Anti-food-technology movement is just like the anti-evolution movement.

Its got jack to do with the science.

Its got everything to do with politics and personal ignorance.

So lets all pretend to act shocked and surprised that an anti-GMO group has taken a page from anti-evolutionists on how to prevent children from learning science in schools:

Practical experiments in which students learn how to use plasmids to alter the DNA of the bacteria have been under way for 17 and 18-year-olds in the final year of the scientific baccalaureate at schools across France for the past decade. But this year teachers have for the first time been offered the option of teaching the experiments to younger students.

The Committee for Research & Independent Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) in Caen, France, which lobbies for stricter controls over genetic engineering, is particularly upset because in the experiments the students modify the bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotic ampicillin.

… He warns against trivialization of a sensitive subject, contamination risks and possible violation of European directives on the manipulation of genetically modified organisms in confined spaces. “I am also concerned that practical classes erode the time spent imparting knowledge of biology,” he adds.

Karl at Biofortified takes this down in a much more educational manner than I am capable of. I have very little patience for this crap.

Heres my response:
This is Creationism reformulated for the idiotic left vs the idiotic right. There is no scientific reason to stop doing these experiments. Its political. And its fantastically stupid– If you want another analogy, its like some anti-technology nutbar is lobbying to the government to stop children from building robots in their science classes, because it trivializes the very real threats of Skynet and The Matrix, and besides, we should be memorizing shit out of books, not like, doing things.

Its stupid.

I urge my readers to do two things.

1– Actually read Biofortified and Tomorrows Table and other plant genetics blogs (feel free to leave other favorites in the comments), and actually learn about what this technology is and why scientists do it. There is nothing I do in the lab, virtually no reagents I use, that are not genetically modified.

2– Think about who else is on your side. If you find yourself making arguments that sound a heckovalot like ‘BIG PHARMA SHILL!!!!’ except youre saying ‘MONSANTO SHILL!!!!’, or ‘Im not against GMOs, Im just pro-safe-GMO!’ instead of ‘Im not against vaccines, Im just pro-safe-vaccines!’, if you are using the same tactics as the Creationist movement, you gotta start thinking that maybe, just maybe, you arent as educated on this topic as you think you are. See #1.

Comments

  1. #1 herp n. derpington
    February 2, 2011

    >its like some anti-technology nutbar is lobbying to the
    >government to stop children from building robots in their
    >science classes, because it trivializes the very real threats
    >of Skynet and The Matrix

    now who’s trivializing skynet?? forgive her, benevolent machine! she knows not what she jokes about!

  2. #2 Tracey S
    February 2, 2011

    My main problem with GMO food has nothing to do with the “safety” of the crops. I seriously doubt if GMO alfalfa is going to be found out to cause cancer or something twenty years from now. However, GMO crops encourage one-size-fits-all factory agriculture, traps farmers into a cycle where they are dependent on the large company and have to buy expensive seed and buy it every year, exposes non-GMO farmers to lawsuits if there is accidental cross-pollination in their fields, and encourages continued moves towards monoculture systems which leaves our food supply vulnerable to a sudden disease attack which could wipe out far more fields if everyone is growing GMO.

    These problems are difficult to quantify and not unique to GMO agriculture, but GMO agriculture helps entrench a system that punishes small farmers who want to grow a diversity of crops, and, particularly in third world areas, encourages them to grow crops that require a lot of expensive input as they are not suitable for the land they have instead of helping them cultivate native and sustain crops for a smaller local market. I realize some kind of GMO technology is virtually unavoidable to feed the world’s growing population, but we need to look at the larger picture of agriculture as opposed to whether a specific GMO is “good” or “bad”. That only distracts from the very real problems, just as the anti-vax movement distracts from the very real problem of autism’s causes and finding successful treatments.

  3. #3 ERV
    February 2, 2011
  4. #4 rfguy
    February 2, 2011

    “I am also concerned that practical classes erode the time spent imparting knowledge of biology,”

    That’s got to be one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in a long time. Where’s Francis Bacon when you need him?

