Adoption of genetically engineered crops in the U.S.

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Plazma Inferno!, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Yes.
    Yes. The needs of the plant are not our needs.
     
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Needs have nothing to do with it - it's capacity that is at issue. Plants allocate their resources - all of them. If some are diverted to expressing engineered auxiliary code for new plant functions, they have to be subtracted from the allocation to other functions. There is no free lunch. A corn plant that's making its own Bt and devoting resources to sequestering and evicting herbicide from its leaves must reduce its allocation to reproduction, compared with an otherwise identical corn plant that has no such extra functions built in. There is no free lunch.

    (And try to find public research on the size of the hit - it's not easy.)

    And most people are not made wary of fruit juice by labels guaranteeing its presence. Quite the opposite. The manufacturers go to some trouble to highlight such label facts, because they know this.

    Like I said: the extraordinarily poor reasoning and arguments we get from GMO proponents - including the topflight researchers and spokesmen for the major deployers - is a significant indication of trouble. These are the people we depend on for care and diligence, and they are spouting childish nonsense and transparent falsehoods - that's not a good sign.
     
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    We can certainly tailor a plant to serve our functions, not it's own. Corn never needed such a large kernel. We bred it to be large and contain lots of carbohydrates and sugars.

    I find a label of 100% fruit juice disturbing. I never questioned that my juice was juice until they started stating what percentage of it was real.
     
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  7. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    That is just plain total nonsense. But don't worry: I won't ask you for a source for it, since I'm sure you just smoked some dope and made it up on the spot.
    Very bad example: fruit juice doesn't carry a negative stigma (that's why the Prop 65 example was better). And you know damn well that strong labeling proponents want the labels because of the negative stigma. Because they are anti-GMO. Arguments of "why not label - there's no harm in knowing?" are just flat-out lies. You know there is harm: you intend there to be harm and you support labeling because you want to do harm.

    Beyond that, something people don't discuss much is that the idea of GMO labeling, on a nuts-and-bolts scientific level (what should be labeled, what should the label say) just doesn't make any sense. Why? Because the GMO labeling idea doesn't actually have anything to do with genetic modification: it's an anti-corporate movement/tool. From a scientific perspective, one would have great difficulty justifying not putting a GMO label on basically everything we eat because essentially everything we eat is heavily genetically modified by humans....and, of course, why even have such a narrow focus, limiting it to human-caused genetic modification?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Correct. Which exists.
    That is quite true; there are food deserts out there where almost no fresh produce is available, much less GMO-free produce. GMO's mean cheaper food, so if you are bottom 10% you may not have much of a choice.
    Actually we've only had modern hybridized food for a few thousand years. (You would probably find the maize from even 2000 years ago indeible.)
    [quotIf I engineered apple seed cyanide precursors and potato skin glycoalkaloids into farmed salmon embryos to reduce predation, would you feed the grown fish to your children based on a 60 day rat feeding study of the first batch?[/quote]
    Probably not. But after 3 years, probably.
    Uh . . . . OK. You do that.
    OK. Then don't buy anything if it's not labeled as GMO-free.
     
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    That is complete nonsense. Plants do no such thing. They follow basic laws of physics, chemistry and biology.
    Also silly. Simple example - if a change to a genome results in less fruit growth, that results in MORE resources for other functions.
    And GMO opponents often seem completely ignorant of basic biology. Not a good group to rely on for marching orders.
     
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Three years of what? No monitoring, no epidemiology, etc?
    Not yet - we just recently got a law that prescribes a sort of half-assed yes/no attempt, but even that only works it you own a high end phone.
    Yes, they do. This is basic, introductory level biology.
    http://jxb.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/01/30/jxb.err442.full
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03952.x/full
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3827556/
    http://journal.frontiersin.org/rese...cation-for-optimal-performance-and-adaptation
    Of course plants allocate their resources according to the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology. So does every other living being on this planet.
    You seem to have misread my sentence. Your example is one of resources diverted from expressing engineered inherent code for old plant functions. Note the difference in resource cost between a new, added function, and an old, subtracted function. The one requires new resource to be delivered, which have to come from somewhere, the other frees resources from old delivery streams, which can (and normally will) be allocated elsewhere.

