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Comment: Re:Shame this happened (Score 1) 136

by ChromeAeonium (#46792331) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

And one other thing I forgot to add:

Had they focused their modifications only on creating high yield and high nutrition crops

There is no single gene for yield. Yield is a factor of weather, soil fertility, moisture, biotic conditions like disease, pest and weed pressure, ect. You take away pest pressure, and you don't think yield won't go up? well, it kind of doesn't, not in developed countries anyway, where we were spraying pesticides to control pests. But in developed countries, things are very different. So, you really can't say they don't improve yield, or sustainability. Even the much maligned herbicide tolerant ones do.

Of course, higher nutrient crops don't fair any better than Monsanto's crops, perhaps they are hated even more, if the protesting is anything to go by. Which makes sense I guess...the claim that GMOs are all bad and there's no nuance whatsoever and therefore you should don't money to professional anti-GMO activists might look a bit silly when it is out saving even more lives. God forbid Greenpeace, Navdanya, OCA, and all those other greedy sociopaths put humanity before profit. Their actions have lead to more deaths than the anti-vaxxers.

Comment: Re:Shame this happened (Score 1) 136

by ChromeAeonium (#46792249) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

Creating the terminator gene is first to mind.

They didn't create the terminator gene, they bought the company (Delta & Pine Land Co.) that did. They then promised not to use it when people got angry about it, and have never commercialized it, although people are also angry that GE crops can cross pollinate with non-GE crops (like every other outcrossing plant species on the planet). They're damned if they do and damned if they don't.

The biggest gripe I have is their drive to produce pest- and herbicide-resistant crops

That's a bit complicated. I believe you have been mislead by the anti-GE propaganda because within the proper context that makes a lot more sense. That's exactly how breeding and crop improvement programs work. We bred for hessian fly resistant wheat, and the fly evolved. We bred for late blight resistant tomatoes, and the late blight evolved. The first herbicide resistant weeds emerged in the 70's. That was conventional breeding, not genetic engineering, and the exact same thing happened, but no one makes a big fuss because breeding is not controversial, so no one calls them super pests or super weeds or super diseases. You are describing a problem of agriculture, not one of genetic engineering. And what would you have rather had, more pesticide sprays? Ignoring the pests and hoping they go away? That argument is like pointing to anti-viral resistant strains of HIV and claiming we should just stop trying to treat HIV. There is no prefect answer here, not when dealing with biotic systems anyway. Maybe with nutrient acquisition or drought tolerance or cold hardiness traits, yeah, abiotic factors don't evolve, but biotic factors are complicated. The way the media has been dealing with this has been sensationalist, ham handed, and completely fails to give the proper context of the matter, so in a sense its no wonder people hate Monsanto and their GMOs. The best thing to do is to use a multi-pronged mode of attack, with multiple modes of action, and biological and cultural considerations, but unfortunately, between the over-bearing regulations hindering new genes being utilized and other issues such as some people not planting their refuge areas and ruining it for everyone, the ideal methods are not being used.

Every one of these is putting other farmers' crops at risk, because they're creating pesticide-resistant super-bugs and herbicide-resistant super-weeds.

That's anther misconception. they're not super at all, they are just resistant to one particular type of insecticidal protein or herbicide. If you don't use Bt crops or glyphosate, if you use Liberty Link crops for instance, there is little to no difference to you. The threat here is not that we're creating a race of super weeds and super pests (BS emotional terms by the way) but that we will lose the benefits GMOs have already provided. By the way, funny how the anti-GMO groups went straight from 'There's no benefits to GMOs!' to 'Ha! They are losing their benefits!' Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

Basically, yeah, people hate Monsanto for the reasons you gave, true, but those reasons actually are not very convincing. Unfortunately, there is a lot more rhetoric and baloney being put out there than actual fact and essential historical and scientific context.

Comment: Re:Mnsanto - hate unjustified? (Score 2) 136

by ChromeAeonium (#46792035) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

How the hell did that get modded informative, that's blatantly false.

