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Comment Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (Score 1) 283

Some things, like trans fats, are just bad for you. Others, like sugar and fats, are fine in moderate amounts, but we have evolved to really like them, and find them really nice to eat, so naturally now that we as a species are able to get a lot, we tend to overdo it. This over consumption of course is bad for you (but it tastes good). I love soda and greasy burgers and fried everything, but the fact is, they tend to have a lot more sugar/fat than you should be getting. And not everything that tastes good is said to be bad; fruits taste good, and there's plenty of healthy vegetable based things you can make if you learn to cook them. Might want to get a less loony doctor too.

Also, there is no such thing as western medicine.

Comment Re:But will it stop the lawsuits? (Score 1) 368

GM foods are mainly litigation tools to further the market dominance of corporate controlled food stocks.

That's moronic. Genetic engineering is a way of plant improvement, just like any other plant improvement method. If companies producing these seeds weren't providing a better seed, then they wouldn't have so much of the market share.

Even if insects/bacteria begin affecting them, I doubt Monsanto will stop suing family farms out of existence, and that's the worse than insects.

Yes, because obviously the best way to make money is to destroy your customers. That's why restaurant supply companies are trying to get rid of all the family run restaurants that make up their biggest customers./sarcasm

If you think patents and copyrights are absurd now, wait until there are only two or three companies growing the entire world's food supply.

Monsanto doesn't grow food, the produce seed. There's a big difference. If you don't know that, you probably aren't too well informed on this issue.

Support your local farms if you are lucky enough to have some.

What makes you think your local farmers don't use GE seed? Mine do.

The GM food thing needs to stop.

What? Even if we accept that Monsanto is evil, ect, what does that have to do with the science of genetic engineering? It'd be like saying Merck is evil, therefore you shouldn't get vaccinated.

Now there's a reputable source.

Comment Re:Not the only GM problem (Score 1) 368

Do you realize how stupid of a term that is? They are resistant to one type of herbicide, not 'superweeds,' and if you don't use that they of herbicide are of no affect to you. That's just a made up bullshit word to scare people who don't know how many weeds have built up resistance to herbicides in the past and don't understand that it is over reliance on a single herbicide (not the fact that the resistance in the crop to the herbicide is conferred via genetic engieering) that produces resistance to evolve in the weed population.

Comment Re:Thanks, Monsanto! (Score 1) 368

Yes. There is no single solution. Insects and pathogens evolve resistance to sprays and to genes. This has been happening since evolution began, and will continue to happen. The problem isn't any one technique, it is an over reliance on any one technique, and that we need ever improving integrated pest management practices that incorporate a wider range of defenses.using differing modes of action.

That's what drives me up the wall with all these people here and all over the internet thinking this is more 'proof' that genetic engineering is somehow bad. It has nothing to do with the plant being GE or not. Look at wheat and hessian flies. No genetic engineering there, but the pests still built up a resistance to the wheat's defense. There's a reason breeders are still breeding insect resistant varieties of various crops. Pests and pathogens developed resistance to the last generations. The Red Queen's Race is run in agriculture too, just faster.

Comment Re:Jeff Goldblum (Score 1) 368

Laugh at me, one and all. But it is within reason that these monocultures may put mankind's survival at stake one day.

No argument there but

Monocultures are so WONDERFUL - for the people who are extorting money out of that one culture!

And anyone and anything that is benefiting from the economies of scale. Don't get me wrong, I like biodiversity and polyculture, but lets not think this is a black & white issue. By and large, at least with current techniques, it is going to be the monoculture that is more efficient. This is good for both people and the environment. Given their problems they should be on the way out, but not without developing practices that can get the same yield out of different practices. A good rotation helps too. And it would be nice if more varied crops were grown on a large scale too (quinoa, sorghum, teff, ect).

