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

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jenster
jenster

member
Location: where butterflies fly
Member Since: 3rd Oct 2002
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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Kathain_Bowen
Kathain_Bowen

Good Ol' Yarn For Hair
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Member Since: 24th Jan 2006
Total posts: 422
Posted: Written by: jenster


what do you think??



eek



I seem to recall a big fuss here in Jersey when genetic modification and cross breeding was first starting to be discussed in relation to food crops, especially in regards to one of NJ's chief crops- the tomato. I wish I could remember exactly what the fuss was about. umm

Ok, so, who here has seen GLOFISH?

For the uniformed.... The GloFish is the trademarked transgenic zebra danio ( Danio rerio ) which were originally created by the National University of Singapore while studying the fact that this fish native to southeast Asia could never create a sustainable wild population, despite the fact that they are easy breeders in captivity. Early fish modification, even up until today, involved crossbreeding selectively, dye injection, and hormone treating, which I could never recommend buying an animal involved in any of the three practices (*one produces bad strains, the others are just inhumane). The genetic modication of the Zebra Danio occurs at the egg stage to produce a safe color modification to the species which creates a red/pink fluorescence. The new genetic material is actually a red fluorsecent protein from sea anemones. This modification is a permanent feature (*unlike hormone treatment), humane (*unlike dye), and sustainable, passed on to the young by breeding.

I had to write that to ensure that people knew- most PetCos and PetSmarts, despite being supplied exclusively by Segrest Farms (one of the only two farms allowed by Yorktown Technologies, the people holding the copywrite) will not sell these animals. They are also illegal to own, breed, or sell in the state of California. More noteably, however, they are currently banned in the UK.

We recieved two as a "donation" (ie- we no longer want these fish; please don't flush them down the toilet) at the pet shop I worked at. Due to the fact that these animals are copywritten, we could not legally resell them, so I took them home to put in my tank. Out of curiosity, I put them amid a school of normal Zebra, Pearl, and Leopard Danios. They behaved just as normally as any other danio, and interbred easily with the other species present. The only thing in my observance of the animal, in agreement with the documented observances of researchers involved with the GloFish. The only funny thing I noticed was that the genes related to producing the fluorescence must be recessive, because, in all my breeding, I never produced a single fluorescent Zebra Danio despite several spawnings with the GloFish.

Now, in a case like that, where the modification has not affected the indigenous population in any form, I don't really know how I'd feel about it. In the case of the Zebra Danio, I would be confindent that they would be a non-threat to the wild species, but it still has a slim chance. It becomes more a moral question then.

However, what I would caution would be great care with the final introduction of the animal into an open air environment. I have already seen numerous cases where animals and plants released into the wild have threatened wild populations. The water hyacinth ( Eichhornia crassipes ) in Florida, the common pleco ( Hypostomus plecostomus ) in Texas, the Green Hygro ( Hyrgophyilia polysperma ) and the Malaysian Trumpet Snail ( Genus Melanoides ) all over the place, and who could forget the common Burmese Python in South Florida? Animals we keep as pets are constantly being accidentally or unwittingly introduced into the wild by keepers and become an invasive pest in the area, thriving.

I mean, look at Kudzu (genus Pueraria ). It was introduced as an ornamental, flowering vine, with the non-woody parts of the plant edible for humans, in addition to being an excellent nectar producer for bees, butterflies, and moths. Sounds like the perfect plant. At least, it did when introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. It was used and promoted up until the early 1950s in the South by the Soil Conservation Service to prevent erosion. It was introduced to be a benefit for both the farming and ornamental plant industries, until recognized as an invasive pest weed. Since then, various attempts have been made to rid certain areas of the Southeastern United States of kudzu, but to no success. It's just too damned hardy and spreads too darn quickly.

While the potato may not have any close, wild relatives in the UK, I would worry that, like kudzu, a well meaning introduction of a particularly hardy plant could be disastrous in regards to your native species. I'm not saying it'll do things like kudzu (like eating houses, bridges, trees, whole fields, corpses in some areas, I'm sure) wink However, the possibility still looms of a potentially invasive pest species without further testing.

Er.... sorry. I had a moment there. redface I'm a big believer in the responsible pet and ornamental species ownership.

