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Thread: GM food - Good or bad?

  1. #1 GM food - Good or bad? 
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    Hey all,

    I'm a journalism student, and I'm currently working on a project which explores and draws attention to, the often negative portrayal of GM food in the media i.e. "Frankenstein Food". I was hoping that you guys could share your thoughts and opinions on GM food and how/why the media chooses to report it in such a way. Alternatively, I have a survey (Your understanding of GM (Genetically Modified) food Survey) which you can answer, where I ask specific questions for you to give your opinion on. If you choose to take the survey, feel free to add any other comments if they are not drawn attention to in the questions. Thanks to all that respond!


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    Is this the same poll put up a couple weeks ago?


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    I had a look, Lynx. No it's not the same, but I wouldn't complete it in a blue fit. Apart from a couple of silly grammatical constructions

    The scientists behind the research and advancement of GM food have been described as 'playing God', something which they consider to be morally/ethically wrong. What do you make of their argument? Agree or disagree?
    Just who exactly are "they"?

    "Playing God", "controversial", "fearful" are distinctly poor journalistic constructions around scientific questions. This sort of thing should not be encouraged.

    (I know I'm wearing my grumpy old lady hat here. But so be it.)
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    adelady,

    Who I mean by 'they', are the journalists who portray scientists as "playing God", etc. The terms have been circulating around various news sources, when they have reported on GM food. I simply wanted to hear people's thoughts and opinions on these claims. I do not share their opinion in the slightest. I apologise for the discrepancy - the survey was constructed in a very short time and obviously needs rewording in some places.
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    If you do not understand the dangers in genetic modification then, I'm sorry but you are ignorant! This is why, recently, these scientist that do these experiments have gone underground, in protected laboratory environments, as to not contaminate other species that they are working with. Besides the fact that "they" already screwed corn up, recently canola has also been genetically modified and these "scientists" also lost control of this experimental crop. So many do not understand all the intracacies and variables involved. There are so many scenerios to consider. It may be true that they have best interests in mind, but it's beginning to also be a big money game.

    Humans have manipulated plants and animals since the invention of corn, and maybe before that. This is "intelligent design". But recently this has stepped up to a whole new level. In making plants resistant to herbivores and disease, you also have to take into account the affect on other species. This cause and effect is a sensitive area and has been mostly unexplored, while G.M. has increased substantially. It is my opinion much more study should be put in these areas before another plant gets ruined. G.M. corn tastes way too sweet, may have more high fructose corn syrup but it's terrible. And I believe this was mainly done to create more biofuel. Regardless, many better reconsider there position, because this is the same reason someone can now contract Lyme Disease from a tick bite!
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    Lyme Disease has been around for over 200 years... what are you on about?
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

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    Depends, first case of documented Lyme disease was in 1909. Other reports say the bacterium was around before the ice age. However they didn't have quite the same effect. It IS true, however, that in the 70s, Plum Island was doing research on disease spreading ticks, named "operation paperclip", and in the mid 70s many bad cases broke out in Connecticut, sense then, ther have been many more extreme cases, many resulting in deaths, and Plum Island's research has taken blame for plenty strange activity, most of which is highly viable. Obviously I'm talking about unforseen dangers with genetic manipulation. Watch "The Stand"!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalopin View Post
    Depends, first case of documented Lyme disease was in 1909. Other reports say the bacterium was around before the ice age. However they didn't have quite the same effect. It IS true, however, that in the 70s, Plum Island was doing research on disease spreading ticks, named "operation paperclip", and in the mid 70s many bad cases broke out in Connecticut, sense then, ther have been many more extreme cases, many resulting in deaths, and Plum Island's research has taken blame for plenty strange activity, most of which is highly viable. Obviously I'm talking about unforseen dangers with genetic manipulation. Watch "The Stand"!
    Actually, IF YOU HAD READ THE LINK, you would have seen it's been around for thousands of years.
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    What does before the ice age mean? And it was primarily in Europe, and brought over by immagration. Lyme disease did not have the same effect and did not spread as greatly until The Plum Island experiments, this was a genetically modified strain resistant to antibiotics. Do the research. This is regardless and beside the point, because many of the foods we now consume have already been genetically modified and in many cases, it seems like it has worked well. The point I make, is that now so many modifications and so much manipulation is being done without study into true ramifications, and it may take only one little mistake, one minute miscalculation to cause a devastating effect.

