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View Poll Results: What do you think about GMO?

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  • Such deep modification of nature should be forbidden

    1 16.67%
  • We shouldn't introduce such organisms to the environment, but using them for research is fine

    0 0%
  • Introducing some GMO might be useful, but we should perform really careful long-term studies first

    4 66.67%
  • We need more food and quickly introducing GMO is the basic way to achieve it

    1 16.67%
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Thread: Positive examples of GMO? Credible resources about GMO?

  1. #1 Positive examples of GMO? Credible resources about GMO? 
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    A month ago I had generally positive feeling about GMO and have seen antipathy as mainly mass hysteria ... then I've started learning for bioethics exam (required additional subject for physics PhD I'm approaching).
    Nearly all seeming positive examples including even "golden rice" seem to be undermined post factum, usually didn't have positive summarized long-term result, but rather negative one ... I've asked a biology studying friend and she said that most of biologists at our university is against GMO (excluding research) and that she doesn't know any really positive examples about using GMO...
    Maybe cold-resistant plants or Flavr Savr tomatoes (resigned long ago)? Non-corporation initiatives?

    Are there any really credible resources about GMO?
    What do you generally think about such possibility and why?


    Last edited by Jarek Duda; May 14th, 2012 at 05:23 PM.
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    Jarek

    This is inviting a long and acrimonious debate. I predict Iceaura will be in here spreading what he spreads.

    But anyway - yes, there are many good things about GM crops. You mentioned golden rice, which has the potential to save millions of lives. GM virus resistant papaya saved the Hawaiian papaya industry. GM herbicide resistant soya beans permits no-till agriculture which save soil, big time. GM insect resistant cotton has saved thousands of farmers in India from making themselves very ill by spraying lots of insecticide all over themselves (they are so poor they cannot afford protective clothing or proper spraying equipment). Lots more examples.

    Of course, nothing is perfect, and GM gets criticised because it is not perfect. GM cotton, for example, only reduces the amount of insecticide that needs to be sprayed. It does not eliminate the problem. Thus, it will be criticised.

    I did not answer the poll, because none of the options were appropriate.

    The fullest benefits of GM will come in the future - not yet. One of the sad things is that most development is carried out by big companies like Monsanto, who are just after profit. So far, relatively little has been done for the poor, without that expectation of profit. Golden rice is one example. There are also efforts to make crops that will increase food supply in Africa, such as virus resistant cassava, and insect resistant maize. In time, these and other GM crops, will increase the food supply to poor Africans.

    There are crops under development with extra nutrients to save lives. Iron deficiency anemia is a major problem and a major killer in many places where rice is the staple diet. There is a rice variety under development with extra iron and extra antioxidant to assist iron uptake into the body. There is a soya bean under development with omega 3 fatty acids.

    So, given time, there will be many more crops to fight against world hunger, and to make for a healthier diet for the poor.


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  4. #3  
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    skeptic, debate is what I'm expecting - directly to prepare to the exam, but it is only a pretext to finally became more aware about this extremely important current and future issue.

    Great thanks for the virus resistant papaya example (looking really positive) - I've just found e.g. some looking credible article about it in Plant Physiology or report about its widespread contamination.
    For example watching The world according to Monsanto documentary, we see that one of the main problems with GMO now are ruthless corporations - false marketing, run for quick profit of briefly tested product, corruption, patents ...
    But there is always also another extremely important unavoidable problem: contamination. The more resistant plant can affect the ecosystem itself by just spreading, but much more dangerous is horizontal gene transfer (HGT) which seems to be quite common in plants. I couldn't confirm it, but the biologist friend told me that there are bacterias which can make fusion with cell nucleus of fabaceae, taking over control of the cell like virus - making it perfect for HGT (?)
    And HGT is one of major problems with herbicide resistant crops you mentioned - for example there appears plenty of "superweeds" resistant to roundup, making it only short-term solution and often a real problem for long-term. Different problems with herbicide resistant crops is tendency to use more herbicides, which are far from being harmless and result in changes in ecosystem, like plague of fungous.
    About insecticide e.g. cotton in India, it is seen as the reason of real suicide pandemia of their farmers. Additional biological problems are that these insecticides are not completely selective (may harm important insects) or that parasites can develop resistance ...
    About the golden rice, the amount of beta-carotene they contain is told to still being negligible and supplements are still orders of magnitude cheaper...

