Greg Laden's Blog

GMOs Are Interesting

The podcast for my interview with Anastasia Bodnar is now available HERE. There are also a couple of links there that you might find of interest.

We focuses on the actual process and science of GMOs and spent very little time on the usual issues. I hope many of you find the interview different and refreshing. Total change of pace from the usual yammering, or at least, that was my intent. Also, for those of you who heard the first interview, I assure you, this time the sound quality is excellent!

Enjoy.

Comments

  1. #1 Beberman
    United States
    March 24, 2015

    Very interesting interview – I could spend a couple more hours learning about how GMOs are made!
    One question I’d like to hear answered in more detail is where the state of GMO modification is currently. Bodnar kept talking about directions that the research *could* take, but not very much about what is happening right now.

  2. #2 Thabo
    pretoria, hatfield
    March 26, 2015

    I understand the benefits of GMO, but how can we be certain that it wont affect the diversity of species in future

  3. #3 tebogo
    south africa
    March 26, 2015

    GMOs are proper alternatives to alleviate disasters such as starvation as they increase the natural yields to balance the earths rapid population however have you ever given it a thought as to why the life expectance has decreased so rapid with years since this technology has been implimented? or moreover the huge effect of interrupting nature as a whole?
    u14169101

  4. #4 Rean
    Pretoria, Hatfied
    March 26, 2015

    15007325 Quite a refreshing point of view with the approach to GMO’s, it was mentioned by the speaker that only taking into account the known information about GMO’s, he would rather have the GMO’s however there is not much research with regard to the long term effects of GMO’s on human health as well as the effect of diversification of the plant species. Taking this into consideration how can one determine whether the advantages outweighs the disadvantages?

  5. #5 Lauren
    March 27, 2015

    I agree with Rean, how can we effectively determine and strategize how positive GMOs are when we don’t know about the effects on human heath and the long term impact on the environment. What about the cultural issues? Some religions are very strict when it comes to diet, I don’t think that GMOs have been around long enough to determine the true effects that GMOs have overall.

  6. #6 David
    March 27, 2015

    I’d be interested in hearing comments about the latest from the WHO:
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-cancer/

    I think “probably carcinogenic to humans” (for glyphosate – one of the largest, by volume, herbicides used for GMO crops) is certainly concerning.

  7. #7 LINDOKUHLE PEARL MNISI
    March 28, 2015

    u15093850 The interview was interesting.It answered many questions related with GMOs.But still the big question is ‘What are the effects of human health and long time effect” , because waiting to see that happen will course huge damage.

  8. #8 Sithole Karyn
    March 28, 2015

    GMOs are in plants is actually for the best , it gives food with more nutritional value, better taste than non GMOs and a nice attracting colour, for example in maize , genetically modified maize turn to have a nice bright yellow colour. Most importantly genetic modification decreases poverty and increase food security.
    15116728

  9. #9 Maria Moreroa
    South Africa,Pretoria
    March 30, 2015

    It cannot be denied that genetically modified organisms benefit the ever growing population.GM foods have a longer shelf life and they are more resistant to weeds and pests.But why cant this technology be implemented in undernourished countries such as Burundi,Sudan or Ethiopia?I understand it is highly expensive but it has to be done.
    14242177

  10. #10 Mieke van Staden
    March 30, 2015

    I think people should stop trying to find a problem with GMO’s and realize that it will be the thing that will save us from starvation and food shortage in over populated countries such as South Africa. It is the only way we will be able to keep our nation fed in the future!

  11. #11 Mieke van Staden
    March 30, 2015

    I think people should stop trying to find a problem with GMO’s and realize that it will be the thing that will save us from starvation and food shortage in over populated countries such as South Africa. It is the only way we will be able to keep our nation fed in the future!
    15012043

  12. #12 Su-mari Hoogenboezem (u15005306)
    March 30, 2015

    I found the interviewe very interesting,alhough i would want to know how much further GMO modification could go?
    Because GMOs haven’t been around long,and still there are already some disadvantages .So how many more will there be or will it only improve for the better?

