scientists of 84 countries around the world signed an open letter to the governments of all countries about the danger of the genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Now such signatures have risen to more than 2 thousand. The scientists are asking for a moratorium on the use of trans-genes in food.

Moscow Komsomolmember from 26.01.2007 Ekaterina PICHUGINA


Note (1) The use of the word “Genocide” in the title of this piece might seem surprising – and we thought initially that we might have mis-translated from the Russian. But it can be argued, quite reasonably, that if the GM corporations are aware of the fact that their products are harmful, and that sterility is one of the side-effects of consuming GM food over an extended period, then their attempt to take control of the world’s seed supplies and to replace indigenous staple crops with GM varieties could be viewed as genocidal. At what point does “turning a blind eye” transpose into “intent”?

Russian Internet News site "MK" 26 January 2007