    Generally I complete agree that it's still just wild beginning of GMO and importance of their advantages will grow in the future ... but we should be extremely careful while introducing them ...
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  5. #4  
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    i will try to answer those concerns.

    1. Corporations like Monsanto.
    Sure. When you get big business, you get big corruption. But this is capitalism. To produce something you need a producer, and to keep that producer under control, you need laws and policing. Really, where problems exist, it is inadequate laws or policing. Generally, these problems are minimal, with strong laws and strong policing in force. Nothing new here. We see the same thing in pharmaceuticals, finance companies etc. But we cannot do without them. Where there is a problem, the solution is to lobby for stronger laws and policing, not for bans of whole classes of products.

    2. Horizontal gene transfer. Mostly this is interbreeding between closely related plants. To be watched, but after almost 20 years of commercial GM crops, this is a minimal problem. Occasionally, we need to be wary. For example : sugar beet as a crop has close relatives that are common weeds. So some gene transfer will happen with weeds. Most crops do not have this problem, because they do not have close relatives as weeds they can cross pollinate with..

    3. Resistance to roundup. This is occurring all the time. Not due to horizontal gene transfer but to mutation and natural selection. Hundreds of cases have been recorded and are in the literature. In most cases, the resistant plants are local, and can be wiped out with an alternative herbicide, and have been. But we can expect this to keep appearing. And we have to keep attacking the new varieties. But this is normal practice for anything that is subject to chemical controls.

    I am not sure what you mean by bacteria taking control. Gene transfer by bacteria can happen, but it is rare, and nothing like the problem of interbreeding with closely related species.
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    GenMods should be for everyone, and only to treath heritable diseases in humans. For the rest, i'm against it. If only the elite could afford it, or it could be used for goals like making the perfect human being, i'm against it. If black people would want to become white, or vice versa, i'm against it. If people would be FORCED to be genetically altered, i would be against it. And there should be a long term study to verify that the thing you want to happen, happens without sideeffects. Then, and only then would i think of it as ethical. As a molecular biologist, that's saying something, i think....
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  7. #6  
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    skeptic, I see you are a very optimistic skeptic
    I'm only an open-minded physics - especially on possibilities of modern science ... since I was recently told that some large percentage of biologists is generally against, maybe there is also someone more skeptical to joint the discussion? ...

    1) Corporations like Monsanto.
    I don't think I can agree with "Generally, these problems are minimal(...)" - that most of world's GMO (...food) is controlled by huge ruthless corporation, which history is filled with "harmless/biodegradable" e.g. aspartame, Agent Orange, DDT, PCBs, BST, Roundup ... which doesn't care about food consumers, farmers, the environment, but only about profit and world domination - literally over unimaginably huge amount of dead bodies ... which indeed control by corruption and contamination large part of the world ...
    Do you see this situation healthy from any direction? A way/perspective to make it healthy?
    Healthy situation could be with GMO developed through initiatives through society, governments, charitables - directed to indeed improve the situation.

    2,3) Horizontal gene transfer and Resistance to roundup
    You are right - natural selection can be the main reason of obtaining e.g. herbicide resistance.
    Can we be sure that HGT is not an essential issue here?
    Indeed interbreeding between closely related plants seems to be the most important, but we cannot forget about different mechanisms, like viruses (/bacterias?). They might seem negligible for single farmer, but may become an issue if millions of acres of crops such introduced such gene (?)
    The fact that many such introduced phenotypes are polygenic may greatly reduce such probability.

