Email inventor’s distillation of large body of published research shows GMO soy is NOT ‘substantially equivalent’ to soy of our ancestors.
There’s an interview called, “Smashing Technological Neo-Colonialism with Email inventor Shiva Ayyadurai and Jordan Flesher.” Interview is conducted by Sean Stone for a recent episode of his web-show, Enter the Buzzsaw.
Ayyadurai Shiva created the first ‘electronic mail system’ as a 14 year old with a vision to create electronic typing. “Email is the interconnection of these parts of the system,” he says. Creating an electronic means of typing messages and sending via computer required a synthesis of knowledge in electronic applications.
Here’s a screen shot of young Shiva Ayyadurai.
He has since helped to create a way to study molecules via a research aggregator. It’s ingenious because it uses a whole systems approach to increase understanding about how molecules and cells actually function. It’s called Cyto(meaning cell)Solve.
“CytoSolve was an electronic way to model molecular pathways, systems of systems of systems of pathways. So, If email is the electronic version of the mail communication system, CytoSolve is the electronic version of the molecular system.
Recently scientists have started using this because they know that their drug development model sucks, it doesn’t really work.. a lot of the functional food companies want to use it to find out the difference between snake oil and supplements and what works. And we’ve actually used CytoSolve to actually validate some traditional systems of medicine. So, it’s a revolution. If, email was a revolution, CytoSolve is even going to be a bigger one.”
That’s how Shiva became involved in the GMO debate. He wanted to find out whether genetically modified plants are really ‘substantially equivalent’ to the food that our ancestors ate and furthermore, whether GMOs are actually safe for continuous human consumption?
“If you look at genetically modified foods, like a very objective position.. I’m not pro or anti GMO. Let’s take this position that Monsanto and others have taken that if you do a teeny weeny, little change to soy, you know change one little gene, don’t worry, it’s not going to affect anything else. Right, so that’s the supposition. Based on this, they have a principle called ‘substantial equivalence’. And what happens is, you and I, right now we could start a GMO company. We could do a GMO blueberry. In order to get it allowed to go to market, all we have to show is that GMO blueberry is substantially equivalent to the non-GMO version.
So, how do we do that? Well, we can choose any criteria we want. I can choose fat content, water content, and we can just show, hey look, it’s about the same. In fact, plus or minus 20%. We send a letter to the FDA saying we did this analysis and the FDA will send a letter back to us, saying, “Sean and Shiva, thank you very much for doing that analysis.”
With that letter, we can go to market. The FDA (this is a big..) does not take a position on GMOs. They simply issue what’s called a ‘safety consultation’. It’s up to you and me, self-regulation, that we did this material difference analysis.”
FDA guidelines for GMO products are pretty lax, if Shiva’s description of the process to bring them to market is accurate. He further describes what he calls ‘pillars’, or theories that are prevalent about genetically modified foods.
“One is don’t worry. This GMO is no different than the non-GMO counterpart. That’s one pillar. And, by the way, if you consume this GMO, it’s not going to harm you. So, what we did as researchers is go after that first pillar. And, we used systems biology. We used CytoSolve. And what we did was, we said let’s take GMO soy and we went through 11,000 papers that had been written in the literature.
And from those 11,000 papers, we found 6,800 experiments have been done, across 184 institutions in 23 countries. So, this is a distillation of the scientific method. And, CytoSolve let’s us aggregate this. And what we found was a set of molecular pathways called ‘C1 Metabolism’. Without getting into the details, this molecular system is in every plant. It’s in every bacteria and it’s in every fungi.
So, in first paper, we just published that, very quietly. This is the C1 Metabolism pathway. Second paper, what we did was we modeled that mathematically. What we showed was, in the normal case, non-GMO case, plants create formaldehyde and they also get rid of formaldehyde, detoxify it. It’s a system that they have. At some level, all plants have a background level, but they have this capacity to detoxify it.
In the third and fourth papers, what we showed was, what happens when you do a genetic modification at a molecular level. And what we showed was, when you do that modification, particularly in soy, that it perturbs this entire system. That, in fact glutathione, which is a master antioxidant.., that glutothione is depleted and formaldehyde accumulates. Glutothione is an antioxidant. And, in fact what we found was, that genetic insertion, the plant goes into oxidative stress, it thinks it’s being stressed out, very similar to what a plant undergoes when it’s under drought or in different conditions.
What that resulted in was something very interesting, again from this academic community. This research helps dispels theories like plant-breeding is the same as genetic engineering. No big deal, this has been going on for 5,000 years. You know, conflating plant breeding with single genetic modification.
Over 90% of corn and soy available in America is now genetically modified, according to Shiva. I’ve read similar statistics elsewhere. If it is true that genetically modified plants contain elevated levels of formaldehyde, then what effect does consuming these plants have on the human body? Formaldahyde is a known carcinogen. It’s also what embalming fluid is made of, a great preservative.
According to cancer.gov website:
“In 1987, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen under conditions of unusually high or prolonged exposure (1). Since that time, some studies of humans have suggested that formaldehyde exposure is associated with certain types of cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies formaldehyde as a human carcinogen (2). In 2011, the National Toxicology Program, an interagency program of the Department of Health and Human Services, named formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen in its 12th Report on Carcinogens (3).
Further and more objectively undertaken research should be conducted on the effects genetically modifying plants have. Shiva and his colleagues used the scientific method, gathering repeated studies, synthesizing results and showed that, genetically modified soy is a probable source of cancer causing carcinogens. In my opinion, non-biased research(not self-regulated by companies) should have been conducted before genetically modified ingredients were first allowed onto the market in 1996. Until non-biased research concludes that GMOs are safe for human consumption, I’d recommend eating only non-GMO soy and corn because there’s no way to guarantee that they are safe in the long term. But, the market is flooded with GMO ingredients in processed foods. And, there’s no telling how much livestock is raised on them.
This Buzzsaw interview covers a much broader range than could possibly be stated here. Interview-ee Jordan Flesher had pertinent and timely information to add. And, Stone chimed in at one point with Pontius Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” Good one.
For more about Shiva and his research, visit his website here.