For those of you who want the short version: With more testing, where it proven safe for human consumption and entirely safe from an invasive pest plant standpoint, I would definitely recommend small number trials before expanding to a large range attempt. biggrin


"So long and thanks for all the fish."

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:Here's one thing I *DO* oppose about genetically modified crops: non-reproducibility.

If Monsanto comes up with a potato that's resistant to blight, they make it so that it cannot reproduce. Each batch of seed is good for one crop only.

Now, I'm all for the use of GMO's to increase the food supply to poor nations suffering from blight, drought, etc. But not if it's just going to feed the pockets of biotech firms.

Problem is that then it makes very little incentive to develop the crops.

Not sure what the solution is.

shrug


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

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 27th Jan 2005
Total posts: 4145
Posted:my solution would be to make a UN-funded (well, rich UN nations funded) project where African universities get equipment and some experts to hand to develop their own.

It would be generated where it will be planted, so the testing conditions would be ideal.

It would generate jobs, and by being a potential worldwide centre of excellence in that area keep the well-educated talented young researchers, technicians and skilled workers in the area instead of sponsoring them at uni and then watching them leave for Europe and North America. Which is what happens now, one of the reasons donations for education are so ineffective in the long run. Can't remember who said it, but: "Africa doesn't need more money for education, it needs incentives for educated Africans to stay and work there."

Having the centre governed by the UN or the league of African countries, under strict rules, would ensure that many countries could profit from it.

[/idealistic]


"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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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:
Non-Https Image Link


[Sorry, inside joke with GenX Americans.]


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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JTSpinner
JTSpinner

Learnin About Burnin
Location: Michigan
Member Since: 31st Aug 2006
Total posts: 385
Posted:lolsign lolsign lolsign

Don't have to be GenX either! clap


I may be crazy but I ain't stupid

Life is to short to waste it on stupidity

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jenster
jenster

member
Location: where butterflies fly
Member Since: 3rd Oct 2002
Total posts: 57
Posted:can i just point out to Birgit that many African countries do not want genetically modified food, it is prohibited in many countries.

The refusal of the hunger-affected Southern African nations to receive GM food aid came after the discovery by environmental groups that US food aid mostly was contaminated with GM food. The U.S is the major donor of food to Africa. In many cases, this included types of genetic modifications are not approved for human consumption in a majority of the world's countries. As the food aid is not properly marked, it has also been used as seeds in many cases, thus damaging local plant varieties.

Many southern African governments had refused to take genetically modified food, but some have caved in due to the humanitarian crisis in 6 African nations. Zambia however is still refusing to take GM aid.

Zambia pressured to accept GM food aid

hug


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Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 27th Jan 2005
Total posts: 4145
Posted:So, does that mean they'd never want GM food ever, even if they had more of a say in it, or they were genuinly (and rightly so) upset at having been given the contaminated food you say they have? And with stuff not permitted elsewhere?

GM isn't GM, and I'm not saying "if it's manipulated send it to Africa". Or "feed it to the poor but don't tell them". But it's still food produced somewhere else. What I was talking about was food that can grow easier in Africa, that could be of use to the local farmers. I wonder if the governments would refuse that - it's a totally different situation imo.


"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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jenster
jenster

member
Location: where butterflies fly
Member Since: 3rd Oct 2002
Total posts: 57
Posted:beware this is a long one....

These are some reasons why i am against Genetically modified foods. I do not trust their safety at all!!

1) Living organisms will be redesigned, moving genes back and forth not only across species lines but across boundries that now divide living organisms. cross breeding and artificial induction of mutations as with X rays worked within single or closely related species.

2)Potentially genetic engineering could breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics.

3) The vast majority of genes encode more than one protein due to the action of things called spliceosomes which cut up RNA, rearrange it, then reassemble it. (DNA encodes RNA which encodes amino acids which make up the protein). Biologists had estimated that in humans, there were about 100,000 proteins so therefore about 100,000 genes to code for them. When the genome was decoded, the scientific community was shocked to find only 30,000 genes.
In a fruit fly there is one gene that encodes for 38,016 different protein molecules - thats the record so far!
If genes encode more that one protein, then the desired trait ie resistance to potato blight may be achieved, but what else has been encoded for by this gene?. Will anyone know for sure how many proteins are actually being made and what effects on the normal plant system it will have?