    Note the irrelevance of your example to any currently marketed GMO - they all feature new functionality added to all the old ones.

    Note, also, that your example is not reliable: it's quite possible that such a change in the expression would be brought about by targeted engineered inefficiencies, and the resources involved simply wasted (say, in increased nighttime respiration, heat shock in the bud, or the like). In that case, there would be no extra resources available for other functions.

    Let me mention again how disturbing it is to find GMO proponents - even quite high level, fancy degreed, professionals in the field - dealing out this kind of basic confusion to the public. There's something really wrong with the marketing of GMOs. It's heedless and reckless and dishonest.
    They aren't the ones deploying the new thing. They have no responsibility to know what's going on, biologically - especially if their objection is to the politics or economics or agricultural practices or simply being lied to by obvious shills for corporate interests. You don't need to know the biology to recognize the risks in third world farmers having to borrow money every year to buy seed, and depending on a foreign multinational to provide it, for example.
    Nobody does. Unlike the experts from agribusiness who lie to us - people do rely on them for marching orders.

    Which brings us to this level of pure cynicism:
    That is the response to seeing 3/4 of the American food supply turned over to a couple of GMs in a half dozen GMOs under the control of a handful of corporations ? In 1965 it would have been "OK. Then don't buy gas unless it's lead-free".
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The basic biological ignorance of those persuaded by GMO proponents is one of their most obvious characteristics.
    That's why it's a good example. We had some poster trying to claim that labeling itself created a stigma.
    Because they want everyone to be able to avoid GMOs, and they want accountability for their bad effects if any, yes.
    I want to be able to avoid buying some GMOs, sometimes, for several reasons, and I want to know what's in my food and other agricultural products that I exchange my hard-earned money for. What "harm" are you talking about?
    The basic biological ignorance of those persuaded by GMO proponents is one of their most obvious characteristics. They get lied to so easily.

    That particular dishonesty is one of the more common ones - I've seen it coming from actual scientists, industry experts, all manner of people who should - and I believe do - know better.
     
  12. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    On another note:
    I once held stock in a company that had(among other assets) a herd of transgenic goats. That particular GMO seemed a pretty good idea at the time.
    "GMO" is a very broad topic.
     
  13. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    Says the crackpot who is on the wrong side of the issue from basically the entire scientific, farming and regulatory communities. Anti-GMO is as despicable as anti-vaccine crackpottery. It kills people over what is basically anti-government/corporate paranoia.
    Right: "accountability" for bad effects that don't exist, but you want to imply (or flat-out lie) do.
    At some point, you may become mature enough that you start realizing that people who spend lifetimes studying an issue aren't idiots or fools or liars. They are - gasp - actual experts.
     
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    You don't know what "side" I'm on, apparently.
    Two of the major risks being run by the corporate profit driven, careless, dangerous, and corrupt current deployment of a couple of borderline GMs in a handful of major crops, are
    1) what will happen to this most valuable and promising of fields and its public image/dealings if things do go badly sideways on Monsanto or Syngenta or one of 'em - as they very well may with this kind of management (look at the miserable situation we ended up with vis a vis nuclear power, mostly because the experts in charge deployed the stuff carelessly all over the planet and then lied about it when it blew up in their faces).
    2) What will happen to this most valuable and promising of fields if it remains dominated by the increasing success and achievements of large corporations attempting to maximize profit. If the current deployment never crashes, never goes bad, never has bad luck or gets blindsided by what it refused to see coming, and continues to divert the efforts and resources available almost entirely to corporate goals and shareholder profits, that would be a tragedy.
    Some of the obvious and predicted bad effects, the ones we knew how and why to look for in advance, have been well documented: the rapid increase in resistance to Bt and glyphosate among target organisms, for example, or the abetting of imprudent large scale deployment of neonicotinoid seed coatings that invariably accompanies the farming methods adapted to the currently marketed GMOs, or a little of the economic and political effects in places vulnerable to foreign corporate domination of local politics (the rise in food insecurity and credit dependency accompanying the introduction of GMO crops in some places, say).