Comment Re:Jeff Goldblum (Score 1) 368

Many if not most GM plants are rendered sterile so that you are forced to purchase new seeds from year to year,

Wrong. I don't know if you're confusing GE with terminator traits or hybrids. Terminator seeds are a type of GE seed to prevent cross pollinated seed from escaping. That way, the people who don't want GE traits wouldn't get them, the companies would lose control over them, and everybody's happy. Too bad the anti-GMO movement is bonkers and want apeshit at the thought.

You might be thinking about hybrid seed though. All commercially available GE seed is first generation hybrid seed (they don't need to be mutually inclusive, but commercially they are). The first generation of hybrid seed is good, the second, not so much. The seed isn't sterile, it just isn't very good. Also, farmers have to sign contracts before buying the seed saying they won't replant the seed without paying additional fees. These three thing create the popular, but false, notion that GE seeds are sterile, but really, think about it. How does inserting an insert resistance gene make something unable to reproduce, and if they were sterile, would there be any fuss about them escaping? Amazing that some people like to say they spread everywhere, AND they're sterile.

Comment Re:Wow. so we were eating a corn with a pesticide (Score 1) 368

If you really believed that, you wouldn't eat any crop that you didn't co-evolve with, because there's a lot more . I assume you don't eat New World/European/Asian (minus whichever continent you ancestry traces back to) crops. Also, we've been consuming cry proteins for some time as they have been used before GE crops, and all plants have a form of the gene that confers resistance to glyphosate anyway, the one that gives resistance to glufosinate is just an enzyme (you eat tons of those every day with no ill effects), and virus resistance crops have less of the new protein than a non-GE version (because the protein comes form the virus itself, so the non-resistant one has orders of magnitude more of the stuff). Your argument, though common and popular, holds no water.

Comment Re:Not Monsanto's only large GMO problem (Score 1) 368

You mean Dr. Don 'No you can't see my data but you should totally believe my wacky claims' Huber? Wow. Has he released has data yet? Didn't think so. Why should I believe anyone who hides their data?

This is because most country's will not allow GMO's to be planted in their country due to their lack of long-term testing of effects on humans.

So its just a coincidence that they can't compete against countries like the US, Canada, and Brazil in terms of large agronomic crops and want to protect their own industries without breaking WTO laws? That has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics. Ask any European plant biologist about GE crops. They'll say the same things American ones do.

We want to see what it does to your children's children before we'll even consider it

So, you can't find any differences between the Ge and non-GE plants (besides the epsps or cry1ab or bar or CMV coat ect) but you expect there to be some long term effect, though strangely breeding, hybridization, mutagenesis, ect is exempt from this? That's what we call magical thinking.

Comment Re:Genetically modified crops Bye bye to taste (Score 1) 571

You should know that there are no genetically engineered tomatoes or potatoes on the market. There were (the Flavr Savr tomato and NewLeaf potato), but their sale has been discontinued. Only about 10% of the sweet corn is GE at the moment (in the US anyway, not sure about other Canada, which judging by your sig I assume that's where you're from), and the problem you're having with corn sounds like a freshness one. Sweet corn starts to eat through its sugar the moment its picked. I don't know if they do this in Canada, but here in the northeastern US farmers sell sweet corn out of the back of pick-up trucks along roads. That's always a good bet for good sweet corn (you can tell if one is non-GE by the big worms you occasionally find inside the ear). I don't know what you mean about the potatoes. Try another market maybe?

As for tomatoes, they have been bred (not genetically engineered, so whether you realize it or not your comment is going against conventional breeding, not genetic engineering) for shipability, not flavor, and that is the reason for the taste of some tomatoes. Also, they're picked before they're ripe and gassed with ethylene (one of the main plant hormones, responsible for among other things fruit ripening) to ripen up some of the way post harvest. The reason is pretty obvious; a bland tomato is better than a rotten one. It isn't an easy task to use conventional breeding to select for multiple traits, and consumers buy with their eyes, they want bright red perfect round uniformity with no blemishes all year round, and that got us to where we are today. Taste wasn't sacrificed for yield so much as for the ability for them to be sent all over the place, including places where they would be out of season. I grow a few heirloom tomatoes myself (the fancy ones, I've got yellow and white and purple and striped and green ones), and I know how long they last after being picked. Not very long. They'll rot right on the vine if you're not careful. They taste pretty good, but when it comes down to would you rather have a bland tomato or rotten mush? If you're not buying local (which is always a good idea anyway, but something that far too few people do nowadays) then realistically those are your choices.