    Zwolwer, eugenics is a story with very different problems - focused rather on extremely complicated ethical side and sociological consequences instead of mainly biological ones of GMO plants and animals. I'm not sure what do you refer to by "For the rest, i'm against it"? Now GMO food is not for the rich, but aimed to the poor rather.
    If black people would want to become white, or vice versa, i'm against it.
    Genetically changing the amount of pigment in skin of adult person seems rather unreachable for longer time. Changing skin color of future child seems doable, so maybe it will became a problem/trend, suggested e.g. by that black women use strong alkali (pH up to 14) to straighten their hair ("relaxer") ...
    The question if we will call such behavior a pathology or a fashion is to evolve/be decided by the society.
    I think much more controversial case has e.g. happened ten years ago: deaf lesbian couple decided to have deaf biological child and selected the sperm donor for this purpose ( Lesbian couple have deaf baby by choice | World news | The Guardian ) - is it intentional crippling? Is changing skin color crippling? Is passiveness - e.g. not "repairing" genetically damaged child if there is a possibility? Finally: not improving child if there is a possibility? How to call it?
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  8. #7  
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    If only the elite could afford it, or it could be used for goals like making the perfect human being, i'm against it.
    Like the crab at the bottom of a bucket dragging all the others back down that try to escape.

    Honestly such attitudes just cause more suffering in the long run. Just about every technology we enjoy started as expensive and available only to the wealthy--but in due time became more affordable and available to greater numbers of people. Why should GMOs be any different.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; May 15th, 2012 at 01:25 PM.
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    Well, then you should introduce a life tax, which you have to pay, and if you can't pay, your life will be terminated.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Jarek

    Yes, on some things I might be called optimistic. However, my optimism is based on evidence. A true skeptic is one whose belief system is based on credible evidence, and all the things I believe in come after looking at the evidence.

    Two points.

    1. The idea of the world's food supply being controlled by a few megacorporations might come to be true, but is far from true today. In fact, the bulk of the world's food supply (mainly Africa and Asia) is grown by small farmers using traditional seeds. This is, in fact, one of the reasons why so much hunger exists, since traditional systems do not produce enough food.

    2. Your list of harmful substances includes aspartame and glyphosate, which makes me think you have been influenced by certain crackpot organisations. Aspartame is harmless. Glyphosate is almost harmless (except to green plants).

    On aspartame safety : http://www.dieteticai.ufba.br/Temas/.../ASPARTAME.pdf
    On glyphosate safety : Safety evaluation and risk assessmen... [Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2000] - PubMed - NCBI
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    This is inviting a long and acrimonious debate. I predict Iceaura will be in here spreading what he spreads.

    But anyway - yes, there are many good things about GM crops.
    - - -
    To produce something you need a producer, and to keep that producer under control, you need laws and policing. Really, where problems exist, it is inadequate laws or policing. Generally, these problems are minimal, with strong laws and strong policing in force. Nothing new here. We see the same thing in pharmaceuticals, finance companies etc - -

    - - - - -

    The fullest benefits of GM will come in the future - not yet.
    Couldn't have said it better myself. So far the benefits of GM crops are potentials, dreams of the future, and baits for the switch, not aspects of the dominant and expanding role of the GM crops that actually exist or the ones in the near future; while the damages and hazards of various kinds (medical, ecological, environmental, economic, political) are immediate and present now in the GMOs actually being launched across the landscape - this is because the people promulgating the stuff are powerful and irresponsible multinational corporations whose sole motive is monetary profit, they make big money regardless of the harm they do, and there exists no adequate body of research or regulation to curb their abuses.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Just about every technology we enjoy started as expensive and available only to the wealthy--but in due time became more affordable and available to greater numbers of people. Why should GMOs be any different.
    Because even restricted to the elite they will dominate the food supply of everyone. That kind of technology has in the past, in successful and beneficial agricultural revolutions such as the US wonder of generations now past, been made available to the "greater numbers" of people immediately (via the great land grant universities, government programs and agencies, careful writing of the applicable laws and governance, etc). For good reason. We aren't talking about IPods or cars here, but basic infrastructure and technology like the internet or the highway system.
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    Someone has to pay for the research and effort, training and equipment upgrading. Without it the research would stop. If nations think it's important they need to prioritize and figure out how to pay for it, as they've done for the examples you gave--if not then they wait for the prices to drop.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Couldn't have said it better myself. So far the benefits of GM crops are potentials, dreams of the future, ...
    aren't there already GM crops in existence that require fewer or no pesticides ? and isn't using fewer pesticides desirable ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Someone has to pay for the research and effort, training and equipment upgrading. Without it the research would stop. If nations think it's important they need to prioritize and figure out how to pay for it, as they've done for the examples you gave--if not then they wait for the prices to drop.
    This is true, so that's why it will not be implicated in this manner, as it should be affordable for everyone, from the beginning. As i said about the life tax, it's like signing a death sentence to all who can not afford the new "upgrades". And i just don't like the idea of the word upgrade. I'm not saying every human is perfect, and many would benefit from some changes in their genetic makeup, but this should not be just for the elite. The gap between the rich and poor would become HUGE. As every rich man/woman would look perfect, have no diseases and have a lifespan 10 times that of a poor person. This is not ethical, and i would even pick up a machine gun myself to defend this.