4) Even if a forign gene passes the spliceosomes unchanged, the effect of a particular protein can be modified, according to Professor David Schubert of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, by the addition of phosphates, sugars, sulfates or lipids (fats). Different types of cells are susceptable to different add on molecules.
Will these added molecules change the way the forign genes desired attribute behave? Will a different add on molecule be picked up in the root or leaves or stems and change the proteins behaviour there? nobody knows and this could be a dangerous gamble.

5) A proteins shape will also determine its effect. The newly made protein must be folded into a precisely organized structure. Some proteins do not fold correctly and remain biochemically inactive unless they come into contact with a special type of 'chaperone' protein that properly folds them.
What will happen if a forign fungicide protein meets with the potatoes chaperone folders? Will they leave it alone? Will they fold it? Will they get it right? nobody knows the answer as these two proteins have never met before.
According to Dr Peter Wills of Auckland University, an incorrectly folded form of an ordinary cellular protein can under circumstances duplicate itself and give rise to infectious neurological disease. Prions responsible for BSE and CJD are examples of dangerous misfolded proteins.

6) The host DNA can be messed up when blasting the forign gene into the host DNA. one method uses a 22 caliber gene gun to fire tiny shards of gold or tungsten coated with the forign gene into thousands of cells. By doing this, there is no way to know where in the DNA sequence the forign gene has inserted, or even if it is in tact. Native genes can be damaged in ways the engineer cannot identify. Forign DNA can be inserted inside other genes deactivating it, or massivly increasing its activity. DNA can be totally reorganised with unforseen consequences.

7) Normally a gene in one cell will be busy pumping out its protein whilst in another where it is not needed, it will be unused. eg a genes that makes the iris blue in the eye will be activated here but in the whites of the eye it will be deactivated. When an fungicide gene is inserted into the potato DNA, the cells in the potato wont have a clue what to do with it, it has never seen it before. Should it be activated or not? As biologists dont know how to tell it to monitor the whole organism and turn on the gene when needed, they permanantly turn the gene on in all cells. This is done by using a promoter from viruses which can overcome the plants defenses that prevents forign DNA being expressed, therefore this can enable the virus the hijack a plants genetic machinary and make many copies of itself.
These promoters can also activte other non viral genes and one result of such overexpression may be cancer.

8) Changes in a plants DNA can effect its nutritional content. Cows fed GM roundup ready sop produce milk with more fat content.

9) Genetically modifying plants can turn harmless food into one containing potentially deadly allergens by either increasing a natural allergen, a gene taken from one type of food might transfer allergenic properties to another when inserted or an allergen might result from forign genes and proteins that have never been part of the food supply before.

Genetic engineering is built on a long list of assumptions. The main one is that the forign gene will always operate the same way in the host organism. Lots of the genes used these days are synthetic and are assumed to be equivilant to the ones present in nature.




ubbloco phew!!! i feel like i have been writing for ages, so i will stop now.


(a lot of info i have given here has been obtained from seeds of deception by Jeffery Smith - its only right i reference my post.)


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ultrahigh
newbie

Member Since: 29th Sep 2006
Total posts: 7
Posted:I agree with firetom and the jenster.

Basically i believe there's good grounds for further study of gm food (and anything else thats genetecally modified) but under extremely strict guidelines.

Personally I dont like the fact that Monsanto is one of the leaders in GM crops and i have a high distrust for the companies ethics (especially relating to the percy schmeizer case) and the way they treat small time farmers and the proposal for the development of "terminator genes".

All the evidence points towards this company is in this game for nothing else other than short term financial gains (and patenting as many food crop genes as is possible, even ones that are not native to america!!).

Unfortunately its a human trait that it almost always takes a disaster of some sort to change the general populous's way of thinking and gm food and the way its going (especially in the states) is grounds for a potential disaster. juggle


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spinningstarlet
spinningstarlet

enthusiast
Location: Bradford *rolls eyes*
Member Since: 29th Aug 2006
Total posts: 271
Posted:i *do* think Birgit has a good point though, that it dostn't necc. have to be used fo the countries that are a) overproducing as it is, and/or b) going to sell it at a high price to the under-developed world...

see that would be a good scenario, that i would probably be happy with that, helping them help themselves and all that!

unfortunatly how likely is that to happen?