If anything, this is a reason to embrace genetic engineering. Take a good tomato like Kellogg's Breakfast (a medium sized orange one, my favorite tomato which I highly recommend anyone with a yard to find buy seed and grow this tomato), and use GE to silence the glycosyl hydrolase gene responsible for breaking down the cell walls in the tomato...maybe you would have one that works in the modern food chain, AND retains the tomato flavor. Something to think about. Genetic engineering is a tool, and like any tool there are some things it can't do, at least not very well. Flavor is the result of many chemicals from many pathways from many genes. Genetic engineering can stick in a few genes that do a few specific things, but flavor? Nope, too complicated, genetic engineering really can't do it, not right now anyway, that is, not until we have a better understanding of the genome and metabolome. As it stands only other tools like breeding can truly affect flavor (well, GE could mess with it to some degree in certain cases, but that's not what any of the genes currently inserted into food crops do anyway). So what you're saying really doesn't make sense, and really, it highlights one of the biggest problems genetic engineering faces: misconceptions.

Comment Re:The "right" to bear arms is an Americanism (Score 1) 201

So if someone in your country wants to own something you disagree with, then its okay for you to prevent them from owning it? Remind me, what's that called again?

It's a right that everyone has. Plenty of jackasses around the world say the same thing about other rights, weather it is free speech in China (free speech disrupts social harmony just like guns only kill) or Saudi Arabia (women driving opens them up to social corruption just like guns only kill) or even here in the US with prohibition (cannabis only makes people crazy just like guns only kill), or wherever else you care to look. You or your government's recognition of that right is irrelevant and any attempt to suppress that right is immoral. Deal with it

Comment Re:Safety (Score 1) 571

When you cross a cultivated potato with a wild potato, you can get a poisonous potato (like the Lenape). Why shouldn't other plant improvement methods be labeled? And don't forget, if you're inserting a single gene, you know exactly what it does and its potential to be an allergen. As it stands, if you can show me any reason to think that the any of the currently used cry proteins, epsps protein, the bar enzyme, or the PRSV or CMV viral coat proteins (the major genes currently inserted into most GE crops) have any evidence whatsoever that a single person ever had an allergic reaction to them, well, I'd be really surprised.

Comment Re:Stuff to think about (Score 1) 571

Actually, that's not one. Huber claims, in a nutshell, that glyphosate is making a virus sized fungus that attacks both plants and animals. The evidence he presents to support his claim? Nothing. He talks a lot about some really incredible stuff, but when it comes time to prove it, he refuses to publish his data. Monsanto might as well say they give you superpowers. But, despite the fact that the guy gives nothing to back his claims, his story is still bouncing all over the internet.

Comment Re:ALL GM crops? Biggest Study EVAR? (Score 1) 571

It doesn't. If a headline said 'Study confirms safety of vaccines' you can take it to mean either A) the one writing the headline is saying that vaccines, in general, do not cause all the problems quacks claim they do and can be reasonably tested for safety or B) the person writing the headline thinks that any pathogen ground up and put into a syringe is safe. Apply the same logic here. Or to use an analogy, if someone says baking is safe, and there's an anti-baking movement claiming baking is the source of countless diseases, are you going to respond 'Well how do you know that every baked in the world is safe? Who paid for this study, Pillsbury?'

Independently funded by the way.

Comment Re:GMO Crops are OK? Whatever (Score 1) 571

Few people doubt that the current generation of GM foods are probably safe to eat and probably don't cause massive environmental harm.

Please tell that to pretty much every anti-GMO group in existence. No one is saying that there aren't social issues or potential unintended consequences. With every new technology, from fire to the printing press to the internet to genetic engineering has that potential. But make no mistake, the vast, vast majority of people out there who dislike GE crops claim that they are dangerous. Just look at the Slashdot discussion of the study claiming they caused organ abnormalities for proof of that, or simply Google the term GMO for plenty of people claiming that genetic engineering is, somehow, dangerous. You might be concerned with more science based concerns, but most people aren't.