    In most cases, it's already to late. Like it or not. We have become "The Human Experiment"!
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    More of "I say so" with no facts to back it up.

    Very sad.
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    Wayne please, your being silly, I thought everyone knew what had happened with G.M. corn. The G.M. conola experiment getting out of hand was more recent. The scientists involved found the G.M. strain had affected other normal strains in nearby fields and also growing on roadsides. It was thought that, somehow the G.M. corn would remain seperate from other regular corn, but in the past years since, practically the entire crop has been affected. Read up.
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    Do you have facts (eg references) to back up the plum island assertions?
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

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    C'mon, seriously!? Google, "Lyme Disease from Plum Island research", not difficult.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalopin View Post
    C'mon, seriously!? Google, "Lyme Disease from Plum Island research", not difficult.
    It's not right either. You get woo-woo sites.
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    My top search findings were: 1,a pdf from arthritistrust.org, 2.wikipedia.org 3. a book at amazon.com 4. a report from the on-line magazine, "the examiner".com 5. was ALDF [that's "American Lyme Disease Foundation"] 6.shall I go on?...

    I'm sorry, You got me on that one! What's a "woo-woo sites"? Do you just like to make the simple, difficult?
    Last edited by Kalopin; December 14th, 2011 at 10:54 PM.
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    How many of your sites are reliable sources for you assertions?
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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    Sounds like you're all for G.M. foods. I'll tell you what, google on this " Genetically Modified foods are found to be source of obesity, autism, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, allergies,...". AND, tell me what you find! More woo-woo sites? NOT!
    Last edited by Kalopin; December 15th, 2011 at 01:00 AM.
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    Google does not filter sites by veracity of claims, only by the number of ingoing and outgoing links the site has (very generalized description) What comes up first is by no means accurate or factual, and often isn't.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalopin View Post
    Sounds like you're all for G.M. foods. I'll tell you what, google on this " Genetically Modified foods are found to be source of obesity, autism, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, allergies,...". AND, tell me what you find! More woo-woo sites? NOT!
    More unsupported allegations, and personally, I'm not one one side or the other on this issue; I just react REALLY bad to bad (or nonexistant) science, as you well know.
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    ALL the sites listed are totally respected! Maybe you should tell me what sites you see that are the woo-woo sites!
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    Kalopin, it's not that hard to evaluate credibility. There are a few cases of GM products going bad, but they were identified pretty early and compared to the hundreds of millions they've fed over the past 35 years, the problems have been few.

    Oh and lower the heated rhetoric.
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    Yea, there is so much information to choose from. I'm sure anyone could make just about any analysis. It's pretty hard to weed out the "misinformation", but I don't doubt that many of these reports are biased and should probably be discredited. Why isn't there some type of "watchdog' for these "watchdogs"?

    People tend to believe what they want and what will benefit them on a personal level, usually with no regards to others that may suffer. I suppose that can be taken in different ways.
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    Can you please identify a specific example of bad gm food.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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    With whom do you address that question, Paleoichneum? Lynn_Fox stated of a "few G.M. products going bad", and I'm not sure which ones were meant, All I'm sure of is that the G.M. corn was supposed to stay seperate from the normal corn and same with the canola, but the hybrid plants intermingled and now have changed practically the whole crop! I did state that it is my opinion that the G.M. corn tastes terrible. It is way too sweet, like someone poured sugar on it. Which is probably the reason for the problems with the obesity, all the extra high fructose corn syrup. There's one for your sweet tooth.
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    As I did not quote any posts higher in the thread, it is implicit that the comment is directed at the comment immediately preceding it.

    HFC is not a GM food, and not found naturally in plants, it is a end product of a long sequence of refining and processing.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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    There are a few cases of GM products going bad, but they were identified pretty early and compared to the hundreds of millions they've fed over the past 35 years, the problems have been few.
    The problems are mostly unknown, at present - not enough time has passed to evaluate even merely the health effects of such large scale food supply modifications by trial and error, and few if any adequate studies have been done on even small parts of the problem.

    The identification of near disaster in time to prevent it is not part of the GM corporate push protocol - we have been lucky. The original programs of the GM proponents have been at times curbed fortunately, but only as a consequence of political and public pressure on an unwilling group of researchers and their investors. A couple of serious errors have been caught at the last minute by outside observation (the Brazil nut modification of soybean protein expression, clear example) or simply not caused the harm possible. That is not a sign that we are safe.