The other thing i would be worried about is that if the genes are changing in the crop how would this affect us ie humans - long term... would the be any effect at all?

|x.,x.,x|


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Mascot
Mascot

enthusiast

Member Since: 20th May 2002
Total posts: 301
Posted: Written by: stout


 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.




Maybe someone's preconceptions are challenged pretty fast. The question is wether the person with the preconceptions reads the response and says "Oh...I guess I never looked at it like that before" or blithely puts the blinkers on.

People tend to stick to their guns- as I'm doing here wink


Walls may have ears but they don't have eyes

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Mascot
Mascot

enthusiast

Member Since: 20th May 2002
Total posts: 301
Posted:
Jenster raises some good points- nobody would deny that GM is a pretty hit and miss technology. Nevertheless the possibilities are exciting and the research holds so much promise.

The technique is currently
step 1- find gene encoding desirable trait e.g. production of fungicide protein/ protein of nutritional value

step 2- insert gene into chromosome at random with possibly unpredictabe effects

step 3- grow resulting organisms and test to see which express the gene as expected and which die horribly

step 4- apply for large scale trials, lobby government for approval and try to hide from protesters.

In short, GM is a hit and miss technique- nobody questions that- the question is wether current testing standards are sufficient to catch the problems. The secret to GM is to produce thousands of seeds and test them to find the right one.

Most of us would allow GM food after a certain testing period- the question is how much testing is nescessary bearing in mind the almost infinite complexity of the system.


Walls may have ears but they don't have eyes

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Mascot
Mascot

enthusiast

Member Since: 20th May 2002
Total posts: 301
Posted:Oh and "Terminator" genes. Plausibly a good thing. Two reasons- firstly if a GM product is flawed then the damage is containable. Also prevents the GM crop from interbreeding with it's cousins in the wild- again, a good thing. If a gene for herbicide resistance got taken up by all the weeds as well then it wouldn't exactly be a step forwards.

Secondly, and people aren't going to like me saying this, it protects the companies intellectual property. So...farmers growing GM crops have to buy their seeds from a big evil Biotech multinational. Nobody is forcing anybody to grow GM food, the farmers can always grow the natural crop if they wish. If the biotech companies were only able to sell seeds for one year, then they wouldn't invest in the technology. It's just like any other sort of patent, if I invent an amazing machiene tomorrow I apply for a patent and people have to pay me liscencing fees for the next 50 years to use or make my machiene. That provides the incentive to invent amazing things. If a company developes an amazing new crop then they should have the rights. Buying a seed, growing the crop for seeds, and selling them on to all your friends would be stealing- like pirating music.

I can see the flames coming already- poor famres forced to pay extortionate prices for GM seeds from evil multinationals. Monsanto (said as one might say Dracula).

There are alternative market models (where the farmers pay an annual fee for the right to grow GM for instance) but they would be hard to police. The market would function better with terminator genes and the risk of unanticipated consequences would be lower.

Idealy terminator genes would affect the pollen to prevent cross-pollination, terminator technologies that only prevent the seeds from being fertile are not nearly so good.

I'm a cautious GM advocate


Walls may have ears but they don't have eyes

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Stout
Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada
Member Since: 12th May 2004
Total posts: 1872
Posted:boy g, yes true, someone may or may not change their preconceptions, but the perspective I was writing from had more to do with the quality of the discussion(s) taking place. I find it important that erroneous preconceptions not be carried on through a discussion, at least not presented as "fact".

I, for one, don't mind being "wrong" however I do prefer to be proved wrong. If I think of how many of those urban legends and myths I've believed over the years, only to be proven wrong by tv shows such as Mythbusters, and websites like Snopes. Why couldn't the same apply to subjects that appear in these forums too ?

Anyways,,the testing period. The way I see it I'm in the middle of this 'testing period" right now simply by virtue of where I live. Since GM'd food isn't labelled, I have to assume that I'm eating it. possibly every day. ( I lied previously about organic cukes, truth be known I eat whatever I feel like ) so one would thing, that if there are indeed health concerns about GMO's then the symptoms will manifest themselves over here first. Same idea applies to all the environmental concerns too.

If Africa is so anti GMO, then they can simply source their food aid from GMO "free" Europe.


