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Forums > Social Discussion > Should the UK government allow Genetically modified potatoe trials?

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jenster
PLATINUM Member since Oct 2002

jenster

member
Location: where butterflies fly, United ...

Total posts: 57
Posted:A plant scienc company called BASF has applied to Defra (department of the environment, farming and rural affairs) in UK to grow genetically modified potatoes that are resistant to potato blight. If they get the go ahead they will be planting next spring.

I am totally against this as not enough testing has been done on genetically modified foods, not just potatoes, to prove they are 100% safe for human consumption. Big corporations such as Monsanto involved in genetically modified foods claim they are safe, yet have done so little testing. They silence researchers that find results that prove their genetically modified foods are unsafe and fire them and stop them from publishing their work.

There is also the contamination issue, where genetically modified crops pollinate natural varieties therefore cross breeding. This could potentially lead to the natural varieties being wiped out.

here are 2 links to read to find out more.

the ecologist magazine website

gardian newpaper website

(also read seeds of deception by jeffery smith - very enlightening book if you want a proper in depth look at this topic. i recommend this book highly)



what do you think??



eek


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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3289
Posted:I think you are going to get yelled at by the people who believe that scientists and the companies they work for know whats happening because they are clever.



I think you are going to be applauded by a bunch of well-meaning but under informed hippys.



I think its unlikely you will get many people entering the dicussion who have any in depth knowledge of the issues and behaviour of big corps in this industy - so it will probly decend into a slanging match with a very small amount of actual evidence used by either side in a short amount of time.



: climbs into the grandstand and grabs popcorn:



PS I think government has so far been so totally over-ridden by big corps that keeping gm out of agriculture isnt going to last long. There is soon going to be too many good excuses for them to use before long.



PPS I also recommended Seeds of Deception in a similar thread serveral years ago hug


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Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!

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jenster
PLATINUM Member since Oct 2002

jenster

member
Location: where butterflies fly, United ...

Total posts: 57
Posted:i agree with your first 2 comments on people objecting and applauding. I think the GM issue is one that needs to be highlighted a lot more than what it has been already. There are so many people who dont really have a clue about whats happening with our food and if nothing else, then i hope to raise more people's awareness on this issue.

Although from the UK, i am currently travelling accross Canada with my husband and i find i cannot trust the food here at all to be GM free. They are in the top 4 countries for growing genetically modified foods and there is no law that makes them label the foods which contain the GM ingredients. Personally i dont want to be eating GM food and i hope so much the UK and Europe doesn't follow suit from USA and Canada (plus a few others).

I did search past threads for genetically modified food but nothing came up so i didnt see your previous reccommendation of seeds of deception. Well now 2 of us have reccommended it so maybe others will give it a read.

weavesmiley


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Bek66


Bek66

Future Mrs Pogo
Location: The wrong place

Total posts: 4728
Posted:Ummm...Potato's don't have toes! biggrin

Sorry, raised by a teacher!


"Absence is to love what wind is to fire...it extinguishes the small, enkindles the great."
--Comte Debussy-Rebutin

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Jenster, I think they should allow testing, particularly in light of the background to this fungus that caused The Great Famine or the Great Hunger



IMO the pros out weight the cons. So I have some questions:



Do you know how what percentage of GM products the general population is already eating or wearing, and what are you afraid will happen if GM food is available?



What testing do think needs to be undertake to prove that they are 100% safe for human consumption?



Do you have any evidence of the following quote



 Written by:

They silence researchers that find results that prove their genetically modified foods are unsafe and fire them and stop them from publishing their work.





or is this just propaganda?



or popcorn for Pyro wink








EDITED_BY: Stone (1159325986)


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Birgit
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

Total posts: 4145
Posted:I'm one of the bad sciency types, so my opinion is that if it's for crops that for example grow on low-quality soil, or yield more nutrients, and thus reduce hunger in the world, go for it. There's also the so-called amylose-free (I think) potato, which I think was generated to produce natural polymers that can be used as alternative to some plastics and therefore oil.