    Challenger logic is ubiquitous in such fields of corporate profit.

    We now have 85% of the soybean crop in the US, and an unknown but fairly high proportion elsewhere, carrying a single, vulnerable, unstable, brand new and untested chunk of code of incompletely understood expression. Possibly no serious disease or disorder or bad side effect will ever turn up to take advantage, and its spread into the planetary landscape will likewise cause no problems - in which case we will have been lucky once again.
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    The problems are mostly unknown, at present
    Yes I'm sure lots of huge dangers are lurking after one of the largest sample sizes over 3 decades.

    If you have specific objections to how foods are tested than focus on them with some credible science or numbers. Your broad brush statements appear more like arguments from incredulity than objective opinion.
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    Definite varying degrees of statistics, studies and opinions, when you google statistics on Genetically Modified Foods.
    Last edited by Gilgamesh; December 15th, 2011 at 10:43 PM.
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    We continue, of course, in the narrow and carefully limited frame of direct effects on specifically human health, rather than the OP question of "good or bad" generally. That is because the GM apologists here wish to frame the issue thus, and control the terms of discussion.

    Within that frame, then:
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Yes I'm sure lots of huge dangers are lurking after one of the largest sample sizes over 3 decades.
    You talk as if that were not the common experience of mankind throughout the history of agriculture. What, think you, has created this sudden immunity to the ordinary consequences of ignorance and inexperience?

    btw: more like ten years, with maybe three or four actual examples. The techniques themselves are barely thirty years old, and the takeover of continental scale agriculture with a couple of varieties incorporating one or two basic chunks of code is very recent.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    If you have specific objections to how foods are tested than focus on them with some credible science or numbers.
    The number of GM crops with two full generations (mothers from childhood, then their children to adulthood) of widespread consumption experience in varying demographics is 0.

    The Brazil nut problem in soybeans was caught by chance, and only tested after the product had been distributed - they had to recall tons of the soybeans, take them back from the feed mills and retail outlets, while scrambling to get some testing done. The digestion problem with the GM sequestration of herbicides inside the plant was not even noticed until most of the US soybean crop had been converted. The very complex systems affected by GM coding and employment are not even fully described - much less understood well enough to predict the effects of such a radical and unprecedented new factor over multiple scales of time and space.

    And that's considering just the direct health effects - not the area of most concern.
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    Tell you what Ice. When your post get the content quality and links to credible scientific source sufficient to even start to back your extreme claims perhaps you'll be taken more seriously.

    Meanwhile those of scientific bent will continue to accept reports from the Acedemy of science that report multiple environmental and economic benefits from GM foods.
    "Many U.S. farmers who grow genetically engineered (GE) crops are realizing substantial economic and environmental benefits -- such as lower production costs, fewer pest problems, reduced use of pesticides, and better yields -- compared with conventional crops, says a new report from the National Research Council."
    National-Academies.org | Newsroom

    From the World Health organization:
    "GM foods currently available on the international market have passed risk assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved. Continuous use of risk assessments based on the Codex principles and, where appropriate, including post market monitoring, should form the basis for evaluating the safety of GM foods."
    WHO | 20 questions on genetically modified foods

    In a quote from another Academy of Sciences Report:
    "With transgenic methods, there is often more knowledge about the genes and gene products being transferred, but diverse traits and genes from unrelated organisms can be transferred so some specific products could have unique properties. Because both methods have the potential to produce organisms of high or low risk, the committee agrees that the properties of a genetically modified organism should be the focus of risk assessments, not the process by which it was produced."
    In other words you're barking up the wrong tree with your broad and ignorant general condemnation of GM crops, many of which you're probably already eating. (I know I do for breakfast). You're approach is the equivalent of rejecting selective breeding because pit bugs hurt more people than other dogs, even though their probably still more suitable pets than the wolves they all descended from.

    The nut allergen case could have been better handled, but in reality didn't introduce anything more than many other non-GM foods that aren't' even tested. That is was GM is all that made it noteworthy. That is was caught before hurting some folks with nut-allergies is a testament to the robustness of the system even if a bit later than we'd all like--recall of food products is a well rehearsed and familiar occurrence in modern nations--GM or not.

