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Thread: Genetically Modified Food

  1. #1 Genetically Modified Food 
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    For my Biotech class I was told to create and distribute a survey. It is my hope that some of you will take this survey,it is a brief ten question survey and won't take more than a minute of your time.

    Well here is the link, and I would greatly appreciate it if you took the survey.

    GMO, What does that mean to you? Survey
    -Thanks ,
    Scruff


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    Sorry scruff. I completed it, but there's a couple of poorly designed questions. Not sure how useful your results will be.


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    Genetic modification is the least dangerous process that food might be exposed to chemical adulteration is far more dangerous.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Sorry scruff. I completed it, but there's a couple of poorly designed questions. Not sure how useful your results will be.
    Ditto.

    Q7. There should be a "don't know" option; I had to select the only company I had heard of, which may be unfair.
    Q10. It is not possible to enter an answer in "other" - this may be true for some of the other questions. I think you need to provide an "other" tick box.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    Genetic modification is the least dangerous process that food might be exposed to chemical adulteration is far more dangerous.
    Doesn't that depend on what chemicals are added to food? For example, in the US I believe all flour has to have certain vitamins added. Now I don't approve of that, on principle, but on the other hand it seems like a good public health measure given the poor levels of nutrition in some parts of the population.
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    "Genetic modification is the least dangerous process that food might be exposed to chemical adulteration is far more dangerous."
    This sound like a bias and bogus generic statement to me. Based on which empirical study? Or if its a hunch out of a hat, not that there's anything wrong with that (specially if preceded by "imo") since we are just talking, what do you base your conjecture on?

    Some people can die from eating a peanut, but at least they know that a peanut's a peanut and that a pea 's a pea, but with GMO, you not only have no idea what the effects could be in general, let alone for various specific types of persons, but you obfuscate the changes and Do not provide consumer with even the most basic of information.

    Some chemicals get tested, but what kind of bogus tests are done to make sure GMO doesnt cause reactions and health problems in the short or long term?

    To make things worst GMO Industry is fighting any attempt to clearly label GMO as GMO, even in some cases fighting/bribing/litigating against the label GMO-Free and against accurate but negative coverage(BGH and FOX) in the corrupt media.
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    Quick note to point out that a great part of the problems related to GMO are a result not strictly of the GM research itself but of the money based corrupt corporat-o-cracy system in which we live, which causes many human activity to become deviant and harmful for humanity.

    GMO in a money-less society with a different cultural perspective similar to the one described in the fictional Star Trek Universe would be quite different (open and transparent development the results of which would be openly available to all humans with primary focus on benefits and safety, as opposed to opaque proprietary development used as profiteering leverage for those who can afford it with primary focus on profiteering, dependence creation and institutional advantage seeking).
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    This sound like a bias and bogus generic statement to me. Based on which empirical study?
    Perhaps just based on a stroll through the supermarket. Just about everything we eat has been genetically modified for thousands of years.
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    Genetically modified food is a classic example of how paranoia can trump data.
    GM foods have been part of the human food chain for 15 to 20 years, and there is not a single case of any harm to human health coming from the fact that food is genetically modified. This is with billions of people eating it, and many millions eating it at least a meal a day 365 days a year. If there was any harm to human health from the GM, it would by now be extremely well documented.

    In spite of this, we still get irrational and unscientific views of danger and risk being spread.
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    Perhaps just based on a stroll through the supermarket. Just about everything we eat has been genetically modified for thousands of years.
    There's a (huge) difference between what is mostly (random) mutations that gradually accumulate over centuries and engineered genetic modification that produce a (complex) effect or introduce functional DNA string. And humans have lived along side these mutations for thousands of years too.




    Genetically modified food is a classic example of how paranoia can trump data.
    GM foods have been part of the human food chain for 15 to 20 years, and there is not a single case of any harm to human health coming from the fact that food is genetically modified. This is with billions of people eating it, and many millions eating it at least a meal a day 365 days a year. If there was any harm to human health from the GM, it would by now be extremely well documented.
    How? How do you "know" that an illness is not caused or exacerbated by a molecule comming from a GMO (let alone which specific GMO). You cant unless is tested in a thurough independant trial. People have died from drugs that DO have specific trials that have failed to detect (or to report) the hazard, but have been detected much later on because doctors knew exactly which patient took exaclty which drug. If all drugs were released without labels onto the population it would be next to impossible to determine which drug caused which death unless the drug was called ciadide and caused flag-waving red-light flashing mortality.


    And if a peanut is safe for you and me, doesnt mean its not hazardous for someone else, you cant say millions of people have eaten peanuts therefore no one can be sick by eating them, if a certain concentration of peanut molecules sends someone to the hospital its relatively easy to figure out who's the culprit, but if molecule X from a GMO is found in various concentrations in a host of food items without labels and not found in a host of food items with the same appearance theres virtually no way figureout molecule X is responsible for John McLure's illness.
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    There's a (huge) difference between what is mostly (random) mutations that gradually accumulate over centuries and engineered genetic modification that produce a (complex) effect or introduce functional DNA string.
    How so other than being more precise in application? Is there any empirical evidence in either case of danger?
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    Perhaps just based on a stroll through the supermarket. Just about everything we eat has been genetically modified for thousands of years.
    The attempt to equate all modern genetic modifications with the results of selective breeding and domestication is a truly evil deception that furthers no defensible agenda.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    GM foods have been part of the human food chain for 15 to 20 years, and there is not a single case of any harm to human health coming from the fact that food is genetically modified.
    As far as we know. If, for example, roundup ready inserted genetics contribute to obesity, certain dementias, developmental disorders in second generation pregnancies, autism, Crohn's disease, or some soft tissue cancers that take a long time to develop, we will not find out about that for another five or ten years.

    Because no one is looking. The evidence will have to come from the results of what amounts to a large scale long range epidemiological experiment with no control group.

    And of course health risks are not the only - or even the major - objections to genetically modified organism release.

    Meanwhile, two facts: 1) a couple of disasters have been narrowly averted more or less by luck (the Brazil nut genes inserted into commercial soybeans that turned out to be allergenic were all the way through R&D and about to be mass marketed, for example). 2) The most common application of GM tech is in patented herbicide resistance and pesticide production. The one benefits the herbicide manufacturer and risks everyone else, the other breeds pesticide resistance that costs the rest of us heavily, again for private profit.
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    The attempt to equate all modern genetic modifications with the results of selective breeding and domestication is a truly evil deception that furthers no defensible agenda.
    Perhaps backing your position with evidence would help....
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    The argument that we cannot know if a genetic modification is harmless is an example of the paranoia I was talking of. GM foods are not released unless and until substantial testing has been completed. If nothing else, the big companies selling GM seeds are painfully aware that a single mistake could bankrupt them through law suits, so they are most careful. In addition, there are substantial numbers of epidemiologists who know that their fame and fortune would be made if they discovered a GM food causing significant harm to those who eat it. So each and every GM food is closely watched by experts who want to discredit it.

    In spite of this, no food has ever been discovered that causes harm by virtue of the genetic modification in food. Iceaura strengthens this case by pointing out the brazil nut gene in soya beans case. This was a new food that was designed to provide all the amino acids that humans need, in one food. To do this, an extra brazil nut gene was incorporated. Testing showed, however, that one person in 100 would be allergic to that protein. This, I hasten to say, is no different to natural brazil nuts which one person in 100 cannot eat because of the allergy. In spite of the fact that this GM food would be harmless to 99 out of 100 people, the product was removed. Thus, the safety process was shown to work.

    Incidentally, soya beans with no modification at all are allergenic to about 1 person in 100 anyway.

    The herbicide resistance gene is now in the bulk of all the soya beans grown world wide. It has proved totally harmless and I eat GM soy bean products with no hesitation. In fact, I bake my own bread, and soy flour, most of which comes from GM soya beans, is an ingredient I add. I make a very healthy loaf, with added protein due to the soy flour.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The attempt to equate all modern genetic modifications with the results of selective breeding and domestication is a truly evil deception that furthers no defensible agenda.
    Perhaps backing your position with evidence would help....
    As far as i know the past thousand years of mutations have not naturally produced "cyanide-resistant green humans with 3 heads and eyes in each fingers". Man made Genetic manipulation however can produce drastic changes in a single year that would not be likely to occur in millions of years in nature.
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    Icewendigo

    That is a very misleading statement. Genetic manipulation of food plants occurs by deleting a gene, or by adding a gene from another organism. So any gene added is, indeed, the result of millions of years of evolution. The added gene, like the brazil nut gene added to a soya bean, is already edible. I eat lots of brazil nuts, and so I eat the 'horrible' brazil nut gene and protein that Iceaura was so upset about, almost daily. This general principle is pretty much applicable to the vast majority of genetic manipulations of foods.

    At the end of the argument, the most important point is : "have scientists ever found, by proper empirical testing, any genetic manipulation to human foods that causes harm to human health?"

    Answer - no, no, and no!
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    (People said the same thing about cigarettes, and wouldnt you know it the first people to have evidence to the contrary were in a conflict of interest and nothing was published. )
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    Okay for starters: Thank you all for taking the survey.
    Now to answer some questions and whatnot. Firstly, all the grammatical errors and such that you have been so keen on pointing out, yeah I noticed those too but only after the survey was finished and could no longer be edited (just to clarify so you don't think poorly of me, I didn't write it). The other box issue, yep, also noticed that. It was an obcious mistake we should have picked up on, but sorry. Next, the GM companies, most of them are fake only one or two are real so that was kind of a test. And finally, all this debate over GMOs is really useful, this was the whole point of our survey to see what people thought of GMOs and what they actually know about them, you have all shown that you each have widely varying opinions of GMOs, which is good.

    -Thanks again,
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    you are the biggest Nerf herder
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The attempt to equate all modern genetic modifications with the results of selective breeding and domestication is a truly evil deception that furthers no defensible agenda.
    Perhaps backing your position with evidence would help....
    As far as i know the past thousand years of mutations have not naturally produced "cyanide-resistant green humans with 3 heads and eyes in each fingers". Man made Genetic manipulation however can produce drastic changes in a single year that would not be likely to occur in millions of years in nature.
    Loaded speculations are not evidence. And many of the plants we eat today in our supermarkets were even hybridization and gene transfers from other species noticed and selected by humans--for good and bad. Those changes were also very rapid. Today of course, is as the example you provided, there's something wrong with the plant, the scientist have much better idea what crossed with what and what the end result would be including any problems, than our bronze aged ancestor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    The attempt to equate all modern genetic modifications with the results of selective breeding and domestication is a truly evil deception that furthers no defensible agenda.