So, just to give you a suggestion for the discussion, what would you rather have: A genetically-modified potato that could cut down our oil dependency (and exploitation thereof), or keep things as they are?

By the way, BASF are not a plant science company, they specialise in a wide variety of products like chemicals, techie stuff (cds etc), too.

I think it's funny of one of the websites to say that it would "only" reduce fungicide use from 1300 tons a year to about 170 and is therefore insignificant. I mean, come on, it may not reduce total pesticide use by that much, but just dismissing 1100 tons of fungicides like that would NOT have happened had someone introduced a product that uses "only" 1100 tons of fungicides a year more ubblol


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
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Owner of Dragosani's left half

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Twiggy


Twiggy

member
Location: Birmingham, UK

Total posts: 162
Posted:A poll might have helped
+1 Yes vote


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Birgit
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

Total posts: 4145
Posted:make that 2 Yes votes

Now that I have a little more time for replying:

Technically I would say that the risk of the gm population mixing with the wild-type population is higher than the risk of anything happening to humans.

Personally I don't think with potatoes that is a huge risk, since there isn't much of a wild population that would be affected, but only other breeding stock that has been cloned and bred for centuries to give the high yield it gives now. But I do acknowledge that this is just not much of a worry for me, and there are people that, for whatever reason, do not want to eat GM food.

Now the common worry with the GM food is that it might confer resistance to antibiotics to bacteria living in us. That is because the resistance to these antibiotics is the "reporter" used by scientists to make sure the potato cells they have been working with are modified, and the new genetic information is included.

One question that could be asked is, why do we need to use these markers and not others, that don't have to do with antibiotics? Or maybe for resistance against antibiotics that are not in use?

The other question is, what chance is there of those genes actually being transferred to bacteria? This is difficult to quantify. So far there is no evidence of that "transfer" happening, and I for myself would happily eat gm food.

Other than that, of course you'd have to test if resistance against viruses, bugs, draught etc will change the safety of the food for humans, but that is much easier to do.

I understand how this is quite scary, and people can feel distrustful. But then any "normal" crop we have now is the result of cloning, breeding and picking the "best" and most resistent genetic information, and aside from the reporter antibiotic resistance what happens to the plant is pretty much the same but much accelerated.


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

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JTSpinner
SILVER Member since Aug 2006

JTSpinner

Learnin About Burnin
Location: Michigan, USA

Total posts: 385
Posted:Since I live in the US, I will abstain from voting.

We have a large number of GM products being grown here in Michigan and many are "experimental" plantings by Monsanto. The largest problem encountered here has not been that people HERE will not eat them, but other countries will not accept any GM wheat, corn, beans, etc.. The problem of contaminating "natural" growings is addressed by placing spacing requirements on the GM products. They have to be a certain distance from any natural growing crops. They have found that the GM products have in effect caused "sterilization" of the naturally grown crops, preventing the growers from acquiring seed for future growing and development.

Just thought I would throw this out and see if there is any reaction to these thoughts.

Oh and as an after thought: I grow my own crops (tomatos, peppers, lettuce, cukes, green beans) in my greenhouse year round with hydroponics. I do not buy the "special" seeds that some of the companies sell for hydroponic growing, I start my new plants with seeds from what I grow. Controlled Enviornment Growing is the only way to go as far as I am concerned.


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_Clare_
BRONZE Member since Oct 2002

_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland (UK)

Total posts: 5967
Posted:Ohhh...

Potatoes should never be touched.

They are like faeries... see, this is a faery potato flying through a rainbow over Irish countryside.

This happens all the time here. You may have seen them if you were at the EJC.


Non-Https Image Link


The genetic modification of potatoes would make them evil... and that's not good.

Non-Https Image Link



Under-informed hippy? Me?! biggrin wink


Getting to the other side smile

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Birgit
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

Total posts: 4145
Posted: Written by: JTSpinner


They have found that the GM products have in effect caused "sterilization" of the naturally grown crops, preventing the growers from acquiring seed for future growing and development.