  13. #13 J van Zyl
    March 30, 2015

    With the world population growing exponentially we desperately need to make plans for future food security. The answer to this problem is GMO’s. GMO’s increases food production and food with more nutritional value is the outcome. I think that GMO’s will improve the quality and quantity of our crops.

  14. #14 J van Zyl
    March 30, 2015

    15016626

  15. #15 tebogo
    PRETORIA
    March 30, 2015

    The Institute for Responsible Technology lists 65 documented health risks associated with GM foods, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, and changes in major organs.they advised patients to avoid GM foods. due to the fact that they accelerate aging supports my point of saying that they are responsible for the decrease in life expectance
    14169101

  16. #16 Brainstorms
    March 30, 2015

    You mean the “Institute for Irresponsible Attacks on Technology”?

    Thoroughly discredited… It’s a denier organization:

    The Institute for Responsible Technology (IFRT), also known as “A project of The Coordinating Council” in promotional materials and IRS tax filings, is a non-profit tax-exempt organization founded by Jeffrey Smith in 2003 and located at his home in Fairfield, Iowa. From 2003-2011 IFRT operated as a project of “The Coordinating Council” – a Seattle, Washington based 501c3 non-profit organization formed by alternative health industry lobbyists Craig Winters from which he operated his “Campaign to Label GE Foods.” Winters worked closely with such anti-biotech advocacy groups as the Center for Food Safety (Andrew Kimbrell*), Organic Consumers Association (Ronnie Cummins) and the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy (Mark Ritchie) in promoting regulatory, legal and legislative barriers to agricultural biotechnology. Winters frequently acknowledged his Coordinating Council campaign goals were to ban all GMOs, and that labeling GE foods would “have nearly the same effect as a ban.” Winters became ill in 2008 and passed away in 2009 around which time Jeffrey Smith took over responsibility for the organization.

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    March 30, 2015

    Yeah, the IRT is not credible.

  18. #18 David
    March 31, 2015

    What about the WHO?

  19. #19 A Korb 15073263
    March 31, 2015

    Since the world population is continuously growing, GMO’s are essential since they are able to increase crop yields for maximum production of food sources.

  20. #20 Sitali N
    Pretoria South Africa
    March 31, 2015

    As much as we would like to focus more on the disadvantages of Genetically modified Products, the truth still remains that this technology has answered many questions with regards to meeting the needs of the much growing world’s population. Its the only way at the moment. Nonetheless we can not turn a blind eye to all the problems that have come with this technology. 15079148

  21. #21 Sitali N. 15079148
    Hatfield
    March 31, 2015

    As much as we would like to focus more on the disadvantages and dangers of GMOs, it is also important for us to think of all the benefits that this Technology has brought forth. The world’s population is growing rapidly and therefore this technology has answered most of the worlds needs by increasing the output of products.

  22. #22 Craig Thomas
    March 31, 2015

    What are all these comments followed by numbers, eg ” 15079148″ & “15073263”?

    Are they required to use these numbers in order to obtain payment for their pro-GM comments?

    The comments themselves are blatant PR, so this seems likely to be what’s going on.

    Should Greg be pleased his blog is being used by people being paid to lie?

  23. #23 Palesa Zulu u15034331
    Pretoria
    April 1, 2015

    GMOs are an excellent discovery, furthermore because it benefits the poor, however, won’t this process of genetically modifying plants reach an inevitable point where plants will be incapable of surviving without genes from other organisms?

  24. #24 Khaya Kumalo
    Cape Town
    April 1, 2015

    GMOs have been created to benefit not only the plant but also the people who consume it. By genetically modifying a plant, the plant will survive in adverse conditions thus increasing the availability of food for the inhabitants. The question still remains, for how long will this method of enhancing plants last?