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ultrahigh
newbie

Member Since: 29th Sep 2006
Total posts: 7
Posted:Some serious thought needs to be put into redefining patenting laws because once (and this is already happening) genomes for everything from food and many other things relating to disease and drug production are "owned" by these companies then just a handful of the most powerful companies in the world are basically going to control and sell whats actually rightfully all of ours to use and enjoy.

this cannot happen.

farmers for many thousands of years have been exchanging and giving their neighbours good seeds to grow (and this practice still goes on) but huge companies like monsanto are preventing and very much would like to stop completely this way of life and change it for one that depends on the company every year to renew a licence or buy the latest crop.

this is the route the usa is currently undergoing as we speak. <--- not good.


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jenster
jenster

member
Location: where butterflies fly
Member Since: 3rd Oct 2002
Total posts: 57
Posted:the boy g Written by:

Nobody is forcing anybody to grow GM food, the farmers can always grow the natural crop if they wish.



yes they can but for how long? In some places it is not possible to do so anymore.....

GM crops will contaminate natural varieties. It has already happened. There is one case in Canada where a guy called Percy Schmeiser from Saskatchewan was growing natural canola and it got infected with Monsantos roundup ready variety. He was fined $15/ac x 1030 ac, plus the value of his crop $105,000, plus $25,000 for punitive and exemplary damages.

He did not want this variety in his field. In order to derive any economic benefit from growing Roundup Ready seed, youd either have to sell it as seed, or spray Roundup. He did neither he sold grain.

He only found out his canola was contaminated as he puts roundup around the bottom of telephone poles but the plants did not die.

read the following link about his case

percy schmeiser


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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:Risk of GM foods
Wiki article upon GMP's

As I said before, the entire debate reminds me of the argument over global warming (not rethorically implicating that it will have the same outcome, though). Scientists were warning for decades, the industry financed counter-studies to dismantle the scientists concerns and to proceed.

Point is that we, as consumers, are the ones who pay the price. And the impact on nature is whidely irreversible. Genetically modified crops in the open mix with the natural and this continues....

However, assuming "it's all to save the (people on the) planet: Isn't it then cynical for a designated African countries' govt to oppose GMF? Since it could save their ppls lives? umm Maybe they just call for more "COLE'S" markets, instead of having to grow their food themselves... wink

See I'm not trying to take a Hippies position here, just we are messing with natures basic informations. Yes we have HUGE computers and can perform simulations on almost everything - but we could also build a bigger greenhouse and simulate hail (for instance) and observe the impact on the crop... But this "costs too much money", doens't it? We rather put it outside and let nature deal with it - and the consumer pays the price.

IF the acceptance of GMF's would be high, corporations would label it clearly, everytime. It would be a beneficial advert: THIS potatoe has been genetically modified and an entire family clan can feed on it for a month, besides it comes in tastes of marshmellow or apple-pie...

But it ain't that way. Ppl are suspicious and why is that? ubbidea

I have no PHD or any case related insight to the matter, all I'm adding is my concern as a (extraordinary wink ) regular human being wink Yes, I'm spending time in Asia and I eat the food there - but what would be my alternative? If I'd ask the restaurant owner, if the food he serves is "organically grown" or that he should avoid MSG, I might aswell just leave, because the likelyhood that he then spits in my dish I would rather call "high"...

This is the misconception that many westerners these days have: todays Asean policies often are a cynical mix of old age ruling class arrogance and the Anglo-American way to make business... couldn't be much worse...

But we do not drink snake blood and we don't eat locusts (if we would the plague would become a blessing) and we set environmental standards, many of which are causing our own economical desaster. How can we?
Because we have certain morals and ethics and believe that we can afford them.
Because we want to conserve nature and pretty much keep it the way it is (too late anyways).
Because nature is self regulating and it worked pretty well for aeons unless the human species started to get in control.

Just because we CAN, doesn't necessarily mean that WE HAVE TO. We should think ahead, more.


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stout
Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada
Member Since: 12th May 2004
Total posts: 1872
Posted:Okay....

After doing HOURS of research on this topic ( there are certain advantages to having seven months a year off smile ) I'm going to downgrade my opinion on GMO FOOD ( as opposed to GMO bacteria, fungi ) from something like " These seem like a good idea, lets hope science can use this to save our planet from impending disaster, like global warming and overpopulation " to something like " Woooooah, maybe the EU and Africa are onto something here, let's slow down with this"

The Schmeiser case was a disappointment, I expected more from our Canadian court system. Monsanto should have gotten a sound spanking for their obviously underhanded,,,,err methods. The round-up ready strains don't look like much more than labour saving devices anyway, and I can see very little, if any, benefit to the planet with these.

