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Caius Rommen was the scientist who invented the GMO potato. GMO stands for genetically modified organism. The GMO potato has been modified to include insecticides and herbicides in them. This way when a bug bites into the potato plant, or worse yet, an underground bug bites into a budding potato, the insecticide inside the potato forces the bug’s stomach to grow until it explodes.

Likewise, a herbicide has been genetically implanted into GMO potatoes. This kills weeds to within three feet of each potato plant.

Quite naturally, you eat the herbicide and the insecticide when you eat the GMO potato. Somehow, at the time of its development, Caius Rommen thought the GMO potato was good for human consumption and health.

Rommens was director of research at Simplot Plant Sciences from 2000 to 2013 where he led development of the company’s genetically engineered Innate potato. But over time, Rommens started to have serious doubts about his work and worried about potential health risks from eating the GMO potatoes, which are now sold in 4,000 supermarkets in the United States.

Rommens wrote the book, Pandora’s Potatoes, which is about how his enthusiasm for genetic engineering turned into doubt and fear as he realized the hazards the technology can create.

In a recent interview with EcoWatch, Rommens told his story.

“I left my position as team leader at Monsanto,” he said, “to start an independent biotech effort at Simplot. During the 12 years I worked there, I designed a genetically modified potato that I believed was resistant to bruise and late blight, and that could be used to produce French fries that were less colored and less carcinogenic than normal fries.”

In his book, Rommens writes that he silenced genes called RNAi. In his interview, Rommens said, “Silencing is not gene-specific. Any gene with a similar structure to the silencing construct may be silenced as well. It is even possible that the silencing that takes place inside the GM potatoes affects the genes of animals eating these GM potatoes. I am most concerned about bees that don’t eat GM potatoes but may use GM potato pollen to feed their larvae. Based on my assessment of the literature, it appears that the silencing constructs are active in pollen.”

Rommens also wrote that silencing the PPO (polyphenol oxidase, a gene responsible for browning in potatoes) gene increases toxins that accumulate in the GMO potatoes. He admits these toxins are harmful to human health.

Rommens said, “Ex-colleagues of mine had shown that PPO-silencing increases the levels of alpha-aminoadipate by about six-fold. Alpha-aminoadipate is a neurotoxin, and it can also react with sugars to produce advanced glycoxidation products implicated in a variety of diseases.

(A Monsanto GM corn variety, LY038, was found to have high concentrations of alpha-aminoadipate, and an application for its approval in Europe in 2009 was withdrawn after regulators raised safety questions.)

He went on. “Similarly, ex-colleagues had shown that the damaged and bruised tissues of potatoes may accumulate high levels of tyramine, another toxin. Such damaged tissues are normally identified and trimmed, but they are concealed, or partially concealed, and much of it is not trimmed in GM potatoes. Therefore, it seems important that Simplot should determine the full spectrum of possible tyramine levels in their GM potatoes.

Another potential toxin is chaconine-malonyl. There is little known about this compound, but ex-colleagues had shown that it is increased by almost 200 percent upon PPO-silencing. This should probably be investigated.”

Rommens also says the potatoes create additional pathogens, infections and the range in levels of toxins such as alpha-aminoadipate and tyramine.

“It is my experience,” Rommens said, “that genetic engineers are biased and narrow-minded. They may not be able to critically assess their own creations.” Of course, when you are making a ton of money producing toxic garbage for human consumption, it is difficult to think of your product as toxic garbage.

When asked, “What is your perspective on genetic engineering now after your work with the GMO potato and misgivings about it?”

“My concern,” Rommens said, “about genetic engineering is that the absence of unintentional effects can never be guaranteed. It may take dozens of years before these effects reveal themselves, and we should be extremely cautious applying the technology.”

Because GMO food products are loaded with insecticides and herbicides, they reduce the labor necessary to grow the food, making them less expensive to produce, and providing the corporate producers with higher profit margins. And that is why they are on the market.

Bayer owns Monsanto, and along with Syngenta, BSAF, Dupont, and Dow Chemical, these corporations are the big six of the GMO poisons. They are so called because they dominate the agricultural input market, that is, they own the world’s seed, pesticide and biotechnology industries.

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