    Again, if there are specific shortfalls for specific crops or about testing bring those forward with some credible scientific sources because I'm sure we'd all love to read them. I don't doubt we can do better--that's pretty much better for all human endeavors.
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    Continuing with the Fox Frame of admitting only direct threats to human life into our discussion, despite the OP, because the GM apologists find that convenient:
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Tell you what Ice. When your post get the content quality and links to credible scientific source sufficient to even start to back your extreme claims perhaps you'll be taken more seriously.
    When you have been more specific about what you find wrong, or even doubtful, about the specific factual claims I have made, I will take your bullshit more seriously, and respond in kind. When you have stopped making ridiculous, bizarre, and completely unsupported assertions (posts 30, 27, 21, and on back for this entire thread) for which you have not and cannot provide the slightest scientific backing,

    for the very good reason that science does not support nonsense like I have quoted from you above,

    I will cease to impugn your honesty and integrity as well as your arguments and "information". How stupid am I supposed to assume you are?

    Until then, I regard my obviously true and simply factual statements, things easily observed by such devices as adding numbers and realizing (for example) that your claim of "hundreds of millions for thirty five years" is false as well as irrelevant, as unrebuked.

    This claim, for example,
    The number of GM crops with two full generations (mothers from childhood, then their children to adulthood) of widespread consumption experience in varying demographics is 0.
    is easily refuted if false - simply name a couple of GM crops that refute it. You can't, for the simple reason that there hasn't been enough time. You apparently wish to deflect attention from these perfectly simple, straightforward observations because you don't like the implications. That is poor ethics, at best.

    And concealing your deflections behind such as this:
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    In a quote from another Academy of Sciences Report:
    "With transgenic methods, there is often more knowledge about the genes and gene products being transferred, but diverse traits and genes from unrelated organisms can be transferred so some specific products could have unique properties. Because both methods have the potential to produce organisms of high or low risk, the committee agrees that the properties of a genetically modified organism should be the focus of risk assessments, not the process by which it was produced."
    while it mollifies my suspicions regarding your integrity (you don't seem to have noticed that the quote supports my postings here, not yours, so we reassess your competence and understanding and reduce our suspicions regarding your agenda and integrity), nevertheless continues your deflections of the issue.

    The technology is simply too new and manifoldly complex to have been time and experience tested as you claim, even if the appropriate efforts had been expended as they have not. You are asserting stuff that cannot possibly be true. Although it is not necessary, I have been providing specific examples directly refuting your claims of thorough testing and adequate experience. You respond thusly:
    The nut allergen case could have been better handled, but in reality didn't introduce anything more than many other non-GM foods that aren't' even tested. That is was GM is all that made it noteworthy.
    What incredible garbage. No food that contains nut allergens is "not even tested", and laws in the US require clear labeling of such dire threats to human health. Read any package in your local supermarket. The insertion of nut allergens into soy products, where the allergic person has no reason to suspect their presence and where in the normal course of events they would never be found, where they are not labeled and cannot be prudently avoided, is radically new and much different from anything found on the supermarket shelf or anywhere else on planet earth until now. Blind luck saved hundreds of lives, there.

    We are currently counting on blind luck to forestall serious harms from the inclusion of sequestered herbicides in human food, and BT toxins in human food, and whatever else the thugs at Monsanto choose to shotgun into human food and impose on entire continents of people, for corporate profit, at public risk and the expense of others.

    And these issues are central to the problems with GM techniques as currently employed. They are new, their proponents are demonstratedly irresponsible and obviously influenced by corporate profit, and it will be decades before we know what the consequences of these manipulations are.

    And this is so even if we continue to confine the discussion to the direct health risks, a framing imposed by the apologists for reasons obvious to anyone informed about the economic, political, and ecological issues surrounding this corporate venture into billions of dollars and world market control.
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    Your arguments are like those of other anti-GM people I have encountered. They are based on supposition and paranoia. When asked to report on actual harm from GM foods, you quote speculation. " Maybe glyphosate is sequestered by GM herbicide resistant crops and maybe it is released into the human gut in maybe sufficient amounts to maybe cause harm." Like your fellow anti-GM people, you fail to acknowledge that this type of crop has been eaten by over a billion people and no harm has ever been recorded.

    My earlier statement stands.

    No person has ever been shown to be harmed, even in the most trivial way, by the fact that their food was genetically modified.

    Until you can come up with proper scientific evidence to contradict this statement, you might as well stop posting on this topic.
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    Hi Mate, another question in your survey needs rethinking -
    With current environmental impacts making traditional crop production difficult and unyielding, would you say that GM food as an alternative is a good idea?