    Perhaps backing your position with evidence would help....
    You first. You would have to come up with some evidence that the kinds of modifications standard in GMO tech have been standard and prevalent for thousands of years, as you pulled out of your ass and posted.

    Failing that, you can acknowledge that your position is fundamentally and essentially dishonest, with no basis in reality except a bogus parallel in vocabulary, and with no role but deception. What possible motive could excuse it?

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    GM foods are not released unless and until substantial testing has been completed.
    That is obviously false - there hasn't been enough time to complete even minimal testing of most of this stuff.

    They just found out - years after release - that the sequestering of atrazine in random parts of the plant (the mechanism of "Roundup Ready" anything) can be reversed in the human gut - that the digestion process in the human small intestine can release the herbicide into the human body. It's also been discovered (it's likely that the corporate scientists knew already) that the atrazine is occasionally sequestered in seeds and other edible plant parts. No one knows if this is serious, affects pregnancy, affects stages of child development differently than the adults tested for atrazine toxicity, etc etc etc. Might be nothing to worry about, might be a public health disaster about to crash on us.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Genetic manipulation of food plants occurs by deleting a gene, or by adding a gene from another organism. So any gene added is, indeed, the result of millions of years of evolution.
    That is false, in the first place - the genetic material added is often altered in the lab, or even created from scratch, and much of the inserted material is (for technological and engineering and economic reasons) framed and accompanied by genetic material not found anywhere nearby in the wild, and inserted into places in the genome otherwise unavailable to anything similar, and accompanied by engineering and technologically convenient genetic material of unknown influence long term.

    In the second, the millions of years of evolution created the context - the original organism - not just the string of nucleotides. We have no experience with the possibilities of the genetics in the new context.

    In the third, and most important, that is the quality of reasoning guiding the development and release of GMO organisms right now. That's how the people we depend on to oversee this stuff think. They are fools, playing with dynamite for money.

    Read this, for example:
    The added gene, like the brazil nut gene added to a soya bean, is already edible. I eat lots of brazil nuts, and so I eat the 'horrible' brazil nut gene and protein that Iceaura was so upset about, almost daily. This general principle is pretty much applicable to the vast majority of genetic manipulations of foods.
    These people are fucking morons.
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    Iceaura

    I suggest you ease back on the language. When someone uses the term "fucking morons" in an argument, I assume it is because they are losing the argument and resort to obscenity out of frustration.

    I am kind of bemused by the suggestion that the sequestering of atrazine is the mechanism for roundup ready GM plants. Puzzling since atrazine is a totally different herbicide and has nothing to do with roundup, which is glyphosate - a completely different chemical.

    I suggest you might be more convincing in your arguments if they held a bit more scientific rigor.
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    You first. You would have to come up with some evidence that the kinds of modifications standard in GMO tech have been standard and prevalent for thousands of years, as you pulled out of your ass and posted.
    Not really. Most of us are sober enough to realize there's huge overlap not in the specific methods, but in the effects.
    They just found out - years after release - that the sequestering of atrazine in random parts of the plant (the mechanism of "Roundup Ready" anything) can be reversed in the human gut - that the digestion process in the human small intestine can release the herbicide into the human body. It's also been discovered (it's likely that the corporate scientists knew already) that the atrazine is occasionally sequestered in seeds and other edible plant parts. No one knows if this is serious, affects pregnancy, affects stages of child development differently than the adults tested for atrazine toxicity, etc etc etc. Might be nothing to worry about, might be a public health disaster about to crash on us.
    So you think that after nearly 15 years and a few hundred Americans have eaten soy, wheat, corn products that somehow some looming disaster could be upon us? Really? I suppose IT COULD HAPPEN, but I might suggest in terms of alarm it's worth about as much anxiety as being worried about being real risk of killed by meteorites.


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Genetic manipulation of food plants occurs by deleting a gene, or by adding a gene from another organism. So any gene added is, indeed, the result of millions of years of evolution.
    That is false, in the first place - the genetic material added is often altered in the lab, or even created from scratch, and much of the inserted material is (for technological and engineering and economic reasons) framed and accompanied by genetic material not found anywhere nearby in the wild, and inserted into places in the genome otherwise unavailable to anything similar, and accompanied by engineering and technologically convenient genetic material of unknown influence long term.
    Yet your very roundup example points refutes your claim. Where a naturally occurring mutations to glyphosate were used develop roundup resistant plants which has jumped species to a number of other plants which have also become roundup resistant. The entire process took less than 25 years--not millions.

    They are fools, playing with dynamite for money.
    They are heroes saving the world (for money).



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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Read this, for example:
    The added gene, like the brazil nut gene added to a soya bean, is already edible. I eat lots of brazil nuts, and so I eat the 'horrible' brazil nut gene and protein that Iceaura was so upset about, almost daily. This general principle is pretty much applicable to the vast majority of genetic manipulations of foods.
    These people are fucking morons.
    And you Sir, have crossed the line for the 2nd time in a month. See you next week.
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    Well, lessee - beginning with an apology seems in order; since the bizarre falsehoods and various incredible nonsense above have had a week to acquire a patina of illusory reasonableness, and amnesia is a characteristic of the corporate GMO apologists, this will require more length than the single sentence mockery it deserves:

    We note, for starters, the deceptive attempt to frame the arguments against the reality of GMO foods, the actual hazards and currently threatening dangers of them, as only a question of their direct effects on human health - can they make you sick when you eat them? While that is indeed a significant and looming threat, there are many others equally as important and perhaps even more serious, from the economic and political destruction attendant on them as they are currently being employed by predatory corporations to the wide and uncontrollable ecological damage their current modes of distribution are likely to bring about.

    But since that kind of framing is solidly in place here on this "scientific" forum, we have little choice here but to lay the majority of the problems with GMO "foods" (let's say crops, for at least a little more relevance) aside, and consider only their more or less direct threats to human health (we can at least include malnutrition as a health threat?). That is probably enough, anyway.

    1) from post 22 above:
    I am kind of bemused by the suggestion that the sequestering of atrazine is the mechanism for roundup ready GM plants. Puzzling since atrazine is a totally different herbicide and has nothing to do with roundup, which is glyphosate - a completely different chemical.
    As everyone who knows anything about agricultural chemicals knows automatically, atrazine and glyphosphate are often applied together, or in reasonably quick succession, as a strategy. And since atrazine persists throughout the environment, in water and soil and so forth even some distance from its direct application, most glyphosphate resistant crops are exposed to some level of atrazine.

    The fact that the mechanism of resistance installed by the genetic engineers works by sequestering glyphosphate in large quantities throughout the resistant plant, from where it can be released into the human intestine by internal bacterial digestion - a recent discovery, not expected by the genetic engineers (surprise!) and not well studied as of yet (most of the recognized hazards of this stuff remain unexplored, and if experience is any guide most of the actual effects remain unrecognized) - has implications for atrazine and other chemicals the plant may benefit from resisting.

    From post 23
    You first. You would have to come up with some evidence that the kinds of modifications standard in GMO tech have been standard and prevalent for thousands of years, as you pulled out of your ass and posted.

    Not really. Most of us are sober enough to realize there's huge overlap not in the specific methods, but in the effects.
    So no evidence? I can't think of any either. Meanwhile, the areas of overlap are not the concern. There isn't as much as one would expect, anyway - the great promise of GM techniques in streamlining and encouraging standard crop breeding and known beneficial practices remains mostly potential, with the efforts and money applied elsewhere. It is this "elsewhere" - the achieving of effects formerly impossible and unprecedented by way of techniques invented within a single generation of researchers and still new to the planet (let alone human experience), with huge amounts of money and other judgment damaging influences handy - that is the concern.

    We have almost no experience with the consequences of genetic engineering at all, much less with stuff that can escape into the wild and reproduce on its own.


    For example, the ease with which genetic variety in true-breeding high yield crops (so farmers could save seed, etc) could be established, decades of breeding and lucky breaks bypassed, remains almost completely unexploited. The fact that the great land grant agricultural universities are now largely supported by corporate generosity rather than taxes may have something to do with that - but back to the health frame:

    23 again:
    So you think that after nearly 15 years and a few hundred Americans have eaten soy, wheat, corn products that somehow some looming disaster could be upon us? Really?
    Sure. It's more likely than not, when wholesale simplifications and innovative modifications in the food supply of entire cultures are undertaken in ignorance and arrogance. For comparatively small scale and simple examples see Irish potato, sugar cane and tobacco farming, high fructose corn syrup, the Haitian pig, the Australian rabbit, various meat preservation techniques, lead in wine casks and water pipes, Mao's collectivization, the "73 US corn blight, Asian carp in NA, or perhaps most directly suggestive the current situation with trans fats.

    the genetic material added is often altered in the lab, or even created from scratch, and much of the inserted material is (for technological and engineering and economic reasons) framed and accompanied by genetic material not found anywhere nearby in the wild, and inserted into places in the genome otherwise unavailable to anything similar, and accompanied by engineering and technologically convenient genetic material of unknown influence long term.

    Yet your very roundup example points refutes your claim.
    How is anything I posted there refuted? It is illustrated, rather. Natural plant breeding does not produce genetics that act like that.
    Where a naturally occurring mutations to glyphosate were used develop roundup resistant plants which has jumped species to a number of other plants which have also become roundup resistant. The entire process took less than 25 years--not millions.
    Pure fantasy. There was no mutation involved, except the artificially created ones. The key stretch of genetics was from the natural and unmutated genome of a bacterium, no plant at all. It was shotgunned into the auxiliary plasmid genetics of the plants, not their nuclear breeding genetics. And it was accompanied by a large number of highly modified coding sequences, borrowed from all over and invented from scratch, auxiliary code that is responsible (along with the location and randomization of the insertion) for the ease with which this conglomeration of code can jump species, genus, order - all the way up to kingdom.

    It was made to jump into an alien organism - specifically designed to do that.

