TB Did Not Acquire Resistance from GMO Crops

Before I get to the substance of this post, let me state that I’m not a big fan of genetically modified food crops (GMO crops). And there are few bloggers who have spent more time blogging about antibiotic resistance (never mind spending part of his professional career addressing the problem). But this claim that GMOs have led to multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is absurd:

Instead of blaming multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis on patients and their alleged non-adherence to the prescribed drug regime, it would be prudent to investigate and eradicate the underlying cause for multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis and other drug and antibiotic resistant infectious diseases first–namely commercial gene technology…
Contrary to what the corporate yarn spinners of biotech companies want the public to believe, not one single human safety study has ever been conducted. One does not need a Ph.D. in genetics to see the correlation between GMOs and the sharp rise in HIV infections and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and other diseases. The decision-makers who keep violating our human right to bodily integrity by unleashing these toxins into our environment and food chain without our knowledge and consent must be held accountable.

While one might not need a “Ph.D. in genetics”, in this case, it would have helped. I’m not going to fisk all of the ‘scary associations’, since there is a much more simple argument. None of the genetic mechanisms implicated in drug resistance in TB are found in GMOs. Resistance in TB is a result of point mutations and chromosomal alterations, none of which are transferred from GMOs. How do we know this? We’ve sequenced drug resistant TB genomes, and the transferrable mechanisms of resistance simply are not there (homeopathic genetic elements, anyone?).
Despite the authors’ claim that incomplete therapy isn’t to blame, erm, it is. Because TB grows slowly and lives for very long periods in the human body (months or years), we can actually isolate TB through time, and, lo and behold, drug resistant TB evolves in cases of incomplete therapy. We also have correlative studies. Those who fail to complete treatment are more likely to develop drug resistant TB.
The ultimate cause of drug resistant TB isn’t GMOs or personal failings, but poverty. Too many people can’t afford to take a full course of drugs, so why not stop once the symptoms go away?
That is the root cause of drug resistant TB. If we want to solve the problem, we have to correctly identify the medical and social causes of the problem.

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10 Responses to TB Did Not Acquire Resistance from GMO Crops

  1. JohnV says:

    Did that person just suggest that GMO are the cause of “the rise in HIV infections”?
    What exactly does he or she think that crops are being modified with? 😛

  2. Ross says:

    Hey, remember when “toxin” had a specific meaning that actually carried some weight in science?
    These days, whenever I hear the word “toxin”, it seems like it’s a red flag that I’m reading bullshit.

  3. NJ says:

    Even worse, look over the comments at that link.
    They’re like die-hard YEC’s, just with a sign change.

  4. NJ says:

    Even more worse!
    Nosing around that site I found this:

    Here, Dr. Horowitz urges an investigation of Dr. James S. Robertson, Englands leading bioengineer of flu viruses for the vaccine industry, and avid promoter of U.S. Government funding for lucrative biodefense contracts, along with collaborators at the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). These suspects helped Novavax, Inc., in Bethesda, Maryland, produce genetically-modified recombinants of the avian, swine, and Spanish flu viruses, H5N1 and H1N1, nearly identical to the unprecedented Mexican virus that is allegedly spreading to the United States at the time of this posting. The outbreak was precisely timed to promote the companys new research and huge vaccine stockpiling contracts.

    I think you may need to use the Facepalmn graphic. Where n is a very large number…

  5. Coturnix says:

    Whoever started that was probably dyslexic, reading Bt as TB. Bacillus turingensis, not Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Just a hunch.

  6. Roadtripper says:

    This just in: Chemtrails killed Elvis.

  7. Mike, thanks for addressing this article on Barbara’s blog. I’ve been having a bit of a back-and-forth with her, correcting false statements and misconceptions, with her responding “How dare you say I should learn about this topic before writing about it!”
    She writes regularly at OpEdNews.com, a group blog passing as a news site, which may very well be the anti-genetic engineering equivalent of Uncommon Descent. They even held a poll to ban a commenter from posting just for working for a biotech company!

  8. Lisa says:

    What?? A GMO opponent and conspiracy theorist makes an outrageous and false health claim??
    Esther, bring mah smellin’ salts, quickly!

  9. SimonG says:

    Drug resistance has been a problem for ages. Bugs were gaining resistance to penicillin and others decades ago, when the idea of GMOs was firmly in the realm of SF.

  10. ABM says:

    I left a respectful comment suggesting that extraordinary claims should be backed up with some kind of evidence, specifically about the HIV thing (LOL WAT?). I doubt the writer will be moved to do so, but at least she seems willing to publish critical comments on her blog.
    But ultimately, blogs are like a**holes, everybody seems to have one, except those born with imperforate anus. By which I mean, we shouldn’t get too worked up about a piece of internet writing which probably had readers numbering in the single digits. Now, if Gwyneth Paltrow was making these claims, I’d be more worried.

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