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Thread: GMOs

  1. #1 GMOs 
    Forum Masters Degree DianeG's Avatar
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    I did go back and look at past threads, but was just wondering if there has been any recent news about any health risks associated with GMOs. I am constantly bombarded on facebook by anti-gmo shares from people I know, and its starting to bug me. It's never connected to any actual study in a peer reviewed journal. Just conspiracy stuff, or muddled with possibly legit concerns about agricultural monopolies, unethical business practices, pesticide use, etc. Has anyone heard of any actual health associated with a GMO to date?


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    Nope. And here's the funny part, GMOs are really useful in bioremediation, and as we know, pollutants certainly aren't good for your health, so by not using GMOs there's negative health outcomes :P
    And if you'd like, feel free to post any arguments that the people use and any of their supporting evidence, and I'd be happy to go through it and find the bs.


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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    Has anyone heard of any actual health associated with a GMO to date?
    No. Only valid concerns I have heard are "we just don't know what the risks are!" - which is partly true, but it's also true of a great many foods outside of GMO's.
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    Which isn't to say that major risks exist, just that identifying them is rather fuzzy. I mean for example, how exactly does putting some drought resistant genes in a crop make it dangerous? Will those genes magically code for something else and instead of being drought resistant, it starts producing toxins? No, just no.
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    Hi Dianne, Markus asked this in another thread and I thought you might find the first dozen answers useful. (after post 13 the thread got derailed by a nut)
    Genetically Modified Crops
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    I mean for example, how exactly does putting some drought resistant genes in a crop make it dangerous? Will those genes magically code for something else and instead of being drought resistant, it starts producing toxins? No, just no.
    Right. But someone with an allergy to the proteins that the new genetic material codes for might have a reaction to the GMO version that he wouldn't have to a non-GMO version. That's a risk, but an unquantifiable (and arguably low) one since we have never seen such a reaction.

    A secondary problem, not _directly_ related to GMO's, is that a person may be allergic or sensitive to chemicals used on GMO plants. For example, often GMO's are bred to be resistant to a herbicide, and thus they are often grown with large quantities of that herbicide. If a person is allergic to that herbicide they could become sick. Again, this is a problem with the herbicide, but it will become apparent due to the particular GMO/herbicide combination used.
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    Nope. I have yet to see any evidence supporting detrimental health effects, yet I see and hear crap all the time about how "unhealthy" or "dangerous" GMOs are. It's ridiculous.
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    Fun fact, the majority of cheese production is due to a genetically modified yeast or fungi that produces the chymosin enzyme in calf rennet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Which isn't to say that major risks exist, just that identifying them is rather fuzzy. I mean for example, how exactly does putting some drought resistant genes in a crop make it dangerous? Will those genes magically code for something else and instead of being drought resistant, it starts producing toxins? No, just no.
    You go over this all wrong.

    The real risk of this isn't for them to become toxic. The real risk is to lose biodiversity. If some crops will become drought resistant, they will push out the other drought resistant plants, which will make the biodiversity drop. Also, there are viruses in plants, hidden in their genome. When we would apply a great change to these plants, this virus could become active and start spreading and killing off the plants, which could jump to other plants quite easily.

    The real risk isn't in us, it is for the ecology. However this doesn't make me against it.
    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.