    On second note, i'm a pacifist.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Zwolver

    You seem to be diving into a second interpretation of GM. ie. GM on humans. I may be wrong, but I think the OP was more about GM as it exists right now, which means mainly on crops.
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  16. #15  
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    Zwolver, skeptic is absolutely correct. This is a thread about GM crops. It has nothing to do with genetic modification of humans. Please stop derailing it with your off-topic comments. If you wish to discuss GM of humans then start a thread on the subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnix
    aren't there already GM crops in existence that require fewer or no pesticides ?
    Not that I know of.

    There are GM crops engineered to produce bacterial insecticides themselves, rather than having them applied in proportion to actual threat,

    which is a shining example of what we can expect in the current absence of regulation or even adult supervision,

    but that cannot be what you are referring to as a good idea - can it?

    Most GM crops require more, rather than less, imported industrial chemical application.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Zwolver, skeptic is absolutely correct. This is a thread about GM crops. It has nothing to do with genetic modification of humans. Please stop derailing it with your off-topic comments. If you wish to discuss GM of humans then start a thread on the subject.
    I'm sorry, i think i misunderstood this i guess.

    I think i would have less problems with modifications in crops. Have these scientists looked into the genetic modification on a whole. So not just the plant, but also the fungi it most probably lives with in synergy. Ive read articles that confirm that if these fungi are taken away, plant growth declines drastically. It has something to do with the binding of nitrogen, and several vitamins/amino acids the plant can't make as easily as the fungi (or bacteria) can.

    How much is done finding a better genetic structure on these organisms?
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    We have argued this before. A crop that expresses a bacterial toxin instead of having it broadcast sprayed is far better. For several reasons.

    1. It affects only the insect attacking that crop, since insects not eating the crop will not ingest the toxin. Compare that with what organic farmers do, who broadcast spray the same toxin, or what other farmers do, who broadcast spray synthetic insecticides. Those practices kill off large numbers of non target insects, many of which are ecologically necessary. The GM approach is much, much better, and much more ecologically friendly.

    2. Lower cost. While the extra seed cost is real, it is more than counter-balanced by the reduction in insecticide cost. This is why farmers, who are not stupid, buy GM seeds.

    3. Extra safety. The worst effects of broadcast spraying insecticide are on the people who do the spraying. Unless they are dressed in virtual space suits, they will get lots of insecticide on their skin and inhale it. Toxin expressed by the GM crop does not do this.

    Classic example is GM cotton. This is now almost the only kind of cotton grown in India. The Indian farmers are very poor, and reluctant to spend extra on seed. Yet they do. Why? Because it is safer, easier, and more profitable to use GM cotton compared to the non GM variety. If you do not believe that, then explain why most Indian cotton farmers, who are far from silly, now use GM cotton seed.