    -mark.

  5. #5 Caudoviral
    February 2, 2011

    “I am also concerned that practical classes erode the time spent imparting knowledge of biology,”

    Yeah, I also almost choked on my tea when I read that gem. Wouldn’t want to waste kids’ time with doing actual work in biology when you could be IMPARTING KNOWLEDGE. Sheesh.

    Thanks for calling my attention to this! And stay strong against the rising tide of loons.

  6. #6 Mary
    February 2, 2011

    I actually think this helps us too–it displays the clear crankitude of Seralini, plus our allies in other anti-science battles will recognize this for what it is.

  7. #7 Clam
    February 3, 2011

    Have you seen Joe Mercola’s latest? My friendly, local, shredded-wheat-sandal lady sent me this:

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/02/monsantos-roundup-linked-to-over-40-different-plant-diseases-and-endangers-human-health.aspx

    Monsanto strikes again!

  8. #8 flynn
    February 3, 2011

    It’s particularly silly because, when WE did our final year GMO biology, it came with a massive essay on actual case studies and the problems and benefits.

    *disclaimer: dunno if they teach that in the French curriculum, but that’s not an argument against teaching practical skills.

  9. #9 Gabriel Hanna
    February 3, 2011

    traps farmers into a cycle where they are dependent on the large company and have to buy expensive seed and buy it every year…

    If you buy a delicious Fuji apple, or whatever your favorite variety is, and plant the seeds, nobody can predict what kind of apples you will get but most likely they will be small and sour and worthless. In the unlikely event you get fantastic apples, they in turn will not grow from their seeds, and they will not be the same as what you originally planted. This isn’t because Monsanto tampered with apples–this is how apples have always been, from the beginning of time.

    There are extremely good reasons for farmers not planting seed they grew themselves and instead buying GMO seed or hybrids (which also must be bought every year) or patented cuttings. And how can you focus on the cost of the seeds without factoring in the money saved by reduced fertilizer and pesticides, or the money earned from improved yields?

    It seems that people who want to severely restrict the options available to farmers don’t feel themselves under any obligation to learn even the simplest things about agriculture.

  10. #10 WLU
    February 3, 2011

    Though I tremble at the thought of disrespect from the mighty ERV (seriously, I have a craven need for approval from people I respect), Tracey S’ comments echo a similar concern for me. Genetic diversity is important, irrespective of novel genes or not. That being said, I don’t know enough about the issue to know if it’s an actual concern or a pseudo-issue and crave further instruction. The blogs mentioned in the post are probably a good place to start.

    Gabriel, there’s a pretty big difference between an apple tree, which takes years to produce meaningful amounts of actual food, and an annual crop – with annual crops producing far more of our vegetable protein intake most fruits (which are normally sources of sugar rather than fats or protein, with some exceptions I’m sure). Historically seeds were simply selected from the previous year’s crops rather than requiring monitoring and testing, aren’t they?

    I mostly ask these questions in ignorance. I’d like to see both sides of the issue from a science-based perspective rather than hysterical environmental panic-lobbying. But again, the place to start is probably those blogs. But I’m also a big fan of books, anyone have a good one to recommend?

  11. #11 DRK
    February 3, 2011

    What worries me about GMO crops is the unintended consequences. Like the Green Revolution of the fifties and sixties, where using higher-yield rice in Filipino rice paddies led to a net loss of protein due to the kill-off of tilapia caused by the increased use of chemical fertilizers*, I am concerned that GMO crops will have unforeseen results in our ecology and economy.

