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Comment Re:Blame Lucas, not Lego (Score 1) 514

These accusations remind me of the blue curtains. They were bad. Stereotypes commonly have bad traits. Doesn't mean that a character having those bad traits is a racist caricature. For example, a stereotype of Jews is that they are greedy, but that does not mean that a greedy villain is supposed to be a Jewish character. That's just stupid.

Comment Re:Anything that screws monsanto (Score 1) 391

They are in it for the money

So? Every company on the planet is in it for the money. My pen was made by a for profit company. That doesn't mean the company is bad or that my pen doesn't write. If you want to be anti-capitalism go ahead by don't pass it off as science.

It fits with Monsanto's existing marketing strategies, which are based on monoculture

Monoculture in terms of varieties, field level, or species? If the first, simply false. You can buy plenty of varieties of seed from the various licensed dealers. If the second, efficiency will tend to gain support. If the third, hardly Monsanto's fault that the average person isn't buying teff or quinoa and therefore the demand and thus relative cultivation is low. You could just as easily blame John Deere for monoculture.

When Monsanto begins to support rebuilding depleted soils by increasing the number of worms per acre, then that company will truly be making progress in agricultural practice.

Done. Herbicide tolerance contributes to no-till agriculture which preserves soil quality. You are condemning Monsanto for something they are helping.

Comment Re:Anything that screws monsanto (Score 1) 391

It isn't sterile. It is hybrid. We've been using hybrid seed since the 1930's. You get heterosis, or hybrid vigor, the first year, then following that you have too much genetic instability to maintain the same yield levels, so farmers buy new seed. The seed isn't sterile, it is unstable as a consequence of crossing homozygious lines. A lot of the gains we've had in the past century are a direct result of hybrid seed. We would not be able to feed the world without it. In short, you've provided a great example of the 'evil' things Monsanto does that aren't really evil at all.

Comment Re:Anything that screws monsanto (Score 1) 391

Kind of. There, at the time, was no known natural resistance to papaya ringspot virus in the papaya population (we now know there may be some in the Vasconcellea genus, which is a genus related to the papaya genus Carica that can be used to produce an intergeneric hybrid). They could have varied the crop all they wanted and the same thing would have happened. Perhaps had they planted more of other fruit species as substitutes, like lychee, mangosteen, jackfruit, durian, rose apple, ect. (of course then you have to deal with consumer acceptance...if people want papaya they want papaya, not 'ohelo, star apple, white sapote, or salak), it may have slowed the virus, but you must understand that PRSV is pretty nasty, so even that might ultimately have been ineffective.

That's why a lot of people - including me - are eying genetic engineering suspiciously.

Would you have the same reservations about using conventional breeding to solve problems?

Comment Re:Anything that screws monsanto (Score 1) 391

We should of course be concerned about toxicity in any plant or food and certainly any biochemical effects such as hormone interference, carcinogenic qualities and nutritional value. These are concerns about any food regardless of its provenance.

The Lenape potato, which was a conventionally bred potato that had toxic levels of solanine, is a good example of why this is so.

Also, to the dude who modded every comment I've made here troll, I work in plant science so if you've got any actual questions about this stuff I can answer them.

Comment Re:Know what you eat (Score 0) 391

But, that doesn't mean people don't have aright to know what they eat.

Right to know what? It isn't so simple. I'd like to know what species of blueberry I'm eating (did you know there are several?), what bud sport of apple I'm eating (did you know many apples are somatic mutations?) and if my tomatoes have the Ph-3 gene or Ph-5 gene or whatever. Do I have the 'right to know' that? Or should the right to know only cover relevant features of food and leave the rest to the free market, as is currently done with, say, Halal and Kosher food? The problem with labels is that there is no justification to single out GE crops besides the manufactured controversy.

The current inability of shoppers in the US to know what foods are GMO means consumers have no choice.

If you are concerned, I can very quickly teach you how to detect GE crops. If you know this topic, it is quite easy. Anything with corn, soy, canola, cotton, summer squash, papaya, sugar beet, or alfalfa or things derived from them may contain GE crops unless they state otherwise (for example, if they are organic or have the Non-GMO Project certification). Ignorance is not inability.

It also leads to suspicion and support to the luddite part of the anti-GMO crowd.

This same crowd points to Eurpoean countries where GE crops are labeled and says 'Hey, they have to label them, they must be dangerous!' while saying 'Hey, these are unlabeled, why are they hiding them, they must be dangerous!' Labeling or not, GE crops are damned either way.

I think I can see where you are coming from with respect to using labels as part of education though. I'm not sure I agree that it is the right way to go however.

Comment Re:The greedy are not trustworthy (Score 0) 391

There's actually a long list of reasons why mandatory labels for foods containing GE crops are wrong (I don't feel like typing it out for the umpteenth time, but if you are interested, here is a good overview of why labeling should not be mandatory), but yeah, Monsanto ect are mostly concerned with people not buying products derived from their seed out of irrational fear. Dumb corporate bastards missed a great opportunity to educate people on plant science, crop genetics, and the benefits of biotechnology.

Comment Re:Anything that screws monsanto (Score 1, Troll) 391

If there is any corp that can be rightly described as pure evil far beyond what is necessary to just make a profit

They act like exagerated Saturday morning cartoon know, it's almost as if half the stories about them are completely made up by people trying to demonize the technology by giving it an evil corporate face then hitting the crops via guilt by association.

The other half you hear (polluting & dumping ect.) is probably true though.

Comment Re:Anything that screws monsanto (Score 2, Informative) 391

It seems to me that Monsanto crops are designed to sell more Monsanto chemicals

Monsanto sells four types of GE crop: Bt crops, Round-Up Ready crops, virus resistant crops (well, crop, only squash has this trait), and drought tolerant crops. Two of those four have nothing to do with chemical inputs, one reduces the need for insecticides, and the active ingredient of Round-Up is no longer patented so you can buy it from anyone.

For many years GMO researchers showed great results with new crops that had better qualities. But steadily those programs have disappeared

You're right that there are a lot of very promising GE plant out there that we don't use, but that isn't Monsanto's doing. The problem is that the regulatory burden is so great that only large companies like Monsanto can get their crops to market. Then, ironically, the anti-GMO people push for tighter regulations, which only secure the big companies from competition!

Monsanto is a schmuck company that preys on farmers, researchers and government in order to maintain it's monopoly.

Monopoly? I guess Syngenta, Bayer CropScience, BASF, Pioneer HiBred, Dow AgroSciences, ect. don't exist then? And has it ever occurred to you that farmers willingly choose Monsanto because they like their seed?

Comment Re:Anything that screws monsanto (Score 2, Informative) 391

GM crops are not going to help 'feed the world'.

In the 1990's, the Hawaiian papaya industry was crashing. Papaya ringspot virus was kicking ass. If you got it, you were pretty much screwed. you options were grow something else or kill off the infected plants and everything around them and pray for the best. Then along came the Rainbow papaya. It was genetically engineered to resist the virus, and it did just that. The industry was able to recover. Now, that's just a fruit for the market in developed countries, but what if that were a virus of cassava or banana, staple crops in developing countries? Can genetic engineering end world hunger? No, no single thing will do that. But you have to turn a real blind eye to a lot of facts to say that it can't and won't be part of the solution.

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