    How do you define traditional crop production? Do you mean non-GM breeding technologies, or simply letting bees, wind and birds carry out open pollination - which rarely occurs in modern farming nowadays. If you mean simply non-gm breeding technologies then your question is false because these non-GM technologies are just breeding tools just like transgenics that are equally as powerful and capable of solving various plant breeding problems, especially those linked to reducing envirnonmental impacts (eg nitrogen-use efficient crops) or circumventing environmetal stresses (eg salinity, drought, boron, frost, etc). Do some research on Marker-assisted selection, mutagenesis, embryo rescue and hybridisation breeding technologies. These are non-Gm (traditional or conventional) breeding technologies. Plant breeders will select the best tool for the job. Sometimes that might be one of the "conventional" technologies, sometimes a transgenic one. Either way you can't say enviromental impacts are making traditional crop production difficult and unyielding, because they are not - at least not in the context of the blanket statement you are making. Jasn, TechNyou, University of Melbourne, Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Your arguments are like those of other anti-GM people I have encountered. They are based on supposition and paranoia. When asked to report on actual harm from GM foods, you quote speculation.
    Apparently the position of the GM apologists is that we are not allowed to discuss, even - much less forestall - risk of any kind. Also, that matters we have not researched and know little about are therefore to be assumed harmless until proven otherwise, regardless of the obvious possibilities.

    That is their notion of "scientific" analysis of proposed major alterations in almost everyone's food supply.

    And this line of reasoning is in defense of corporate profits and market control.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Maybe glyphosate is sequestered by GM herbicide resistant crops
    That's for sure - it's the mechanism of resistance, the designed in feature, the way the desired protein complex derived from the shotgunned in genetic complex is supposed to work and does. That's what the engineers did on purpose, as planned.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    maybe it is released into the human gut in maybe sufficient amounts to maybe cause harm."
    . The release into the human gut is a recent discovery, not a speculation. The possibility that such release may do harm is of course speculation - nobody knows, yet. This whole field is new, and full of untested possibilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    No person has ever been shown to be harmed, even in the most trivial way, by the fact that their food was genetically modified.
    Dozens of small farmers in India have been driven to suicide by the economic structure of GM crop introduction. Dozens of organic farmers in the US have had their fields contaminated with unwanted genetics and their limited pesticide options undermined through inbred resistance cultivation. Markets for local produce have been destroyed all over Africa, in a pattern familiar from Haiti and similarly damaged places. The jury is still out on beekeeping effects. No one ever followed up on the fate of the allergy triggering soybeans that were not found in the recall - whether they killed anyone, or damaged anyone's health, is unknown. Whether the continual low level biochemical release of herbicides into the human gut is harmful or not is unknown, only recently considered - so of course no one has "shown" any harm from that - maybe we will be found to have been lucky once again.

    In the strictly direct health field, as preferred by the apologists, the kinds of harms possible from this stuff have yet to be explored - as we have less than a generation of experience so far, of course even what little research has been done remains incomplete. Ignorance is safety, we are to assume.
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    Can you provide reliable citation for the assertions ice?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleo
    Can you provide reliable citation for the assertions ice?
    Follow the links and references from this, Monsanto - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia , if you really need such "reliable citation" of common knowledge and straightforward observation.

    edit in: As of course GM apologists are not expected to actually investigate anything they find surprising, or provide relevant evidence for their various improbabilities and assertions, that is unfair. But listing all those links and references, just for Monsanto on Wiki alone, would be tedious. And following up on the ones that conflict would be several multipage posts.

    Here is a single selected and partial quote from a single selected link. It is from a Wiki description of the first peer reviewed and published research, in animal or human, into any medical effects from consumption of a GM modified food crop - begun in 1995.
    Rats were fed on raw and cooked genetically modified potatoes, using unmodified Desiree Red potatoes as controls. One of the controls consited of an unmodified Desiree Red potato spiked with the GNA snowdrop lectin.[4] Twelve feeding experiments were conducted, ten short-term (10 days) and two long-term (110 days).[9] Before the experiment Pusztai and his team say they expected there to be no differences between the rats fed modified potatoes when compared to rats fed the non-modified ones.[12][13] Their experiment however showed a statistically significant difference in the thickness of the stomach mucosa. The mucosa of rats fed raw or cooked potato modified with the GNA gene was thicker than that of rats fed the unmodified potato.[4] The crypt length in the jejunum was greater on rats fed the raw modified potato, although there was no statistical difference observed in the rats fed the cooked potato.[4] As these effects were not observed in rats fed the control potatoes spiked with GNA, Pusztai concluded that the differences were not due to the presence of GNA, but were a result of transformation procedure.[4][13] Stanley Ewen, who collaborated with Pusztai on the experiment, said that the use of the cauliflower mosaic virus as a promoter could be the likely cause of the changes observed.[14]