    It is also worth remembering that Indian cotton farmers use the most lousy spraying systems when spraying insecticide. Usually no protective clothing, and a very inefficient and ancient back pack sprayer. They also buy cheap and old fashioned, and terribly toxic to people, insecticides. Things like malathion and chlordane are still readily available in India. GM cotton reduces the number of insecticide sprayings required each season, and therefore reduces the exposure those poor bastards get to nasty chemicals.
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    [quote="skeptic"] We have argued this before. A crop that expresses a bacterial toxin instead of having it broadcast sprayed is far better. For several reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    1. It affects only the insect attacking that crop, since insects not eating the crop will not ingest the toxin. Compare that with what organic farmers do, who broadcast spray the same toxin, or what other farmers do, who broadcast spray synthetic insecticides. Those practices kill off large numbers of non target insects, many of which are ecologically necessary. The GM approach is much, much better, and much more ecologically friendly.
    It breeds resistance, and abets horizontal gene transfer, so it only works for a few years after which a return to the former spot application is not possible - the insecticide has been rendered useless, weeds that spread to other places have been given the capability, and probably (typically) other insecticides as well as natural plant defense mechanisms reduced in effectiveness by the evolved resistance mechanism. It affects all kinds of non-target insects, such as bees and butterflies and insect predators, who do not attack the plant but come into contact with pollen, nectar, sequestered poison in herbivore tissue, etc. It does this in the absence of attacking insects, wherever and whenever the crop is sown - the bad effects are continual and ubiquitous, the good effects spotty and sometimes absent altogether (if there were no attacking insects at that time and place, say, a common situation).

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    2. Lower cost. While the extra seed cost is real, it is more than counter-balanced by the reduction in insecticide cost. This is why farmers, who are not stupid, buy GM seeds.
    The extra seed cost is a continuing dependency - farmers are prevented from saving seeds, and must buy new seeds every year. They must also buy the extra fertilizer, water, etc, taht the slightly more fragile GM crop needs. The farmers must buy in initially or be put out of business by the early, temporary yield gains of their neighbors, who are also being helped in other ways by the corporate predator (loans, cheaper fertilizer, etc) - typically the farmers who survive pick up the ruined farmers's lands and go into debt, and a large number of landless poor people move to the nearest city slum.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    3. Extra safety. The worst effects of broadcast spraying insecticide are on the people who do the spraying. Unless they are dressed in virtual space suits, they will get lots of insecticide on their skin and inhale it. Toxin expressed by the GM crop does not do this.
    Irrelevant. This is not an issue with the GM insecticides, for the very good reason that known and serious human toxins are not safe things to incorporate into human food and fiber plants. Not even Monsanto is that idiotic.

    The Bt insecticide at issue here was not broadcast, typically, anyway - it's too expensive for most broadcast applications, and the prudent "organic" farmers who were using it recognized and avoided breeding resistance through broadcast. Decades of that prudent moderation are now being thrown away for Monsanto's profit.

    (The broadcast use on industrial cotton was forced by the earlier abuse of other, cheaper, and more toxic insecticides by industrial farmers - they bred resistance in their worst pests, and had nowhere to turn except the carefully nurtured "organic" farmers's still effective product).
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    To Iceaura

    Insecticides do breed resistance. Broadcast ones especially. More so than GM insecticides for the simple reason that any insect eating a GM insect resistant crop will die. When you broadcast spray, though, many insects receive a fringe dose which is sub-lethal. It is sub-lethal exposures that breed resistance. For an insect eating a GM plant to get a sub-lethal dose is rare, meaning that developing resistance from this cause is also rare.

    Incidentally, the first observed resistance to Bt toxin was on the American diamondback moth, and this was seen some years before the first Bt genetically modifed crops were planted. The resistance came from organic Bt sprays, instead of GM crops. This is still the only field population (as opposed to laboratory populations) of insect to develop resistance to Bt.
    http://web.entomology.cornell.edu/sh.../2001DBM04.pdf

    Iceaura, your comments on cost are not particularly accurate. The extra cost is the cost of seeds, not extra fertiliser and water. And the yield gains are not temporary. Nor are the gains in safety from not having to spray so much.

    My point 3. is not irrelevant. It is relevant because the alternative to genetically modified Bt cotton is not Bt spray. The alternative is nasty insecticides like malathion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Insecticides do breed resistance. Broadcast ones especially. More so than GM insecticides for the simple reason that any insect eating a GM insect resistant crop will die
    You have now doubled down - three or four repetitions, after correction - on that particular bizarre assertion. And you claim to be a biology major.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    This is still the only field population (as opposed to laboratory populations) of insect to develop resistance to Bt.
    If we hadn't been over this three or four times already, and if you hadn't been supplied with actual fact-type information and real world stuff many, many times, this kind of straight faced assertion of silly and unbelievable falsehood would have a kind of charm. As it is, it's tiresome. Do you simply never read other people's posts and links? Did you learn nothing at all about evolutionary pressures and circumstances in four years of college level biology? Is Google some kind of mystery to you? Or WTF is your problem?