Makes sense smile

And at the same time means you don't have to worry too much about mutant-mixtures taking over the environment!


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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spinningstarlet
SILVER Member since Aug 2006

spinningstarlet

enthusiast
Location: Bradford *rolls eyes*, United ...

Total posts: 271
Posted:Kk, so at the moment i have yet to make a decision, but i have a question:

Why should we need them genetically modified? whats wrong with the way they are now? if it aint broke... and all that. I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong, i'm just curious....


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:inform yourself about GMF and food overproduction



Genetically Modified Food is not the problem. IMO the reckless usage and distribution of it is the problem.



GMF is not sufficiently tested (in both, environment and on the human organism) - "sufficiently tested" IMHO would mean a period of at least 100 years - AND it's not labelled.



To test GMF's impact on the environment, it has to be completely isolated - in a greenhouse for say. NOT out there. We are facing the problem that genetically modified crops have been tested outside and contaminated other crops already.



We do not need GMF to feed the world. There is enough food already - problem is the distribution of it. We throw away so much food already that it is ridiculous and we transport fruits and veggies all over the planet (Italian Kiwis in Australia eek ) today! We do not need strawberries to grow in Greenland and we do not need potatoes to grow in the desert, today.



Research is necessary - no objection - because some day we may have deserts everywhere (thanks to the denial of scientists who warned us from "Greenhouse-effect" for decades and the industry/ govt who financed counter studies)...



If humans were to be perfect, I would not object. But they have proven to miserably fail in favour of short term profits - even endangering the entire planets eco-system.



Maybe you have no clue, what is played with here: It's the basic genetic code of an organism. Nobody friggin exactly knows all about spontaneous mutation and how it occurs - otherwise creationism would not be so damn popular. I personally would be a little more careful when dealing with it...



Maybe one day your Pringles pop out the carton to munch on YOU...



Watch out wink

EDITED_BY: FireTom (1159365944)


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Birgit
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

Total posts: 4145
Posted:"To test GMF's impact on the environment, it has to be completely isolated"



This doesn't make much sense to me, how can you test something's impact on the environment without any interaction with the environment?



100 years is an unreasonable time to test a single plant. Nothing in the world is tested for that long before being used. And if there WAS a crop that could feed starving people better than what governments are doing now, would you want to be responsible for the lives lost in that time? Would you want to pay taxes for 100 years of research, for every single plant? How would you guarantee any systems would still be in place even 20 years after starting the testing? Even if I thought it was a good idea, political and geographical change as well as development of new methods would not allow one project to go on for that long. Unless it was about weapons maybe wink



I think it would be much better to have plants growing in the regions where food is missing and farming difficult than to have to bring food there.



Imagine plants being used in Africa that locusts wouldn't eat. How much financial ruin and starvation for local farmers that could save.



By the way, every breeding, cross-breeding etc, is messing with the genetic code. Usually, in cases where this goes wrong, the organism becomes sterile, like mules, or doesn't make it past the seed/embryo stage. There are many examples of organisms that have been "messed with" in a more modern way that function well, like GM mice used in research. But did you know that wheat has three times as many chromosomes than each of the grasses it has been bred from? That, and rigorouos selection, allow us to have plants that feed us and produce extra.



Now if we could trust our governments to ship all extra food to poor countries and give it out for free that would be lovely. But since we can't I absolutely support the efforts of people who look for GM crops.



Edit: still waiting for a comment on the possibility of using GM plants for making bio-degradable plastics.

EDITED_BY: Birgit (1159367367)


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:Well Birgit, you're certainly moch deeper involved into the facts and learnings about the subject than I possibly could. Therefore I'm not going to ague with you about technical details.

What I mean:

- testing in secluded environments: It's certainly possible to create an "artificial" natural environment, i.e. greenhouse, where not even air can escape unfiltered and therefore pollum will not be able to contaminate unmodified crops. It's certainly possible to study the impact of GMF on the environment.

- testing period: the impact on the environment might not even show within a decade. It has to be a long range procedure to fully get the picture of what we are messing with. Once it's out there - it's merely impossible to get it back in (if it proves to be bad)...