    Last edited by iceaura; December 19th, 2011 at 04:58 PM.
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  38. #37  
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    Why is it that everyone who questions your assertions immediately becomes an "apologist" for whatever you are arguing against?
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

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    Quote Originally Posted by paleo
    Why is it that everyone who questions your assertions immediately becomes an "apologist" for whatever you are arguing against?
    Got some evidence for that accusation?

    How about a relevant thread to put it in? Not this one, for sure. See the OP for the subject here - as amended by the usual suspects, to remove most major issues and allow Fox Framing with the minimal dignity of plausible deniability, of course.

    More usefully, you might ask how it is that my immediate pegging of you as disingenuous, in your request for links and sources, was so easy and so accurate. You have no interest in the factual or analytical basis for the case against current dispersion of current GM technology into agriculture worldwide - if you did, you would have actual questions, relevant comments, or honest requests for sources on aspects of interest to you.
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    On the rat study you own post shows it's not very credible.

    "The data was sent to six anonymous reviewers[6] and the resulting review was published in June.[30] It stated that Pusztai's experiments were poorly designed, contained uncertainties in the composition of diets, did not have a large enough number of rats, used incorrect statistical methods and lacked consistency within experiments. "

    So once again... lacking good support substantiating any high level of fear or concern for GM potatoes.

    And in the most comprehensive report of the affair by the Royal Society:

    "
    2 We found no convincing evidence of adverse effects from GM potatoes. Where the data seemed to show slight differences between rats fed predominantly on GM and on non-GM potatoes, the differences were uninterpretable because of the technical limitations of the experiments and the incorrect use of statistical tests.

    3 The work concerned one particular species of animal, when fed with one particular product modified by the insertion of one particular gene by one particular method. However skilfully the experiments were done, it would be unjustifiable to draw from them general conclusions about whether genetically modified foods are harmful to human beings or not. Each GM food must be assessed individually."

    http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~ls39/peer_review/ewen.pdf
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    If you have done proper research, you will know that Arpad Pusztai's research on transgenic potatoes was flawed from the outset. Here is a better description.
    Pusztai's Potatoes - Is 'Genetic Modification' the Culprit?

    I quote :

    "What these studies basically showed was that the transgenic potato lines were different from each other, as well as from the parental potatoes. A later study on transgenic potatoes came to the same conclusion (Down 2001). Here Pusztai jumped to the conclusion that these differences must be attributable to the fact that the plants were transgenic - and he went public with his conclusion. What he probably didn't know - because he was neither a plant breeder nor a plant biologist - was that the very process through which the plants are put during the introduction of the transgene - culturing through a callus stage and then regeneration of the plant - can cause marked changes in both the structure and expression of genes. The variation that arises as a result of passage through tissue culture is called "somaclonal variation" and is both a nuisance and a potent source of new materials for plant breeding. The variation is both genetic (single base changes, deletions, insertions, transpositions) and epigenetic - this means modifications that can affect expression of genes, but not their structure. For plant breeders, this means that new materials and new varieties derived using culturing techniques must be evaluated for both their growth and their food properties. This is particularly important for potato breeding, because potatoes produce toxic substances called glycoalkaloids (Kozukue 1999). Glycoalkaloids are normally present in potatoes, can contribute to inflammatory bowel disease, and are concentrated by frying potatoes (Patel 2002). So potato breeders must carefully monitor these compounds, irrespective of the means by which new potato varieties are generated.

    Unfortunately, Pusztai's analyses of the chemical composition of the transgenic lines were rather superficial. And his quick leap to the conclusion that the variation he observed was attributable to the fact that they were transgenic was simply unwarranted."
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    On the rat study you own post shows it's not very credible.
    True. And even if it were borne out, it would still be only a small, limited, and preliminary animal study.

    But it's one of the few we have to consider at all - the claim that this stuff has been tested thoroughly is simply and obviously false.