They planted Roundup-resistant plants

'They' here being farmers, do you have any idea how supply chains work?

all over while saying "the resistance will never spread to other plants" without actually bothering to check whether that was the case, as if they had never heard of plasmids.

Yes, your degree from Google University means you know more than all the scientists at Monsanto. And what the hell do plasmids have to do with anything?

Roundup-resistant weeds with the Monsanto gene in them were found IN THE NEXT FIELD BELONGING TO A DIFFERENT LANDOWNER four months after the first crops were planted

Man, if horizontal gene transfer happened that easily we'd be living in a very different world, however, that didn't happen. This is evolution 101 here; apply a strong selective pressure over a large area upon a fast reproducing species and you produce genetic shifts. If you knew anything about agriculture (you clearly don't) you would know that the first examples of herbicide resistant weeds emerged in the 70's, decades before GMOs. This is a problem systematic of agriculture, not one of GMOs. As for the Roundup resistant weeds, their mode of resistance is well understood, with mutations such as amplification of the EPSP synthase enzyme, or blocking of glyphosate translocation, or modification of the glyphosate binding site responsible, but never once has there been a single instance of the weeds uptaking the crop's genes. I'll eat my hat if you can find me a single example of the C4 EPSPS gene (the gene used in RR crops) being integrated into a weed's genome. Come on, prove me wrong, I'd love to hear about it. If Monsanto is so evil, and the hate so justified, the evidence of what you say should be abundant, and it shouldn't be hard to shut me up.

Since then, Monsanto have lied repeatedly about the spread of resistance

And here's Monsanto talking about it., Two seconds on Google is all it would have taken to find that. That news is all over the ag world, no one is covering it up, its been a topic of discussion for a long time, and if you paid attention to ag news or watched ag TV programs like on RDF-TV then you'd know that.

I really wish people who knew nothing about agriculture would stop going around saying what's what when they wouldn't know guanine from glufosinate.

Comment: Re:Shame this happened (Score 1) 136

by ChromeAeonium (#46786353) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

For me, it's not the GE plants themselves but the misuse of artificial scarcity (aka "intellectual property) laws to monopolize them.

They're not monopolized though. That's not how patents work (that's like saying Sony has a monopoly on Playstations, it is kind of true, but a monopoly is controlling all of a thing, not all of a particular type of a thing), and anyway, don't like Monsanto, there's Syngenta, or Pioneer, or Bayer. A much more important problem is the over-regulation preventing publicly funded projects from being commercialized. Ending patents won't do much of benefit.

Comment: Re:Shame this happened (Score 3, Insightful) 136

by ChromeAeonium (#46786303) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

Yeah, fuck them for blocking important technological advances like insect resistant crops and lifesaving Golden Rice! And fuck them for suing farmers for unknowingly having their crops cross pollinated, even though that never actually happened. Oh wait...what are we angry about again? You know, before you start damning folks to hell (it wouldn't be the first time I've gotten that one), maybe you should check to see that you're not being lied to and emotionally manipulated by people out to advance their own social, political, and economic agendas.

And the fact that this bullshit is being exported through corrupt politicians to 3rd world countries where people starve every day.

Well, I agree with that, but I think we're talking about very different bullshits. I'm talking about the fact that, if the field of plant improvement had not been set back by 15 years by activists using Monsanto as a generic boogeyman, we'd be awash in all sorts of beneficial crop traits. Instead, publicly funded GE crops stopped with the extremely successful Rainbow papaya. Bangladesh is just now getting Bt eggplant, and its about time (and just wait, when it inevitability makes it to India, there's going to be a shitstorm among idiot activists who've never stepped food in either a farm or a lab). Golden Rice still has yet to be released. Something is very wrong here, and this time it isn't the big corporation.

Comment: Re:Shame this happened (Score 4, Interesting) 136

by ChromeAeonium (#46786191) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

Yep, seems to be about that way. I've got some blue tomato seed that has no patents on it (Dancing With Smurfs, actual name), and no one makes a fuss about it. I don't see what their point is here. I was about to mod you up but since I actually work with plant breeding think I'll give my own 2 cents instead.