See what I am referring to is that mankind has learned little to nothing since they introduced rabbits to Australia, or maybe this nice little froggie that was meant to take care of the sugar cane beetle, or maybe even... cows. It's short term benefit and it's short term profit only.

A nice methaphore: Why is there no olive plantation in the US? (well I am not even certain that there isn't, but if not it's) because it takes between 4 to 15 years for the tree to fully mature... who would plant a tree in the US, if it takes that long to deliver the merchandise?

When stating that it's not practicable to test something over the period of one hundred years (which would earn the label "thoroughly") - would you take responsibility of the generations of people who get ill and maybe even die from GMF?

Please do not try to play the "pity game" with me. I am so bold to tell you that the third world and Africa isn't predominantly suffering from the lack of food. They are mainly suffering from the lack of water and (civil) wars. If they had enough water, they would be able to grow their crop and feed themselves.

Certainly locusts are a huge problem... but they feed on what we eat and I am not sure whether we would want to eat something that they can't. Certainly other options (like maybe ultrasonic) should also be considered to get them in control.

In the face of international food scandals (meat and veggies) I do not trust my government to protect me. I trust it to act as a broker between the corporate and the public interest. You know how many food standards Germany had to surrender to the European Union - you think this is a good development? Certainly the last institution I trust upon acting in my interest is the "Multinational Corporation" - call them GE, BASF or whatever.

You say "usually in cases where this (cross/ breeding) goes wrong, the organism becomes sterile" - this usually is what concerns me most.

Mankind is fcensoreding around with stuff they just do not know enough (look at the early stages in nuclear power) and have little to no concept about (microwaves emitted from cellphones)... They act like little childrens and Nike promoters ("just do it!") - when the [censored] hits the fan, they are the last to clean it off the wall... or your face.


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted: Written by: Pyrolific


I think you are going to get yelled at by the people who believe that scientists and the companies they work for know whats happening because they are clever.

I think you are going to be applauded by a bunch of well-meaning but under informed hippys.



I agree with Pele. Very few people here (and I'm not one of them, in spite of my M.S. in molecular biology) know enough about this to make an intelligent contribution.

But we've been genetically modifying crops since the beginning of agriculture...because that's what agriculture is.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:There still is a significant difference in (cross) breeding and genetic engineering... please do not offend our intelligence by putting both in the same pot... umm

Sorry if contributions are of insufficient specific knowledge of the nature... No yelling, no applause - just venting (my) general concerns... wink

I believe research and development IS important and should be pursued, but the (negative) impact on the planet should be minimised...


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:Well, maybe Mr. pyrolific has written us all of as not knowing what we're talking about, somehow, despite his attempts, a discussion has arisen nonetheless. Three cheers for internet research.

So just what is the "issue" here? The way I see it is fear of the unknown, and the chance that "something may happen" Well, there's that chance in most aspects of your life. That's what life's all about, chance.

When I walk out to the farmers market to pick up some organic cukes, there's a chance that I might be run over by a stoned hippy driving a VW microbus. Does that 'chance" keep me at home? No.

When I go to a foreign country, do I eat their food knowing that they have "different" hygiene standards ? Of course I do.

If the issue is ethics, then shouldn't one dismiss antibiotics too, seeing how those are made my GMO's ?

And what about the impending disaster that's going to be brought on by global warming? Seems to me that we're going to loose alot of arable land in the future and maybe working towards developing crops that are suited to less than ideal conditions isn't such a bad thing after all when viewed in that context..

No olives in the US because the trees take too long to mature? I'll bet the apple and orange farmers may be able to provide some insight there.


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Birgit
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

Total posts: 4145
Posted:This is going to be a lengthy one smile Apologies...

 Written by: FireTom


Therefore I'm not going to ague with you about technical details.




Unfortunately a lot of the problem here IS about technical details. But I'll try and keep it quite simple and understandable, if I start using too much science slang please someone tell me off!