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    Sure there's the case that it will reduce biodiversity, but we tend to do that by selective breeding anyway, so I don't see how it's worse. If we apply a great change to the plant, isn't it more likely we'll make that virus less effective against the plant rather than more effective? And given that we target sequences of interest, where does that allow sequences belonging to viruses to sneak in?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Sure there's the case that it will reduce biodiversity, but we tend to do that by selective breeding anyway, so I don't see how it's worse. If we apply a great change to the plant, isn't it more likely we'll make that virus less effective against the plant rather than more effective? And given that we target sequences of interest, where does that allow sequences belonging to viruses to sneak in?
    You never followed virology classes i take it. Viral latency can exceed generations. And usually genetic manipulation conditions have a huge impact to the cell, which makes latent virus particles to become lytic again. Maybe not right away, but a lot quicker than it would have. Plus GMO conditions usually promote foreign DNA which makes the recuperation of this virus a lot more effective. Basically, we cradle ineffective viruses to become deadly again. And basically, this is a bad idea..
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Sure there's the case that it will reduce biodiversity, but we tend to do that by selective breeding anyway, so I don't see how it's worse. If we apply a great change to the plant, isn't it more likely we'll make that virus less effective against the plant rather than more effective? And given that we target sequences of interest, where does that allow sequences belonging to viruses to sneak in?
    You never followed virology classes i take it. Viral latency can exceed generations. And usually genetic manipulation conditions have a huge impact to the cell, which makes latent virus particles to become lytic again. Maybe not right away, but a lot quicker than it would have. Plus GMO conditions usually promote foreign DNA which makes the recuperation of this virus a lot more effective. Basically, we cradle ineffective viruses to become deadly again. And basically, this is a bad idea..
    What specific examples do you have of this happening though? What-ifs are not really a viable reason to restrict or prohibit the development of GMOs
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    I have never taken a virology class :P which would explain my ignorance on the subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Sure there's the case that it will reduce biodiversity, but we tend to do that by selective breeding anyway, so I don't see how it's worse. If we apply a great change to the plant, isn't it more likely we'll make that virus less effective against the plant rather than more effective? And given that we target sequences of interest, where does that allow sequences belonging to viruses to sneak in?
    You never followed virology classes i take it. Viral latency can exceed generations. And usually genetic manipulation conditions have a huge impact to the cell, which makes latent virus particles to become lytic again. Maybe not right away, but a lot quicker than it would have. Plus GMO conditions usually promote foreign DNA which makes the recuperation of this virus a lot more effective. Basically, we cradle ineffective viruses to become deadly again. And basically, this is a bad idea..
    What specific examples do you have of this happening though? What-ifs are not really a viable reason to restrict or prohibit the development of GMOs
    How could we know of an example? For this we have to know the exact genetic code of every organism on the planet, and every logical combination of the exons, or even introns which could code for some kind of viral particle. Then we need to simulate environments of which these could become active again. In a lab, this wasn't possible to observe, not with our knowledge now, so in the field, this would be impossible to predict.

    It was shown in a lab that latent viruses could be made lytic, and that every organism contains some strain of a virus. But this were latent viruses manually introduced to the organism, and made inactive. So this is a bad example of how it would function in the field.

    Basically, there is no support for what i claim. But that does not mean we shouldn't take it under serious consideration.
    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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    Hey Zwolver, do you happen to know a good source for where I can find out more about this? Sounds fascinating, and given that I take GMOs seriously, if there is a major risk with some theoretical evidence I'd love to learn more about it.
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    An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie

    This is an old article, but this shows some of the basics about how viruses infect plants.

    Considerations for the assessment of the safety of genetically modified animals used for human food or animal feed

    Which is a more fauna explanation of endovirology and the risks of GMO's. (still pretty old, so probably outdated)
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Sure there's the case that it will reduce biodiversity, but we tend to do that by selective breeding anyway, so I don't see how it's worse. If we apply a great change to the plant, isn't it more likely we'll make that virus less effective against the plant rather than more effective? And given that we target sequences of interest, where does that allow sequences belonging to viruses to sneak in?
    You never followed virology classes i take it. Viral latency can exceed generations. And usually genetic manipulation conditions have a huge impact to the cell, which makes latent virus particles to become lytic again. Maybe not right away, but a lot quicker than it would have. Plus GMO conditions usually promote foreign DNA which makes the recuperation of this virus a lot more effective. Basically, we cradle ineffective viruses to become deadly again. And basically, this is a bad idea..
    What specific examples do you have of this happening though? What-ifs are not really a viable reason to restrict or prohibit the development of GMOs
    How could we know of an example? For this we have to know the exact genetic code of every organism on the planet, and every logical combination of the exons, or even introns which could code for some kind of viral particle. Then we need to simulate environments of which these could become active again. In a lab, this wasn't possible to observe, not with our knowledge now, so in the field, this would be impossible to predict.

    It was shown in a lab that latent viruses could be made lytic, and that every organism contains some strain of a virus. But this were latent viruses manually introduced to the organism, and made inactive. So this is a bad example of how it would function in the field.