The claim in TFA about being worried about no more germplasm is totally ridiculous. With my blue tomatoes I've got a bunch of heirloom varieties of things (Blue Jade sweet corn, Dragon Tongue bean, Red Kuri squash, Giant Prague celeriac, Star of David okra, and lots more) that can in no way be patented. They are there, and as long as people keep propagating them they'll always be there, free to use. Furthermore, the patents on plants do expire; Honeycrisp apples used to be pateneted, but they're not anymore (by the way, that patent brought in tons of money to the program that developed it, allowing them to develop some other pretty amazing varieties). And Monsanto (because everyone brings up Monsanto) is not an exception here; their first Roundup Ready soybean goes off patent in a few months. That means this very year, farmers can, if they choose, save that variety and plant it for the 2015 crop. I really can't see the problem people have with these sorts of patents, isn't that how things are supposed to work? Develop, patent, recoup losses, then the invention falls to the public domain, and the profit is reinvested for new innovations (ex. SnowSweet apples and DroughtGard corn). Don't like patented plants? Fine, don't grow them, problem solved. And with the 'farmers sued for cross pollination' thing being a myth (no, accidental cross pollination is not the same as intentional selection any more than making a home movie is the same as recording a film in a theater and selling it), so I really don't get the Monsanto hate people are inevitably going to flame up with this. The vast majority of the reasons they are demonized for are nothing but lies, and yet somehow, Monsanto is still the bad guy here, not the weasels lying and being emotionally manipulative to make an extremely important technology look evil via guilt by proxy.

Additionally, I am envious of these guys if they have a program that has enough money to release things for free, although reading TFA it seems like they will be picking and choosing which is released for free and which is patented, indicating this is just a way to get some good publicity out of things that would otherwise be discarded. I work with a breeding project and you can bet whatever comes out of it will be patented, not because I'm out to get rich (we'd all go corporate if money was the prime concern) but because there is not enough funding for public agriculture research. You think we want to? We don't, but breeding programs need funding. That's a fact of life. Times are hard for funding, and sometimes it seems the only time the public stops long enough to pay attention is to demonize us for saying GMOs don't cause cancer, or autism, or whatever the hell the denialists and conspiracy theorists are prattling on about today. Maybe if everyone called up their local congresscritters and other politicians and demanded more funding for their land grant universities and public agriculture research that wouldn't be the case. Ever been to a corporate lab? Well I have, and it'd be great to have the equipment they can afford. But hey, go on attacking Monsanto and other private breeders for trying to support themselves (anyone think pluots just magically appeared? Someone spend a hell of a lot of time and effort developing those, nice to hear from the anti-plant patent crowd that they deserve to get screwed over for it), I'm sure hurting them will make all the actual problems magically disappear.

All that aside, its damned cool that they're working with quinoa breeding. It's about time we see a stronger focus on quinoa breeding. Now if only teff, amaranth, sorghum, millet, manoomin, fonio, chia, and Job's tears programs will follow...

Comment: I agree with this (Score 5, Insightful) 470

by ChromeAeonium (#46668803) Attached to: It's Time To Bring Pseudoscience Into the Science Classroom

A lot of the pseudo-science out there has, in a sense, adapted to having common knowledge applied. Take vaccines for example. A class might teach how they work, discuss the history of how they have stopped many diseases, but what is one to do when presented with the latest anti-vaccine goal-shifted argument, like the 'too many too soon' line? When you have people who will continuously invent new arguments as their basic premise is yet again demonstrated to be false, it is best to teach people the basics of pseudoscience along with science, so that the former can be spotted for what it is. The same applies for a slew of other common nonsenses, which could be used as case studies. I suspect giving clear case studies may be particularly beneficial. My personal anecdote, I was raised to believe in young earth creationism, and it was the realization that I was being expected to commit the same kinds of errors as homeopaths & other woo-woos that helped me to realize that what I had been taught was wrong in a great many ways.

