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Thread: GMO

  1. #1 GMO 
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    Genetically Modified Organisms, some say it's the future, others think it's poison that should be avoided. What are your views on this subject? I'd really like to learn the pro's and contra's, since it's kind of in my 'field of study'.

    For me, I don't see why they should be avoided. They can do so much good, and for people who say it may disrupt ecosystems, why not use hybrids...so they can't reproduce. I saw this article once about mais being genetically enhanced to produce vitamin A, somewhere in Africa, because the children in that area didn't get enough of vitamin A, with all the deficiencies that come with it. ANd Greenpeace was protesting against it... They'd rather have children suffer and go blind than to let them eat genetically enhanced mais. I mean, it's practically the same as cross-breeding or selective breeding, isn't it? Something man has done for thousends of years (look at racehorses etc. )

    That's just my point of view... Now I'm wondering about yours. Don't hold back :P


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    IMO there is no need for GM crops just yet, so I'm going to say no, but i might change my mind if the need arose. Africa's problems are social and economic ones, selling them GM crops woould not help the situation, as i understand it at the moment farmers put a side 10/20 % of their crops to be used as seed for the following years crops and yes we have been selectively breding animals and crops, this is why agricultural animals bear very little resemblance to the domesticated animals of 10,000 years ago. That is also one of the reasons why the faming industry is probably the most efficient industry there is. The problem with using plants that can't reproduce (is 'hybrids' the actual word for them?) is that the farmer then becomes dependent on the supplier for the seed, and as the GM crop is owned by someone, that someone is the only person you can buy the crop from, IE they have you over a barrel, you also need to make a high enough profit to buy the following years crops, so African farmers may need to sell their crops to someone outside of Africa in which case you would be making the situation worse.


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  4. #3  
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    I agree with what you're saying about Africa, about the farmers being dependent on the supplier and not being able to buy new seeds every year, but in Western countries it's appearently more efficient to buy new seeds every year instead of saving some of their crops, so why wouldn't they use GMO's then? (Talking about industrial countries now, not third world)
    You say there is no need for them, how about crops that are more resistent to insects? It would reduce the use of insecticides, wouldn't it? Or crops that would require less water, crops that endure drought better (just fishing some things out of the air, don't know if it's really possible), crops that are more efficient with their nutrients, thus reducing the need for fertilizing (not completly eliminating, just reducing). Aren't these (if possible at all) 'needs' that would better be introduced sooner than later? Instead of acting when the need arises, isn't it better to 'prevent than to cure' ?
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  5. #4 Re: GMO 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas999
    Genetically Modified Organisms, some say it's the future, others think it's poison that should be avoided. What are your views on this subject? I'd really like to learn the pro's and contra's, since it's kind of in my 'field of study'.

    For me, I don't see why they should be avoided. They can do so much good, and for people who say it may disrupt ecosystems, why not use hybrids...so they can't reproduce. I saw this article once about mais being genetically enhanced to produce vitamin A, somewhere in Africa, because the children in that area didn't get enough of vitamin A, with all the deficiencies that come with it. ANd Greenpeace was protesting against it... They'd rather have children suffer and go blind than to let them eat genetically enhanced mais. I mean, it's practically the same as cross-breeding or selective breeding, isn't it? Something man has done for thousends of years (look at racehorses etc. )

    That's just my point of view... Now I'm wondering about yours. Don't hold back :P
    Hello, Thomas,

    As I just explained in that other thread about avocados, it's far from being the same thing as cross- or selective breeding. It's done by splicing in bits of genes from totally foreign organisms. Things completely unrelated to the host plant and something that could never, ever happen in nature.

    I trust that by the usage of the word "mais" that you actually meant "maze" (corn), correct? If so, you need to realize that the GM corn that is available is not specifically a hybrid in all cases and the seed saved form harvest will produce the same plant.

    Just as I said in the other thread, I'm not opposed to GM foods but I do feel there's a potential for danger if careful precautions are not taken. For one clear example, consider that maze is wind-pollinated. That means that the pollen from a modified plant can be blown for some distance - sometimes a considerable distance - and land in a field of unmodified corn. And if it later turns out that there is an actual problem with the GM variety, it's too late because the genie is already out of the bottle and there's no way to put it back in again.

    So, anything produced by GM methods needs to be carefully, carefully isolated for a very long period of time before it's allowed into general use.
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  6. #5 Re: GMO 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas999
    I mean, it's practically the same as cross-breeding or selective breeding, isn't it? Something man has done for thousends of years (look at racehorses etc. )

    That's just my point of view... Now I'm wondering about yours. Don't hold back :P
    Not at all. Pre GMO breeding is not taking a slice of a fish gene and inserting it into a tomato to enhance storage properties. The result may be Frankenstein's monster at a much more damaging level of mutant bacteria, out of control insect pests, etc.

