Perusing the floral section in the supermarket is usually the first thing on my grocery list these days. For the past 3 years I have documented genetic damage not only plants growing locally in SE Michigan, but in domestic and imported plants, fruits, and produce being sold to the public. Some of my best finds have come from items grown along the Pacific Coast, and this week a recent shipment of spring bouquets and potted plants at Trader Joe’s proved the same is still happening, as I suspected it would.
First, I comb through the bouquets, camera in hand. I look at the most obvious part of the plant, the flower head including petals and center. If I can spot a mutation, I check the stem and related leaves included. I look for color anomalies as well, as we know from past research mutations in color genes is another known effect of exposure.
During normal plant growth, the cells are self-organizing and grow in a symmetric pattern, following the Fibonacci Sequence of phyllotaxis. Phyllotaxis is the study of fractions and spirals in plants, which includes fruit and flower number, divergence angles, and petal numbers and formation. This pattern allows the plant to use the least amount of energy needed for amazingly rapid growth to maturity. Once the plant has reached it’s full potential, the perfect geometry of a plant allows it to absorb the sun’s rays and collect rainwater as efficiently as possible, channeling it to the stem for nourishment. Plato, Fibonacci, and Johanes Kepler all made contributions to the discovery and application of the Golden Ratio in nature. It appears in many aspects of our everyday world, including hurricanes, ram horns, spider webs, and snail shells, and even in the arrangement of our facial features. Also, take a look at our galaxy from above…we live in a Fibonacci Sequence. Our world is filled with many mysteries that scientists and mathematicians alike are working to figure out if this was just a coincidence, or something else. For whatever reason, it’s how normal plants grow, and it is also how we distinguish the normal from the mutated.
Damage to the DNA of the plant cells will disrupt this geometric growth pattern, leading to any number of mutational expressions such as conjoining, fasciation, gigantism, albinism, or other anomalies. These are known effects from decades of experimentation and research in areas of previous radioactive contamination, such as the areas around the Chernobyl accident and Three Mile Island.
After sorting through bouquets, I move on to the potted plants. Gerbera Daisies in the past have yielded a surprising number of mutations in flower heads, stems, and leaves, and this week was no different. I suspect this is because they are closely related to Sunflowers, or Helianthus annuus , which are notorious for their ability to remove radioactive Cesium from soil. This particular batch of Gerberas came from British Colombia, Canada. The domesticated cultivars are mostly a result of a cross between Gerbera jamesonii and another South African species Gerbera viridifolia. It is the fifth most used cut flower in the world (after rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, and tulip). It is also used as a model organism in studying flower formation. Out of 18 potted Gerbera’s on this particular day at Trader Joe’s, more than half of the plants had some obvious evidence of mutation in just the blooms alone. I would venture to bet that if walked into your local Trader Joe’s today and looked carefully at their Gerbera Daisies, that you would have similar findings. If you do, please takes some pictures and share them with us on our new Mutation Map Project. Their colorful beauty also makes them a favorite eye-catching post for people sharing mutation images on social media, and increasing the awareness of genetic damage that is occurring.
I also found mutations in one of my favorite flowers, the perennial desert Sun Star, or Ornithogalum Dubium (which I purchased, and which now sits on my desk). This particular batch was imported from Monrovia, California, where Trader Joe’s also receives much of its vegetables supply including lettuce, kale, celery, and asparagus. They also source these same items from Mexico, which is the only produce I will buy from their store. I would prefer to get mine from Chile or Argentina, but I would have to go to a different store for that, and on this particular day I didn’t have the time, as my main concern was securing a few bottles of their Salsa Verde, which happens to be phenomenal.
Nature does geometry precisely and efficiently and without much effort, unless genetic damage interferes with the expression of its growth patterns. Considering that Cesium and other man-made toxic isotopes have been found in US soil, including the Emerald Triangle of Humboldt County — where a large proportion of Medicinal Marijuana is grown — this is quite concerning. Not just for people who are eating produce from the west coast, but for those who are already sick and may be using cannabis to treat severe medical conditions, including cancer.
Using the Precautionary Principle we can further surmise, if you actually care about what you eat and what you feed your family, that unless food is being specifically and rigorously tested for radioactive contamination, any food grown here must be considered suspect, and that is especially true if this food will be eaten by pregnant women, children, or people who are already sick and immune-compromised. As of right now, the only food being checked is by individuals and independent evaluation without any help from our government agencies, although this has always been the purpose of their existence. Instead, they have become gate-keepers of damaging corporate-controlled science, and the gates remain currently closed to evidence or concern about food chain contamination from radioactive fallout. Even a Canadian high school student was able to recently prove in an award-winning science fair project, that Canadian grocery stores are selling contaminated produce to unsuspecting consumers. She will be attending the Canadian Nationals next month in Windsor Ontario to showcase her research. This may become one of the most important high school science fair projects in history, considering the global implications of nuclear fallout working its way through our food chain.
