Using Transgenic Plants to Grow Your Own Drugs and Medicines
Transgenic plants contain genetic building blocks from other plant or animal species. This allows the plant to produce bio-chemicals which the plant would not naturally produce on its own. The science and art of creating transgenic plants is advancing rapidly, and has the potential to make government superfluous in several ways. Read on:
Imagine a world where you grow all of your medical drugs and recreational drugs at home, using legal and innocuous plants such as tomatoes, carrots … potatoes, maize, and rice. On the outside, your garden will look like any other hobbyist’s garden. But in reality, it will be helping you stay alive and healthy — and happier somehow.
MOST of the drugs used by man, until very recently, were being derived from plants, which subsequently led to pharmaceutical companies starting chemical synthesis of the medicinal compounds. Recent progress in the area of transgenic plants has, however, once again attracted attention of the scientists, and plants are being looked upon as potential bio-reactors or bio-factories for the production of [drugs].
Transgenic material, in the form of seed or fruit, can be easily stored and transported from one place to another without fear of its degradation or damage. Furthermore, a large amount of bio-mass can be easily produced by cultivation in fields with relatively few inputs. In addition, transgenic plants capable of producing several different products can be created at any given time by crossing plants producing different products. ___ http://www.iisc.ernet.in/currsci/aug25/articles20.htm
The article linked above discusses the use of transgenic plants to produce vaccines. Transgenic plants are also being used to produce cancer chemotherapies and a wide range of other drugs.
Transgenic bacteria have been used to produce many drugs by fermentation, for decades now. But the use of transgenic plants promises to reduce costs of drug production by as much as a factor of 10. As the technology improves, further reductions in costs should be anticipated.
The current drive for plant-derived drugs comes from the pharmaceutical industry. New treatments for cancer, multiple sclerosis, thyroid diseases, etc. and new vaccines for preventing illness, are at the forefront of new research.
Soymeds is developing a soy-derived therapeutic for treatment of multiple sclerosis. Myelin antigens are difficult to express but Soymeds’ MS antigen can be delivered in a drinkable soy milk formulation. This therapeutic was tested successfully in mice. The company is also developing a vaccine against staphlococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), a potential biowarfare agent, which was successful when tested in mouse and pig models.
… “Wouldn’t it be great if a plant-derived therapeutic could save the lives of millions of children or stop and reverse the effects of multiple sclerosis? Oftentimes new therapeutics treat symptoms rather than diseases. We are attempting to target the root of the disease.” ___ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1074552113002858?np=y
It takes little imagination to imagine a tomato plant that produces coca in its leaves and opium in its fruit. Or a potato plant that produces your blood pressure medicine or antidepressant in its tubers. Maize plants could make anti-ageing substances which are not approved by official agencies, and tobacco plants could produce vaccines against common pathogenic viruses and bacteria. And so on . . .
Nothing would distinguish your transgenic drug-producing plant from an ordinary tomato, potato, or maize plant. Only you would know.
How would such plants lend a hand toward making governments superfluous?
1. You could obtain rare and expensive drugs from your garden, without having to beg it of the government health ministry — making government health care more superfluous.
2. You could obtain drugs that are not yet approved by official government bureaus, making agencies such as the US FDA more superfluous.
3. You could make agencies such as the US DEA superfluous by making it impossible for them to police the production and transport of drug manufacturing plants, fruits, and seeds.
4. By reducing profits of [and thus down-sizing] drug cartels and drug gangs, you help make the massive government anti-drug and anti-gang policing efforts superfluous.
5. By boosting a new cottage industry of effective “herbal medicines” you help develop a new grass roots economy, which helps more people pull themselves up out of poverty without government help . . . and so on . . .
More information on genetic “Pharming” of transgenic crops etc.
Devising Ways to Make Governments Superfluous
First, consider all the “critical infrastructures” for your society:
- electricity generation, transmission and distribution;
- gas production, transport and distribution;
- oil and oil products production, transport and distribution;
- water supply (drinking water, waste water/sewage, stemming of surface water (e.g. dikes and sluices));
- agriculture, food production and distribution;
- heating (e.g. natural gas, fuel oil, district heating);
- public health (hospitals, ambulances);
- transportation systems (fuel supply, railway network, airports, harbours, inland shipping);
- financial services (banking, clearing);
- security services (police, military).
Then, consider what procedures or technologies might be used to bypass government involvement with or government control of that particular critical infrastructure.
One approach would be to substitute an inexpensive and easily propagated service or product in place of the service or product which government controls or mediates. Another approach would be to provide a service or product which is so difficult for government to control, that particular agencies and bureaus would be laughed out of existence.
There are many other approaches that could be taken, using the critical infrastructure route. But for now, those two are enough to think about.
If you provide your own food, shelter, clean water, fuels, electricity, personal security, transportation, and health care / pharmaceuticals — what use is government to you?
A lot of details remain to be worked out — not least of which are the disruptive technologies themselves, which are meant to make governments superfluous. But science and technology are moving in the right direction on many fronts, including synthetic biology, nanotechnology, advanced computing systems, cheap chemical analysis, and other fields.