 Written by: Tom


- testing in secluded environments: It's certainly possible to create an "artificial" natural environment, i.e. greenhouse, where not even air can escape unfiltered and therefore pollum will not be able to contaminate unmodified crops. It's certainly possible to study the impact of GMF on the environment.



But WHICH environment? If you want to prove that, with no interaction with the outside world, nothing will happen to the outside world, a greenhouse will be fine. However, GM plants do get grown in greenhouses first. But that's highly unsuitable for large crops, so at some point you have to see what happens in a "real" environment.

How can you assess how far the pollen travels, how likely it is that birds/other animals carry it further, how the plants react to hail or other things in the natural environment when you're in a 100% controlled greenhouse? It's just not viable. The new tests jenster has posted about are supposed to find out how the crops interact with, and react TO, the environment.

 Written by: Tom

- testing period: the impact on the environment might not even show within a decade. It has to be a long range procedure to fully get the picture of what we are messing with. Once it's out there - it's merely impossible to get it back in (if it proves to be bad)...



True. GM potatoes were out and heavily in debate when I was in 2nd year at uni, where we had a special course on GM plants. That's nearly 10 years ago, which suggests lengthy testing IS going on. Still I maintain that 100 years are not viable.


 Written by: Tom

See what I am referring to is that mankind has learned little to nothing since they introduced rabbits to Australia, or maybe this nice little froggie that was meant to take care of the sugar cane beetle, or maybe even... cows. It's short term benefit and it's short term profit only.



I think you're quite wrong there. You're right in that noone can predict the complete effect of anything on an ecosystem, but people have become much more careful. Sometimes however it seems worth taking a risk to improve a situation. If Liebig hadn't tried fertilisers at some point a lot more people would be starving. If people hadn't put (not very healthy) DTTs out millions more would die of malaria. If, as stout says, people hadn't GMed bacteria, there wouldn't be antibiotics to cure sick people, you couldn't give diabetics human insulin etc etc. The list is long.


 Written by: Tom

When stating that it's not practicable to test something over the period of one hundred years (which would earn the label "thoroughly") - would you take responsibility of the generations of people who get ill and maybe even die from GMF?



First of all, there is such a thing as thoroughly, and there also is such a thing as exaggeration. If I tested GM food for 100 years I GUARANTEE you if society doesn't change much in the next 100 years someone would get up and say, but what if the effects only show after 500 years. You can't ever test anything to the last degree, both theoretically and practically. If it answers your question, I think I would eat most of the GM food on the market, if I had a look at the testing procedures.

 Written by: Tom

Please do not try to play the "pity game" with me. I am so bold to tell you that the third world and Africa isn't predominantly suffering from the lack of food. They are mainly suffering from the lack of water and (civil) wars. If they had enough water, they would be able to grow their crop and feed themselves.



I'm not playing games with you or anyone, and be as bold as you wish wink If I may use a medical analogy. A guy comes into hospital. He has bad emphysema (smoking-caused lung disease, fatal) and can't breathe. Are you going to tell him "you don't need more oxygen, you shouldn't have been smoking!"? (or, in the case of Africa, just as much passive-smoking, too) Or will you give him a bottle of oxygen?

Apart from that, the growing of plants that can give crops under conditions like lack of water is a main concern of scientists in GM plant research. Since there will be lack of water for a considerable amount of time, even if you got all Africans to live in peace and stopped global warming today, this seems a very good idea to me.

Maybe we should ask people there though if they'd like a plant that's likely to feed them better, but that is GM? I'd put my money on a "yes".


 Written by: Tom

Certainly locusts are a huge problem... but they feed on what we eat and I am not sure whether we would want to eat something that they can't. Certainly other options (like maybe ultrasonic) should also be considered to get them in control.



1. Would you know if ultrasonic wouldn't affect many other lifeforms, therefore possibly being like the rabbits in Australia you quoted?