    An example of this: Bt-corn kills monarch butterflies, a side-effect of the Bacillus thuringiensis that is spliced into the corn to fend off the corn-borer, a voracious pest of corn. It is not that the butterflies feed on the corn. It is that corn pollen, containing the bacillus, drifts to host plants of the butterfly, such as milkweed. Pollen can be blown more than 60 yards from the edges of corn fields.

    http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/May99/Butterflies.bpf.html

    I’m also concerned about the possibility of gene transfer from transgenic to non-transgenic plants. Here is a pamphlet describing in great detail how to prevent such transfer.

    http://ehs.uky.edu/ehs/docs/pdf/transgenic.pdf

    Looking at the elaborate protocols used, it is difficult to imagine a farmer in a third world country doing this. If a farmer uses Monsanto’s “Round-up Ready” alfalfa and that gene escapes to weeds, farmers will be deprived of a valuable tool in their anti-weed arsenal, which will ultimately end up costing consumers more.

    *I am aware that recent GMO rice hybrids have been developed specifically to work with the tilapia in the rice paddies. My point was just that the unforeseen consequences of what seemed at the time like a great thing, increasing rice yield, actually led to problems that meant people went hungry.

  12. #12 daedalus2u
    February 3, 2011

    DRK, worrying about unforeseen problems and preparing to deal with them while solving a known problem is understandable. Not solving a known problem (not enough food to eat) to avoid an unforeseen problem (?????????) is not understandable, it is a tactic to maintain the status quo.

    WLU, essentially all maize grown in the US is grown from hybrid seed which farmers have to purchase every year. The same is true of many other staple crops. The same is true of many organic crops. If not needing to purchase seed every year was such a disadvantage, why do essentially all farmers do it, including organic farmers?

    Nothing is stopping you from becoming educated on these things, other than not taking the time to read up on them. Erv did link to several other blogs that are quite good. You could even go beyond blogs and to the literature. Calling for “balance” when you don’t know what “balance” would look like if you saw it is not helpful.

    Most of the issues that Tracy brought up are disingenuous talking points by anti-GMO groups. They are just like the anti-vax groups. The talking points sound plausible if you don’t know anything about the science. If you do know anything about the science, you know they are implausible or even impossible, or have nothing to do with the issue of GMOs.

    In the case of maize, if hybrid seeds are planted (which is true of virtually all maize planted in the US), new seed is needed every year. It doesn’t matter if it is GMO, conventional or organic, new seed is needed every year. GMO seed that is resistant to herbicides can be planted in no-till operation where herbicides are used instead of tillage to control weeds. That reduces fuel consumption, reduces soil compaction, reduces water loss, and reduces nutrient consumption by weeds. Those are things that non-GMO maize can’t do. What reason is there to force farmers to use lower yielding varieties?

    Fields planted with crops are absolutely terrible habitat for wildlife, so terrible it is close to zero value. What is best for wildlife of all types is land that is not planted with crops, land that is “wild”. The way to have the most wild land is to have the minimum land planted with crops. The minimum land planted with crops will happen when crops are planted that will have the maximum yield. 90 acres at 110 bushels per acre and 10 acres of wild land is a lot better for wildlife than 99 acres at 100 bushels per acre and 1 acre of wild land.

  13. #13 Quietmarc
    February 3, 2011

    I’ve come 180 on this issue in recent years. I still worry that the politics and economics are going to take a long time to develop (and they’ll take longer with all the misinformation and ignorance being spewed out), and I worry about the small-farm-as-indentured-servant-to-Big-Bio issue, but yeah, when I go and look at the science GMO foods are likely to be a huge benefit to us in dealing with the people who are starving world-wide right now, not to mention all the potential medical and environmental possibilities.

    Of course, no matter how cheap and plentiful the food is, we usually manage to find some way to keep it from the poor anyway, but that’s a different issue altogether…

  14. #14 Caudoviral
    February 3, 2011

    If a farmer uses Monsanto’s “Round-up Ready” alfalfa and that gene escapes to weeds, farmers will be deprived of a valuable tool in their anti-weed arsenal, which will ultimately end up costing consumers more.

    And this is a great example as to why we need more education on how the transforming principle works and the nature of genetics, rather than letting organisations like CRIIGEN go ‘GENES boogedy boogedy boo’. Or we need angry zombie Oswald Avery to go on a rampage.

    I could live with either solution.