    Basically, there is no support for what i claim. But that does not mean we shouldn't take it under serious consideration.
    It seems like a very unlikely scenario to be honest, and not one that should be used as a reason to be looked at seriously. Yes there are viral sequences in all organisms DNA from what research can \tell, however there is no evidence at all that those sequences will suddenly become active replicating viruses again.
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    This from the second link you posted Zwolver: 'Recombination of wild type retroviruses with endogenous retroviral sequences containing the transgenes may pose an increased risk over recombination with naturally incorporated latent retroviruses. Novel methods can help circumvent this risk of recombination by the use of artificial retroviruses... In addition, the insertion of DNA (retroviral and non-retroviral) may hypothetically lead to the activation of adjacent latent viruses, although it has been argued that animal cells are capable of suppressing the activity of endogenous viral sequences (Heidmann, 1999)'
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    This from the second link you posted Zwolver: 'Recombination of wild type retroviruses with endogenous retroviral sequences containing the transgenes may pose an increased risk over recombination with naturally incorporated latent retroviruses. Novel methods can help circumvent this risk of recombination by the use of artificial retroviruses... In addition, the insertion of DNA (retroviral and non-retroviral) may hypothetically lead to the activation of adjacent latent viruses, although it has been argued that animal cells are capable of suppressing the activity of endogenous viral sequences (Heidmann, 1999)'
    The link is expressly talking about the insertion of viral DNA/RNA, while GMO's, especially plant based ones, are not. They use DNA from other plants or from animals usually. Plus that article is nearing 15 years old, with no documented cases of it happening.
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    Yeh, I quoted merely to show that in response to some of the concerns that Zwolver brought up, it doesn't seem to be that big a concern. Sure it's a possibility though, but not necessarily one that can't be controlled for.
    Last edited by Curiosity; September 3rd, 2014 at 02:57 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    This from the second link you posted Zwolver: 'Recombination of wild type retroviruses with endogenous retroviral sequences containing the transgenes may pose an increased risk over recombination with naturally incorporated latent retroviruses. Novel methods can help circumvent this risk of recombination by the use of artificial retroviruses... In addition, the insertion of DNA (retroviral and non-retroviral) may hypothetically lead to the activation of adjacent latent viruses, although it has been argued that animal cells are capable of suppressing the activity of endogenous viral sequences (Heidmann, 1999)'
    The link is expressly talking about the insertion of viral DNA/RNA, while GMO's, especially plant based ones, are not. They use DNA from other plants or from animals usually. Plus that article is nearing 15 years old, with no documented cases of it happening.
    The thing is... We only have to screw up once, to be in deep shit. To avoid this, we need to do it right a bazillion times. As someone whose hobby is risk calculation, i say, at the moment our knowledge of this is insufficient to actually start using the methods some are proposing and making our own sequences. Crossbreeding or transfection methods have been used a few times, but we need a worst case scenario to happen to wake us up. I don't want to wait for that.

    We simply are not ready for actual GMO..
    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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    What kind of talk is that?! WE'RE READY FOR ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING WE CAN EXPERIMENT ON! ....right? Okay yeh, I see your point. But I'm still concerned with the relative probability of that event occurring and how soon you'd be able to identify the problem. But given that your position is that we don't know enough about the risks associated with certain methods, and that in the worse case scenario, our ignorance could wipe us back to the pre-vaccine age, I see why you'd want to be cautious.
    Last edited by Curiosity; September 3rd, 2014 at 05:35 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    This from the second link you posted Zwolver: 'Recombination of wild type retroviruses with endogenous retroviral sequences containing the transgenes may pose an increased risk over recombination with naturally incorporated latent retroviruses. Novel methods can help circumvent this risk of recombination by the use of artificial retroviruses... In addition, the insertion of DNA (retroviral and non-retroviral) may hypothetically lead to the activation of adjacent latent viruses, although it has been argued that animal cells are capable of suppressing the activity of endogenous viral sequences (Heidmann, 1999)'
    The link is expressly talking about the insertion of viral DNA/RNA, while GMO's, especially plant based ones, are not. They use DNA from other plants or from animals usually. Plus that article is nearing 15 years old, with no documented cases of it happening.
    The thing is... We only have to screw up once, to be in deep shit. To avoid this, we need to do it right a bazillion times. As someone whose hobby is risk calculation, i say, at the moment our knowledge of this is insufficient to actually start using the methods some are proposing and making our own sequences. Crossbreeding or transfection methods have been used a few times, but we need a worst case scenario to happen to wake us up. I don't want to wait for that.