    Here is a partial description from Wiki, summarizing part of the the development of what the apoplogists refer to as a "natural mutation" for resistance to glyphosphate:
    Quote Originally Posted by ”Wiki”
    Some microorganisms have a version of 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS: EC 2.5.1.19, 3-phosphoshikimate 1-carboxyvinyltransferase; 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthetase; phosphoenolpyruvate:3-phosphoshikimate 5-O-(1-carboxyvinyl)-transferase) that is resistant to glyphosate inhibition. The version used in genetically modified crops was isolated from Agrobacterium strain CP4 (CP4 EPSPS) that was resistant to glyphosate.[96][97] The CP4 EPSPS gene was cloned and inserted into soybeans. The CP4 EPSPS gene was engineered for plant expression by fusing the 5' end of the gene to a chloroplast transit peptide derived from the petunia EPSPS. This transit peptide was used because it had shown previously an ability to deliver bacterial EPSPS to the chloroplasts of other plants. The plasmid used to move the gene into soybeans was PV-GMGTO4. It contained three bacterial genes, two CP4 EPSPS genes, and a gene encoding beta-glucuronidase (GUS) from Escherichia coli as a marker. The DNA was injected into the soybeans using the particle acceleration method or gene gun.
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    I can list several cases of human deaths directly attributed to chemical adulterants and /or biological contamination in food. Can anyone do the same for geneticly modified foods?
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    I can list several cases of human deaths directly attributed to chemical adulterants and /or biological contamination in food. Can anyone do the same for geneticly modified foods?
    Almost certainly not, as that is a comparatively minor hazard of the current introductory GM modifications, and little research has been done on that matter.

    Let's suppose there haven't been any, and won't be any time soon:

    that, for one example, the tons of soybean product with nut allergens shotgunned into it that was not recovered in the emergency recall, were benignly eaten by domestic animals or discarded somewhere or by good luck eaten only by non-allergic people in the third world countries in which it disappeared;

    and that, for another example, the digestive release of sequestered herbicide into the human intestine after eating Roundup Ready plants or food made from them has not killed anyone (through immune suppression, cancer, exacerbated bowel disease, cross reaction with drugs or disease organisms, disruption of vitamin intake, etc etc etc) and never will - not even in the coming years as the incubation time for soft tissue cancers starts to come into play.

    To what would you attribute this good fortune?
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    Not good fortune, iceaura. As the saying goes, luck does not enter into it.

    First, the nut enhanced soy bean was given fully edible extra protein from the brazil nut. It is exactly the same protein I eat almost every day, to the benefit of my health. About one person in a thousand is dangerously allergic to that protein, which was sufficient to get the GM soy bean removed. But no-one, not even iceaura, has suggested removing brazil nuts from the market, which contains every bit as much of the hazardous protein.

    And as far as roundup is concerned....
    I do not know how true iceaura's claim is. But even if true, it will not matter much. Glyphosate was the herbicide chosen because it is so low in toxicity. The oral LD50 for glyphosate for most mammal species is greater than that for sodium chloride - meaning it is less toxic than table salt. It is also biodegradable, meaning that any in the gut will be broken down quickly. So even if this claim is correct - so what? it is less harmful than an equivalent amount of ordinary salt being released into the gut - something we all do everyday by sprinking it onto our food.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    First, the nut enhanced soy bean was given fully edible extra protein from the brazil nut. It is exactly the same protein I eat almost every day, to the benefit of my health. About one person in a thousand is dangerously allergic to that protein, which was sufficient to get the GM soy bean removed. But no-one, not even iceaura, has suggested removing brazil nuts from the market, which contains every bit as much of the hazardous protein
    It's more than one in a thousand, and it's increasing. And the people who engineer GM food are directly responsible for knowing that (and they did know it. What they didn't know about was the effects of their engineering. Hence my observation - these people do not know what they are doing).

    No one can claim GM foods are thoroughly tested for their health effects, in the wake of such incidents of rank folly. That stuff made it all the way to retail market, unmolested by tests or even regulatory attention.

    Brazil nuts are not removed from the market, because they are recognizable as nuts and labeled as nuts. If you were to conceal Brazil nuts somehow - grind them up into a powder and stir the powder into vanilla ice cream, say - and sell it as vanilla ice cream, the people who suffered and survived would sue your ass and win, and you might very well go to jail for manslaughter. And your ice cream would be removed from the shelves by court order.

    May we anticipate that fate for the unlucky GM engineer who is not saved by another's efforts, as the Brazil nut yahoos were?

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    I do not know how true iceaura's claim is.
    Your ignorance on this topic should prove a greater barrier to your opinions.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    But even if true, it will not matter much. Glyphosate was the herbicide chosen because it is so low in toxicity. The oral LD50 for glyphosate for most mammal species is greater than that for sodium chloride - meaning it is less toxic than table salt.
    Hence my original invocation of atrazine. But release directly into the human intestine in bioactive compounds fromed by the bacteria in the human gut, has never been studied for glyphosphate or any other herbicide. It was not anticipated. It was a surprise. It was not discovered until most of the soy product sold in the US had been derived from modified soybeans. We should know in a couple of generations whether it's a problem - provided we can figure out what's happening without a control group.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    It is also biodegradable, meaning that any in the gut will be broken down quickly.
    So are most other carcinogens, teratogens, and poisons. Methanol, for example, is almost harmless in itself and digests quickly in the human body. The digestion products are serious poisons, as it turns out. We have little idea, yet, what human digestion products are produced from Roundup Ready herbicide sequestration complexes. Little research has been done in the matter.
    Last edited by iceaura; December 17th, 2011 at 04:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Brazil nuts are not removed from the market, because they are recognizable as nuts and labeled as nuts. If you were to conceal Brazil nuts somehow - grind them up into a powder and stir the powder into vanilla ice cream, say - and sell it as vanilla ice cream, the people who suffered and survived would sue your ass and win, and you might very well go to jail for manslaughter. And your ice cream would be removed from the shelves by court order.
    Brazil nuts have a protein that is dangerously, potentially fatally, allergenic to 1 person in 1000, but there are people relatively mildly allergic to it at the level of 1 in 100. If soya beans contained the brazil nut protein, those soya beans and products made from those soya beans would need suitable labels. The point I am making is that, if selling brazil nuts is OK, then selling soya beans (suitable labelled) with brazil nut protein is also OK. However, the decision was not to market this product, leaving GM foods with a totally clean safety record.


    If glyphosate in GM glyphosate resistant crops leads to a danger in GM foods, it would already have manifested itself. Those products have been eaten by many millions of people for over 10 years. Even if it took time to manifest, everyone is different, and a substantial number would already be ill. No link has been shown, and it appears very, very unlikely to me that such a link exists.

    I have encountered the 'delayed response' argument many times. It is like the human version of 'mad cow' disease (vCJD) which has a long incubation period - over ten years. But the thing is that, if the average is more than ten years, there are still an appreciable fraction of sufferers who will show first symptoms within 6 months. Even long incubation ailments will appear relatively quickly with some sufferers.

    On methanol, as carcinogen. Like most of these chemicals, the dose is the important thing. Methanol in small doses is harmless. It is even produced as a by product of human metabolism. It is present in many foods in small doses. All carcinogens in sufficiently small doses are harmless. Glyphosate has been tested thoroughly and is very, very low in toxicity, and testing for carcenogenicity has proven negative. It would be weird if it suddenly became harmful by the mechanism you propose, which would involve very small amounts, even if true.

    Note that numerous 'dangerous' foods are totally legal. Most plant foods contain natural insecticides, albeit at levels too low to be a hazard. But every now and then, some gets onto the market with dangerously high levels, gets eaten and people become sick with the plant toxin, because living things vary so much, including in how much poison is part of the plant tissue.

    People have been poisoned with organic foods before today, because the farmer was over-generous with copper based sprays, and in some cases because the unsprayed plants were heavily attacked by insects, and responded by making lots of natural insecticide - toxic also to people.


    This leads to a comment on the general safety of foods. Nothing is 100% safe. Not GM foods. Not organic foods. Not conventional foods. Nothing. Of those three groups, GM foods have the best documented safety record.


    To be rational, and since nothing is 100% safe, it is relative safety that must be determined. A sane, sensible, intelligent and educated decision maker will accept those foods that show themselves by objective, empirical testing, and by experience in the real world, to be relatively as safe as other accepted foods. By this standard, all approved GM foods have passed the safety test.

    To reject GM foods because of a speculative and unproved mechanism, when all the solid empirical evidence says it is not so - well that is truly irrational thinking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If soya beans contained the brazil nut protein, those soya beans and products made from those soya beans would need suitable labels. The point I am making is that, if selling brazil nuts is OK, then selling soya beans (suitable labelled) with brazil nut protein is also OK.
    They were not labeled. Their hazardous GM inclusions were invisible, and the GM engineers who created and the corporate interests that paid and marketed noticed nothing alarming about that over their many months of engineering and development.

    The beans were in retail outlets, being sold to the public as soybeans, when the whistle blowing took effect. The actual level of competence and reliability currently present in corporate testing and evaluation of GM products is thereby demonstrated, and any claims that GM foods are thoroughly tested and screened are completely refuted by that and the many other indicative incidents. (As well as by simple arithmetic - there hasn't been enough time).

    Meanwhile, the efforts by alarmists to require such labeling of GM product (genetic material from inedible flowers, E. coli, Agrobacterium spp, and lab creation not found anywhere, as well as presumably its protein expression, is in every bite of food made from a Roundup Ready plant - a daunting labeling complexity) have been fought hard and defeated by the money and lobby power of the corporations in line to profit.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    A sane, sensible, intelligent and educated decision maker will accept those foods that show themselves by objective, empirical testing, and by experience in the real world, to be relatively as safe as other accepted foods.
    Sure. There are at present no such GM foods. There won't be any for at least a generation yet. That's how long it takes to gain experience with major alterations in human food production.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If glyphosate in GM glyphosate resistant crops leads to a danger in GM foods, it would already have manifested itself.
    Unless it acts like, say, trans fats or lead in water pipes or any number of other dietary hazards that went for decades without being noticed.

    But notice the continual attempts to narrow the matter out of existence - we don't know if the glyphosphate is the only hazard among the effects and expression of this resistance complex. There are plenty of other candidates that look suspect, and little research into any of this.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    On methanol, as carcinogen.
    The least of the several hazards of methanol.

    Again, the error is always in the same direction - narrow the focus until no problem is within the field of view.
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    Iceaura

    Glyphosate is not toxic. No signs of glyphosate resistant crops producing harmful food have yet been seen, and there is no reason in theory to imagine it could happen. The toxicity is so low that you would need to ingest almost a pound of pure glyphosate to have a 50% chance of being poisoned. It aint gonna happen!
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Glyphosate is not toxic.
    Narrow the focus until no problem is in view - continually, as a PR technique.