Comment: Re:We Can Rebuild It (Score 1) 107

by ChromeAeonium (#46611303) Attached to: Synthetic Chromosomes Successfully Integrated Into Brewer's Yeast

They inserted a gene for a version of the EPSP synthase enzyme (the enzyme that produces aromatic amino acids, and the target of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round-Up) from Agrobacterium, as well as a gene from petunia that moves the enzyme to the chloroplast where it is needed. That way when you spray Round-Up, it binds to and deactivates the native plant version of EPSP synthase, but the bacterial one, which is different at the binding site of the glyphosate, still functions, thus creating an herbicide tolerant plant.

Comment: Re:The screams will be forthcoming soon.... (Score 0) 107

but what I do care about is the profiteering of it

That would be a reasonable criticism, if it were at all true that Monsanto goes around suing people willy-nilly. They don't. That's a myth fabricated by the anti-GMO movement to discredit genetic engineering via guilt by association. There is not a single case, not one, of Monsanto suing a farmer for being cross pollinated. Every single time, they knew damned well that they were violating the law. What you are doing would be like looking at a guy selling bootleg copies of Frozen and declaring that Disney made home videos illegal. It is dishonest and false.

Monsanto has achieved a monopoly status

Monopoly? Tell that to Syngenta, Dow, and Pioneer. This does not look like a monopoly to me.

by using the legal system to patent their modifications

They patent plants, so what? Breeders (aka the people ensuring you have an abundant and tasty food supply, you're welcome) been doing for decades. You know those nice, sweet, HoneyCrisp apples that everyone loves? Thank plant patents for supporting the program that developed it.

Monsanto's exploitation of nature to achieve a monopoly is so bad that some countries have completely banned Monsanto and its products

You're not even trying to avoid the ad populum there are you. More countries have laws against homosexuality than genetic engineering, but that doesn't make it right. By the way, they have laws against genetic engineering, not Monsanto. If this is about one single company, why do you think a, for example, GMO papaya developed by the University of Hawai'i (aka not Monsanto) would be just as illegal as a Syngenta corn, while a non-GMO tomato by Monsanto would be legal...and somehow this is about the company? Nope, it is populism combined with fearmongering combined with trade protectionism, and no one cares if science gets thrown under the bus. Stop defending it. There's no defense for it.

Oh and I'll just throw it out there that Monsanto were the ones who developed and peddled Agent Orange to the U.S. Government as a cure all for jungle warfare back in the day.

Now you're just fishing for an emotional response, and you're wrong to boot. The government developed it. Companies such as Monsanto and Dow produced it (during the Cold War, I might add). They actually warned the government about impurities. The government didn't care. And even if you were right, it still doesn't matter. You might as well stop buying Ford cars because their founder was antisemitic or stop buying Volkswagen because of their Nazi ties. You're using what's called the genetic fallacy.

In short, you are wrong. Monsanto is not the bogeyman they are made out to be. They are only the target of so many false accusations because a giant shadow overlord buying off all the independent scientists and manipulating all the data is absolutely essential to maintain the anti-GMO conspiracy. If there were no Monsanto, it would be necessary for the anti-GMO movement to create it.

Comment: Re:Because... (Score 1) 794

by ChromeAeonium (#46374123) Attached to: Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

But I've got no love for any of the companies in that field, so I'm fine with hurting other GMO companies in addition to Monsanto.

That's silly. You're free to create a market demand so that you are the one paying for it though, but don't drag the rest of us into it.

Given that I don't really see an upside to GMO crops, I don't really see a need to reexamine what I've heard.

Considering the rate of adoption among farmers, maybe you should reconsider your take on that one. Reduced insecticide use, better weed management, no-till promotion, saving the Hawaiian papaya industry, and higher yield are all proven and well documented benefits.

Now you're just being obtuse.

The silliness of both situations was kind of the point. I know the difference between theory the scientific term and theory the common vernacular. You can be intentionally misleading with accurate terms, just like misuse of food labeling can be misleading even if accurate.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.