Somewhere online, and I swear it was on one of the links Tom posted, but I can't find it again. I ran across a list naming household brands of food products containing GMO's and this caused me to rename my kitchen "the lab" and starting today, I'm going to be cooking in beakers over a bunsen burner. wink

Interesting fact I read...Apparently under world trade organization "standards" the EU's refusal to accept American GMO's is costing them 150 million dollars a year.


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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:ubblol  Written by:

this caused me to rename my kitchen "the lab" and starting today, I'm going to be cooking in beakers over a bunsen burner.



@Birgit: I like the smokers methaphore you used... apparently even if you hand him the oxygen bottle, you will find him standing outside the hospital smoking - even after his voice box had to be removed, he will continue smoking. Whenever he feels sick enough he will come and beg you to relieve his pain. African countries are not begging us for GMF - the West is trying to press it on them. They are asking for relief and help in terms of water supplies and humanitarian aid in desastrous events like draughts or civil wars. So my answer to this: Nope - in case that my awareness-level is good, I will not hand him the oxygen, because in this case I would only prolong his problem. He will have to learn breathing through a straw, his cigarette or quit smoking...

Cross-breeding and genetical engeneering: I still trust more in natural selection than human engeneering skills shrug You take two sets of genes combine them and leave it up to nature what the outcome will be. To me a safer pick.

See I am neither opposing genetic modification, nor science in general - I think that both will become incredibly important to mankinds survival. All I am saying is that humans should become even more careful, as the potential impact of their toys rise.

Some processes are irreversible - there is no right or wrong... only consequences we have to live with, nothing more, nothing less - oh, besides maybe another uncomfortable answer we have to come up with when answering our grandchildrens questions... "Granpa, did you also drive one of those huge, petrolgulping 8 cylinder SUV's?" wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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JTSpinner
JTSpinner

Learnin About Burnin
Location: Michigan
Member Since: 31st Aug 2006
Total posts: 385
Posted:I do not object to GMO food when looking at the whole big broad picture of what it could do for world hunger, etc.; but as someone mentioned in a previous posting, we are not dealing within a perfect (or anywhere near that) world. The development of the products that they "push" has ultimately been the most controlled and profitable ones for them. Stouts fact that it costs $150m a year in profits is proof of how profitable these items are. The really sad fact is that this is not costing Monsanto anything because they produce the raw product, but the cost is to the actual producers of the end product, in other words the farmers who grew the product.

We can also look at the side of "Why did Monsanto HAVE to develop round-up ready strains of grains??" The answer to that question is really very basic: Because the ground is saturated with Round-Up from years of being used to kill weeds in the fields. In order for the grain to grow in these fields, they have to develop a grain that will grow and corn, etc. Now, after a discovery is made that these Round-Up ready products have created "weeds" that are Round-Up resistant, now we have to develop a new weed killer. Sounds like the picture is complete to me.

FT, you have stated repeatedly here and in other forums that these companies do it for short term monetary gain. Yes, they do it for the short term dollar, but they also have long term plans to continue the profitability of the company and the publics dependency on them.

Stout, enjoy your beaker baked bread biggrin


I may be crazy but I ain't stupid

Life is to short to waste it on stupidity

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jenster
jenster

member
Location: where butterflies fly
Member Since: 3rd Oct 2002
Total posts: 57
Posted:i liked fire toms recommended reading on wiki, i wanted to point out that Arpad Pusztai actually resigned from his post due to the circumstances surrounding the results of his potato experiments. Effectivly is career was ruined, just for reporting on what his experiments had found.

The information i have put below is taken from part of the wiki article fire tom posted a link for about a genetically modified growth hormone used in cows.

Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone

Monsanto developed a recombinant version of the bovine growth hormone Somatotropin (rbST or rbGH), which goes by the brand name Posilac. Injected into dairy cattle, the product can increase milk production from 10% up to 40%. This hormone is used in the USA but is banned in Europe where health concerns for consumers are cited as reasons for the ban. The FDA has stated that there is no test which can detect the presence of the hormone in milk, and that there is no evidence for adverse health effects. However, some dairies have stopped using the hormone due to the serious negative impact it has on the ability of cows to conceive, and because of the experience that cows often developed severe infections requiring treatment with antibiotics.

i would just like to comment on the fact that the FDA says there are not adverse health effects.
I have read that cows who are given the recombinant growth hormone develop severe infections of the udder, as a result are pumped full of antibiotics, which then pass to us when we drink the milk / eat the cheese etc. As a result bacteria and viruses become resistant to them and we cannot use them to fight off infections anymore. It also increases the cows risk of infertility and pathological lesions.

Pumping cows full of rBGH increases the levels of a growth factor called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)by 10 times. IGF-1 regulates cell growth, division and multiplication.
Humans and cows have exactly the same IGF-1 molecules and when we drink milk, the IGF-1 from the cows milk enters our blood stream. IGF-1 induces uncontrolled growth of normal human breast cells in tissue culture, and has been incriminated in their transformation to cancer cells.

30 publications, dating back to 1985, have reported strong associations between increased IGF-1 blood levels with increased risks of colon, and breast cancers. A 1998 study, based on 300 healthy nurses, showed that elevated IGF-1 blood levels are strongly associated with up to a seven-fold increased risk of developing breast cancer. This is the highest known risk, approximating to that of a strong family history. More recent studies have also shown strong associations between increased IGF-1 blood levels and prostate cancer.

see milk and cancer


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ultrahigh
newbie

Member Since: 29th Sep 2006
Total posts: 7
Posted:well said spinner

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Bek66
Bek66

Future Mrs Pogo
Location: The wrong place
Member Since: 27th Aug 2006
Total posts: 4728
Posted: Written by: NYC



Non-Https Image Link


[Sorry, inside joke with GenX Americans.]



Touche'!!!!!!!!!


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

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Hi jenster,

I think many of the points you raise against GMOs are valid, although I think they are improbable. In nature, there is mutation and movement of genes between species. Your example of BSE and CJD is highlights a disease that has crossed species. Though, in this case it was caused by poor hygiene, and has nothing to do with GMOs.

I think we need to look at what GMOs can offer the world, and not what Monsanto has done in the past. To me the biggest advantage of GM crops is that with proper use thay can ensure food for all peoples and bring real sustainability in agriculture.

If people are afraid of evil multinationals, then it is up to them to lobby Governments to keep supporting the public good breeding programs that operate out of the Universities and Department of Agriculture.

JTSpinner, I think we should stick to facts. Your assertion that Monsanto developed round-up ready strains of grains because the ground is saturated with Round-Up from years of being used to kill weeds in the fields, is pure rubbish.


have fun


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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jenster
jenster

member
Location: where butterflies fly
Member Since: 3rd Oct 2002
Total posts: 57
Posted:stone, i just wanted to point out that i wasn't by any means linking BSE and CJD to GM. I was just giving them as examples of misfolded proteins that led to disease, just so people could maybe relate a bit more to where i was coming from and possible consequences.

yes i do agree we need to look at what GMO's can offer the world, but also a thorough look at the risks as some risks eg contamination, may not be able to be put right if it goes wrong. We also do not want to cause harm to humans, or animals who injest the GM crops, hormones etc. Testing needs to be done over generations in my opinion, but still the whole process would have so many assumptions involved.

As for lobbying governments to support good breeding programs, well yes i think this should happen. In Ireland for example, BASF wanted to do trials of the same potatoes they are suggesting of doing trials for in the UK in spring. The Irish, although severely hit by potato blight in the past, created such disapproval, the BASF withdrew.

I am not sure if the government had much of a say in this or if public opinion was such a huge factor that the government had little choice to go along with it.

In reality in some countries this wouldn't happen. Monsanto is so interlinked with the FDA and the government in the USA, they support each other in the name of profit and control. So many of the U.S government members, past and present have worked for Monsanto, and vice versa.


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JTSpinner
JTSpinner

Learnin About Burnin
Location: Michigan
Member Since: 31st Aug 2006
Total posts: 385
Posted: Written by: Stone


JTSpinner, I think we should stick to facts. Your assertion that Monsanto developed round-up ready strains of grains because the ground is saturated with Round-Up from years of being used to kill weeds in the fields, is pure rubbish.