    Nobody knows what continual low doses of glyphosphate in the general human diet can or will do - especially delivered directly to the intestine and biologically activated there. Nobody knows what the auxiliary code involved in installing the resistance complex can or will do, especially mixed and matched into various plants and various parts of the modified crop.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    No signs of glyphosate resistant crops producing harmful food have yet been seen,
    Nobody's been looking, at anything like an adequate scale - time or space.

    The first even marginally adequate investigation, at even the smallest scale, even with an animal model, into merely the short term medical effects of any single GM food consumption, was in 1995. See Monsanto link above. And that was after, not before, the commercial release of the GM crop involved.

    We were many years longer into the trans fat era before the problems impinged on our awareness. We were centuries longer into the use of lead in drinking water supply pipes before anyone noticed there might be a problem.

    The question we may face, if and when problems of some serious kind with GM techniques emerge, is what to do. If we have allowed this technology to take over too much of the world's food supply, destroy too much of its competition in food production, we'll be stuck. That is a risk we should avoid. The only beneficiaries so far have been agribusiness concerns - we don't need to protect them.
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    It is wrong to say nobody is looking. The western world now has thousands of researchers looking for any blip in health patterns. Such blips do crop up. For example : mad cow disease caused a surge in vCJD in Britain. Picked up within 6 months.

    If glyphosate resistant crops were causing some health problem, it would be an effect potentially on hundreds of millions of people, because that is the number eating such food daily. It would have had more than 15 years to show itself.

    Face it, Iceaura, there aint no sech animal!

    Glyphosate is less toxic than salt. Tests have shown no signs of any measurable health problem, whether cancers, birth defects, liver, kidney etc. It is just a very safe product. And you would have us go paranoid over the vague possibility that it might, against all test results, be causing an undetected long term side effect. Yeah, riiiight!

    If you want people to believe there is a problem with GM foods, offer us evidence - not wild speculation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    It is wrong to say nobody is looking. The western world now has thousands of researchers looking for any blip in health patterns.
    And finding hundreds of them, most meaningless, and missing hundreds more, buried in trends and cycles and long term effects. Without some idea of mechanism, possibility, etc, they are looking for well hidden stuff.

    And that's just the direct health problems from consumption. The indirect health problems from usage - from drinking water contamination by fertilizer and herbicide and such, from disease abetted via environmental degradation, from migration into slums and degraded diets etc - are likely to be more serious.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If glyphosate resistant crops were causing some health problem, it would be an effect potentially on hundreds of millions of people, because that is the number eating such food daily. It would have had more than 15 years to show itself.
    Not both 15 years and hundreds of millions of people - one or the other.

    Nobody has followed a control group and a matched consumer group for 15 years, of any size, let alone millions.

    And even hundreds of millions for 15 years would not be enough - I mentioned trans fats and lead piping, high fructose corn syrup marks another probability, Omega 3 and Vitamin C and Vitamin D deficiencies, BHA and related compounds, there are several more less general.

    If past experience is any guide, we will start picking up whatever health problems there are, if any, about 25 years after the majority of people are dining mostly on GM foods, or in the second generation of consumers of those foods. And they will take years to locate and confirm.

    Meanwhile, this Class III (IV is highest) chemical is usually applied with various surfactants and auxiliary chemicals, and often in combination with other herbicides and pesticides. Even jsut considering the main or active ingredient, this is what people here are comparing to table salt:
    Quote Originally Posted by wiki
    A review of the ecotoxicological data on Roundup shows there are at least 58 studies of the effects of Roundup itself on a range of organisms.[46] This review concluded that "for terrestrial uses of Roundup minimal acute and chronic risk was predicted for potentially exposed non-target organisms". It also concluded there were some risks to aquatic organisms exposed to Roundup in shallow water. More recent research suggests glyphosate induces a variety of functional abnormalities in fetuses and pregnant rats.[47] Also in recent mammalian research, glyphosate has been found to interfere with an enzyme involved testosterone production in mouse cell culture[48] and to interfere with an estrogen biosynthesis enzyme in cultures of human placental cells.[49]
    There is a reasonable correlation between the amount of Roundup ingested and the likelihood of serious systemic sequelae or death. Ingestion of >85 mL of the concentrated formulation is likely to cause significant toxicity in adults. Gastrointestinal corrosive effects, with mouth, throat and epigastric pain and dysphagia are common. Renal and hepatic impairment are also frequent, and usually reflect reduced organ perfusion. Respiratory distress, impaired consciousness, pulmonary oedema, infiltration on chest X-ray, shock, arrythmias, renal failure requiring haemodialysis, metabolic acidosis and hyperkalaemia may supervene in severe cases. Bradycardia and ventricular arrhythmias are often present preterminally. Dermal exposure to ready-to-use glyphosate formulations can cause irritation, and photo-contact dermatitis has been reported occasionally; these effects are probably due to the preservative Proxel (benzisothiazolin-3-one).
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    Most of this post has NOTHING to do with GM foods, so why are you changing the subject?
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    Quote Originally Posted by meteor
    Most of this post has NOTHING to do with GM foods,
    Could you be more specific? In my post 35, every single word directly applies to Monsanto's genetic modifications for herbicide resistance in soybeans, a specific and well known and informatively illustrative example of GM food that we have been using throughout this thread and related threads.

    As that set of modifications is the best studied and best understood, most widely promulgated and productive, most stable and least likely to blow up in our faces, of any of the modifications at large in the world, it seemed to me there could be no objection to it from the promoters of GM foods.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    The indirect health problems from usage - from drinking water contamination by fertilizer and herbicide and such, from disease abetted via environmental degradation, from migration into slums and degraded diets etc - are likely to be more serious.
    And once more we are given speculation instead of data.

    Iceaura, I am more and more coming to believe you are a Type I greenie, rather than Type II.

    Type I is the greenie whose environmentalism is pseudo- religious, based on dogma, which in turn comes from the pseudo-religious faith that anything man-made is bad, and anything natural is good, regardless of all the data to the contrary.

    Type II is the greenie who has strong environmental ideals based on rational thinking and good science.

    Type I are characterised by assertions that are not backed by good scientific data, like the quote above.

    On the toxicity of glyphosate. Everything is toxic in large dose. That is basic. However, the overall data does not support a view that it is dangerous to human life or health.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The indirect health problems from usage - from drinking water contamination by fertilizer and herbicide and such, from disease abetted via environmental degradation, from migration into slums and degraded diets etc - are likely to be more serious.


    And once more we are given speculation instead of data
    How are obvious and experienced forms of harm and risk mere "speculation"? Or didn't you bother reading even the Wiki links I posted?

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Iceaura, I am more and more coming to believe you are a Type I greenie, rather than Type II.
    And you find such beliefs so fascinating you simply have to share them, regardless of thread topic. We know. At apparently endless and inevitable length, over multiple threads and topics, throughout this oh so rigorously moderated "scientific" forum, we know.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    On the toxicity of glyphosate. Everything is toxic in large dose. That is basic. However, the overall data does not support a view that it is dangerous to human life or health.
    The point made was that the sequestration and release of herbicide (and whatever else the Roundup Ready complex delivers when digested by the complex bacterial flora of the human gut) into the human intestine was not anticipated, and has not been studied.

    That refutes the claim, which was obviously garbage anyway (there hasn't been enough time), that the direct medical risks of GM modifications in food crops are known and studied. They are not known in general, and the known ones have not been and are not now studied.

    That takes care of that claim regarding the direct medical risk issue. We can now return to the OP, which was far more general in its issues.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    How are obvious and experienced forms of harm and risk mere "speculation"? Or didn't you bother reading even the Wiki links I posted?
    Iceaura

    You have not managed to demonstrate any risk. None.
    You raise issues that may or may not be correct, and then extrapolate from that to supposed hazards.

    Glyphosate resistant crops like soya beans have been eaten, as I have told you so many times, by billions of people at least once, and by hundreds of millions on a daily basis. This for over 15 years. Yet not one hint, not one slightest indication exists, that this modification has caused anyone the slightest bit of harm. Not one sniffle even. Your suggestions are pure speculation. Classic Type I greenie.

    When you find some genuine evidence, then present it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    How are obvious and experienced forms of harm and risk mere "speculation"? Or didn't you bother reading even the Wiki links I posted?

    Iceaura

    You have not managed to demonstrate any risk. None.
    Wasted my time posting links, as usual. If the obvious is invisible to direct observation and reference, a link won't help - I knew that.
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    Iceaura

    Your links are merely tools for you to extrapolate from. I am asking you to show harm. You post links to show some facts that you extrapolate to suggest possible harm, without actually showing harm.

    This is a game that has no ending. We can all find links to provide facts from which we can extrapolate. That does not alter the fact that those extrapolations carry no more weight than pure opinion. ie. They may be right or wrong, but there is no scientific data to show which.

    The classic comparisons are global warming deniers, and creationists. They have no suitable scientific data, but that does not stop them. They simply seize upon anything that carries any weight at all - usually enough to convince their fellow travellers, but not enough for anyone who actually wants good science - and present it as if it carried weight.

    I am asking you for good scientific data to show your position - that GM food causes harm to those who eat it. You have failed to show this, and your speculations remain just speculations.

    My view is that you, like religious and pseudo-religious (type I greenies) people everywhere, form your conclusion first, and then look for data to support it. You decided, without evidence, that GM food causes harm, and now seek for something to back up your pre-judged conclusion, and cannot do so. So you grab at anything that sounds good, even though it does not actually prove anything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Your links are merely tools for you to extrapolate from. I am asking you to show harm.
    And I am insisting on showing risk. Because that's my point, issue, etc.

    btw: glyphosphate as normally applied is in fact one of the least toxic of all herbicides - not harmless, but much less dangerous than most others. So among the harms of GM modification for glyphosphate resistance is its trashing of the usefulness of glyphosphate long term - by creating both the means and the ideal environment for transfer and breeding of resistance in weeds, it undermines and eventually destroys the capability of one of the least toxic herbicides available, at the same time as the economics of GM promulgation destroy the farming practices capable of producing food without large amounts of herbicide.
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    yet you have not shown any affects being generated from the foods that contain it, even with 15 years of it being out there. WHY have no cases been reported yet if it WILL cause problems as you are insisting?
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

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    Quote Originally Posted by paleo
    yet you have not shown any affects being generated from the foods that contain it, even with 15 years of it being out there.
    "It" hasnt' been out there for 15 years. That was the initial introduction of one, solitary, single GM complex into one variety of one crop in the US.