  15. #15 Prometheus
    February 3, 2011

    My favorite drift is pig weed.

    I’m having it with lunch on Sunday (Chinese new year).

    So the GMO worst case scenario has happened and everybody is freaking out over extra fucking amaranth…..really….amaranth?????

    “Immortal amarant, a flower which once
    In paradise, fast by the tree of life,
    Began to bloom; but soon for man’s offence
    To heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows,
    And flowers aloft, shading the fount of life,
    And where the river of bliss through midst of heaven
    Rolls o’er elysian flowers her amber stream:
    With these that never fade the spirits elect
    Bind their resplendent locks.”

  16. #16 KosherCorvid
    February 3, 2011

    Okay. First of all, this is ridiculous. We’ve been altering plants for thousands of years. Corn looks the way it does now because we’ve been selecting for certain traits (big, shatterproof kernels) that nature doesn’t select for without our help since the dawn of agriculture. Second, it isn’t actually a different issue from antivaccers or creationists or corn-syrup paranoiacs at all; the entirety of the issue for all of these and many other groups boils down to “OMG science I don’t understand! It must be evil!” It’s ridiculous.

    By the way, An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage rather well chronicles the food theories and fears over the ages, among other things. I’m a cook, more than a scientist, but still.

    Oh, and “practical classes erode the time spent imparting knowledge of biology”? Practical classes are what help us form meaningful connections that let us remember and use the knowlegde we gain! I don’t care how many times you read a souffle recipe, you can’t cook it until you know how to use the stove.

  17. #17 DRK
    February 3, 2011

    So, OK, cool, where do I start? Where is the transgenic drift for dummies website I can look at? I’d like to point out that I did not pull my links from some anti-science site, but from Cornell and the University of Kentucky. I had never heard of CRIIGEN till reading this post. Where is the equivalent website, for instance, to the excellent talkorgins.org index to creationist claims?

    If the problem with bt corn pollen poisoning butterflies has been fixed, that is great! Where can I read about it? If gene transfer is not a problem, why isn’t it? Does it just never happen, or what, exactly? Reading the Biofortified blog, it sounds like it is, in fact, a problem.

    http://www.biofortified.org/2011/01/biofortified-on-the-alfalfa-eis/

    You are right, Caudovirus, there really does need to be more information out there for the layman. Just sighing, face-palming, eye-rolling and calling people that don’t agree with you stupid doesn’t really help with the changing hearts and minds stuff.

    All that said, and back to the original point of this post; I absolutely agree that the CRIIGEN people sound like a bunch of idiots, objecting to the kids doing genetic work. How can you learn science if you don’t do science?

  18. #18 megan
    February 3, 2011

    Trying to prevent education and learning is bad, just as uneducated non-tested exploitation and use of new and nifty biotech for profit and immediate gratification has consequences. The things done in the short term for quick DNA manipulation “Cuz we can and we’re smart” is as dangerous as not doing things “becuz it’s Evol”. If it takes nature hundreds to thousands of years to even test and randomly select successful mutation, what on earth do short life span humans think we are doing making immediate untested, “It didn’t break or ‘splode, let’s market it” testing decisions implementing GMO lifeforms within 2-5yrs.

    The mentality of lab scientists such as ERV, trying to tie calls for restraint as luddite anti-science is like saying all similar looking actions have the same genesis or destination. Look they are hacking with a knife just like a murderer, see that means they WILL BECOME murderers! It is as bad as voodoo doctors selling snake oil and complaining people are soul-less with no faith. No one should be unquestioned or not given oversight. Woo science and arrogant untested and skewed research science is ALL bad and wrong for humanity and the planet. As an atheist that is rational and reasonable.

    Logic and science would DICTATE stringent, LONG and thorough testing and experimenting with GMO changed life forms. Old school GMO through breeding duplicates and uses NATURE’S PROCESSES WE ARE NOT COMPLETELY MASTERS OF ANYWAY. When things can naturally incorporate and produce viable progeny overtime and then in environments and surroundings natural for them maintain the balance that is reasonable. Suddenly dropping a whole new lifeform into environments and claiming non-spread or it ain’t gonna do no harm is irresponsible.

