I love the intrawebz!
I was bopping around on Google last night, looking for neat info about Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (post on that later!), and I stumbled upon a really awesome article from 1994:
Now I have no idea who “Joseph E. Cummins” is. He might be as embarrassed by that article today as I am amused by it. But the website that is hosting that article is concerned about two things: FRANKENSTEIN GMOs, and cell phones mutating your DNA.
Anyway, Cummins was disgruntled at the fact that the first commercial GMO, FlavrSavr tomatoes, were modified with a plant virus, Cauliflower Mosaic Virus. CaMV has a really nice promoter, so scientists smushed it with a bit of DNA that coded for their desired modification and YAY!!!– Tomatoes that ripened on the vine (these scientists were using siRNA before they knew what siRNA was, which is another post in and of itself).
Well, Cummins didnt think much of that idea. Like many laymen and non-virologist-scientists, he fell back on a classic fear: Viruses are ‘magic’. If you incorporated viral DNA into the genome of a plant, then that DNA could mix/match with other viruses and bacteria to create the ultimate super-bug that will kill everyone and everything on this planet:
It has been shown that the CaMV genes incorporated into the plant (canola) chromosome recombine with infecting virus to produce more virulent new virus diseases. The designers of the experiment questioned the safety of transgenic plants containing viral genes (S. Gal et al., Virology 187: 525, 1992) [ERV-- they used the CaMV promoter to drive the transcription of their RNAi. recombination has nothing to do with anything.]
… In conclusion CaMV promoters recombine with the infecting viruses to produce virulent new diseases. CaMV viruses and promoter may incorporate genes from the host creating virulent new diseases.
CaMV can recombine with insect viruses and propagated in insect cells (D. Zuidema et al. J. Gen. Vir. 71: 312, 1990). Thus it is likely that as large numbers of humans consume CaMV modified tomatos recombination between CaMV and hepatitis B viruses will take place creating a supervirus propagated in plants, insects and humans.
SUPER MONKEY VIRUS THAT CAN INFECT TURKEYS, ALBINOS, AND LADYBUGS!!
Guys, I can whole heartedly assure you that you arent being infected with Hepatitis B if you eat a GMO tomato, unless that GMO tomato is covered in the blood/spit of a HepB positive individual. Jesus.
But here is the part that really cracked me up:
Ignoring the special nature of recombination is likely to have costly, if not terminal, environmental consequences. A worst-case example includes the complete cloning of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) on an E. coli plasmid. When the plasmid is used to transform animal cells, intact HIV viruses are released from the cells. A careless (but legal) release of HIV bacteria to the environment would allow the plasmid to transfer to Salmonella as well as E. coli. Thus, numerous mammals and birds could contain HIV bacteria which could transform the animals, which would in turn produce HIV particles unable to target the animals T-cell receptors but easily transmitted to humans. When all the animals are HIV carriers, human survival would be marginal.
DRAT! He discovered my Evil League of Evil master plan: Destroy the world with infectious molecular clones!
Oh well, might as well dish on the details now– Step one, dump gallons of transformed, non-pathogenic E. coli into our water supply. Sure the E. coli we use for these experiments is extraordinarily delicate, and totally wouldnt survive in ‘the real world’, but still! Step two, get everyone infected said E. coli… even though its lab adapted and couldnt compete with wild-type strains that already inhabit your body. Then all I have to do is force you all to consume vast quantities of soap to blow up the E. coli, and then force you all to drink gallons of Fugene6 so the released plasmids can enter mammalian cells.
MY PLAN IS FLAWLESS BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
Scaremongers: A very, very special kind of stupid. I really hope Cummins outgrew this garbage.