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From November 10, 2005                                                                                                           

Russian Scientists Find That GE Soy Effects Rat Posterity
(Beyond Pesticides, November 10, 2005) On October 10th Russian scientist, Dr. Irina Ermakova, made public the results of a study looking at the effects of genetically engineered (GE) soy on the offspring of rats. The results of the study show a significant decrease in posterity survival rates of rats fed GE soy, versus rats fed non-GE soy.

The study, led by Dr. Ermakova, was conducted at the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). The researchers observed three groups of rats: a control group, a group fed GE soy, and a group fed regular soy. The non-control groups were fed soy starting two weeks before conception and continuing through pregnancy and nursing.

One of the most immediate results that the researchers observed was the size difference between the GE offspring and the other offspring. Two weeks after birth, the 36% of the pups from the GE group weighed less than 20 grams, compared to only 6% of the pups from the other groups.

Size was not the only problem, however. Within three weeks of birth, a significant number of the GE pups began dying. Twenty-five of the 45 (55.6%) rats from the GE fed group died compared to only 3 of 33 (9%) from the non-GE fed group, and 3 of 44 (6.8%) from the control group.

Dr. Ermakova wanted to take the study even farther by analyzing major organs of both the mothers and the offspring, however she had run out of money. Thus, she considers her finding preliminary and hopes to continue her research when there is proper funding.

Studies of this kind are overwhelmingly important and may have much more significance to humans than many people think. Dr. Ermakova explained, “the morphology and biochemical structures of rats are very similar to those of humans, and this makes the results we obtained very disturbing.” Additionally, exposure to GE soy is probably more common than we assume it is. Roundup Ready soy (a type of GE soy manufactured by Monsanto and designed to survive the application of the herbicide Roundup) accounts for approximately 85% of all soy grown in the US. What makes the situation even more troubling is that soy and soy derivatives (oil, flour, lecithin, etc.) are so prevalent in the processed food that we consume everyday. This means that many of us take in Roundup Ready on a regular basis.

While Dr. Ermakova’s study has provided us with important and significant evidence that GE food has potentially dangerous side effects, it is not the only study to do so. In May 2004 a British newspaper leaked secret research done by Monsanto. The research showed that rats fed GE corn exhibit health problems including kidney abnormalities and blood changes. None of these abnormalities were present in rats that were fed non-GE corn for the study.

In addition to a small but significant number of studies showing adverse effects of GE food, many problems have been observed and reported over the years by farmers and other people who are in regular contact with GE products. According to Jeffery M. Smith, author of Seeds of Deception, “nearly 25 farmers in the US and Canada say that certain GM [genetically modified] corn varieties caused their pigs to become sterile, have false pregnancies, or give birth to bags of water. A farmer in Germany claims that a certain variety of GM corn killed 12 of his cows and caused others to fall sick. And Filipinos living next to a GM cornfield developed skin, respiratory, and intestinal symptoms and fever, while the corn was pollinating. The mysterious symptoms returned the following year, also during pollination, and blood tests on 39 of the Filipinos showed an immune response to the Bt toxin—created by the GM corn.”

In the wake of Dr. Ermakova’s findings, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has passed a resolution asking the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to sponsor an independent follow-up of the study immediately. If the NIH is unresponsive the Institute for Responsible Technology, a non-profit organization started by Mr. Smith, will attempt to raise the money.

TAKE ACTION: To protect yourself and your family, eat organic when possible. American consumers have a right to choose for themselves what kind of food they eat, and the U.S. government is acting irresponsibly by denying that knowledge and that choice. Take two minutes to take action on this issue by sending an online letter: go to The Center for Food Safety's website to automatically send a pre-written letter to the FDA demanding thorough safety testing and mandatory labeling of GE products. Also check out the Institute for Responsible Technology's website for information on how to pressure manufacturers and food providers to stop producing and providing GE food.