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Thread: GMO's

  1. #1 GMO's 
    Forum Sophomore cleft's Avatar
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    It was mentioned in the pesticide thread that there should probably be a thread devoted to GMO's.

    Do you see the GMO's as humanities salvation as far as increasing the output of food per acre or as the devils' own method to eridicate the pest that has infested the good earth; namely humanity?

    What of those corporations that routinely offer these GMO's? One's like Mosonto (sp?), that require farmers to respect their patent and buy every new plantings seedlings rather than grow their own replacement seedlings from scratch using the GMO's.

    What ideas would you have on the dangers of releasing into the ecosphere those GMO's not tested for long term hazards?

    Or even what ideas might make good GMO blends, if you support them. As an idea I think they have developed a freeze resistant strawberry that handles the cold far better allowing early crops. I am not sure that they are used for consumption but believe I did read that such was developed. I think there is also a GMO potato out also.

    What are your thoughts on GMO's?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
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    Somehow I think GMO's are far safer then the alternatives such as pesticides. To the best of my knowledge GMO's are not made or produced in any way with chemicals, they are still 100% organic. So that has to be better then the chemically treated foods...right ?


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  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman grazzhoppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (In)Sanity
    Somehow I think GMO's are far safer then the alternatives such as pesticides. To the best of my knowledge GMO's are not made or produced in any way with chemicals, they are still 100% organic. So that has to be better then the chemically treated foods...right ?
    Chemicals and pesticides are not the 'bad guy.' When you change the genetic code you might have some undesirable side effects. You may have an organic, modified crop that produces natural toxins to keeps pests off itself. Those natural toxins may not be any more healthy for you than a chemical pesticide.

    You can't group GMO's into two moral groups of good and evil, or safe and harmful. You have to look at the GMO and see what the modified genetics actually do to the organism. If you have a crop that attracts pests because it has certain shaped leaves that provide a pest with shade and it is modified to have its leaves shaped slightly different so that the pest is no longer shaded from the sun, you have a safe, organic, 'good' GMO. A bad, no-safer-than-pesticide GMO would be that same plant that is modified to excrete a substance that is toxic to the pest. I hope marketing companies don't confuse an 'organic-GMO' with 'organic.' I'm not sure but I believe some countries regulate the labeling of GMOs, so that companies can't pass off a GMO as organic even if it doesn't use pesticides.

    Although a GMO that produces natural toxins would be better than pesticides thought because you wouldn't have to saturate the earth with the pesticide.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman kestasjk's Avatar
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    A GMO isn't bad because it's a GMO, and a pesticide isn't bad because it's a pesticide. Pesticides or GMOs which haven't been researched properly by corporations which wanted to make a quick buck can be very harmful to the environment, but when researched and tested well both pesticides and GMOs can be very safe.
    As grazzhoppa said; it's not black and white.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Sophomore cleft's Avatar
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    There are always people that will see black and white out of grey issues. While I much agree that these issues aren't of a good/evil nature, the initial post was "designed" for responce. Responce it has recieved.

    I applaud the posters for the ideas such as the difference between beneficial examples and those with undesired side effects making them not so desired. It readily shows any reader good points in a thorny issue and at the same time inspires "food for thought".

    At one point, the US agriculture was in an uproar. The output of GMO's had become so blurred that many foods for consumption contained those GMO's without mention that they were such. Is that right? Would you as a consumer wish to consume foods whose basic ingrediants were not stated as being from GMO crops? If you would wish to know that it contained such raw materials in the preparation, why?
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  7. #6  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    I agree that GMO crops can't just be discarded as 'bad'. I think for a consumer it really doesn't matter whether you're eating a gmo or a standard potato. But both for farmers and for ecosystems at may matter. As you said in your first post:

    Quote Originally Posted by cleft
    What of those corporations that routinely offer these GMO's? One's like Mosonto (sp?), that require farmers to respect their patent and buy every new plantings seedlings rather than grow their own replacement seedlings from scratch using the GMO's.
    This may be a real problem. For example, GMO crops have an especially high potential in helping agriculture in tropical or arid regions, where diseases and drought are most problematic. But these are also the poorest regions of the world. The result will be a boost in agriculture in developping countries, but at the same time it will make those countries heavily dependent on a handfull of western corporations. That doesn't sound like a healthy situation in my opinion.

    What ideas would you have on the dangers of releasing into the ecosphere those GMO's not tested for long term hazards?
    Although I don't know enough about biology and genetics to give a real awnser to this question, it does seem to me that any possible effects are uncontrollable. What if, by a natural mutation, one out of a billion GMO seeds becomes reproductive? I think this is not so unlikely, considering the statistical chances and population numbers involved (how many seeds are used anually worldwide?). If any of these reproductive seeds would spread itself in a natural area, the first time someone finds out would be when the GMO genes are all over the place.

    An example of this is an experiment in China, with genetically modified trees that could resist the drought of a semi-arid region. After a testing field was established the trees performed so well that after a while they were everywhere. (btw, I'll try to find an article about this, as it's a few months since I've read it).
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  8. #7  
    Forum Sophomore spidergoat's Avatar
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    GMO's aren't bad theoretically, but it depends on what their purpose is. Increased food production has been historically less to do with genetics, and more to do with industrialization, mostly, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers derived from petroleum products, and the use of petroleum driven farm equipment. GMO's are specifically designed to be used with certain pesticides, and this in general is an unsustainable practice, since insects will mutate and adapt to the chemicals, they poison groundwater, etc... GMO's are also designed to be easily transported rather than bred for taste or vitamins, so that's bad. They also allow a corporation to patent a particular seed line, and set up conditions where farmers are forced to use that line, (as in Iraq, I hear), so traditional seed lines, and the ability for the farmer to grow their own seeds is destroyed.

    With the passing of peak oil production, the industrial farm will become a thing of the past, and local small scale organic farming with sustainable practices will be the norm. In the near future, we can't count on being able to transport food or seeds around the world with ease. Places that don't grow crops well should not be a place where people live. We seem to overlook this simple fact with our technological hubris, but the carrying capacity of the earth has been exceeded in most areas, due to the one-time benefit of fossil fuels.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Freshman kestasjk's Avatar
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    Do you have stocks in an electric car company or something spidergoat?
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  10. #9  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    I think you make an interesting point, calling fossil fuels a temporal benefit that temporarily changed our way of farming. But once (if) we turn back to traditional farming methods, wouldnt gmo crops fit with this quite well? As you said yourself, in the industrial period agricultural innovation had to do with machines and fertilisers instead of with genes. Wouldnt it follow then that the genes will make a comeback?
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