As for the questions you pose,

- Can we rely on the integrity of the people who will test the next generation of crops and do we have sufficient controls in place to prevent biased testing

That is not exclusive to GE. Obviously, we need strong, yet not overly restrictive, regulation. AS it currently stands, I'd say this is a yes.

- Are the risks of GM food - however small they may be - borne by the people who profit from the technology? If not, how do we address this fundamental disconnect?

That's an interesting question, one I've never really thought about and don't really have an answer for. Assuming there is any risk, who is to say what the developers eat? Again, you could ask much the same about many things. The scientists I've talked to eat the same food as everyone else though.

- What are the long term risks of reducing genetic diversity amongst our food crops? Does it make us more vulnerable to unexpected, intercontinental crop failures or reduce our ability to cope with climate change?

Reducing crop diversity does this, but you bet the question here by assuming that what you grow is dependent on a particular technique for plant improvement. GE does not decrease crop biodiversity. If anything, it is conventional breeding that selected for or against the genes that left us with what is used today, not the insertion of a few transgenes. Biodiversity is extremely important, probably more important than genetic engineering, and it is pretty crazy how many neglected crop species there are out there (teff, sorghum, quinoa, amaranth, fonio, sago, ensete, oca, sunchoke, mashua, yacon, jicama, maca, screw pine, breadfruit, jujube, pawpaw, goumi, che, maypop, jabuticaba, acara boi, cupuaçu, ugni, quandong, zabala, naranjilla, cassabanana, yellowhorn, melinjo, chaya, salicornia, katuk, New Zealand spinach, Malabar spinach, corn salad, ect ad nauseum to name just a few) but it remains a separate issue, and genetic engineering is not impeeding these species in any way. What, I ask, would you call introducing new genes into what you grow? That's increasing biodiversity, and it is also what genetic engineering does. GE works on the same principle as increasing biodiversity does.

- What are the social, economic and geopolitical consequences of making third world farmers dependendend on multinational companies?

Nothing good, and you'll be hard pressed to find anyone say otherwise. Fortunately, that is not the only option. For projects like Golden Rice and BioCassava, among others, farmers would be able to save their seed (or cuttings in BioCassava's case)as they see fit. While those have yet yo be released, even Monsanto lets farmers in developing countries save their seed, IIRC, provided they make less than $10,000 a year.

- What are the social, economic and geopolitical consequences of the planet's primary food sources being subject to patent controls?

So far, not much. You also assume that all GE crops are under patent. This need not be true, although presently there are no open source GE crops on the market, and thanks to regulatory hurdles, that will not change for a very long time unfortunately (there is however the university produced Rainbow papaya which I hope will serve as a model for future university produced GE crops).

Comment Re:False Headline (Score 1) 571

Examples: "New Study on GM crop safety contradicts previous study on GM crop safety" or just "New study on GM crop safety".

Neither or those would have really described the situation well enough though. Saying that it contradicts a previous study doesn't say much, because most studies on GE crops do. Also, it was a pretty poor study, and I don't think there's anyone credible that actually cites it as evidence for GE crops being harmful. Saying that there's a new study, again, doesn't say much either, because there's tons of those and new ones come out periodically. Note that this study is on the bottom of that list, at number 115, and that's just the independently funded ones (its #343 on their list of total studies). What made this one noteworthy was that it looked at a number of long term and multigenerational studies, and (along with the rest of the evidence) confirms the general safety of genetic engineering, at least with respect to many of the fears out there.

Look at it this way. If a study looked at various 'controversies' in evolutionary biology, and ruled each of them in favor of evolution actually occurring, would a proper headline be 'New study on evolution contradicts previous creationism study,' "New study on evolution,'.or 'New study confirms evolution is a real phenomenon?' I'd go with choice 3.

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