    There has been no accountability for any of that - when faced with the recent necessity of replacing or augmenting glyphosate resistance GMs in my area, for example, due to the rapid development of resistant weeds, Monsanto faced no penalty or even serious public criticism for the damage it had done to the effectiveness of that formerly very useful, cheap, and comparatively benign herbicide. That was predicted, defined, and soon to be costly harm done to identifiable people - Monsanto will never have to pay a nickel for it. In fact, they tried to sneak in approval for their GM fix - a completely new and un-researched GM for resistance to 2, 4-D they had stacked on the glyphosate resistance - under the cover of the earlier and imprudent approval for glyphosate resistance, as if GMOs were interchangeable and approval of one was approval of any and all.

    The larger issue is the scale of the risks undertaken (medical, economic, political, ecological, even agricultural) and the lack of monitoring, prudent management, or even acknowledgment of them - at least some of which appears to be intentional. That is easily visible - the legal forbidding of identification labels merely the most flagrant manifestation. People don't walk into a bank wearing masks by accident.
    I am well aware of the existence of expertise. It's worse, not better, if it's an expert claiming that "- From a scientific perspective, one would have great difficulty justifying not putting a GMO label on basically everything we eat because essentially everything we eat is heavily genetically modified by humans.. ". The only excuse for such an ugly attempt at deception, such a blatant ploy to conceal what is going on, is ignorance.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
  15. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Well, that's not true at all. If you want to shun GMO's for you and your family, fine with me. Eat whatever you like. But if you want to shun vaccines for you and your family, you are putting the rest of the US at risk for epidemics - and that's not OK.
     
    coffeetablescience likes this.
  16. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    Well, "which is worse?" is largely a matter of opinion, but for me personally, whether something has the potential to harm me personally as opposed to just harming others isn't part of my calculus. I believe all innocent peoples' lives are equally valuable.

    Sure - people can eat what they like. There isn't much harm to innocent 3rd parties in that choice (only minor economic harm). But anti-GMO activism is a different animal entirely.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  17. coffeetablescience Registered Member

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    Spidergoat,

    Haven't we been able to cultivate our crops for centuries before GMOs came in and continue to do so in a large parts of the globe even today?
    I am not anti GMO but it is still work in progress and we can't keep botching up everytime we produce a new variant of the crop.

    Selective breeding has been around for the same time as agriculture and it never had labelling issues. We need to change our methods of GMO rather than giving them one or two properties for the moment and protecting them with a wall of non GMO crop from all sides.
     
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Wow, we live in very different worlds then.

    My life is mine - I can choose what risks to take with it. If I want to get drunk and drive at 90mph on my own closed track, I should have the right to do that (and in fact I do.) Stupid? You bet - but so is drinking to begin with.

    I do not have the right to risk other people's lives. If I want to get drunk and drive at 90mph on a freeway at rush hour, then I'm being irresponsible - and will likely go to jail for it. Because then I am risking OTHER people's lives, not just my own.

    But that's just me. If you feel you should not have the right to take risks with your own life, or you feel that other's lives should not be protected, then we just have very different moralities.
    As long as it's just activism, I have no problem with it. People can say whatever they like. (They're mostly wrong, but that's the nature of any democracy - some groups are going to be in the wrong.)
     
  19. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    We have been genetically modifying organisms since the beginning. Current GMOs aren't different.

    When did we ever botch it up?

    I don't know what that means.
     
  20. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Looking into the Bayer/Monsanto deal, I came upon: http://www.wsj.com/articles/behind-the-monsanto-deal-doubts-about-the-gmo-revolution-1473880429

    Biotech farming has also shown limitations, given how certain weeds are evolving to resist sprays, forcing farmers to fork out for a broader array of chemicals. Some are starting to seek out old-fashioned seed, citing diminished returns from biotech bells and whistles.

    “The price we are paying for biotech seed now, we’re not able to capture the returns,” said Ohio farmer Joe Logan. This spring, Mr. Logan loaded up his planter with soybean seeds costing $85 a bag, nearly five times what he paid two decades ago. Next spring, he says, he plans to sow many of his corn and soybean fields with non-biotech seeds to save money.
     
  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    They are quite different. However, different does not mean bad.
     
  22. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    It's a somewhat different method of creating genetic variants, but it's still just changes in the genes.
     
  23. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Cancer is just "changes in the genes." Still, cancer is different from hybridization as well.
     

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