    Quote Originally Posted by paleo
    WHY have no cases been reported yet if it WILL cause problems as you are insisting?
    You appear to be talking about direct medical harm to direct consumers only. That one GM complex may or may not cause harm - we don't know yet, no one is monitoring closely, and no one is prudently maintaining a control population or reserve crop unless one counts parts of Europe.

    I have never insisted that that one, single, GM complex will ever be found to cause direct medical harm from direct consumption by people. It has exhibited unexpected medical risks, as expected from a major food supply alteration so complex and little researched, but I have never claimed there is no chance we could be lucky. We will know better in the second generation - the children of lifelong exposed mothers. The many other GM ventures are not as far along as that, even, and so the consequences of them will be known only after decades yet.

    Many other harms from the one - the destruction of farming economies and local food security, the breeding of resistance in weeds and rapid spread of the shotgunned gene complex, some reduction of yield, etc, - have of course been documented (see posted links). You probably weren't talking about them, right?
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    Actually, there is less, not more chance of resistance in weeds. That is because heavier doses are used with glyphosate resistant crops. Farmers can spray more since the crop is unharmed. When a non glyphosate resistant crop is being treated by spot spraying of herbicide, then resistance development is more likely, since the weeds get hit less hard.

    In fact, resistance has already developed literally hundreds of times. Almost always with sprayings not associated with GM crops. Resistant weeds are normally eliminated using a second herbicide. Even though anti-GM groups often suggest such resistance comes from gene transfer from glyphosate resistant crops to weeds, that appears not to be the case. There is, in fact, a genetic mutation found in several weed species that occurs, though rarely, in wild populations that confers resistance.

    And again with the speculation. Harm in the second generation?
    Iceaura, humanity has been introducing all sorts of things into the food cycle, without waiting for the second generation. This ranges from crops developed with radiation or mutagens, to assorted traditional breedings, to addition of a wide variety of agricultural chemicals (including very nasty 'organic' toxins like copper sulfate and rotenone), to including food additives, to dosing food with vitamin and mineral supplements.

    Noen of these were tested 'unto the second generation'. None of that has been seen in hind sight as necessary. It is rather unlikely that GM changes will be any different.
    Last edited by skeptic; December 21st, 2011 at 10:28 PM.
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    GM crops themselves can become weeds. In addition, feral crop species have been found that are resistant to both glyphosate (Monsanto) and to gluphosinate (Bayer Crop Science). That is, feral crops resistant to either one of these herbicides (Roundup Ready or Liberty Link plants) have bred, to produce doubly-resistant varieties.


    I think the danger of herbicide resistant crops is not a health one but an economic one. The escape of transgenic crops and their subsequent breeding with closely related weed species will make herbicides such as glyphosate and gluphosinate less effective or even in some cases ineffective.
    Last edited by Zwirko; December 22nd, 2011 at 04:45 AM. Reason: clarification
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    In most discussions of GM foods the argument is invariably very polarised; there is one camp that can see no risk and another that sees little but risk. As we all know, but rarely articulate, the truth is rather different since there is always both risk and benefit to technologies that try to tackle complex problems. A careful analysis of risk and benefit should be an essential part of our thinking at all times. The promise of immediate gain and our own brief existence gives us a limited horizon beyond which we refuse to look. Risk need not be immediate and can manifest itself in unexpected ways.

    Creating GM crops with resistance to herbicides, pesticides and pathogens clearly has great and immediate benefit. Long term, however, resistance will appear in feral crops and related weeds, and in pests and pathogens. Herbicide resistance in weeds is not a minor issue and is actually very common and widespread with major financial implications. Resistance is brought about by three main processes: largely by herbicide selection pressure on weed species and by naturally resistant species invading territories formerly colonised by intolerant species; cross-pollination of related species is also now being observed. Ecological blowback in the farmland ecosystem is something worth thinking about.

    Farms need to make better use of established weed control methods and not be so reliant on GM crops that are resistant to herbicides.
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    there is one camp that can see no risk and another that sees little but risk.
    And with hundreds of papers that show the evidence is far more towards showing there's sufficient safeguards to minimize risk.

    --
    I agree with your other point, the GM foods will establish a natural arms race of adaptations and gene transfer to plants that reminds us somewhat of what happening with antibiotics.
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    There are also stacks of papers on the evolving herbicide resistance in weeds highlighting the risks that are in need of minimising.

    I'm not anti-GM crops, in fact I think it's a fascinating technology that can be of immense benefit. GM herbicide resistant crops should form just one part of a suite of strategies to control weeds. Huge mono-culture farms drenched in herbicides is not a very sensible strategy in the long run.
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    Actually, it is not GM crops that create herbicide resistant weeds. It is the use of herbicides itself. Any time that a herbicide is sprayed, there is the risk that some weeds will survive - the naturally toughest individuals - and their offspring may be a little more resistant. It does not matter whether GM crops are being used, or just unmodified crops with normal herbicide spraying.

    The greatest risk comes when the herbicide dose is low. This because more of the tougher weeds will survive. Repeated sprayings by low doses is the surest way of inducing resistance.

    Atrazine is, in terms of environmental impact, a much nastier herbicide than glyphosate. It is, for that reason, not normally used in GM herbicide resistance for crops. Yet atrazine resistance has arisen in weeds hundreds of time. You do not need GM to induce herbicide resistance.
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    Not sure if you were addressing my posts or not Skeptic. If you were I'd just like to point out that I know how the process of resistance works. I did describe three mechanisms by which resistant weeds can arise. Two of them are directly related to herbicide use and not to GM crops specifically, namely evolved resistance and new niche exploitation by species that are naturally resistant. This is caused largely by a failure to appreciate the ecology of crops, bad agricultural practices and an over-reliance on the resistance engineered into the crop. The third mechanism I mentioned is the direct transfer of transgenes between GM crops into feral crops (caused by the GM plant itself).

    GM crops and the way we farm them are clearly part of the problem, indirectly and directly. The indirect mechanisms come about because herbicide resistance in crops encourages the over use of herbicides and the neglect of traditional measures of weed control. As a result herbicide use on GM crops is higher than it has ever been. Better management of weed control will solve many of these problems. This doesn't mean that herbicide resistant crops are a non issue with regards to spreading resistance to weeds. There are clearly risks and they have to be managed. Done right we can live happily ever after. Ignoring it is just silly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko View Post
    GM crops and the way we farm them are clearly part of the problem, indirectly and directly. The indirect mechanisms come about because herbicide resistance in crops encourages the over use of herbicides and the neglect of traditional measures of weed control. As a result herbicide use on GM crops is higher than it has ever been.
    As I pointed out, resistance is more likely to happen with under-use of glyphosate than over-use. Where it is broadcast sprayed in low dose, is where the resistance is more likely to happen. GM crops that are resistant to glyphosate get a bigger dump of herbicide, thus reducing the probability of resistance. After all, a dead weed does not develop resistance.
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    The GM crops provide ideal environments for breeding resistance in weeds and pests: by providing consistent and significant exposure over many generations to one overriding factor, by providing previously unavailable genetics of resistance in readily transmissible and adoptable form right at the scene, by providing a uniform and consistently available monoculture of genetics in the fields and crops to be invaded or attacked, and by removing the competition as well as the pests and other limiting factors on the resistant weed or pest itself.

    The notion that all weeds in the geographical area of a glyphosphate resistant crop receive lethal doses of herbicide from even the heaviest of applications is as fanciful as the notion that all BT infused plants will deliver a lethal dose to any pest insects, and so forth.

    But such obvious and prior theoretical considerations were ignored in the interests of profits for Monsanto et al, and so the efficacy of BT is being undermined, the efficacy of glyphosphate is being undermined, and so forth; a world in which more expensive and less benign alternatives (but not less profitable ones) will become necessary to maintain an agricultural economy altered to fit such ways of farming, is being created.

    And we can see it happening: glyphosphate resistance, almost unknown in the decades of its use prior to the GM crops, has appeared almost immediately whenever and wherever the relevant GM crops are sown Glyphosate Resistance in Weeds - The Transgenic Treadmill , BT resistance as well Bt cotton has failed admits Monsanto : North News - India Today ,

    and there is no reason to expect the well established evolutionary patterns of life on planet Earth to be suspended in the interests of genetic modifications from agribusiness corporations.
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    Iceaura

    If you are quoting the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) as your reference, that explains a great deal to me. That is a crackpot site, so your views become understandable. There are a number of organisations, such as the British Soil Association, that adopt fancy sounding names to cover the fact that they are pushing biased and non scientific views. ISIS is one of them. Among other things, it promotes the idea that cell phones cause cancer, that vaccines cause cancer, and load of other woo.
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    Skeptic,

    "Overuse" as I used the word in the passage you quoted wasn't intended to be a synonym of "overdose". I'm using that word to refer to inappropriate use, indiscriminate use, and over-reliance upon the herbicide at the expense of more sensible strategies. Sub-lethal doses, as you point out, are well documented as being problematical.




    More generally, are you saying that you think GM technology is entirely risk-free and has had no role to play in the increasing problem of weed control? Doesn't the escape of transgenes into the wild cause you to be concerned? It's not difficult to see the potential ecological consequences.
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    Zwirko

    There is nothing in this universe that is 'risk-free'.

    I am reminded of a case here in New Zealand a few years ago. A car failed to take a corner, travelling at high speed. It shot through the air and through the side of a house. A small boy asleep in bed was killed outright. Now, if you cannot be safe in your own bed, where can you be safe? The whole concept of total safety is a chimera, an illusion, a piece of total B.S.

    So of course GM food is not totally safe. Nothing is. The sane and rational approach is to ask if the risk is "acceptable". Since there is not a single case in 15 years, with billions of people eating GM food, where there is any detectable and/or measurable harm from the fact that food is genetically modified, then the sane and rational approach is to say that the risk is "acceptable". Anything else is just plain idiotic.