    Just like science thought assumed know-it-all models predicted certain aspects of the Gulf Oil spill would be longterm and devastating, NO ONE- not one ocean biologist or deep sea scientist knew there were bacteria that bloom during the rise of methane in the ocean. What do in-the-lab, ‘it’s neato’ DNA swapping biolab techs and researchers know of deep understanding of environmental systems to sit and swear what they do will not have a longterm or immediate negative impact? None. Yeah, millions of years of evolution isn’t as smart as we humans. Glow in the dark genes are cool in any lifeform, splice and dice it baybee.

    “To the best of my knowledge” is all we as citizens of this planet have to go on and trust, JUST LIKE religious sheep for god’s salvation to the pope and your priestly scientific knowledge isn’t omnipotent. There should be liability insurance filed with any GMO patents and use for the possible reckless endangerment of the environment. It’s been less than 10-15yrs for some of this in live use and resulting negative environmental impacts take longer time and at that reseach and surveys to detect it ARE BEING SQUELCHED JUST LIKE THE STUPID PREVENTION OF BIO EDUCATION. GMO baron industries with billions/millions at stake and PAYCHECKS, are like oil barons poopooing spills or global warming. Reading GMO techies wanting to whitewash their possible dirt is as bad.

    [[Of course, no matter how cheap and plentiful the food is, we usually manage to find some way to keep it from the poor anyway, but that's a different issue altogether...]]

    THAT IS THE FIRST AND CORE ISSUE. Nifty techie solutions to mask core problems of systemic breakdown is like feeding fuel to a fire for warmth and then wishing you could warm up the place with no roof or windows. “Oh if we can keep just growing more food by mutating plants and animals and finding more cures we’ll solve the starving sick and poor problems in the world.” I think not. The pattern never changes, the few will have more access to the more food and live longer on the backs of the still sick and starving.

  19. #19 Caudoviral
    February 3, 2011

    So, OK, cool, where do I start? Where is the transgenic drift for dummies website I can look at? I’d like to point out that I did not pull my links from some anti-science site, but from Cornell and the University of Kentucky. I had never heard of CRIIGEN till reading this post. Where is the equivalent website, for instance, to the excellent talkorgins.org index to creationist claims?

    If the problem with bt corn pollen poisoning butterflies has been fixed, that is great! Where can I read about it? If gene transfer is not a problem, why isn’t it? Does it just never happen, or what, exactly? Reading the Biofortified blog, it sounds like it is, in fact, a problem.

    http://www.biofortified.org/2011/01/biofortified-on-the-alfalfa-eis/

    You are right, Caudovirus, there really does need to be more information out there for the layman. Just sighing, face-palming, eye-rolling and calling people that don’t agree with you stupid doesn’t really help with the changing hearts and minds stuff.

    Okay, maybe I could have been more helpful. Cross-pollination between two plants within the same species is a risk. However, I find the idea of some kind of horizontal gene transfer between a particular crop and a weed laughable. Now, horizontal gene transfer does occur in eukaryotes however generally not at the macroscopic level and generally only between predator/prey or co-symbiotes. And it is really freaking rare. It’s not something that is wholly impossible, but it should not even be on your list of concerns.

    Now, about how you should know that: there are libraries, official journals, and even academic programs aplenty. It might not be as easy as grabbing a ‘for dummies’ book or just clicking on a link, but if you are actually worried about something, why do you need it to be easy? If you are concerned about GM crops, the information is available with a minimum amount of actual work. If you are not worried enough to do that work, how big of a concern can it actually be? I am sure that any number of review articles are being published with language accessible for the layman. Hell, wikipedia it so long as you follow back and check their references. Or, if you want to be drastic, why not join the party and get a degree in the sciences?