    Here is a link you have seen three times now: Bt cotton has failed admits Monsanto : North News - India Today

    Here is a quote from it:
    - - - "Resistance is natural and expected," Monsanto said in a statement. - - - -
    - - -
    Not only has Bt cotton been rendered ineffective, it has also led to detection of some new pests never before reported from India. It is toxic only to bollworm and does not control any other pests of cotton. "New sucking pests have emerged as major pests causing significant economic losses", the report says.


    At the same time, productivity of cotton has fallen from 560 kg lint per hectare in 2007 to 512 kg lint per hectare in 2009.


    And pesticide expenditure has gone up from from Rs.597 crore in 2002 to Rs.791 crore in 2009.
    Here are a selection from the first page of a five second Google search for "bt resistance":
    PLoS ONE: Field-Evolved Resistance to Bt Maize by Western Corn Rootworm
    Bt Corn & European Corn Borer
    Boom or Bust for Bt Crops? Interesting quote from this one:
    - - - Gould et al. predict that with 4% refuge, the Bt cotton could remain efficacious to tobacco budworm for 10 years. This is not bad considering that insects have developed resistance to many pesticides and conventional varieties in less time than that. However, the current Bt cotton has less resistance to other pests such as cotton bollworm and European corn borer, and thus the authors predict a boom cycle of only 3-4 years for this variety. Again Tabashnik puts it elegantly -"Nothing will be gained and much can be lost if we pretend to know more about resistance management than we really do". - - -
    Meanwhile:
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The extra cost is the cost of seeds, not extra fertiliser and water.
    GM crops modified for insect resistance and the like need extra fertilizer and water to match yields, on average - which makes sense, if you think about the cost of the extra gene expression. There is no free lunch.

    Also, the corporation involved is counting on selling lots of fertilizer and other chemicals to the newly dependent farmers, along with the seed. That's its payoff, for promoting this product.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    My point 3. is not irrelevant. It is relevant because the alternative to genetically modified Bt cotton is not Bt spray
    It is for "organic" farmers. That's who we were comparing, if you recall.


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    Iceaura

    You keep quoting the words of crackpots. Bt cotton in India has been a major success. But this fact is a serious embarassment to the anti-GM political organisations. So they tell lies.

    Here is a more truthful reference, written in simple language.
    The Truth about Bt Cotton in India (with real data and stuff) « A Little Life Science

    Summarise what it says.

    1. 82% of all cotton grown in India is GM. Now why do you think this is? Indians are not idiots. 82% of cotton growers are not choosing GM out of stupidity. They are choosing it because it is what works best. In other words, they make more profit.

    2. I realised after a bit of thought what you meant about Bt cotton needing more water. Yes it does, if you measure it on a per plant basis, whereas I had been thinking on a per kg cotton basis.

    Healthy plants need more water, and GM cotton is healthier than non GM cotton. It also produces more cotton per plant, due to the lower level of insect attack. So, per plant, GM cotton needs more water. But per kg of cotton produced, it needs less.

    In exactly the same way, the cost of harvest per plant is increased, because the plants are healthier and produce more cotton. Labour costs go up, because there is more cotton to be picked. But the cost per kg of cotton is less, and this is what the farmers focus on.

    3. I have said in my last posts, that GM cotton needed less spraying with insecticide, not zero. This is because some insects attacking cotton are not as susceptible to Bt. This is not acquired resistance. This greater resistance was there from the beginning, and is simply part of the normal variation we see. So some spraying is still needed, but a lot less than the days before GM cotton.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    You keep quoting the words of crackpots.
    You stated that the only example of field resistance to Bt was the diamondback moth in the US - before the advent of GM cotton.

    That was crackpottery. You have been corrected now four times. Multiple examples of field resistance to GM Bt on three continents over ten years have been handed to you. Why do you keep posting that?