    So I see speculations about risk as being somewhat ridiculous. I can speculate about risk from going to enjoy a night at the opera. For that matter, I am a keen amateur scuba diver, and I know damn well what the risks are, and I accept them, even though they are known and substantial. The so-called risks of GM food are (so far at least) totally mythical by comparison. I regard any person getting paranoid about those so-called risks as engaging in intellectual onanism.
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    You should have been banned for this shit long ago:

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If you are quoting the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) as your reference, that explains a great deal to me. That is a crackpot site, so your views become understandable.
    Now that you understand them, perhaps you will devote a sentence or two, maybe a link, to rebutting the observations and arguments they contain?

    Or, at a minimum, acknowledging them. Pejorative labels are insufficient to demonstrate comprehension, and in your case comprehension is not assumed.

    I don't screen sites by any other criteria than accuracy in the matter at hand - the site chosen was merely the first hit on Google that summarized the situation for this thread, not my source of viewpoint. I have no idea whether the rest of the site is crackpottery or not - your judgment being of course worthless, and my interest very limited, I don't plan to find out. I don't have the time or desire to hunt around for sites someone like you finds respectable, merely to frame what are plain facts and common observations.

    I am dealing with people who claim that Brazil nut genetics embedded in a complex of manipulation genetics from many sources and inserted cryptically into soybeans without testing are reasonable, because Brazil nuts have "edible genes". I am dealing with people who apparently think that the environment created by mobile GM glysphosphate resistance complexes in unrotated monocultures is less likely, rather than more likely, to breed glysphosphate resistance in other plants because it encourages generally heavier applications of glyphosphate. I am dealing with people who assert that GM technology is a continuation of plant breeding and domestication, with the same effects ( a more accurate likeness would be to viral infection by a complex of viruses - that's where one would look for the "similar effects"). I am dealing with people who label even basic risk assessments and analyses "speculation".

    Crackpot is as crackpot does. Your claim that resistance is curbed, rather than abetted, by deployment of such GM crops is ridiculous in theory (your assumptions of universal landscape wide lethal dose from presumed universal heavy application merely the initial basic error, the introduction to the zoo) and refuted by the smallest garnering of evidence and experience (resistance to BT, once rare, is becoming common around GM deployments. Resistance to glyphosphate, once rare, now appears rapidly and spreads into wide varieties of weeds near GM fields.)

    The corporations marketing these GM crops put very strong emphasis on managing their deployment to reduce the obvious tendency of their deployment to breed resistance, not for purposes of entertainment or gratuitous expenditure but because that is a well known hazard of their products, an obvious and demonstrated risk of their use (and one more or less unique to GM crops). This is not up for discussion - it's reality, fact.

    How are we supposed to discuss GM modifications if we keep getting hung up at the Fox level ? The only interest in such a discussion is the evidence it provides that the proponents of GM foods are not thinking very well, are not prudent or careful or even minimally responsible as adults contemplating policies.
    Last edited by iceaura; December 24th, 2011 at 05:41 PM.
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    Skeptic,

    Since I've never once even remotely stated or hinted that there are possible health risks associated with the consumption of GM foods your frustrated post is rather bizarre. Perhaps you should have addressed it to iceaura, for he's the one that thinks that soya bean munchers are going sprout third eyes and green skin at some point in the near future. There is a problem with GM crops and herbicide resistance and it's neither ridiculous, speculative, mythical fantasy or paranoia. You seem frightened or reluctant to acknowledge this for some reason. Did you have a bad experience with a crusty, dreadlocked ecowarrior in the past?

    The sane and rational approach is to address the identified problems with GM crops, herbicides and weeds and get our farmers using better strategies of weed control - strategies that can include GM crops and herbicides. Such strategies are now being implemented, encouraged and highlighted. You can sit back stroking your nether regions and cry "acceptable" if you want.


    Merry Christmas.
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    Zwirko

    My last post was in response to your query of :


    "are you saying that you think GM technology is entirely risk-free."


    And I think that a direct reply to a question is appropriate. Admittedly, it was directed at Iceaura more than you.

    On glyphosate resistance. It has been a while, but there was a study a few years back which looked at this, and found little or no evidence of horizontal gene transport of the resistance gene from GM crops to weeds, but found a similar gene (a mutation) occurring naturally at very low frequency in many weed populations, and a chance of resistance to glyphosate developing wherever glyphosate was sprayed. Meaning the genetic modification in soya beans, or other crop, is not much of a risk factor, if at all.

    It is basic to the theory of resistance development in most cases, whether bacterial antibiotic resistance, insect resistance to insecticides, or weed resistance to herbicides, that a prerequisite is a number of generations exposed to a nearly, but not quite, lethal dose of the agent. GM crops are sprayed heavily, meaning that only a small part of the weed population is exposed to survivable levels. The probability of a gene line being exposed repeatedly to those low levels across the number of generations required is quite low. Sure, it might happen, but it is far more probable that resistance will appear in weeds exposed to lower levels of spraying, which is not the case with GM glyphosate resistant crops.

    To iceaura

    No, I will not respond to the ISIS reference. As I said, they are crackpots, and I do not dignify such idiots with a response. Treat this as part of your education. As part of the science forum, you will not be taken seriously if you rely on crackpot web sites for your references. Find a proper, and reputable web site, and I will respond. I may even be forced to admit fault, if the site is solid and it says what you claim.
    Lynx_Fox and Paleoichneum like this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    No, I will not respond to the ISIS reference. As I said, they are crackpots,
    You were not asked to respond to the reference. You were asked to respond to the facts and observations of ordinary reality, ably summarized therein, that unless rebutted thoroughly refute your somewhat comically ridiculous claims. You don't have to mention the reference at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    On glyphosate resistance. It has been a while, but there was a study a few years back which looked at this, and found little or no evidence of horizontal gene transport of the resistance gene from GM crops to weeds,
    and other studies since which have found such evidence. (Your protector Lynx referred to them earlier, under the mistaken notion that such spread indicated that these modifications were similar to breeding and selection of the past. No doubt he can find references you guys find respectable) It remains a risk, regardless - Monsanto is very definite and assertive about guarding against it, and blaming violations of its policies for untoward events.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    but found a similar gene (a mutation) occurring naturally at very low frequency in many weed populations, and a chance of resistance to glyphosate developing wherever glyphosate was sprayed.
    But it was rare, until the ideal conditions of GM cropping were created. Your claim was that resistance of any kind would be less likely under GM conditions, remember?
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Meaning the genetic modification in soya beans, or other crop, is not much of a risk factor, if at all.
    Except that its employment creates ideal conditions for such resistance to develop and spread.

    Even if you plan to simply deny - without evidence or link, without argument or credibility - horizontal transfer of the GM modifications (btw: far more is transferable than the mere specific resistance gene, if anybody ever wants to look. GM modifications are complex), you are still faced with resistance itself.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    and I do not dignify such idiots with a response.
    You should endeavor to return courtesy with courtesy. We are replying to you.
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    Iceaura

    I fully intend to remain courteous to you. But not to crackpot organisations.

    Again, on horizontal gene transfer of glyphosate resistance. It can happen, in theory, but only if there are weed species that are sufficiently closely related to the crop plant to permit hybridisation. I do not think there are any weed species that closely related to soya beans.

    I know there was a sugar beet modification which was canned, because a closely related species to sugar beet was growing as a weed. In that situation, horizontal gene transfer would very likely happen, and the decision not to use the GM sugar beet was probably correct.

    One of the things, Iceaura, that you do not seem to have accepted, is that every modification that is canned is a sign of the caution by which gene transfer is treated. When a crop is prevented from being used commercially, and no problem rises as a result, this shows the essential wisdom of the decision makers. So far, no serious ecological problems from genetically modified plants has happened. As long as the powers that be remain cautious, there is no reason such a problem will ever arise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Again, on horizontal gene transfer of glyphosate resistance. It can happen, in theory, but only if there are weed species that are sufficiently closely related to the crop plant to permit hybridisation.
    No such requirement is involved - no hybridization is necessary. The glyphosphate resistance complex is shotgunned into the plasmid genetics, not the nuclear genetics, and the entire complex (not just the resistance code string) and every separable part of it is available for transfer to any plant or other organism with sufficiently similar plasmids or related organelles and a vector in common - even some algae would qualify, or soil fungi. https://www.agronomy.org/publication...cles/33/3/0806 (with some GM foods, the transfer to gut bacteria is a distinct possibility - some preliminary studies have been attempted, but the topic is a complex one, as are they all in this field. The health risks of gene transfer to, say, E. coli strains or their viral diseases, are considerable)

    The code was not derived from soybean plants in the first place, but from lab modifications of petunia, agrobacterium, and other genetics. It is as likely to "hybridize" with a petunia flower or crown gall as a soybean relative.

    And as you have noted, glysphosphate resistance in weeds can be developed and bred naturally, especially under the ideal circumstances created by GM agriculture, without any transfer at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    One of the things, Iceaura, that you do not seem to have accepted, is that every modification that is canned is a sign of the caution by which gene transfer is treated.
    And the fact that they have converted 85% of the US soybean crop and similarly high percentages of other staples to this single and poorly known genetic complex of code is proof of their reckless pursuit of short term profit above any other consideration.

    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    Perhaps you should have addressed it to iceaura, for he's the one that thinks that soya bean munchers are going sprout third eyes and green skin at some point in the near future.
    Look, I've been bitching about these guys's deceptive narrowing of the discussion to direct health risks of consumption throughout this thread and every related thread. Blaming me for their behavior is just not fair.
    Last edited by iceaura; December 26th, 2011 at 04:23 PM.
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    duplicate removed
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    Iceaura

    Except for rare and unusual situations, horizontal gene transfer does require hybridisation, and that means a closely related species that happens to be a weed. Just because a gene is 'shotgunned' into a crop does not mean it will, in turn, 'shotgun' into another plant. That simply does not happen. Transfer is by a little thing called sexual reproduction, which requires a male and a female able to reproduce together.
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    Transfer of genes between closely related plant species happens all the time, at a surprisingly high rate, and has been occurring between crop species and non-crop species since the dawn of agriculture. The mechanism is, after all, one of the main modes of speciation. Crop species can hybridise easily with their close relatives, many of which are agriculturally important weeds. Such weeds and their cropped relatives often grow in the same area (unsurprisingly), increasing the opportunity for transgene escape.

