Scientists warn that genetically modified insect virus could be bioweapon
In a new Science Policy Forum report, scientists have sounded the alarm on genetically modified viruses that would be dispersed into the environment using insects.
Published: October 13, 2018, 8:15 am
In a programme run by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), this new class of bioweapons could prompt other nations to seek similar weapons, they cautioned.
Dubbed the “Insect Allies” program, DARPA began modifying insects in 2017, allegedly to help produce more resilient crops in the face of climate change, drought, frost, floods, salinity, and disease, Gizmodo reported.
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology and the University of Freiburg in Germany, as well as the University of Montpellier in France suggest DARPA’s program could likely breach the Biological Weapons Convention.
The Convention is the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning such development, production, and stockpiling.
Richard Guy Reeves, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute, believes this is an example of dual-use research which is not only helping farmers, but also the arms race.
When contacted by Gizmodo, DARPA denied the accusations made in the new report.
The technology at the center of the programme is a process known as horizontal genetic alteration. Hence the name — Horizontal Environmental Genetic Alteration Agents (HEGAA).
Farmers would send swarms of genetically modified insects into their crops to infect plants with a virus that passes along new resilience genes, essentially a virus which is inserted into the chromosome of a target organism.
Using CRISPR, or a variant of a gene-editing system, this virus is carried into crops. Each plant would then be infected by the insect, triggering the intended effects.
Insect Allies is reportedly backed by $27 million of funding with four academic research teams currently working on the project.
By 2020 or 2021, DARPA will be testing the virus-infected insects on crops at undisclosed locations in controlled spaces. But according to Reeves insects cannot be controlled and there is currently no global regulatory framework to support this new way of transporting HEGAAs to crops.
The scientists believe HEGAAs will actually be used “for offensive purposes” in conducting biological warfare. If these insects are implanted with a dangerous plant-killing disease, it could destroy the food supply of a target country as would weapons of mass destruction.
“DARPA is not producing biological weapons, and we reject the hypothetical scenario,” a DARPA Program Manager for Insect Allies told Gizmodo. But the DARPA manager could give no good reason why crop spraying could not continue as before since it has been up to now quite effective in controlling plant diseases.
All rights reserved. You have permission to quote freely from the articles provided that the source (www.freewestmedia.com) is given. Photos may not be used without our consent.
Consider donating to support our work
Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.
Keep your language polite. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in, for example, Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.
If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violations of any law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.
If your comments are subject to preview by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.
We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.
East PalestineAfter the derailment of a freight train loaded with highly toxic chemicals in the US state of Ohio, a devastating environmental catastrophe may now be imminent. The wagons burned for days, and a "controlled" explosion by the authorities released dangerous gases into the environment.
WashingtonThe US President gave the order to shoot down China's "spy balloon". The balloon had caused US Secretary of State Blinken to cancel a trip to Beijing. In the meantime, a second balloon was sighted.
WashingtonOn January 19, 2023, the United States hit its debt ceiling of $31.4 trillion. The country faces a recession if it defaults on its debt, the US Treasury Secretary warned in an interview. Her warning underscored the danger of printing money.
Providence, Rhode IslandA striking statistic: young Americans are several times more likely to be injured by a gun in cities like Chicago and Philadelphia than they are while serving as a soldier in a foreign country.
Never before in human history has a person lost as much money in one year as Elon Musk did in 2022. The Tesla and Twitter boss lost $200 billion last year. However, with his remaining $137 billion, he is still the second richest person in the world.
More than a million households without electricity, thousands of canceled flights, temperatures in the double-digit minus range and already 41 fatalities: The US is being overwhelmed by an enormous cold wave.
WashingtonThe mega-speculator and "philanthropist" George Soros remains true to himself – he has been sponsoring anti-police left-wing groups with billions of dollars.
NassauHe is no longer sitting in his fancy penthouse, but in a cell in the Bahamas: Sam Bankman-Fried (30), founder of the crypto company FTX, is said to be responsible for the theft of 37 billion euros. An interesting fact is that media in the EU have so far kept this crime thriller almost completely secret.
WashingtonThe short message service Twitter massively influenced the US presidential election campaign two years ago in favor of the then candidate Joe Biden. The then incumbent Donald Trump ultimately lost the election. Internal e-mails that the new owner, Elon Musk, has now published on the short message service show how censorship worked on Twitter. The 51-year-old called it the “Twitter files”.
EdmontonThe newly elected Premier Danielle Smith of the province of Alberta in Canada has recently made several powerful statements against the globalist foundation World Economic Forum and its leader Klaus Schwab. She has also decided to cancel a strange consulting agreement that WEF had with the state.