Why GM foods are bad...

Scouse

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Additionally to the above and as an example, one of the mechanisms we know very little about in terms of it's effects on our ecosphere is horisontal gene transfer.

We know for a fact that genes directly swap quite readily, especially on a microbial level but also in higher order animals - therefore potentially having an effect right through the biosphere. You made a point earlier in the thread about DNA being destroyed in the gut - but it isn't - it's taken up by gut fauna and can produce not just epigenetic changes but direct changes in gene expression - as the new DNA is directly amalgamated.

Regardless of the effect of this on the food chain we've no idea of the effect on the whole planet's ecology. And there's no chemical scrub to take it back if we fuck it up. Once it's there the change is permanent.

Given this fact, it's only sensible to wait until we have better than a child's understanding of the world before we start deliberately (and therefore also accidentally) redesigning our planet's basic structures.
 

rynnor

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Another issue with GMO is that its a gateway to synthetic biology whose potential risks from completely novel substances is even higher than GM's.
 

Wij

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Additionally to the above and as an example, one of the mechanisms we know very little about in terms of it's effects on our ecosphere is horisontal gene transfer.

We know for a fact that genes directly swap quite readily, especially on a microbial level but also in higher order animals - therefore potentially having an effect right through the biosphere. You made a point earlier in the thread about DNA being destroyed in the gut - but it isn't - it's taken up by gut fauna and can produce not just epigenetic changes but direct changes in gene expression - as the new DNA is directly amalgamated.

Regardless of the effect of this on the food chain we've no idea of the effect on the whole planet's ecology. And there's no chemical scrub to take it back if we fuck it up. Once it's there the change is permanent.

Given this fact, it's only sensible to wait until we have better than a child's understanding of the world before we start deliberately (and therefore also accidentally) redesigning our planet's basic structures.


HGT:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18801324/
 

Wij

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5 year old scaremongering based on the faulty premise that we are running out of food - Malthus would be proud :p

Food prices rose because idiots decided to combat CO2 with bio fuels and now large area's that could be growing food crops are growing fuel crops.

And still there's no shortages...
Missed all the bits about fuel usage in farming and reduced levels of pesticides? Or crop failures? It's no use having an excess of food in some of the world when a crop fails in one country and the supply mechanisms aren't in place to move it around. Why would they be who they aren't usually needed? What about where the change merely increases the nutritional value such as, guess what, Golden Rice again.

That's as far as I read.

Agree about the idiocy of biofuels though.
 

Scouse

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The piece is limited in scope, is an estimate of risks rather than a measure and I was using the issue of HGT (our knowledge of which is still in it's infancy) as a single example of unquantified risk amongst many.

I put it to you, oh aged and venerable Wijlet, that your attitude to the potential risks is cavalier at best :)
 

rynnor

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reduced levels of pesticides?

It's a nice theory but it doesn't seem to be true in reality - in the US where GM crops are almost ubiquitous. Overall pesticide usage is increasing year on year largely due to Monsanto's roundup resistant GM products.

If GM was living up to the marketing hype we should be seeing huge falls...
 

rynnor

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Oh come on :)

You know as well as I do that the general populace are scientifically illiterate - once GM is accepted do you really think they will understand the fine but crucial differences between GM and Synthetics?
 

rynnor

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Why would they be who they aren't usually needed? What about where the change merely increases the nutritional value such as, guess what, Golden Rice again.

You moan at me for using the same few scientific papers then keep repeating golden rice like its a mantra :p
 

Scouse

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reduced levels of pesticides?

In many test cases the initial drop in necessary herbicide and pesticide use has turned out to be a nightmare ten or fifteen years later - as massively increased levels of herbicides and pesticides are needed to be used as weeds and pests themselves become resistant to the new plant genome.

For example, American corn and soyabean crops are approx. 90% GM in the US now - and this is the shit that they're now in:
the amount of herbicides required to deal with superweeds near GM crops has grown from 1.5 million pounds in 1999 to about 90 million pounds in 2011 ..... "Resistant weeds...are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent"

If only humans had the foresight to hold back, do more science, rather than grab for the cash eh?

In this economy there's no way large scale rolling out of GM technologies at our current level of knowledge is anything other than blinkered idiocy - and the scale of the fuck-up's we've already made should (but aren't) give us food for thought and pause...
 

rynnor

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More fundamentally do we want another set of large corporations demanding their cut on something as basic and universal as food? All price rises mean some poor bastards somewhere starving.
 

Wij

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In many test cases the initial drop in necessary herbicide and pesticide use has turned out to be a nightmare ten or fifteen years later - as massively increased levels of herbicides and pesticides are needed to be used as weeds and pests themselves become resistant to the new plant genome.

For example, American corn and soyabean crops are approx. 90% GM in the US now - and this is the shit that they're now in:


If only humans had the foresight to hold back, do more science, rather than grab for the cash eh?

In this economy there's no way large scale rolling out of GM technologies at our current level of knowledge is anything other than blinkered idiocy - and the scale of the fuck-up's we've already made should (but aren't) give us food for thought and pause...
Your logic is wrong. Herbicide resistant weeds are caused by herbicide use, not herbicide-resistant crops.

These graphs explain it quite nicely:

http://weedcontrolfreaks.com/2013/05/superweed/
 

Wij

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You moan at me for using the same few scientific papers then keep repeating golden rice like its a mantra :p
The two things aren't equivalent. I moan at you for posting discredited articles. Golden Rice remains an example of GM that is completely different to the typical anti-GM narrative (herbicides, patents, corporations etc...) so remains a valid counter-example.
 