    From a theoretical standpoint I can't think of any reasonable explanation as to why transgenes would be excluded from the genetic chitter-chatter between plants; indeed, I would describe transfer of transgenes as inevitable. That transgene escape happens is not in dispute; it's well documented with several examples in the wild and within experimental plots. How those genes persist in the wild and how they effect the fitness of weed species is more interesting. How they impact the ecology of the immediate area is another question of interest that has received little study beyond speculation (comparison with the problems caused by hybridisation of native and invasive species can be made for hints on the type of issues that could arise). None of this is tabloid speculation. It's pretty much standard thought in the literature.

    I freely admit that there are relatively few examples of transgene escape to play with. However, transgene escape is a real issue that needs careful study, monitoring and control. There are even some nice ideas around the design and insertion of resistance genes that would make it exceedingly difficult for engineered genes to escape the GM crop. Why being sensible leads to so much antagonism and disagreement boggles my mind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Except for rare and unusual situations, horizontal gene transfer does require hybridisation,
    Horizontal transfer of genetic material without "hybridization" is common among bacteria and unicellular organisms in general, also viruses.

    It also seems to have happened, occasionally, between pathogens or parasites and their hosts. So there has always been a two step process for horizontal transfer between non-hybridizing multicellular organisms available, and in some kinds of organism (fungi, say) not so rare as to be incomprehensible.

    But such transfers used to be rare and unusual at the large, multicellular organism level, yes. Whether they will remain so, when the genes involved have been engineered and dispersed in the current fashions, remains to be seen.

    GM tech specifically engineers genetic material to be more easily transferred between unrelated organisms. Then it installs that material at essentially random locations in the most vulnerable and most easily manipulated strings of code available - in cellular organelles frequently targeted or damaged and transported by pathogens and other potential vectors, for example. The genetic means of invasion and installation are installed themselves, at those random locations, and just as available for transfer together or separately.

    But we might be lucky, again. It's not impossible that nothing really bad comes of this money-driven irresponsibility and ignorance. It's just not the way to bet.
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    Zwirko

    Yes, your post is correct. Horizontal gene transfer can occur during hybridisation with closely related species. That is the reason why the GM sugar beet I mentioned was not released. It had a close relative that was a weed.

    Iceaura

    Your post is also pretty much correct, although you fail to accept that transfer of a transgene to species not closely related is very unlikely. Not impossible. Mother Nature has always engaged in genetic modification using retroviruses, and a prairies dog species has been found with rattlesnake genes. But these things are very infrequent.

    There is no difference between a transgene and a normal gene with respect to this mechanism. Transfer of either is very, very infrequent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Mother Nature has always engaged in genetic modification using retroviruses, and a prairies dog species has been found with rattlesnake genes. But these things are very infrequent.
    They have been infrequent so far. Whether they will continue to be that rare with such enabling genetics and circumstances to work with, is unknown and unstudied - we hope they will, but the smart money would not bet on that hope.

    There is no difference between a transgene and a normal gene with respect to this mechanism.
    That is false. There are dramatic and significant differences from natural genetic coding engineered into GM coding, created in the GM lab specifically to facilitate horizontal transfer of the entire GM code complex into organisms unrelated to the source of any part of it. The insertion techniques and locations are also chosen to facilitate horizontal transfer - and yes, the closest comparison in the natural world is with viral or retroviral infection, not hybridization or other breeding efforts.

    That's an informative viewpoint: the GM techs are creating diseased organisms, crops infected with a virus designed to be generally infectious across deep taxonomic moats. We then hope the diseases will not spread.
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    Iceaura

    Again with the speculation.
    There is no scientific basis for your rather strange claim that GM organisms are going to spread viral disease.

    If you want to make such claims, I challenge you to support them with references from reputable sources. If you cannot, then don't make those claims.

    And please. No more crackpot organisation's web sites.
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    Again with the speculation.
    There is no scientific basis for your rather strange claim that GM organisms are going to spread viral disease.
    Behold the proponents of GM food. No speculation tainted by crackpot organizations is going to slip past their alert screening, deep comprehension, and high standards.
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    Iceaura

    Enough with the sarcasm.
    To be credible in this debate, you need to bring on scientific data instead.
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    Skeptic & Iceaura,

    Just for clarity I'd like to point out that what I'm discussing is NOT horizontal gene transfer. Hybridisation and self-hybridisation is the vertical transmission of genes through sexual and asexual means.

    Horizontal transfer of genetic material is what would occur if an aphid sucked up some DNA from one plant and then injected it into the cells of another plant. Or if a virus transferred material from one plant to another.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    Just for clarity I'd like to point out that what I'm discussing is NOT horizontal gene transfer.
    And this is addressed to me why?
    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    Horizontal transfer of genetic material is what would occur if an aphid sucked up some DNA from one plant and then injected it into the cells of another plant. Or if a virus transferred material from one plant to another.
    Yep. Or a fungus. Or a nematode. Or a thrip. Or a beetle. Or a weevil. Or a petunia crown gall bacterium finding an unexpected welcome in the plasmids of a wounded soybean leaf (like this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...00223-0182.pdf ) Or a genetic engineer working for Monsanto. Or some combination of any or all of those, by mischance along the fringes of some of the millions of acres of genetically bottlenecked monoculture.

    And not just between plants, of course - between any of a wide variety of organisms, from viral to vertebrate.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    To be credible in this debate, you need to bring on scientific data instead.
    I am engaged in a debate with people who are posting the following as argument: That GM techniques as actually employed have the "same effects" as traditional breeding, therefore the risks involved should be assumed to be the same as well.

    They have no relevant "scientific data" to support such an argument, of course. I have posted a fair amount of evidence justifying my disparagement of it. But that is hardly relevant -

    in dealing with such an argument, going to a lot of trouble to bring in "scientific data" would be a sign that I did not understand it. A better source for support would be the Onion.
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    Iceaura

    Congratulations.
    You actually posted a relevent and reputable reference. Please keep it up. Well done! (This is sincere - not sarcasm).

    Yes, Agrobacterium can transfer genetic material. This, after all, is a major technique used for genetic modification. The odds against Agrobacterium specifically transferring a transgene from a crop to a weed, of course, are very, very low, but still theoretically possible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    And this is addressed to me why?

    Well, it was addressed in part to you because you have a track record of butchering biological terminology and concepts. If you were on the ball this time, then I apologise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    Well, it was addressed in part to you because you have a track record of butchering biological terminology and concepts.
    So absolutely nothing to do with the posts here, then. OK.

    My guess is that your assessment of "butchering biological terminology and concepts" is based on a similar quality of observation and reading comprehension - a comfort to me, but maybe something to take into account for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The odds against Agrobacterium specifically transferring a transgene from a crop to a weed, of course, are very, very low, but still theoretically possible.
    Nobody knows how low they are, given that they have been so dramatically boosted by engineered genetic modifications. The prior insertion of Agrobacterium genetic code, bracketed by transferal enabling code, into the plasmids (relatively undefended, compared with the nucleus) of soybean plants creates a risk. That risk is now present in 85% of the US soybean crop.

    And of course is only a small part of the boosting of glysphosphate resistance chances in various weeds - a boosting already in evidence, as the crackpots have conveniently compiled and referenced for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    [Nobody knows how low they are, given that they have been so dramatically boosted by engineered genetic modifications.
    Actually, 15 years of experience with no reports of such happening is a pretty good indication.

    Iceaura.
    You continue to speculate. Speculation is not science. If you want to make a case, you need data, not continual statements of ifs, buts, and maybes.
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  80. #79  
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    So absolutely nothing to do with the posts here, then. OK.
    In one post on this thread you've described the Monsanto plasmid as being "shotgunned into the auxiliary plasmid genetics of the plants, not their nuclear breeding genetics."

    What is "nuclear breeeding genetics" and "auxilliary plasmid genetics"? I know exactly what you are trying to say here, but you've totally mangled the terminology, to the point where the phrases cease to have sensible meaning. Why not just say "chloroplast genome" or "nuclear genome" or something? You are the only person on the entire internet to have used these phrases.

    Then there is the minor detail that the plasmid developed by Monsanto is not actually inserted into the chloroplast genome at all. It's site of integration is within the nuclear DNA. The glyphosate resistance gene has a chloroplast transit signal added, to enable the CP4 EPSPS gene product to be targeted to the internal environment of the chloroplast. Once it is translocated across the chloroplast membranes the transit peptide is cleaved leaving the CP4 EPSPS protein in the stroma of the chloroplast. Is it unfair of me to think you are muddled on the concept of engineered resistance to glyphosate?

    Chlorplast genomes aren't plasmids either btw.





    Not really a case of "absolutely nothing to do with the posts here" is it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    "shotgunned into the auxiliary plasmid genetics of the plants, not their nuclear breeding genetics."

    What is "nuclear breeeding genetics" and "auxilliary plasmid genetics"?
    Let's try sounding it out: nuclear means having to do with the nucleus, breeding means involved in sexual recombination as in traditional plant breeding and hybridization (used so throughout this forum and this thread), and genetics is the collection of genes and strings of genetic code. Auxiliary means not central, nuclear, or fundamental to the plant's workings; plasmid refers to the genetic code labeled "plasmids" often found in organelles and such, genetics is as before.

    Ordinary English, straightforward and accurate meanings.

    The point was that the horizontally transferred GM code is forced ("shotgunned" is standard and descriptive in relevant ways) into the plant cells at the places and locations most amenable to horizontal transfer of genetic code by force, and sticks there at least temporarily. Some of it remains there - bits and pieces, stray plasmids that never finished integrating or reproduced in situ, etc. That changes the odds of future horizontal transfer. It doesn't have to be excised from a protected genome. It is readily available for forcible transfer, and harbors code engineered to enable successful transfer into at least some quite unrelated organisms.

    Agreed?
    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    Why not just say "chloroplast genome" or "nuclear genome" or something?
    Because it would be inaccurate, as you detailed. I wasn't talking about the chloroplast genome, or directly the nuclear genome.
    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    Chlorplast genomes aren't plasmids either btw.
    Cool. Completely irrelevant and unmotivated, but what the hey - - -
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Not really a case of "absolutely nothing to do with the posts here" is it?
    Apparently not. But I will allow some benefit of the doubt, anyway. Still a type of error that would disturb me, if I had made it. YMMV.

    Now can we return to the discussion?

    Are you agreeing with "skeptic" that the risk of horizontal transfer of GM code (in general, or this soybean infection in particular) is known to be very, very small; more or less the same as that of regular bred code?