  25. #25 Palesa Zulu u15034331
    Pretoria
    April 1, 2015

    GMOs are an excellent discovery but won’t this process of genetically modifying plants reach an inevitable point where plants will be incapable of surviving without genes from other organisms?

  26. #26 sihle
    badplaas
    April 1, 2015

    GMO’S are there to solve the problem concerning food within the rapid population growth

  27. #27 Brainstorms
    April 1, 2015

    Craig, they’re UP (University of the Philippines) student numbers. They’re required to interact on blogs as part of their program requirements. They’re not paid, these are not “blatant PR” comments (they’re honest opinions — even though they don’t agree with your OPINIONS), and they do not have to take a pro-GMO stance. In fact, they don’t need to comment at all on GMO issues.

    Greg should be pleased that his site is being selected as an intellectually worthy science blog for students to learn from and engage with the science community on important issues.

    Chill, dude. GMO is not going to destroy your world.

  28. #28 Sarah J
    South Africa
    April 2, 2015

    The possibility of growth of GMO’s is definitely high as we all live in a technological advanced era. Even though, GMO’s have been effective in solving many problems such as food shortages, environmental change and drought, they could cause future long-term problems in the environment and also diseases. Solving those long-term problems with be far more difficult than solving problems that exist today. We should try to solve the problems that exist today by looking at solutions that will not be detrimental for the future. Opting in for the easiest solution, such as GMO is not always the best choice. We should use GMO’s in extreme cases only.Thank you for your time! u15007473

  29. #29 Joshua Ndoli (u15401104)
    Gauteng,Johannesburg
    April 3, 2015

    GMO’s have brought great abundance, towards the eradication of world hunger as well as modifying products to be more resistant to drought,rain and floods.

    But comments #7 and #21, got me concerned with the long term side effects that GMO’s have on human consumption, is their a variable of such cause?

  30. #30 Kay-Lee Avenant
    Pretoria
    April 3, 2015

    Although many people are concerned about the human health aspects with the use of GMO`s, I wish to state the following advantages of GMO`s. 1. Large crops. 2. Withstands pest and harsh weather conditions. 3. Quality of crops improve. Starvation, without a doubt has a greater impact on human health. 15015964

  31. #31 Joshua Ndoli (u15401104)
    Gauteng Johannesburg
    April 3, 2015

    There are food scientist who are taking the health risk into consideration, as well as researching better solutions to eradicate or minimize the negative effect on GMO’s .. let’s hope they make a breakthrough with this phenomena.

  32. #32 Ilze Dreyer
    Groblersdal , Limpopo
    April 5, 2015

    This answers a few questions I had about GMO’s. GMO’s have solved problems such as hunger, droughts etc. The only negative on this is that we do not know what the long term effects, positive or negative, it will have on the human race. That answer we will only have as time passes. I hope there is no dangerous long term effects of GMO’s. the more technology develops I trust we will even more better GMO’s for future use. u15171427

  33. #33 CHAUKE P.H
    SOUTH AFRICA, PRETORIA
    April 5, 2015

    I never knew that animal genes can be inserted into a plant until I read this post. GMO are truly changing the world for the better, I like this one.

  34. #34 MJ du Toit
    Pretoria
    April 6, 2015

    This is so interesting can’t believe it. WOW…. Never knew it had so much positive that came out of it.

  35. #35 Élan vital
    April 6, 2015

    Very interesting interview – I could spend a couple more hours learning about how GMOs are made!

    Beberman #1,
    George bush made GMOs through political deregulation:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLoW-3gaTPo

    After leaving the Central Intelligence Agency in 1977, George H.W. Bush was made a director of Eli Lilly. Future Vice President to Bush Dan Quayle’s father, James C. Quayle, owned controlling interest in the Lilly company and the The Indianapolis Star at that time.