Wij

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More fundamentally do we want another set of large corporations demanding their cut on something as basic and universal as food? All price rises mean some poor bastards somewhere starving.
If it's worth it to farmers then they will pay the extra for seed and still be able to produce produce cheaper. If it isn't then they aren't forced to. Also, patents expire, not all GM is funded the same way, it's a technology, not a business model etc...
 

rynnor

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Wij said:
If it isn't then they aren't forced to.

I'm not sure that's actually true - if GM muscles traditional seed suppliers out there wont be a choice and they are free to increase prices.

They can cross subsidise GM to make it artificially cheap for a few years to drive out competition.
 

Scouse

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Your logic is wrong. Herbicide resistant weeds are caused by herbicide use, not herbicide-resistant crops.

Wij, you've oversimplified (or underestimated) the (mixed) argument I was making. Yes, herbicide resistant weeds are caused by herbicide use.

However, as explained quite nicely in the article in Nature - the well-respected journal your chosen blogger is dissing - farmers used a mix of different herbicides and farming methods until the advent of GM, a practice that slowed development of resistance - a practice abandoned by GM farmers. This use of GM crops means, despite initial gains, herbicide resitance has sped up - and the gains have been wiped out.

The end result of GM crop use has been more herbicide use AND more pesticide use on GM crops.


But it's all a moot point anyway - by posting conflicting arguments you're actually making my argument for me, which I'll state one last time: Our knowledge of the effects of GM technologies, whether on plants or animals, food chain or wider biosphere, is clearly inadequate, at risk of manipulation from interested parties who stand to gain massively from a rushed uptake and rollout, and has proven so far to have mixed results at best.

The only sensible course of action is to step back and do a LOT more science before we start rolling this out wholesale.


What is actually gonna happen will be a hashed and rushed rollout for profit and fuck the consequences :(
 

Scouse

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Graph from that nature article:
increase-resistant-weeds2.jpg
 

Wij

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I'm not sure that's actually true - if GM muscles traditional seed suppliers out there wont be a choice and they are free to increase prices.

They can cross subsidise GM to make it artificially cheap for a few years to drive out competition.
We are not going to lose current crops. If anything, keeping a good stock of old varieties is a good source a genes.
 

Wij

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Wij, you've oversimplified (or underestimated) the (mixed) argument I was making. Yes, herbicide resistant weeds are caused by herbicide use.

However, as explained quite nicely in the article in Nature - the well-respected journal your chosen blogger is dissing - farmers used a mix of different herbicides and farming methods until the advent of GM, a practice that slowed development of resistance - a practice abandoned by GM farmers. This use of GM crops means, despite initial gains, herbicide resitance has sped up - and the gains have been wiped out.

The end result of GM crop use has been more herbicide use AND more pesticide use on GM crops.


But it's all a moot point anyway - by posting conflicting arguments you're actually making my argument for me, which I'll state one last time: Our knowledge of the effects of GM technologies, whether on plants or animals, food chain or wider biosphere, is clearly inadequate, at risk of manipulation from interested parties who stand to gain massively from a rushed uptake and rollout, and has proven so far to have mixed results at best.

The only sensible course of action is to step back and do a LOT more science before we start rolling this out wholesale.


What is actually gonna happen will be a hashed and rushed rollout for profit and fuck the consequences :(
The science is quite clear on that matter, relying on one type of herbicide, pesticide, insecticide, anti-biotic is the quickest way to introduce resistance to it. That's not even remotely controversial. However, that isn't the fault of GM in itself, just how it has been implemented.

Anyway, weren't we saying that GM was dangerous?
 

Wij

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Graph from that nature article:
increase-resistant-weeds2.jpg
And from my article it covered that and showed that the first case of Roundup resistant weeds showed up in Australia where no GM crops were grown. That's why the Nature article was criticised. It was crap.
 

Scouse

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Anyway, weren't we saying that GM was dangerous?

I dunno Wij. You keep narrowing the focus of your arguments in response to examples I've given which were meant to illustrate that we keep making mistakes with GM (rather than open debate on those specific examples).

I keep saying it - and the fact that there's conflicting science proves it - we just don't know enough to roll GM out.

So, yes, the potential for very serious harm from GM is real. Which is why I'm advocating a lot more science be done. And have been since I drew the comparison with the rush to oil, at the end of page 5.

Nothing that's been said since then has made me think that pov is anything other than sensible and correct.
 

Wij

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OK. Now you're just trolling...
Seriously. If you're going to believe the odd fringe-scientist that every serious scientist discounts then maybe you should join Rynnor in the AGW-is-a-myth camp?
 

Scouse

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If you're going to believe the odd fringe-scientist that every serious scientist discounts

Says the guy posting from a blogger who's dissing Nature to the guy who's main source of info on this is his subscription to New Scientist.

Honestly Wij. All I've said is "more science needed" - not "stop! you are teh evilz!".
 

Wij

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Says the guy posting from a blogger who's dissing Nature to the guy who's main source of info on this is his subscription to New Scientist.

Honestly Wij. All I've said is "more science needed" - not "stop! you are teh evilz!".
But my source was undeniably right on that point.

Point me to a proper article that shows that GM is dangerous? I won't mind honestly, I've just never seen one that stood up to scrutiny.

And I am evilz so no worries.
 

rynnor

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We are not going to lose current crops. If anything, keeping a good stock of old varieties is a good source a genes.

Why are you talking about crops I'm talking about commercial suppliers?
 

rynnor

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Seriously. If you're going to believe the odd fringe-scientist that every serious scientist discounts then maybe you should join Rynnor in the AGW-is-a-myth camp?

Hah - he who laughs last and all that - I'm preparing smug mode for the not so distant future when AGW joins cold fusion in the toilet pan of science :p
 

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