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    1. 82% of all cotton grown in India is GM. Now why do you think this is? Indians are not idiots.
    I summarized one common pattern that has been working in India, above. Nothing in your link contradicts that summary, so even if it turned out to be a reliable source -

    and you keep saying things like every insect that attacks a GM Bt crop dies, there has been no field resistance to GM Bt crops, etc, so your sources are clearly not to be trusted -

    it fits with everything I've posted.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    In exactly the same way, the cost of harvest per plant is increased, because the plants are healthier and produce more cotton. Labour costs go up, because there is more cotton to be picked. But the cost per kg of cotton is less, and this is what the farmers focus on.
    The rise in pesticide costs and drop in yield that has followed the advent of resistance in India, documented in my links above, were measured by hectare.

    Interestingly enough, we have another example here of an increase in "backbreaking field labor" due to the advent of industrial agriculture - picking cotton in India.
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    Iceaura

    You continue to read and believe crackpottery.

    Here is another reference to the stunning success that GM cotton has been in India.
    The Hindu : Sci Tech / Agriculture : Improved agronomic practices drive India's Bt cotton revolution

    I quote :

    “According to a study by University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, frequent health concerns such as giddiness, nausea, itching etc. experienced by farmers/farm workers due to higher number of pesticides applications in non-Bt cotton fields are reduced considerably in cultivating Bt cotton,” claims Mr. Jagresh.
    Research by Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) in 2007 on the benefits of Bt cotton concluded that Bt cotton farmers earn on an average, 64 per cent higher income (Rs. 8,669) per acre than conventional seed farmers."


    The anti-GM mob continue to tell lies, and you continue to pass those lies on.

    I can post any number of references like this, since this is what is true.
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    Bt cotton farmers earn on an average, 64 per cent higher income (Rs. 8,669) per acre than conventional seed farmers."

    Remarkable!
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
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    I have been doing a little research and uncovered something that provides the basis for the anti-GM claims that GM cotton is a poor crop.
    India investigates Bt cotton claims : Nature News & Comment

    A strain of GM cotton produced by a local Indian research group which was grown in 2009 performed poorly. It was only 3% of the total GM cotton grown, though. The other 97% supplied by the most hated outfit according to the anti-GM crowd, Monsanto, performed extremely well.

    My previous statement that 83% of the cotton grown in India was GM is out of date. It is now 93%, GM cotton is looking better and better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    You continue to read and believe crackpottery.
    - - -

    The anti-GM mob continue to tell lies, and you continue to pass those lies on.

    I can post any number of references like this, since this is what is true.
    To remind you of the issue involved, here is your statement, that the several links I posted from various sources contradicted:
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Incidentally, the first observed resistance to Bt toxin was on the American diamondback moth, and this was seen some years before the first Bt genetically modifed crops were planted. The resistance came from organic Bt sprays, instead of GM crops. This is still the only field population (as opposed to laboratory populations) of insect to develop resistance to Bt.
    Do you still believe that statement to be even approximately accurate? Are you going to continue to post that claim, and the related stupidity that resistance to GM pesticide expression is unlikely, in future threads?

    Meanwhile, since you have for good reason decided to avoid the scientific issues and concentrate on large scale averages of economic indices as reported by the government of India, we note that your recent link has no bearing on any claims I have made about Bt cotton, but starts a new discussion - and there is this little transient quote from it, to hint at some of the issues that would be involved in such a discussion:
    Bt cotton accounts for 93% of cotton grown in India, and the vast majority (97%) is sold or licensed by Monsanto. But Monsanto's seeds are expensive and, like other hybrids, lose vigour after one generation, requiring farmers to buy new stocks every year.
    90% of India's cotton crop, a major export of this low income country, depends on one genetic modification available from one corporation. And the resistance problem is getting bigger, with more ramifications.
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    Iceaura

    Resistance in boll weevil has occurred. Yes, I agree with that. I did not make myself clear earlier, so I apologise for that. My reference to resistance to Bt before was incomplete. The point I was making is that resistance comes mainly from spraying. In the case of the diamondback moth in the USA, resistance came from organic farmers spraying Bt, and this resistance appeared well before the first commercial GM crops were planted.


    However, it is clear that the cases of resistance in India are not too significant, or else those Indian cotton farmers would not be increasing the sales of Monsanto GM cotton seeds. Nor is occasional resistance necessarily a disaster. It may require farmers to go back to nasty sprays for a time, but that is what they were using before GM was available, so they have lost nothing. And once the resistant weevil is gone, they can cut back on their use of spray again.