    GMO foods may have their place in the future but it's akin today to allowing everyone the block develop their own nuclear power plant. There are too many risks and unknowns. Perhaps those risks can be identified and controlled but today we just doen't know.

    Feeding people in Africa, etc. doesn't need a technological solution but a social one. GMO crop production may help them in future but any unforseen negative consequences today might be worse.
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    Ok, first of all thanks for the reply's.
    Secondly, you're right, genetic modification isn't entirely like cross-breeding, as you've both pointed out. I understand that it's indeed taking characteristics alien to a species and inserting it in them, and that crossbreeding is something different.
    But I'm not saying they should just randomly start planting GMO's now and see what happens in the future. I'm all for regulations and research. You say there's danger in wind-pollinated maze (I did indeed mean corn ). But why isn't one of the regulations 'using non-reproductive GMO's' ? That would be one big problem out of the way now wouldn't it?
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  8. #7  
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    It would be pretty difficult to make large quantities of that then wouldnt it?
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas999
    Ok, first of all thanks for the reply's.
    Secondly, you're right, genetic modification isn't entirely like cross-breeding, as you've both pointed out. I understand that it's indeed taking characteristics alien to a species and inserting it in them, and that crossbreeding is something different.
    But I'm not saying they should just randomly start planting GMO's now and see what happens in the future. I'm all for regulations and research. You say there's danger in wind-pollinated maze (I did indeed mean corn ). But why isn't one of the regulations 'using non-reproductive GMO's' ? That would be one big problem out of the way now wouldn't it?
    Hi, Thomas,

    As Robbie pointed out, they have to be reproductive. Unlike hybridization where the parent plants are still available to produce the hybrid by ordinary cross-pollinization, GM plants must be self-reproducing. One cannot go back into the lab and genetically splice every single seed.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie
    It would be pretty difficult to make large quantities of that then wouldnt it?
    Hmmm ... you make a good point ...
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas999
    Ok, first of all thanks for the reply's.
    Secondly, you're right, genetic modification isn't entirely like cross-breeding, as you've both pointed out. I understand that it's indeed taking characteristics alien to a species and inserting it in them, and that crossbreeding is something different.
    But I'm not saying they should just randomly start planting GMO's now and see what happens in the future. I'm all for regulations and research. You say there's danger in wind-pollinated maze (I did indeed mean corn ). But why isn't one of the regulations 'using non-reproductive GMO's' ? That would be one big problem out of the way now wouldn't it?
    Hi, Thomas,

    As Robbie pointed out, they have to be reproductive. Unlike hybridization where the parent plants are still available to produce the hybrid by ordinary cross-pollinization, GM plants must be self-reproducing. One cannot go back into the lab and genetically splice every single seed.
    And what if we used vegetative reprodution? For example: in the strawberries plant, if we put a some of the plant underground it develops in another new plant we can then cut out.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkyDreamer
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas999
    Ok, first of all thanks for the reply's.
    Secondly, you're right, genetic modification isn't entirely like cross-breeding, as you've both pointed out. I understand that it's indeed taking characteristics alien to a species and inserting it in them, and that crossbreeding is something different.
    But I'm not saying they should just randomly start planting GMO's now and see what happens in the future. I'm all for regulations and research. You say there's danger in wind-pollinated maze (I did indeed mean corn ). But why isn't one of the regulations 'using non-reproductive GMO's' ? That would be one big problem out of the way now wouldn't it?
    Hi, Thomas,

    As Robbie pointed out, they have to be reproductive. Unlike hybridization where the parent plants are still available to produce the hybrid by ordinary cross-pollinization, GM plants must be self-reproducing. One cannot go back into the lab and genetically splice every single seed.
    And what if we used vegetative reprodution? For example: in the strawberries plant, if we put a some of the plant underground it develops in another new plant we can then cut out.
    Yes, that would be much safer. But so far no one has found a way to force (modified to force) cereal grains to reproduce that way. I can see several possibilities for candidates to work from as there are several kinds of grasses that use that type of reproduction but most of them also use seeds produced by ordinary pollination methods. Johnson Grass is one that many people might know. Bermuda is another.

    But you need to notice that would require a LOT of work. Getting a plant to reproduce that way while eliminating regular pollination. It would be very tough for that reason AND how do you get the grain-head to form without blooming and being pollinated. (Even your strawberry example still requires that.)
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  13. #12  
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    Yeah, you're right! Thanks for the answer!
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