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Biopharming and Beyond GMOs on Steroids Martin Donohoe.

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Presentation on theme: "Biopharming and Beyond GMOs on Steroids Martin Donohoe."— Presentation transcript:

1 Biopharming and Beyond GMOs on Steroids Martin Donohoe

2 Biopharming The engineering of plants to produce pharmaceuticals such as enzymes, antibiotics, contraceptives, abortifacients, antibodies, chemotherapeutic agents, other medications, vaccines, and industrial and research chemicals The engineering of plants to produce pharmaceuticals such as enzymes, antibiotics, contraceptives, abortifacients, antibodies, chemotherapeutic agents, other medications, vaccines, and industrial and research chemicals

3 Biopharming Rationale: Rationale: Farmers/farms cheaper than technicians/manufacturing plants Farmers/farms cheaper than technicians/manufacturing plants Seeds/silos may be cheap storage system Seeds/silos may be cheap storage system ?Cheaper drugs? – doubtful given history of pharmaceutical industry pricing patterns; also, multiple externalized costs ?Cheaper drugs? – doubtful given history of pharmaceutical industry pricing patterns; also, multiple externalized costs Approximately 400 field tests worldwide since 1991 (over 100 in U.S.) Approximately 400 field tests worldwide since 1991 (over 100 in U.S.)

4 Top 12 Biopharm States 1 – Nebraska 7 – California 2 – Hawaii 8 – Texas 3 - Puerto Rico 9 – Florida 4 – Wisconsin 10 – Washington 5 – Iowa 11 – North Carolina 6 – Kentucky 12 - Maryland

5 Biopharming More than 15 companies involved in US (75 companies worldwide) More than 15 companies involved in US (75 companies worldwide) USDA conceals crop locations from public and neighboring farmers, in most cases hides identity of drug or chemical being tested, citing trade secrets USDA conceals crop locations from public and neighboring farmers, in most cases hides identity of drug or chemical being tested, citing trade secrets Even state agriculture regulators often unaware of info re drug or chemical involved Even state agriculture regulators often unaware of info re drug or chemical involved

6 Major Biopharm Crops Corn Corn Soybeans Soybeans Tobacco Tobacco Rice Rice

7 Examples of biopharmed crops Drug/ChemicalUse Test Crop Laccase Textiles, adhesives Corn Folic acid VitaminTomatoes ErythropoeitinAnemiaTobacco

8 Examples of biopharmed crops Drug/ChemicalUse Test Crop Essential fatty acids Cell membrane production Soybeans SARS vaccine ImmunizationTomato Vaccine against pollen allergies ImmunizationRice

9 Examples of biopharmed crops Drug/ChemicalUse Test Crop Traveler’s and other Diarrheas Immunization/Drug Rice, Potatoes and Corn Insulin Treatment of Diabetes Safflower Insulin-like Growth Factors Diabetes, Growth, Carcinogen Rice

10 Potentially Harmful Biopharmaceuticals SubstanceUse Known or Potential Effects Acanthocyanin in tomatoes Antioxidant, anti- cancer agent Unknown Aprotinin in corn Blood clotting Pancreatic disease, allergic reactions

11 Potentially Harmful Biopharmaceuticals SubstanceUse Known or Potential Effects Anti-sperm antibody in corn Contraception Adverse reproductive impacts Trypsin in corn Enzyme - research, industrial uses Occupational asthma Avidin in corn Research Vitamin B deficiency, allergic reactions

12 Potentially Harmful Biopharmaceuticals SubstanceUse Known or Potential Effects Ebola immune complex in Nicotiana benthamiana Vaccine against highly pathogenic, dangerous virus Immune system effects Taliglucerase alfa in carrots Gaucher’s Disease Two similar drugs made in mammalian cells already available

13 Potentially Harmful Biopharmaceuticals SubstanceUse Known or Potential Effects Tricosanthin in tobacco Failed anti-HIV drug Highly toxic - allergic reactions, induced abortions Alpha-amylase in corn Digests starch to sugars (aids biofuel production) unknown

14 Opposition to Biopharming National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Sciences Union of Concerned Scientists Union of Concerned Scientists British Medical Association (favors moratorium on all GM foods) British Medical Association (favors moratorium on all GM foods) Consumers Union Consumers Union

15 Opposition to Biopharming Grocery Manufacturers of America Grocery Manufacturers of America National Food Processors Association National Food Processors Association Organic Consumers Association Organic Consumers Association Friends of the Earth Friends of the Earth Others Others

16 Biopharm Proponents Claims Inflated/Unrealistic Farmers are unlikely to be major beneficiaries: Farmers are unlikely to be major beneficiaries: Market forces, including foreign competition, will drive down farmer compensation Market forces, including foreign competition, will drive down farmer compensation Acreage required very small compared with commodity crop acreage, such that only a small number of growers will be needed Acreage required very small compared with commodity crop acreage, such that only a small number of growers will be needed

17 Genetic Modification of Algae and Trees GE algae (for use as fuel): dangers include worldwide spread and possible weaponization to destroy fish stocks GE algae (for use as fuel): dangers include worldwide spread and possible weaponization to destroy fish stocks Mercury-splicing bacteria for soil cleanup Mercury-splicing bacteria for soil cleanup Removes Hg 2+ ions from contaminated soil and converts it into volatile elemental mercury, which is released into the atmosphere Removes Hg 2+ ions from contaminated soil and converts it into volatile elemental mercury, which is released into the atmosphere Problem - converted by phytoplankton to organic mercury, dispersed widely, and then works its way up the food chain Problem - converted by phytoplankton to organic mercury, dispersed widely, and then works its way up the food chain