    Even if eventually enough resistance occurs to make GM cotton no longer viable, we have saved a million farmers from serious nasty pesticide exposure, and increased the amount of money these poor people have to look after their families. GM insect resistant cotton has been a massive success.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    . My reference to resistance to Bt before was incomplete. The point I was making is that resistance comes mainly from spraying.
    And as my links document, and as even basic and introductory comprehension of Darwinian evolution and ordinary biology would take for granted, that is simply false. GM plants are nearly perfect arenas for breeding resistance, and they have done so quickly and repeatedly wherever GM pesticide expression has been widely planted in crops. The diligence and adherence to sound practice in the face of short term profit temptation required to prevent resistance from evolving is unrealistic.

    That is evolutionary biology 101. It's not subtle, it's not unexpected, it's not hard to predict, it was and is predicted. In particular, it is obvious to Monsanto - which brings up some interesting questions of motive and agenda here.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic

    However, it is clear that the cases of resistance in India are not too significant, or else those Indian cotton farmers would not be increasing the sales of Monsanto GM cotton seeds.
    Why would you think that? Short term profits, economic pressure, and significant financial support would do that even without the competition from the neighbors and marketing efforts (of various kinds) by Monsanto - which apparently work even on the relatively sophisticated biology majors of the Western world, let alone the marginal, illiterate, and vulnerable small farmers of India.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Even if eventually enough resistance occurs to make GM cotton no longer viable, we have saved a million farmers from serious nasty pesticide exposure, .
    And those problems came from where, exactly? "Organic" agriculture?
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    and increased the amount of money these poor people have to look after their families
    and their debt load, vulnerability to the local landlord, and dependence on multinational corporate policy and financial support to keep their land and avoid starvation - whichever turns out to be most significant.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    GM insect resistant cotton has been a massive success.
    It hasn't been a complete disaster yet, a few years in. Agriculture has a long horizon, though. The Irish potato famine hit something like twenty five years after the widespread adoption of the potato as the food of the poor in Ireland.
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    Iceaura

    I have lost the reference, but I read an account of glyphosate reference a couple years back that listed over 200 cases of resistance by weeds due to mutation and natural selection. These were all to the use of glyphosate as a broadcast spray. Mutation and natural selection has always been the primary route by which organisms gain resistance to a pesticide.

    One of the reasons I simply cannot take your arguments seriously is that I have seen them all on crackpot web sites, and I have seen the rebuttals to them on reputable web sites, such as university based studies, government research groups, or genuine journals such as Nature and Science.

    For example : GM cotton has led to an increase in profitability for Indian cotton farmers, not increased debt. Of course, those farmers are poor, and occasionally a bad season leads to increased debt. But that has nothing to do with GM. The crackpot web sites will cherry pick their data, though, to make it appear that is the case.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    I have lost the reference, but I read an account of glyphosate reference a couple years back that listed over 200 cases of resistance by weeds due to mutation and natural selection. These were all to the use of glyphosate as a broadcast spray.
    So? That's the common route of exposure, for glysphosphate. What's your point?
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    For example : GM cotton has led to an increase in profitability for Indian cotton farmers, not increased debt.
    The two are not mutually exclusive.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Of course, those farmers are poor, and occasionally a bad season leads to increased debt. But that has nothing to do with GM.
    Yes, it does - both the prevalence of "bad years", and the amount of the debt, and the consequences of the debt, are directly affected by the economic deals with Monsanto, the necessity of purchasing each year's seed and chemicals, and so forth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Yes, it does - both the prevalence of "bad years", and the amount of the debt, and the consequences of the debt, are directly affected by the economic deals with Monsanto, the necessity of purchasing each year's seed and chemicals, and so forth.
    This is not new.
    Those poor farmers have always had to fork out money each year for the necessities for their crop. More generally, farmers everywhere have to do that. In the years before GM, they had to pay less for seed but a hell of a lot more for chemicals. Today they pay more for seed, but a lot less for chemicals. Overall, Indian cotton farmers make more profit today, with GM seed and less spray, than they did in years gone by.
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