GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms usually referring to food)

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    _-Scarlett-_

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    GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms usually referring to food)

    Post by _-Scarlett-_ on Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:34 am

    I'm placing this here because I come about my opinion of GMOs based on my background in biology.  I'm stealing a rant I wrote a little while ago, and would like to get other's opinions.

    I'm throwing my neck out and am preparing to be attacked, however I can't stay silent on this issue any longer. GMOs are NOT inherently bad! I feel like they have become the evil du jour, just like vaccinations were in the past. I'm scared for our country when I see, very intelligent people, research things they don't understand and draw extreme conclusions. Unfortunately, even basic science cannot silence/reverse ignorance or media spin.
    We have been genetically modifying plants/animals for hundreds of years! Its basically the practice of selecting desirable traits and trying to positively select them for future generations. Your favorite rose, genetically modified to be that color. Your favorite puppy breed, genetically modified to have those traits.

    Now, I will admit, there have been some unintended consequences of genetically modifying food. We have developed super weeds, they can emit particles that are harmful to other organisms, pesticides are less effective (although I'm sure the "organic" groupies don't really care about this), and they could possibly have detrimental effects on humans. But this is in opposition of all the good they can do. They have the possibility of eliminating world hunger by designing more nutritious, more easily grown food!

    One thing that I think that bothers me the most, is that some people seem to think that the people behind the engineering of these foods, care nothing about people or the environment and only about the bucks they make. There's some super conspiracy to make the least nutritious, biggest waste of a crop to "trick" the world into giving them money. I say this is a bunch of hooey! Of course they do want to make money, frankly who doesn't? What we need to do is create checks and balances and work with these companies to proceed cautiously to try and prevent and problems and fix them as they come up.

    If you only get one thing from my rant, I hope you walk away with this thought, please don't run with the newest, most intelligent sounding conspiracy theory you hear. Try to do your research and getting the most unbiased information you can from all sides. Also, doctors and scientists can have agendas too, so please don't trust them blindly.

    Here are some articles for your consideration.
    http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-hard-look-at-3-myths-about-genetically-modified-crops (keep in mind that Nature magazine is one of the most respected journals in the Scientific community)
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    Musikaman

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    Re: GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms usually referring to food)

    Post by Musikaman on Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:19 am

    You're right on track. I think a large problem is that Monsanto has pissed off the world farming community as a whole. From a PR perspective, they have no chops.

    Mostly informed people won't have an outright problem with GMOs. There's simply so much fear mongering on the subject, from too may sides. Add in Monsanto's aggressive patent stance, lobbying against food labels and other such things, and Houston we have a problem.
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    aammondd

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    Re: GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms usually referring to food)

    Post by aammondd on Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:21 am

    I don't have a problem with GMO in theory I am concerned about the unintended consequences and disclosures about how the items are modified. Some of which are listed below.

    1 Issues like herbicide resistant strains allow for over use of otherwise toxic chemicals this isnt the GMO's fault but it is a legitimate concern.

    2 GMO's that makes plants effectively sterile do endanger the food supply to an extent.

    3 Use of certain genes may cause alergic reactions so modification without clear disclosure is a concern.

    Those are my only general concerns with GMO's Man has been genetically altering food for thousands of years. Selective breeding in animals controls the gene pool hybridization does it even more. The fact that we have new tools that allow for even finer manipulation is not a concern. Just like anything else there are good and bad people in the world and its not always easy to tell who your are dealing with. I tend to err on the side of caution especially when finding the truth often requires extensive learning and study and is easily hidden from public view. I personally don't bother to worry about it too much if you manage to kill off your market then you wont be in business very long.
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    Gregoriouse The Great
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    Re: GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms usually referring to food)

    Post by Gregoriouse The Great on Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:51 pm

    aammondd, I believe you are referring to artificial selection. But yes its true that we are really just speeding up nature here. Ecology is a related issue. I've heard it is estimated that as a planet we can hold and feed 12 billion people-thats with GMOs, if we used relatively all available farm land. With our current use of GMOs considered, from my understanding, if we simply stopped using them, with organic alone we can manage 2/3 rds of or population... (I need to source dig). Point is, the other ethical issue is if GMOs are so terrible, what we simply can't have them because of people precious peace of mind... what do you tell the other 1/3rd who are going to have to starve (not to mention the people who are already starving in the world)?_-Scarlett-_ so far you just have people sticking their necks out with you. lol. And Musikaman your right. This really is more about politics than the reality of the situation.


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    Dinwar

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    Re: GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms usually referring to food)

    Post by Dinwar on Sat Sep 07, 2013 7:57 pm

    One potential difference between GMOs and other selection processes is that other selection processes yield viable offspring. They must--the definition of fitness requires it. Genetic engineering, on the other hand, doesn't necessarily have to do that.