    We simply are not ready for actual GMO..
    We already HAVE actual GMOs, sorry to say, and in the 15 years since that article nothing has happened. I still am NOT convinced that one persons hypothetical is actually a viable possibility. I am still waiting for the peer reviewed cases of viral reactivation from a host.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    We simply are not ready for actual GMO..
    You do realize we have them and have been using them for years, right? We have GMO flowers (blue roses) carrots and tobacco (used to generate pharmaceuticals in the lab.) We have GMO animals - fish, rats and goats. The goats have been modified to produce an important human drug (Atryn) that can be extracted from the goat's milk. We have GMO crops like corn, golden rice, cassava and sativa.

    To use your own quote "The past teaches, the present watches and the future learns." We are now learning from our work with GMO crops, and thus can, nowadays, make better decisions about how to handle them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    We simply are not ready for actual GMO..
    You do realize we have them and have been using them for years, right? We have GMO flowers (blue roses) carrots and tobacco (used to generate pharmaceuticals in the lab.) We have GMO animals - fish, rats and goats. The goats have been modified to produce an important human drug (Atryn) that can be extracted from the goat's milk. We have GMO crops like corn, golden rice, cassava and sativa.

    To use your own quote "The past teaches, the present watches and the future learns." We are now learning from our work with GMO crops, and thus can, nowadays, make better decisions about how to handle them.
    I know we use it in some way, but very moderately, and without changing inhibitors. We do it in dividing stemcells . Which are vulnerable to this effect, because they have a blanco methylation, and no specific histone codes.

    Basically, what we do is melding cells or melding a vector during this time. I do not call this actual GMO.

    I call, building a protein step by step, which does not exist yet, then create a code to build this protein, then put it in a already adult mouse by a transfection method like manmade envelope, or tagged carbon nanotubes.

    I did use the term "actual GMO" for this. And this is what i mean.

    I know about the risks, as i have worked with them in the past, and the risk for something deadly to emerge is small, but it only needs to go wrong once. I rather we are ready before taking the next step.

    Thats what i meant..
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    I call, building a protein step by step, which does not exist yet, then create a code to build this protein, then put it in a already adult mouse by a transfection method like manmade envelope, or tagged carbon nanotubes.
    OK, thanks for the explanation of that distinction; your post makes more sense to me now.
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    When i worked with GMO's and actually designed and made them myself, i am bound by a lot of rules, like not letting them get out of the lab (like, not washing your hands, but only disinfecting them), no crossing of cultures, and you must kill them after a certain number of replications. I stand behind those rules, because they ensure that they do not get out and give unexpected results. Like become superbugs.

    Also, most GMO's are reduced in efficiency, they are made severely handicapped, like they need a rare nutrient to survive, can't produce a usually non essential amino acid, or they actually produce holes in their own cell wall, so they could never reach any stable growth phase, only rapid division (which makes them weak).

    I don't think we should abandon those rules and tricks to keep them in check just yet.

    I have seen some GMO's that bother me pop up as "safe", like fruit with twice the vitamin c and twice the antioxidants. But they used a noninvasive method for this, and the end result was really stable. (couldn't find the actual method they used, if someone could enlighten me...)
    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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    Yeh, I definitely agree with you that it's best we keep with with our current method, of also altering the DNA such that the GMO becomes auxotrophic. At least until our knowledge of epigenetics advances until we're able to more specifically control the expression of genes.
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    I trust those of you familiar with my posting no that I routinely attack conspiracy theorists and the like. However, I am very uncomfortable with our approach to GMOs. I would describe our attitude as cavalier, except that would make me sound like a Luddite. Granted, we have a much better understanding of biology today than we did when we introduced rabbits to Australia, but we are also dealing with much greater subtleties.

    I have no concern over the health aspects. There are worse things to worry about in our food. I am concerned as is Zwolver, I think, about the impact on the ecology. Reassurances from those with a vested interest are as comforting as electricity generating companies with nuclear power plants telling us nuclear power is safe. (I am an advocate of nuclear energy, but if you think I believe those assurances you are crazy.)

    Bottom line: humans are crap at objectively assessing risk, so caution is essential unless the consequences are small.
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