I believe everyone has a right to their opinion Stone and just because the ground is not saturated with Round-Up and a whole lot of other garbage in the UK or Europe as a whole does not mean that it is not here in the US and especially in the state of Michigan. There is a ban on all sorts of chemicals, defoliants, insecticides and even certain varities of fertilizers in this state. The Federal and State governments pay farmers NOT to raise crops and as they put it: allow the land to rejuvenate. Monsanto pays one of the biggest agriculture universities in the US (Michigan State University) big dollars to raise and experiment with their "new" grains, corns, beans, etc. Michigan used to be an Agriculture state but not any longer, and one of the biggest reasons is because there is so much of our farmland that has had garbage dumped on it for so long that it is not suitable any longer for producing an edible crop.

As Jenster pointed out also, in a lot of other countries (perhaps even a majority of them) a company such as Monsanto would not be allowed to "run rampant" and do as they please in the name of profits. In the US we do have a problem with "Big Business" making changes and getting things done their way. Every country has it's unique set of problems and issues that they have to deal with and the people in this country deal with ours as best as they can and try to make good change come about, but it does not always work out that way.

Have no intention of starting a verbal war with anyone over this or any other subject posted at HOP, but unless you have down to earth hard facts (i.e. an inside e-mail, a signed statement from a scientist or chief executive at Monsanto) or any other real fact, I believe I will stand on my opinion that they developed a food product that could and would grow even in ground that was loaded with another of their products. If you feel that is rubbish, that is fine because there are "experts" on this very subject who can only agree to disagree.


I may be crazy but I ain't stupid

Life is to short to waste it on stupidity

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:JT Spinner, glyphoshate is only active on green plant material, and is quickly broken down by bacteria in the soil.

Monsanto developed round-up resistant crops so farmers could use a broad spectrum herbicide that would kill all the weeds, without killing the crop. There might by problems with residual herbicides, but glyphoshate is not in that category. Trust me Im an expert wink


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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JTSpinner
JTSpinner

Learnin About Burnin
Location: Michigan
Member Since: 31st Aug 2006
Total posts: 385
Posted:I will say thankx for that piece of information. Glyphoshate must be the active ingredient in Round-Up without looking it up, I will trust your word on that. I do know that here in this area (I am in a sparesly populated area) of Michigan, it used to be all farm fields and a very high agricultural area. I live right next to and are friends with most of the "former" farming families. There are a lot of reasons why they do not farm now, but I do know that the Government is paying them not to and that the list of products that they cannot use on their fields is as one put it "Hell of a lot longer than what we can". i also know that a lot of them have "experimented" with some of the varieties that Monsanto has developed and they will no longer try to raise them because of a variety of issues, but one was being able to sell and get rid of the crop. Always have said that you can't learn anything if you keep a closed mind on a subject, and I am not perfect (man, did I really admit that eek eek), but I do try to pick up on FACTS when someone can present in a reasonable manner those facts.

I may be crazy but I ain't stupid

Life is to short to waste it on stupidity

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Hi JT Spinner. I think your experience in Michigan highlights how not to introduce GMOs into the community. I cant think of anything more demoralising for a farmer, than to be paid not to farm. Just doesnt make sense.

I dont support Monsantos heavy handed approach to GMOs. Im more for a tweak here and there, when
there is no other option, like for diseases resistance.

I think Monsanto has done a lot of damage by forcing both farmers and consumers into accepting GM grain without a proper debate. I suspect that when you say it is difficult for farmers to sell Monsanto varieties its because consumers do not want to eat GM grain.

I hope that the UK government ensures that BASF doesn't go down the Monsanto track.


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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ultrahigh
newbie

Member Since: 29th Sep 2006
Total posts: 7
Posted:Yep, i think the general consensus here is that GMO's can be beneficial, but there is so much skope for misuse, natural conservation problems, proper testing - long term and transparent, and geared more towards helping the people rather than profits.

would also be nice to see some movement towards improving the labelling system currently used by the US and Canada where by they do not by law have to label GM ingredients.

unfortunately from my view monsanto has and most likely never will in the future care much about the aforementioned problems relating to GM for our health and environment. and as they own most of the GM market share then this is going to affect us all more in the not to distant future.

likewise stone, i also have my fingers crossed that BASF dont go down the same track as monsanto.


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