    As for the healthfulness of GMO crops, it'll depend on the crop and how it's handled. Obviously if the genetic modification produces a poison, that'd be bad. Allowing for a more selective use of herbecide is a net gain, most likely (at least temporarily). I'm generally in favor of GMOs; however, I acknowledge that each case should be evaluated on its own merits. I don't mean this as a dismissal; as a scientist it's the only answer I can give. I know that not all genese are created equal, and that a lot of research is necessary to demonstrate the viability of any modification (the research is being done, I'm simply acknowledging the efforts of those researchers).

    The real issue is that the oposition is driven by the Organic ideology, not by the facts (to be clear, an ideology is not necessary wrong; only those that ignore facts are so wrong as to be dismissed out of hand). Nothing you, me, or anyone else says will sway them--they are enraptured by the image of a small Mom-and-Pop farm where everything is done by hand, and anything less is "POISONING OUR CHILDREN!!!!!" Which I find, frankly, disgusting. I grew up helping Grandpa out on his farm, where we did a lot by hand. He refused to butcher a hog the old-fashioned way, or to do some other stuff the way he grew up doing it. The reason? It SUCKS. It's bad for the people, it takes forever, the results aren't any better than the industrial processes, and frankly it's not any better for the livestock. Organic methods are great for a backyard garden, and some are viable on an industrial scale. I'd love to see polycultures become viable in agriculture (Grandpa always argued that they shouldn't dock him for having wild garlic in his wheat, they should sell it to people making garlic bread Very Happy ). But much of it is simply nonsense, including the irrational hatred of genetic modification.
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    Gregoriouse The Great
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    Re: GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms usually referring to food)

    Post by Gregoriouse The Great on Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:34 pm

    I agree. Some groups take that word ideology to an extreme though. They have a lot of nonsense ideas like the idea that "there going to mix animal cells in the vegetables" and things like that. Which is rather insane but, to just suppose that there was some "logic" to it, should we be able to grow a beef stalk, that certainty would put animal rights activists in their spot. I love the idea that they think animals should have equal rights as humans. I can't wait to see what the school system (right to an education... which lets be frank, means you HAVE to go to school. Not that you can just decide to), the prison system (live in prison for fluffy who was found mutilating a homeless mouse named hairy), and the military (gee maybe that wouldn't be such a bad idea).


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    _-Scarlett-_

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    Re: GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms usually referring to food)

    Post by _-Scarlett-_ on Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:34 am

    I love you guys Smile

    I keep hearing about how HORRIBLE GMOs are, I kinda want to punch them in the face (not really). I also somewhat had this reaction to the anti-vaccine movement. I have no problem with people not feeling comfortable with something, but please base your opinion on facts and not the feeling and emotional appeal of "Won't Someone Think of the Children!"

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    Re: GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms usually referring to food)

    Post by Dinwar on Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:55 pm

    _-Scarlett-_ wrote: I have no problem with people not feeling comfortable with something, but please base your opinion on facts and not the feeling and emotional appeal of "Won't Someone Think of the Children!"
    My thng is, I DO think of hte children. I know what childhood mortality was prior to vaccinations. My grandparents on my mother's side both had siblings die of diseases we've all but wiped out thanks to vaccinations.

    As far as GMOs go, I'm simply astounded at the "logic" the opponents use. For example: a guy I knew in college posted a thing on Facebook consisting of two ears of corn on squirrel feeders. One was "natural", one was "genetically modified". Both are in scare quotes because there was NO other information available. After (allegedly) several days, the "natural" one was almost gone while the "genetically modified" ear was mostly there. The guy blew up at me when I calmly pointed out the myriad of errors in the protocols. We both were in "Introduction to Critical Thinking"; I KNOW he knows the same techniques for analyzing arguments I do (we used to used them against each other constantly in school). But because the big, scary GMO boogyman reared its head, apparently logic no longer was applicable.

    That particular genetic modification (if indeed there WAS one, which I'm not certain of given the content of the post) may or may not be harmful, I don't know. Some are; not all natural compounds are healthy for us to eat, and not all genetic modifications work out the way we plan. But to completely discard logic is to abandon any pretense at presenting a rational argument. To reply to logic with "Poison your kids if you want, mine won't eat GMO foods" demonstrates that this is a matter of blind faith, not science.
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    aammondd

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    Re: GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms usually referring to food)

    Post by aammondd on Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:38 pm

    I tend to respond to people like that with "So I suppose you want to become your own non-GMO organic farmer then? What happens when your crop fails or is eaten by an insect the GMO variant is immune to? What are you going to eat then?" If they are that concerned about it they should be growing their own food (and see how often their children grow hungry as a result)

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    Re: GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms usually referring to food)

    Post by Dinwar on Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:42 pm

    Even if they don't, most people drastically under-estimate the toll such farming can take on a person. I've read that a recent study found that such a lifestyle is the equivalent of losing 12 IQ points (yeah, I know, IQ isn't accurate; but it gets the point across). I haven't read the actual study, so take that with a rather heafty dose of halite, but after doing some with my grandfather I can certainly understand it. You spend so much time worrying about the crops that you literally have no time for anything else. It's what you do from the instant you wake up to the instant you pass out, and then you do it all over again before sunrise.

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