    There are a lot of good blogs out there. Grad students like me (and our wonderful host) and even some post-docs and professors like to write about the sciences and try to explain this stuff in common language, and the net has given us a great forum for that. And while it is nice, but it is not strictly speaking our job. And it is neither necessary nor possible for us to explain everything (nor do we even pretend to be flawless experts, there is a reason the community relies on peer-review).

  20. #20 DRK
    February 4, 2011

    Thanks, Caudoviral, I really appreciate the explanation about gene transfer likelihoods. Because, in truth, it was my sketchy knowledge of bacterial gene transfer that worried me there. If bacteria, why not plants? Good to hear that is not an issue. The article on this in the Biofortified blog did talk about the challenges of not cross-pollinating other strains of the same species, so sounds like they’re on that.

    Since you are a graduate student in this field, I am grateful for your learning, of which I am borrowing a little, not unlike the way I now call up, on my dumbphone, my friends with smartphones to google stuff for me when I am not home. And while it is certainly not your job to educate random strangers, I appreciate that you did take the time to do so.

    Scientists have to put up with an awful lot of laymen asking stupid questions, I realize that. Just remember; we don’t all ask stupid questions because we are anti-science. Some of us just want to know more about a subject that is pretty esoteric and scary-sounding to a lot of people.

  21. #21 Caudoviral
    February 4, 2011

    There’s a whole host of little differences between the pro and eukaryote worlds. And quite frankly, the prokaryote world is so damn awesome. They can do shit that our supposedly ‘higher’ biology can’t even dream. And one of the big tradeoffs that we get from that is stability. And one of the big drawbacks we get from that is stability. And that’s for a number of reasons (e.g. the nucleus, distinct chromosomes, and just plain multi-cellularism are only a few).

    To get a rough idea, you have more prokaryotic cells in your body at this very moment than eukaryotic cells. These prokaryotes live in an absurdly close relationship with you, indeed, some of your systems are incapable of running without them. But in no case do you start up-taking their genes (well…mitochondria are weird). Generally speaking, it takes a vector (like a retrovirus) with explicit adaptations to introduce outside genetic material into a species’ genome. Indeed, some definitions hold that this genetic isolation is what being an individual species means.

    For the record, I so wish I could just pick up awesome beneficial genes from my environment. I figure that would either make the world much more like X-men or much more like Lovecraft.

    And you are welcome DRK, and I do need to have more patience. I think this is a great example of why what CRIIGEN is proposing is absurd. There should be more and better education on these things at the pre-university level. This should be common knowledge. Especially if you think it is a topic of concern. Arguing simultaneously that there are dire consequences to something and that there needs to be less education on it is textbook for a disinformation campaign.

  22. #22 Poodle Stomper
    February 4, 2011

    ZOMG! Don’t tell CRIIGEN that we routinely make bacteria resistant to ampicilin here in our lab!!! In fact, we’ve done it for tetracyclin, kanamycin, erythromycin and so many others. Surely we deserve the swift hand of justice! Damn you, non-self-selecting bacteria!!!!!!11!!!one!!

  23. #23 Ewan R
    February 8, 2011

    Traditional preamble disclaimer – I’m a Monsanto employee, views expressed herein are my own and not theirs, yadda yadda (Still haven’t macroed this… not sure why) – apologies for being late to the party!

    Tracey-

    However, GMO crops encourage one-size-fits-all factory agriculture

    How so exactly? Current commercialized varieties are certainly targetted to a large extent at large scale agriculture – but this doesn’t mean the technology as a whole is or has to be – to what extent is there evidence that without GMO crops factory agriculture would be more, or less prevalent – and to what extent would the existent factory Ag be more environmentally damaging sans GM crops (increased insecticide use and more harmful herbicides being used – notwithstanding the extra acreage required to meet current production numbers)

    traps farmers into a cycle where they are dependent on the large company and have to buy expensive seed and buy it every year

