This week, agribusiness giant Monsanto continued its streak of acquisitions and mergers by acquiring Agradis—a company started by Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI) founder, J. Craig Venter. This marriage between the leading synthetic biology company and one of the biggest agribusinesses in the U.S. could be catastrophic, empowering two major corporations to create synthetic life in the name of advancing industrial agriculture consolidated on too few hands.
Synthetic Genomics Inc. specializes in an extreme form of genetic engineering called synthetic biology. Instead of transferring genetic material from one species to another, synthetic bioengineering places new, synthetically created genetic material into microorganisms. SGI plans on using its franken-microbes for all sorts of applications.
R&D from this agreement will likely fall under Monsanto’s agricultural biological platform BioDirect, which means Monsanto could be developing new, microbial pesticides that could be approved and sprayed on crops. Monsanto will soon have the means to incorporate synthetic biology into its microbial pesticides without a defined regulatory pathway to check its development along the way.
“The attempt to disguise the use of synthetic biology in agriculture as “sustainable” is an egregious abuse of the word. Releasing microbes with novel traits and functions into the wild and onto our food crops could have devastating effects on the safety of our food and the quality of our environment.”
Let’s hope the BRICSA nations are paying attention to this new assault on our planet by Monsanto – IG Farben.
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