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Actually, 15 years of experience with no reports of such happening is a pretty good indication.
    Depends on the reporting system. But we're probably on the tailing side of the curve of standard error, sure - another fifteen years of this particular modification but more carefully monitored, and similar time with each and every other one (recall your link: they all must be considered separately), and we'll begin to know what our luck is.

    And we will also, by then, be getting a handle on the regular bred resistance, the correlative changes in farming practice (rotation, irrigation, etc), the economic effects, and so forth.
    Last edited by iceaura; December 28th, 2011 at 08:05 PM.
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    Iceaura, that has got to be one of the most ridiculous posts I have ever read on this forum.

    Believe it or not, I do know the meanings of the individual words used in your terminology. As technical terminology, used in this context, they are inaccurate, misleading and confusing. Take again "auxilliary plasmid genetics" as an example. You've just kindly defined it for me, however I'm none the wiser. I assumed you meant the chloroplast genome, but apparently not, as you deem this as inaccurate and irrelevant. What "auxiliary plasmids" are the PV-GMGTO4 plasmids being integrated into then? You say you weren't talking about the nuclear genome directly? Yet you managed to state three times that the engineered plasmid did not integrate into the nuclear DNA.

    Your butchered terminology and mangled biology ensures that it is next to impossible to know exactly what the heck you are trying to say. I am unable to answer your parting question since it makes no sense if taken literally.


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    I would not worry too much, Zwirko.

    Iceaura appears to believe GM is hazardous as a result of an act of faith, rather than any scientific reason. He is unable to present any good reason for his viewpoint, apart from speculative ideas of "maybe there is a risk."

    I have seen no reason to believe that Iceaura has any grasp of the science. So asking him to explain things scientifically appears futile.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    As technical terminology, used in this context, they are inaccurate, misleading and confusing.
    They appear to have confused no one except you, and they are more accurate than your suggestions. Whether they are "technical" or not is no big concern of mine.
    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    Yet you managed to state three times that the engineered plasmid did not integrate into the nuclear DNA.
    I'm not responsible for bullshit like that. Please quote where I said even once that no engineered plasmid integrates into the nuclear DNA, after being shotgunned into the cell?

    The GM compexes are shotgunned into the outer regions of the cell, targeted at the chloroplasts, as plasmids, is my repeated and simple observation - not inserted in controlled fashion into the nuclear genome. They are designed to be transferred in this fashion - blown in by force, picked up and installed in the genome by cellular machinery. This is important, because it leaves lots of GM material lying around in easy horizontally transferable form, out in the cell. And the stuff is engineered to transfer by force - say by thrip pricking- that's how it got there. Creating that vulnerability to horizontal transfer incurs a risk or two, and in particular a risk of farther horizontal transfer. What is the problem with this simple description?

    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    I am unable to answer your parting question since it makes no sense if taken literally.
    Here's the question, so confusing:
    Are you agreeing with "skeptic" that the risk of horizontal transfer of GM code (in general, or this soybean infection in particular) is known to be very, very small; more or less the same as that of regular bred code?
    Lessee if I can dumb it down far enough without losing it completely:

    Guy say: bad transfer not happen before, all same now, so bad transfer not happen now. I say all not same now, bad transfer easier now, so maybe happen more now. Guy say, we know bad transfer not happen more now, because we know still rare like always.

    I ask: you also say we know that?
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    Two posts where you claim no engineered plasmids integrate in the nucleus.


    post #25: You describing the transformation process:


    the key stretch of genetics was from the natural and unmutated genome of a bacterium, no plant at all. It was shotgunned into the auxiliary plasmid genetics of the plants, not their nuclear breeding genetics


    post #63: Again, you describe the transformation process:


    The glyphosphate resistance complex is shotgunned into the plasmid genetics, not the nuclear genetics, and the entire complex (not just the resistance code string) and every separable part of it is available for transfer to any plant or other organism with sufficiently similar plasmids or related organelles and a vector in common


    Clearly you're saying that the glyphosate resistance gene is transferred into "auxiliary plasmid genetics" and not the nuclear DNA. Your desire to extract new meaning from what you've written also makes no sense and is dishonest.

    You did not say they were "targeted at the chloroplasts as plasmids" until now (you've never even mentioned the word "chloroplast" until yesterday). You said they were inserted in to some mystical plasmids to the exclusion of the nuclear DNA - the evidence is quoted above. Your "repeated and simple" observation (in reality a new interpretation) is also wrong. If they were targeted at chloroplasts (and not "aimed at the nucleus in controlled fashion") then surely this "auxiliary plasmid genetics" is the chloroplast genome? But, no, it can't be since you've made it clear that that'd be inaccurate terminology. What plasmids are you on about? Your original explanation and cover up are both wrong. Hole. Dig. Deeper.

    Weeding through your latest post I gather that you are of the opinion that there are many engineered plasmids free-floating in the cytosol after the transformation process and that these pose a risk as they may be horizontally transferred. I don't believe there is "lots of GM material lying around in easy horizontally transferable form", "out in the cell". Do you know otherwise?
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    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    Two posts where you claim no engineered plasmids integrate in the nucleus.
    I deny responsibility for your erroneous inferences. I find them somewhat bizarre.

    Two posts where I emphasize that the genetics of glyphosphate resistance are shotgunned into the "plasmid genetics" of the cell, an accurate and specifically relevant precision compared with your terms: your recommendations there would obscure the point, which is that the eventual location of the various genetic strings and pieces is not well controlled. They are blasted into the cell all over the place, as plasmids, and handled as such by whatever plasmid handling cellular, bacterial, viral, fungal, etc, machinery is floating around there.

    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    You did not say they were "targeted at the chloroplasts as plasmids" until now yesterday).
    I have never said that, yesterday or ever. If you attend to what I actually post, you may find it less confusing and objectionable. And if you would quit putting quote marks around your interpretations as if they were my words (this is the fourth or fifth time, now) that would be appreciated, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    You did not say they were "targeted at the chloroplasts as plasmids"
    No, I didn't. I didn't say they were targeted at the nucleus as plasmids, either, by the shotgunning. Both of those would mislead, especially in describing the shotgunning step as poorly controlled and a source of unexpected or unwanted side effects (my point), so I didn't say either one.
    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    Weeding through your latest post I gather that you are of the opinion that there are many engineered plasmids free-floating in the cytosol after the transformation process and that these pose a risk as they may be horizontally transferred.
    Too much "gathering". No such limitation to "plasmids" and "cytosol" is present. A more general and more vague reference - which would include aberrant integration into chloroplast genome, damaged parts and pieces sticking here and there, uptake by alien viral or bacterial hosts, etc etc etc, is what I posted and by - ordinary presumption - meant, yes?
    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    I don't believe there is "lots of GM material lying around in easy horizontally transferable form", "out in the cell". Do you know otherwise?
    You have a point, there. "Lots"? Dunno. I shouldn't have said "lots", when clearly talking about a single cell of example. Could be just a little - maybe if very lucky none at all, in some cases.

    Let's argue about "some" and occasionally, rather than "lots" and always, how about?

    btw: This is all focused on one example of one narrow aspect of one significant but limited are of hazard from GM modified food (interpreted as food organisms, narrowed so far to multicellular plants). We are not even dealing with the general establishment of resistance to glyphosphate in weeds, but one particular category of possible means of its occurrence - horizontal gene transfer without ordinary hybridization.

    That is one aspect of this question: "Are you agreeing with "skeptic" that the risk of horizontal transfer of GM code (in general, or this soybean infection in particular) is known to be very, very small; more or less the same as that of regular bred code?"

    Yes or no. This is an estimation of the level and certainty of "knowledge" present among the corporate "scientists" currently developing and promulgating GM food crops in the interests of Monsanto et al. In your opinion: Do they know that?
    Last edited by iceaura; December 30th, 2011 at 10:54 AM.
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    "auxiliary plasmid genetics" has no precision and is not relevant to anything we are discussing. It is utterly meaningless in this context. "shotgunned into plasmid genetics" is pure nonsense. From your new description of this transformation process you say "They are blasted into the cell all over the place" - is this what "shotgunned into the auxiliary plasmid genetics" actually means? If it does, then you stand guilty as charged: you continually butcher biological terminology and muddle biological concepts. If not, then feel free to explain what it is this bizarre turn of phrase means.

    All those things you say you didn't say are apparently sitting out in the open in post #83. A fault with your browser, perhaps?

    There is an engineered plasmid integrated into one of the plants chromosomes, parts of which (or the whole of) could perhaps be horizontally transferred. Whether there is "aberrant integration into chloroplast genome, damaged parts and pieces sticking here and there" is neither here nor there and is not required for HGT to be a risk factor. Probably less of a risk, if truth be told. In either case it'd be trivially easy to demonstrate experimentally whether there is or is not such shrapnel integrated in multiple locations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    "auxiliary plasmid genetics" has no precision and is not relevant to anything we are discussing. It is utterly meaningless in this context. "shotgunned into plasmid genetics" is pure nonsense.
    Then we agree that your interpretations should not be presented as my posting? And your replies to these interpretations are not replies to my posts? Good.

    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    All those things you say you didn't say are apparently sitting out in the open in post #83.
    Uh, no, you have removed commas, omitted context, and otherwise muddled things to the point of altering the meaning. Do not put quote marks around anything except actual, fully contextualized quotes: that's the rule, and this situation is the reason for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by zwirko
    There is an engineered plasmid integrated into one of the plants chromosomes, parts of which (or the whole of) could perhaps be horizontally transferred. - - - - In either case it'd be trivially easy to demonstrate experimentally whether there is or is not such shrapnel integrated in multiple locations.
    So we are back around to reality, and the question being dodged at so great a length:
    "Are you agreeing with "skeptic" that the risk of horizontal transfer of GM code (in general, or this soybean infection in particular) is known to be very, very small; more or less the same as that of regular bred code?
    My contention is that widespread conversion to monocultures of glyphosphate resistant GM soybeans,

    and anything resistant GM anything monoculture in general,

    is significantly more likely to enable horizontal transfer of resistance in weeds, pests, pathogens, and so forth, than deployment of standard bred crops;

    and through that as well as many other contributing factors, significantly more likley to create such resistance in general.

    A couple of my reasons, selected out of the pile available, are given above, but you may feel more comfortable with your own - in any event:

    Yes or no?
    Last edited by iceaura; December 30th, 2011 at 03:06 PM.
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    Ok Iceaura. Whatever.

    I've had enough of this crap and I'm bailing out of this topic before I lose my sanity.
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