Over the past 3 years we have been collecting images of mutations in the news, as well as images taken by observant and curious volunteers. We have currently 1340 images in our archive, which will be placed on a map created at Climate Viewer News to track these finds, and more easily correlate their occurrence with weather patterns, and nuclear facilities across the country. In addition to plants we have received images of seeds, squirrels, moths, butterflies, pillbugs, spiders, and birds exhibiting color disruption (mainly albinism) and other curiosities. The images can also be saved and shared by scientists and grad students who undoubtably will be reporting on this as the years progress. At least 2 grad students have already sourced images from this collection to write their final thesis.
To access the map and upload images of your own, go here: http://climateviewer.com/report/reports/view/4
Currently I have placed one beta test image of a Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) with fasciation on the Mutation Map as an example. The rest of our archive will be uploaded in the coming weeks and months, as time allows.
We also encourage people to use their full name if they wish to receive credit if their image is used elsewhere, such as in a scientific journal, lecture, or publication. Out of 1340 submissions so far, only 2 people insisted on keeping their name private.
To see some of this collection you may also visit Mutation Watch on Facebook, which has been our current mode of collection. We will continue to administrate this page as well as the map, and encourage people to share these images on social media. Unfortunately the number of submissions during the growing season was in excess of 10 a day in 2013, and in the interest of time-management and helping keep RadChick’s sanity intact, Jim Lee volunteered to create this crowd-sourced data map to significantly decrease the amount of labelling and archiving that needs to be done, and to properly categorize the enormous amount of submissions in a format that is easily accessible. Please consider contributing news reports as well, such as the recent stories of conjoined grey whale calves in Baja, and news of the horrific rise in mutations occurring in babies born in South Africa.
Being a resident of Michigan after a long winter, the promise of warmer weather and springtime flowers is a welcome change, although these changes in our environment certainly are not. If mutations are happening in the DNA of plants, it’s happening in the people, too. For every mutation that is visible, there are 10 more that are not, but will express theselves in future generations. We continue to search for labs or individuals with the proper equipment to test these specimens, to determine whether this is primarily radioactive fallout, chemical interference, or a synergistic effect of both. But unless you have access to equipment priced at hundreds of thousands of dollars, accurate testing will be impossible. Even world-renowned animal and plant geneticists who have done extensive studies on the Chernobyl mutations have told me “Good luck getting these plants tested” as the quarantine of information on Fukushima Fallout has spread like a silent, unwanted plague, and government scientists seem to be most infected. Testing of individual specimens may or may not yield hard incontrovertible data, as the plant DNA may have been affected from gamma or beta radiation lying around in soil in close proximity to the plant, and not necessarily uptake into the plant structure itself. At any rate, we will keep collecting these images, and continue our search for mutations, as well as finding honest scientists that can assist us in figuring out what has happened to our biosphere to cause this, at what it means for future generations. This is one way to be part of the solution, as we search for ways to mitigate the radioactive fallout from the Fukushima accident, and other nuclear problems.
Here are more images of what I found at Trader Joe’s this week:
*Note from RC: I do not wish to single out Trader Joe’s as the sole source of selling mutated plants, as I have checked out numerous other grocery chains all with the same findings…mutated flowers being sold in stores is widespread, and has been confirmed by other researchers in multiple states and locations. However, I have had numerous conversations with the managers at Trader Joe’s including corporate management, and each time I have been met with contempt and disregard for trying to approach them on this subject, even when showing them obvious mutations in produce they are selling, such as celery and fruits, and radiation burns on apples from Washington State. The same has occurred when inquiring about the testing of fish and seaweed products, until fall of last year, when their rhetoric changed but appeared to be heavily censored. At that time, I was told Trader Joe’s is now testing all seafood products, and “Everything is fine”… although further questioning about how this was being conducted, at what part of the distribution process, and with what instrumentation could not be answered. Neither could any data by any type of isotopic analysis, which should be public knowledge in my opinion, or at least shared when specific inquiries are made. I have given them ample opportunity for addressing these issues and they continue to minimize and deny any and all concerns about the safety of the food they are selling in regards to this issue. In discussions with the management of other grocery chains I have been met with far more concern, and often a candid and honest discussion of how to implement widespread food testing without adding further to costs of food distribution. I know this is being thoroughly investigated at least at one large grocery chain, and I hope to see this (for now nameless) grocer implement widespread testing soon, and do so publically. In time, I expect this type of testing will become mandatory, as more people become aware of this situation and demand that it be done, because this issue is not going to go away in our lifetimes. Unfortunately we may be years away from that type of transparency, and the contamination issues have now been continuous since March of 2011. It also reasons to follow if any large chain implements a radiation testing protocol, that other stores will follow suit, as the competition in grocery chains is fierce in the effort to find, keep and maintain its consumer base.
Please help us grow our Mutation Map ~ It is the first of its kind ever created, and will be an important future reference for scientists, geneticists, researchers, and inquisitive plant and planet-loving people alike. Eventually we hope to include mutation images from Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Rocketdyne/Simi Valley, and Hanford.