2. What do you think is the basis of pest control? We use things that kill plants, insects, viruses, bacteria etc that would otherwise destroy the plants we use as crops. And the reason we can still eat them, in addition to most of them being washed off, is that they are toxic for those other lifeforms, but not for us. Many plants have developed their own strategies to fight off their natural enemies, by producing substances they don't like very much, but we can still eat them.

 Written by: Tom

You say "usually in cases where this (cross/ breeding) goes wrong, the organism becomes sterile" - this usually is what concerns me most.

Mankind is fcensoreding around with stuff they just do not know enough (look at the early stages in nuclear power) and have little to no concept about (microwaves emitted from cellphones)... They act like little childrens and Nike promoters ("just do it!") - when the censored hits the fan, they are the last to clean it off the wall... or your face.



And yet you choose to go to Asia for months at a time, where controls and testing phases on things like food (including GM food!) are much lower than here? I know you can never be 100% safe with a new technology, but on the global scale of famines I think this is one worth pursuing.


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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Birgit
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

Total posts: 4145
Posted: Written by: FireTom


There still is a significant difference in (cross) breeding and genetic engineering... please do not offend our intelligence by putting both in the same pot... umm




Yeah, if you genetically engineer a plant, you change a very small number of genes.

If you crossbreed, you combine 2 complete sets of genes, not knowing what the interactions will be. Or as I said with wheat, you create a multiple of the original number of chromosomes.

Which seems like the smaller change to you?


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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Mascot


Mascot

enthusiast


Total posts: 301
Posted:I like Pyrolific's first post.

Absolutely spot-on, it made me laugh. Everyone has their pre-conceptions and often a scattering of facts they've accumulated to back them up. All people want to do is air their pre-conceptions, they don't want to debate and they really don't want to change their minds.

I'm usualy one of the "Trust the Scientists" brigade but I'm less and less sure of late.


Walls may have ears but they don't have eyes

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Mascot


Mascot

enthusiast


Total posts: 301
Posted:BASF was recently involved in a bit of a scuffle in the states- a strain of rice that was never liscenced had found it's way into the food chain. Wouldn't have attracted much attention except that rice exports from the USA got banned by a bunch of countries and the farmers are talking about suing BASF.

Walls may have ears but they don't have eyes

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maus
BRONZE Member since Jul 2005

maus

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Sihanoukville, cambodia

Total posts: 4191
Posted: Written by: _Clare_




Non-Https Image Link


The genetic modification of potatoes would make them evil... and that's not good.

Non-Https Image Link







Possibly my 2 favourite potato pictures ever! ubblol

And thats a sentense I never though I'd say! wink ubblol


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Gelfling
BRONZE Member since Jul 2004

Gelfling

Watcher of 80s cartoons
Location: Chepstow & Bristol, United Kin...

Total posts: 665
Posted:I used to work in genetic modification risk assessments (focussing on Brassica species) for the Center of Ecology and Hydrology in Dorset mainly using complementary DNA amplified fragment length polymorphism protocols so I'm not really sure if I know enough to comment wink

>What do you think about the state of the Earth?
>I'm optimistic.
>So why do you look so sad?
>I'm not sure that my optimism is justified.

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:toobie, to answer your question  Written by:

Why should we need them genetically modified? whats wrong with the way they are now? if it aint broke... and all that. I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong, i'm just curious....



It depends what the crop has been genetically modified, and what it has been modified against. Like whether its herbicide resistance, or resistance to insects or in this case a fungus. I think there are potential problems with plants genetically modified for herbicide resistance, and out crossing is a real issue. Monsanto were infamous for their GM Round up resistant crops.

However, I think it is another story when we look at plants that have been genetically modified to overcome insect or diseased problems. Traditionally, diseases like potato blight have been controlled by breeding resistance (from say wild types) and fungicides. What has happened is that the fungi have developed resistance to fungicides, much like bacteria have developed resistance to antibiotics. And scenarios like Great Famine become real again.

As far as Im concerned anything that reduces the amount of insecticides going into the system is great. Insecticides have a high toxicity to humans and other animal, and as insects build up resistance to chemicals, an ever increasing amount of insecticide is used. The use of BT cotton has certainly led to big reductions in the amount of poison going into the system.

