GMO -- Interviews
Dr. Thierry Vrain
Updated: 14 March 2014

This is my set of notes on one of a "GMO mini-summit" series of interviews put together by John and Ocean Robbins of Food Revolution in October 2013, many of them conducted by Jeffrey Smith of the Institute For Responsible Technology and author of the international best-seller Seeds of Deception and the comprehensive Genetic Roulette.

Topics Qualifications Highlights

  • leading research scientist for the Canadian government (35 years; former head of biotechnology at Agriculture Canada's Summerland Research Station)
  • reassured the public that genetically engineered foods were safe to eat
  • after retirement (2002), exposed to contrary data
  • now a strong public speaker on GMO dangers

  • not much published pre-2002 on dangers or political battles (gardening & organic wife exposed him)
  • worldwide pattern: just accepted that FDA was right
  • 2002 Human Genome Project showed the genome to be a complex ecosystem; one-gene/one-protein theory (basis for GMOs) hopelessly naive
  • disturbances create "rogue" malformed proteins
  • can disable normal function, or create toxins (many plant toxins are proteins)
  • direct danger of Roundup as a chelator and broad-spectrum antibiotic
  • concern about always-on viral promoter (already shown to happen in creating carcinogen)
  • damage to gut bacteria
  • non-industry studies w/mice & rats: gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, infertility and cancer; no way to know w/humans w/out labeling; potential for autism, depression, Alzheimers
  • Bt toxin in Canadian pregnant non-rural women/fetuses -- Health Canada says non-toxic, makes no sense since its purpose is to puncture cells
  • Séralani study -- it's good he has own website to fight back, and that EU implicitly gave study its blessing
  • Mark Lynas -- "born again" GMO proponent, formerly unknown "leader" in anti-GMO
  • (Ted talk on importance and failure of weed control (superweeds), resulting in GM'ing for stronger herbicides (e.g., 2,4-D)
  • same with Bt insecticide and superbugs (but no alternative available for Bt)
  • antibiotic-resistant marker gene threat, Chinese find in all their rivers, no North American research; shown in lab to transfer to soil bacteria, not yet found in soil
  • horizontal transfer of GM to gut bacteria possible because normal plant/bacteria incompatibility is sidestepped by GM -- plant DNA can't transfer to a bacteria, but bacterial DNA can; plant promoter gene won't work in bacteria, but viral promoter will
  • Since Bt toxin would normally wash out of blood quickly, its presence in 93% of the Canadian women (above) implies it is being manufactured in the body.
  • Biotech industry funds research institutes and universities, then generates controversy to cloud the issue (like tobacco -- which government got good tax money from -- asbestos, lead in gas/paint)
  • Change? not in regulators, a small amount in science, mostly it's on the street

A bit more by/about Thierry Vrain
  1. Ted talk
  2. Other YouTube -- GE Free Tour (DNA, glyphosate, & GMOs)
    1. Open forum, June 2013
    2. Talk at Surry, B.C., July 2013
    3. Talk at Squamish, B.C., November 2013
  3. Interview with Common Ground Canada, October 2013
  4. Former Pro-GMO Scientist Speaks Out On The Real Dangers of Genetically Engineered Food, May 2013
  5. The Cross-Canada GE Free Tour

More GMO information here.