US Defense Agency tests GM Insects to transmit GM Viruses
The Pentagon has invested at least $65 million in gene editing. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded 7 research teams to develop tools for genome engineering in insects, rodents and bacteria under DARPA’s Safe Gene program, using a novel CRISPR-Cas9 technology.
Under another military program –Insect Allies, GM insects are engineered to transfer modified genes to plants. The $10.3 million DARPA project includes both gene editing in insects and in the viruses that they transmit. Ecological Niche-preference Engineering is a third ongoing military program for genome engineering in insects. The Pentagon’s stated objective is to engineer GM organisms so that they can resist certain temperatures, change their habitat and food sources.
DARPA Genome Project
Besides gene editing in insects and in the viruses they transmit, the Pentagon is pursuing genetically engineered applications for humans too. DARPA Advanced Tools for Mammalian Genome Engineering Project seeks to create a biological platform inside the human body, using it to deliver new genetic information, and thus altering humans at the DNA level. DARPA wants to insert an additional 47th artificial chromosome into human cells. This chromosome will deliver new genes that will be used for engineering the human body.
SynPloid Biotek LLC has been awarded two contracts under the program totaling $1.1 million (2015-2016 – $ 100,600 for the first phase of the research; 2015-2017 – $ 999,300 for work which is not specified in the federal contracts registry. The company has only two employees and no previous record on bio-research.
Top Secret Research on Synthetic Viruses
Between 2008 and 2014, the United States invested approximately $820 million in synthetic biology research, Defense being a major contributor. Most of the military projects on synthetic biology are classified, among them are a number of classified studies by the secretive JASON group of US military advisors – e.g. Emerging Viruses and Genome Editing for the Pentagon, and Synthetic Viruses for the National Counterterrorism Center.
JASON is an independent scientific advisory group that provides consulting services to the U.S. government on matters of defense science and technology. It was established in 1960 and most of their resulting JASON reports are classified. For administrative purposes, the JASON’s projects are run by the MITRE Corporation, which has contracts with the Defense Department, CIA and the FBI. Since 2014 MITRE has been awarded some $27.4 million in contracts with the DoD.
Although the JASON Reports are classified, another US Air Force study titled Biotechnology: Genetically Engineered Pathogens, sheds some light on what the secretive JASON group has researched – 5 groups of genetically engineered pathogens that can be used as bio-weapons. These are binary biological weapons (a lethal combination of two viruses), host swapping diseases (animal viruses that “jump” to humans, like the Ebola virus), stealth viruses, and designer diseases. Designer diseases can be engineered to target a certain ethnic group, meaning that they can be used as ethnic bio-weapons.
Ethnic biological weapon (biogenetic weapon) is a theoretical weapon that aims to primarily harm people of specific ethnicities, or genotypes.
Although officially the research and development of ethnic bio-weapons have never been publicly confirmed, documents show that the US collects biological material from certain ethnic groups – Russians and Chinese.
Apart from Russians, the US has been collecting biological material from both healthy and cancer patients in China. The National Cancer Institute has collected biological samples from 300 subjects from Linxian, Zhengzhou, and Chengdu in China. While another federal project, titled Serum Metabolic biomarkers discovery study of Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma in China, includes analysis of 349 serum samples which have been collected from Chinese patients.
Chinese biological material has been collected under a series of federal projects including saliva and cancer tissue. Among them, Genotyping DNA Samples from Lymphoma cases and from controls (healthy patients), Breast cancer tissue blocks from breast cancer patients, Saliva samples of 50 families who have 3 or more cases of UGI cancer, Genotype 50 SNP’S for DNA samples from the Cancer Hospital, Beijing, Genotypes from 3000 cases of gastric cancer and 3000 controls (healthy patients) in Beijing.
IMAGE: The US National Cancer Institute has been collecting biological material from patients of the Chinese Cancer Hospital in Beijing.
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