    As your quoted material makes very clear:
    Quote Originally Posted by royal society report
    However skilfully the experiments were done, it would be unjustifiable to draw from them general conclusions about whether genetically modified foods are harmful to human beings or not. Each GM food must be assessed individually."
    Those assessments have never been done.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If you have done proper research, you will know that Arpad Pusztai's research on transgenic potatoes was flawed from the outset.
    So? Let's see the unflawed research that contradicts it, the thorough investigation obviously indicated since long before 1995. We have this, instead:

    "What these studies basically showed was that the transgenic potato lines were different from each other, as well as from the parental potatoes. A later study on transgenic potatoes came to the same conclusion (Down 2001). Here Pusztai jumped to the conclusion that these differences must be attributable to the fact that the plants were transgenic - and he went public with his conclusion. What he probably didn't know - because he was neither a plant breeder nor a plant biologist - was that the very process through which the plants are put during the introduction of the transgene - culturing through a callus stage and then regeneration of the plant - can cause marked changes in both the structure and expression of genes.
    . Uh, did you forget that you were supposed to be reassuring us about GM safety - not introducing yet another potential and unmonitored source of harm from GM techniques?

    Unfortunately, Pusztai's analyses of the chemical composition of the transgenic lines were rather superficial. And his quick leap to the conclusion that the variation he observed was attributable to the fact that they were transgenic was simply unwarranted."
    . Unwarranted but not disproven. He did not prove what he thought he had - but no one has disproven his conclusions either.

    And of course that was just one food, one technique, one modification of one crop - all that complexity to be waded through for each new modification from Monsanto's engineering operations. No wonder they don't want to investigate this stuff adequately - it's a very big job.
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    Other than at least 345 peer-review papers on GM food in a simple search of "GM food risk"....no one is studying it
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Other than at least 345 peer-review papers on GM food in a simple search of "GM food risk"....no one is studying it
    Drop in the bucket, if every one of them were actually relevant. Very little of that is independent research into real world situations, capable (for instance) of separating out the effects of different overall diets and demographics, never mind the health effects of the consequent economic and political alterations of life (the somewhat lower yields common to GM crops, for example, might have health consequences in places). None of it has been multigenerational, for obvious as well as structural and buried reasons. And so forth.

    It's hard to overstate the complexity of the matter at hand, or the expense and trouble of acquiring even a rudimentary comprehension of it; the central issue is not even ignorance, which is pervasive and encompassing but so obvious as to be hardly a real issue, but hubris - the assumption that these people know what they are doing is what's going to kill a few million people with only a bit of bad luck.
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  45. #44  
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    Iceaura

    Stop reading crackpot web sites, and start looking at the science.

    The reality is very different to the paranoid fantasy.
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    I remember doing an assignment about G.M Salmon. Those kind of Salmon would have undergone artificial selection and selective breeding to produce phenotypes that are beneficial to us rather then themselves in terms of survival. If they were to escape and mix with other wild Salmon, they may produce offspring with phenotypes that are a selective disadvantage which can potentially harm the wild population and contaminate them with undesirable traits. And pretty much it gets out of control from there. Similarly with plants, there was a case where a farm with G.M crops contaminated a farm that grew fresh natural crops.

    My stance is kind of iffy on this subject. I see alot of potential in G.M food but it's a matter of weighing the risks with benefits.
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  47. #46  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Stop reading crackpot web sites, and start looking at the science.
    As far as I can tell, I'm the only one present who has ever looked at the science of this stuff.

    Are we going to be getting to the science, then, around here?

    So far, all I've seen is you guys saying startlingly ignorant and foolish things about genetic engineering, and calling other people names (without getting banned, I can't help but observe).

    If what we're going to discuss is a claim that the engineering of soybeans to contain and express hidden Brazil nut genetics is reasonable because Brazil nuts have "edible genes", or that genetic engineering is presumably OK because it has the "same effects" as traditional plant breeding familiar for thousands of years, or that all discussion of risk and threat no matter how dire and obvious is "speculation" until afterwards, or that a discussion of the "good or bad" of GM food must be confined to demonstrated and existing direct medical harms from personal consumption GM crops,

    one needs nothing beyond pop culture factoids to fully participate.
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  48. #47  
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    They may not be dangerous but they are not as juicy as nature produces without human intervention. Nature produces the highest nutritional value.
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    All I have ever asked for is good science.
    You respond with what you call "risk assessment" but I call wild speculation.

    Find the objections to GM foods that appear in reputable scientific publications, and which not been refuted by equally reputable scientists, and I will consider them.

    So far you have not been able to.