18 Genetic Modification of Vertebrates Aquabounty Technology’s GE salmon (contains growth hormone gene from chinook salmon and genetic on- switch from the ocean pout) Aquabounty Technology’s GE salmon (contains growth hormone gene from chinook salmon and genetic on- switch from the ocean pout) Designed for more rapid growth Designed for more rapid growth Aquabounty states it will only produce sterile females Aquabounty states it will only produce sterile females Up to 15% may escape pens and interbreed with wild stocks, decreasing the species’ reproductive fitness Up to 15% may escape pens and interbreed with wild stocks, decreasing the species’ reproductive fitness GE salmon have higher levels of IGF-1 (carcinogen) GE salmon have higher levels of IGF-1 (carcinogen) WA, OR and MD have banned WA, OR and MD have banned

19 Genetic Modification of Vertebrates Tilapia/clotting factor VII Tilapia/clotting factor VII “Ruppy” (Ruby Puppy) “Ruppy” (Ruby Puppy) Glows red under UV light Glows red under UV light Developed using red fluorescent gene from sea anemones Developed using red fluorescent gene from sea anemones Artist Eduard Kac: Artist Eduard Kac: Glow-in-the-dark rabbit Glow-in-the-dark rabbit “Plantimal” (petunia-human hybrid) “Plantimal” (petunia-human hybrid)

20 Genetic Modification of Vertebrates “Popeye Pig” – Pig GM with spinach gene, designed to have less saturated fat “Popeye Pig” – Pig GM with spinach gene, designed to have less saturated fat Pigs modified with roundworm gene to make their own (heart healthy) omega-3 fatty acids Pigs modified with roundworm gene to make their own (heart healthy) omega-3 fatty acids Accidentally turned up in poutry feed sold throughout Ontario(2004) Accidentally turned up in poutry feed sold throughout Ontario(2004) Goats GM to make anti-nerve gas agent Goats GM to make anti-nerve gas agent

21 Biopharming of Vertebrates “Enviropig” – GM modified with E. coli and mouse DNA to digest phytates, decrease phosphate in excrement “Enviropig” – GM modified with E. coli and mouse DNA to digest phytates, decrease phosphate in excrement Phytase (pig feed supplement) does same thing Phytase (pig feed supplement) does same thing Pig feed can already be supplemented with phytase Pig feed can already be supplemented with phytase Idea shelved Idea shelved

22 Genetic Modification of Vertebrates Cows modified to produce “human” milk Cows modified to produce “human” milk Proposal to genetically modify human embryos to make all humans intolerant to red meat (to combat global warming and overuse of water) Proposal to genetically modify human embryos to make all humans intolerant to red meat (to combat global warming and overuse of water)

23 Genetic Modification of Vertebrates USDA Office of the Inspector General has criticized USDA for lacking coordinated oversight of regulations behind R and D of GE animals and insects USDA Office of the Inspector General has criticized USDA for lacking coordinated oversight of regulations behind R and D of GE animals and insects

24 Human-Animal Hybrids Inter-species breeding Inter-species breeding Ape-man, Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov, Guinea, 1927 Ape-man, Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov, Guinea, 1927 Stalin attempted to create interspecies (half-men/half- apes) “super-warriors” Stalin attempted to create interspecies (half-men/half- apes) “super-warriors” 2011: Chimeric monkey created from 6 different parents 2011: Chimeric monkey created from 6 different parents

25 Human-Animal Hybrids and More UK scientists have created over 150 human-animal hybrid embryos to develop embyronic stem cells UK scientists have created over 150 human-animal hybrid embryos to develop embyronic stem cells De-extincting Neanderthal using human womb De-extincting Neanderthal using human womb Cloning of extinct species, “Pleistocene rewilding” Cloning of extinct species, “Pleistocene rewilding”

26 Synthetic Biology (Synbio) Creation of DNA and organisms from scratch Creation of DNA and organisms from scratch Applications: Applications: Biofuels Biofuels Industrial chemicals Industrial chemicals Natural product substitutes - Rubber, vanilla, palm oil Natural product substitutes - Rubber, vanilla, palm oil Biomedical applications - Vaccine production Biomedical applications - Vaccine production

27 Synthetic Biology (Synbio) 2002: Polio virus created at SUNY Stony Brook over two years 2002: Polio virus created at SUNY Stony Brook over two years 2005: Mt Sinai, CDC researchers resurrect lethal 1918 flu virus and publish details of complete genome sequence 2005: Mt Sinai, CDC researchers resurrect lethal 1918 flu virus and publish details of complete genome sequence 2012: Nature published instructions on how to create plague virus 2012: Nature published instructions on how to create plague virus

28 Risks of Synbio Accidental release into wild Accidental release into wild Displacement of wild populations Displacement of wild populations Ecosystem disruption Ecosystem disruption Extinction Extinction

29 Synbio and Beyond DARPA Project to create living, breathing creatures with possible military applications DARPA Project to create living, breathing creatures with possible military applications Bio hackers (home and community laboratory creation of GM organisms) Bio hackers (home and community laboratory creation of GM organisms)

30 Martin Donohoe


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