Wednesday, January 7, 2009


How can unregulated genetically engineering research lead to dangerous public health repercussions?

A recent study found that common viral parasites can act as secret conduits to transfer toxic and disease-causing genes from one bacteria species to an unrelated bacteria species. One serious public health concern from this discovery is the possibility that new emerging disease could develop through this viral method of DNA exchange between bacterial species. It also raises a red flag regarding public health and safety in genetic engineering (GE) research where all kinds of toxic and disease genes are cloned into bacteria used in plant and animal research. These GE genes could then possibly be transferred to other bacteria via a natural virus causing new emerging disease to humans and animals.

In the study noted above, scientists found that Staph aureus, a bacteria which is often associated with community and hospital acquired methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA) transferred its toxic shock genes to an unrelated bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes via a common virus called a bacteriophage. Listeria, itself, can cause a potentially deadly form of food poisoning while Staph can cause life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, osteomyelitis, endocarditis, toxic shock syndrome and septicemia. The relatively high DNA transfer efficiency from Staph to Listeria suggests that other cases may very well exist in nature. This can have a major impact on human pathogenicity and new emerging disease. It also carries implications to tighten safety regulations upon the genetic engineering industry.

As mysterious chronic illness rises in our population, scientists and private industry remain to be unregulated in performing dangerous genetically engineered research. This unregulated research carries serious public health consequences and can create new emerging disease. The public should become better informed about this dangerous research, the unsafe work practices, and the lack of rights to scientists to file safety complaints.


  1. I was also JUST reading about vaccines and how they could possibly change our genetics. This is said to happen by a similar process that was mentioned in your article. Could vaccines be an intentional method of initiating eugenics or transhumanism?

  2. I do not know if vaccines have been created to cause intentional methods to initiating eugenics or transhumanism. Gene therapy is more on board with these directives.

  3. I would say the vast majority of people have no way to understand what's really going on in labs, and we depend on government regulation to protect us from bacteria and viruses. They're invisible! Hello? If the scientists can't get it right, what chance do we have?

  4. Anonymous….You are right that government regulation is invisible and basically non-existent in GE research. But in order for working scientists to “get it right” as you say, scientists have to have freedom of speech to talk about these issues. Unfortunately scientists have limited rights in regard to raising safety issues and subsequent protection against discrimination upon raising these issues. They also have no rights to adequate exposure records for medical care even upon a physician’s request. OSHA has ruled that trade secrets supersede a biotech worker’s right to these records. All in all, these issues lead to public health threats and serious human rights violations.

    The genetic engineering scientific world promotes life-saving technologies but hide the dangers… and the public has taken the bait. But behind the scene is big money and scientific elitism that is far from altruist.

  5. Anonymous…What chance do we have? None if you do not support rights to scientists. Support scientist’s rights to adequate safety forums and freedom of speech. Support and promote new whistleblower laws for biotech workers. We currently have none. Promote access to exposure records for medical care. Refusing exposure records is simply indecent. Limit academia's money schemes with big pharma. We have lost our advocates in academia regarding protecting our public health and safety since they are all tied to big money and have consequently conflicts of interests.

  6. What is scary is that all the public health officials I have spoken to about this issue don't consider the lack of regulation a public health threat. In fact, they ignore the issue. There's discussion about anthrax, SARS, Avian flu, etc. but nothing about the use of these dangerous genetically engineered viruses and bacteria used in research labs. OSHA, the state department of public health, the attorney general, the Surgeon General, Assistant Secretary of Health and various media all have either no comment or say they have no jurisdiction! I guess it will take a serious new pandemic with many deaths for any new regulation to be created which is an irresponsible, reactive approach! We need to put some regulatory oversight and not just guidelines in place now before it is too late!