    No, it doesn’t – farmers choose to buy the seed, they can choose not to buy the seed – the price difference on the seed is a value share pricing whereby the company selling it (be that Monsanto, Pioneer, Syngenta, or Joe the breeder who happens to license the RR trait for his lines) takes a cut of the money the farmer makes/saves by using the product – as soon as the extra cost of seed isn’t covered by the extra income that seed provides then farmers won’t pay for it.

    exposes non-GMO farmers to lawsuits if there is accidental cross-pollination in their fields

    Except that it doesn’t – there are no cases of non-GMO farmers having suit farmed against them for accidental cross pollination/presence without some act by the farmer selecting for the trait and having it present in quantities that could not possibly be accidental (although there is a bizarre case in Australia where an organic farmer had his status revoked due to the presence of GMO canola plants in a waterway passing through his land – more bizarre was that he didn’t even grow fracking Canola – although this seems more indicative of the level of crazy involved in organic certification than being an evil of GMOs)

    and encourages continued moves towards monoculture systems which leaves our food supply vulnerable to a sudden disease attack which could wipe out far more fields if everyone is growing GMO

    Except that it doesn’t – GM traits are inserted into (or introgressed into to be a little more accurate)diverse germplasm, there is not one RR corn, one RR soy, one RR cotton – there are hundreds of each – it may be true in the first year or so of release that a very limited germplasm set has the trait – but this isn’t massively important as you don’t get 100% coverage in a single season – not even close (as Monsanto found out rather to their detriment when smartstax acreage didn’t quite meet expectations in the first year of release (and these expectations were far from 100% coverage)) and more and more germ is added to the mix every subsequent year (and not just Monsanto germ, traits are licensed broadly in the seed industry so even if the accusation was that a single company doesn’t have diverse germplasm (which is silly) is laid at the feet of GMOs it literally doesn’t make a difference.

    ERV

    *heavy sigh*

    Apologies for carrying on the utterly tangential conversation! I shall however… continue…

    WLU

    Genetic diversity is important, irrespective of novel genes or not. That being said, I don’t know enough about the issue to know if it’s an actual concern or a pseudo-issue and crave further instruction.

    See above.

    Historically seeds were simply selected from the previous year’s crops rather than requiring monitoring and testing, aren’t they?

    For row crops in the US this trend pretty much went away in the 1940′s – this is rather congruent with the massive upspike in yields seen in same crops (hybrids are bought again every year and have been for quite some time ™) – although not wholly explicable by hybrids – there was a rather large amount of ammonium nitrate that the US government had to offload what with not having to produce as many bombs – that helped a bunch too.

    megan –

    If it takes nature hundreds to thousands of years to even test and randomly select successful mutation, what on earth do short life span humans think we are doing making immediate untested, “It didn’t break or ‘splode, let’s market it” testing decisions implementing GMO lifeforms within 2-5yrs.

    The life span of your average hybrid is 5-10 years – should we be scared of these too? After all it takes nature hundreds of thousands of years to do what those hubris fueled plant breeders think they can do in 2-5 years (also the impementation of a GMO is an approximate 10 year process, not 2-5, particularly when it’s more complex than a nice easy binary trait like herbicide tolerance or insect resistance)

    Woo science and arrogant untested and skewed research science is ALL bad and wrong for humanity and the planet. As an atheist that is rational and reasonable.

    Woo statements about things being untested and having skewed research is bad and wrong for humanity and the planet.

    Logic and science would DICTATE stringent, LONG and thorough testing and experimenting with GMO changed life forms. Old school GMO through breeding duplicates and uses NATURE’S PROCESSES WE ARE NOT COMPLETELY MASTERS OF ANYWAY.

    Oooh sniny – alternating random capitalized statements, always a sign of a well reasoned arguement. On what grounds do logic and science dictate long and thorough testing (how long, and how thorough? I’m pretty sure the scientific consensus is that relatively short term studies are sufficient to look at toxicological differences (90 day feeding studies) but do note that there are multi-generational studies also (which come to exactly the same conclusions as the 90 day studies) – do we require 100 generations? Sample sizes in the thousands? What exactly?

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