Basically the system has been broke ever since we started monoculture.

smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted: Written by: the boy g


Everyone has their pre-conceptions and often a scattering of facts they've accumulated to back them up. All people want to do is air their pre-conceptions, they don't want to debate and they really don't want to change their minds.




I have to respectfully disagree with this sentiment. On the surface this may seem true however here in discussion, preconceptions, along with opinions masquerading as facts usually get challenged pretty quickly. Therein lies the beauty of discussion.

That was the way things might have used to be


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biggins
SILVER Member since Sep 2002

biggins

member
Location: In Bed, New Zealand

Total posts: 165
Posted:GM is important to the world because it is a big way for large companies to generate revenue and control what ppl grow and how and where they grow it.



thats all you need to know. its all about money and control.



if ppl really wanted to sort out food issued they would farm in more sustainable ways and distribute it properly. easy.



ps: i A big NO to more GM BS in the UK and all over (not that is makes much difference because I believe that there must be plenty of GM stuff distributed across the UK countryside)

EDITED_BY: biggins (1159417748)


Wielding a Wooden Spoon

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:biggins, thanks for that. I have a couple of questions.

What role do you see the Government funded plant breeding programs playing in the future of resource management?

And, what are the contradictions you see between GM crops and sustainability?


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted: Written by: biggins



GM is important to the world because it is a big way for large companies to generate revenue and control what ppl grow and how and where they grow it.



thats all you need to know. its all about money and control.



if ppl really wanted to sort out food issued they would farm in more sustainable ways and distribute it properly. easy.



ps: i A big NO to more GM BS in the UK and all over (not that is makes much difference because I believe that there must be plenty of GM stuff distributed across the UK countryside)



And your opinion on golden rice is? It's very depressing that millions of people have to suffer because of uniformed opinions like those of Greenpeace. frown Meh, save the world- shoot a hippy.



The biggest annoyance for me though is the way people assume that the alternatives are completely safe, because their "dangers" haven't been hyped beyond reason. You can't know that a new conventionaly grown plant won't be toxic, and in fact there have been cases of conventionally bred plants being toxic. But no-one cares, because GM=Bad and Conventional=Good.

EDITED_BY: jeff(fake) (1159443723)


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted: Written by: FireTom


There still is a significant difference in (cross) breeding and genetic engineering... please do not offend our intelligence by putting both in the same pot... umm



Not as significant as you may think. Cross-breeding puts foreign genes into a species.

Breeding adds or eliminates certain genes.

They just do it from opposite ends. Breeding starts with a phenotype and genetic engineering starts with a genotype.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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JTSpinner
SILVER Member since Aug 2006

JTSpinner

Learnin About Burnin
Location: Michigan, USA

Total posts: 385
Posted:Good observation Doc. Nature does it's own "cross breeding" to an extent. Roses are a major example of alteration through phenotype (physical appearance or a trait or a behavior of the plant or item). Breeders will take years to develop a plant that grows a certain shade of flower, a certain leaf pattern or growth style, and it is all done through cross pollination or "breeding". I find it very interesting though that you cannot take a seed from one of these and get the same colors, growth pattern, leaf style out of that plant after it grows. By applying genotype (altering the actual genetic makeup of the plant), the same desired trait or characteristic of that plant can be repeated over and over, but the genetic implanting must be done at the base level of the plant such as the seed or the starter plant.

Companies such as Monsanto and others do have a lot to gain monetarily because they know that they will be the source of all of the seed or plants that are required to produce this "crop".

On other observations made here: I do not have a MA, BA, BS (either type wink or any "degree" of any type in this area, but I do have an interest and look for answers to questions and I do most certainly have an opinion on this subject matter and am very interested in how others feel about it. Keep the posts coming be they based on uneducated knowledge or educated knowledge. Knowledge is power and the internet is a great equalizer when used properly. offtopic


I may be crazy but I ain't stupid

Life is to short to waste it on stupidity

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