    To Barbi.

    That is an unproven, and pseudoreligious (ie taken on faith without evidence) idea. You need to be more specific and supply references to show it is so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Find the objections to GM foods that appear in reputable scientific publications, and which not been refuted by equally reputable scientists, and I will consider them.
    No, you won't. You can't.

    If you could, you would have done so on the basis of your own sources long ago, like this from a paragraph you thought highly enough of to quote in full
    the very process through which the plants are put during the introduction of the transgene - culturing through a callus stage and then regeneration of the plant - can cause marked changes in both the structure and expression of genes. The variation that arises as a result of passage through tissue culture is called "somaclonal variation" and is both a nuisance and a potent source of new materials for plant breeding


    That was something you posted in reassurance - as evidence that some bad effects of GM food recorded in lab research might have been due to a different aspect of the GM process than first attributed, so GM food was cleared of suspicion in the case.
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    food is food
    better to have than not
    be grateful to have food
    and not be food
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  52. #51  
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    If you could, you would have done so on the basis of your own sources long ago, like this from a paragraph you thought highly enough of to quote in full.
    Iceaura

    About the only real thing that quote shows is that GM causes change. That makes it sound as though you object to change?

    If there was no change, there would be no GM practised, and no plant breeding for that matter.

    When a crop plant is genetically modified, the people doing it are generating change. Much of your objections appear to boil down to the argument : "If there is change, it might be dangerous."

    Absolutely true. Humans have changed both their environment and their way of life, including type of food, since long before we actually evolved into Homo sapiens. Change is hazardous, but very worth while. And if change is hazardous, the refusal to accept change is even more so. Human success in this world is dependent on change. Without change, things will rapidly go downhill, and humanity will slide into disaster. Just think of global warming. If we do not change the way we do things, what will happen?
    Last edited by skeptic; December 28th, 2011 at 08:37 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    About the only real thing that quote shows is that GM causes change. That makes it sound as though you object to change?
    Got to be some distillation of that one could chisel on a tombstone.

    May we never face the scope of the changes possible at our end of a food supply chain owned and risked and genetically modified for profit by corporate "agriculture".
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  54. #53  
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    Ok, you respected cyber friends of mine on this forum.
    On this thread, did anyone read my thread, ' you are what you eat'?
    Recent studies on the food we eat conclude that short strands of micro
    RNA persist in the body, and influence our genes.
    These short, but important strands of micro RNA are plant dependant
    and are passed on to the animal that feeds on the plant, and by implication,
    passed on to whatever feeds on the animal.
    I do not have to explain to you any further the ramifications implied by the above.
    That would insult your logic and intellect
    Respect.
    nokton.
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    Hi. I am a first year university student from South Africa. We have been asked to voice our opinion on a topic that interests us, so the following is merely my opinion on the topic of GM food in the media. I recently attended a seminar featuring the topic of GMOs and both the positive and negative effects of them on public health as well as the local agricultural industries.

    The idea of GMOs in South Africa is still relatively new and does not feature in the media as often as it would in first world countries that are more health conscious and more developed in genetic modification. Since there have not been to many cases of GMOs in South Africa that have been addressed by the media, other than a few investigations by local independent media investigators involving a small variety of crops or livestock, the public opinion on GM food is still uncertain and weary. However, the few features of GM food in the media have mostly been negative.

    South Africa is a country that has an economy that depends on agriculture, with most of the poorer population being subsistence farmers. South Africa also depends heavily on the money brought in from exportation of crops and food. The perception that many (of those people who are aware of GM food) share is that GMOs threaten the existence of local farmers as they offer quicker production with a greater yield. Most people in a first world country would view this as a positive, but when your population is widely made up of local farmers, this poses the risk of eliminating the need for them. In this regard, the South African media portrays GM food in a negative manner.

    One local media station decided to focus on the effects of GM chickens and their food products on the health of the public. While the resulting growth in production size was positive, the side effects that could potentially effect the health of the public was shown in a negative manner. This added to the feeling that GM food was bad and the fact that the South African public did not want to eat GM food.

    In general, the perception of GM food has been influenced negatively by South African media. The topic is still new however and as South Africa's knowledge on the subject develops, the media portrayal of GM food may change. Until then however, we remain skeptical on the matter.
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  56. #55  
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    I'm for it. Can't wait to eat my first grown in a lab burger!
    Can vegans and vegetarians eat meat now that they aren't harming animals?
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