    Bush actively lobbied both within and without the Reagan Administration as Vice President in 1981 to permit drug companies to sell obsolete or especially domestically-banned substances to Third World countries. While Vice President, Bush continued to act on behalf of pharmaceutical companies by personally going to the Internal Revenue Service for special tax breaks for certain drug companies,

  36. #37 Beberman
    April 7, 2015

    Elan, the science and process of making GMOs is much more fascinating than your conspiracy theories; however, there is no connection between your ravings about Eli Lilly and GMOs.

  37. #38 Bennett M
    April 8, 2015

    In response to comment #29 I would like to say I agree with you. As the world population increases less and less ground is available for farming. GMO’s allow us to acquire maximum crop yield on a small piece of ground. GMO’s are the future in terms of providing food to the people of the world.

  38. #39 Imre Laubscher u15014615
    April 8, 2015

    GMO’s are the solution to the global food security problem that we have, but we can’t deny the fact that some GMO’s pose health risks and the rest are yet untested. All that we can do is to continue developing GMO’s, improving them and making them as safe as possible, as well as limiting their impact on the environment as best we can. We have to face reality and accept that we need them, but also that they may not be as safe as we’d want them to be. Luckily for us science and technology is continually moving forward and developing every day.

  39. #40 Heinrich(14124506)
    Pretoria
    April 8, 2015

    With n rapped growing population GMO’s can be the the answer to many countries food shortish. To my knowledge GMO’s have not yet been tested for the long run and may have negative effects in the later future. But for now it is the best solution for feeding our growing population.

  40. #41 H van Eeden 15009085
    South Africa
    April 8, 2015

    GMO’s may be the solution to a rapidly growing population in the area of stopping world hunger and food shortages but it has a potential long term health disadvantage not yet fully understood. It is much cheaper than its counterpart organic foods but organic foods is known for being a more healthy choice. So either pay the price for food free of GMO’s or you might just pay a price with your health in the long term.

  41. #42 Ethanne Liam Soar (u14148898)
    South Africa
    April 9, 2015

    A very interesting post and one of importance when one considers the issues the world faces in our modern day. I really found the interview very as well and would like to know how many types of GMO’s are available today and if more are being invented.

    With regard to the other posts I would also like to if there are any recorded problems cocncerned with GMO’s and if so what are they and what effects can they have on humans as well as the environment?

    I agree that it could be a very good solution to the problem of world hunger and feel that if results show that GMO’s are helping this problem effectively, rather than creating more problems, then we should continue to use them and create more for less privledged countries.

  42. #43 Hayley Wright (u15144519)
    South Africa
    April 10, 2015

    Taking into consideration the benefits that GMO’s offer in ensuring food security and reduce food wastage, but as discussed in previous comments, there are health risks that also come with consuming GMO’s. How do we as consumers know which food products are genetically modified? Are processed foods produced from GMO’s labelled in detail to give a clear indication of what we are eating?

    In the interview, GMO’s are mainly discussed with respect to plants, however, how common is genetic modification found in animals and medicine as opposed to agriculture?

  43. #44 Carl Richards Sambo (u15143351)
    Pretoria (U.P)
    April 11, 2015

    As a result of consumers having the right to know,If or whether the products that they’re buying have been genetically modified. Labeling practices in places like Europe have been implemented,to enable the consumers to know whether they are buying GMOs or organic/conventional products.Which in turn have to be well implemented in terms of planning and regulations with regards to legal practices,so Yes they are labelled in detail.In my opinion Genetic modification is more common in plants than anything else.

  44. #45 Carl Richards Sambo (u15143351)
    Pretoria (U.P)
    April 11, 2015

    With regards to the ethical issues behind genetic modification,should one look into that aspect a lot when considering a career in genetic engineering? How is it that GMOs have future threats that cannot be scientifically described? And why are GMOs so expensive if they were introduced to combat/reduce poverty and famine? but with all that being said or rather “asked” am I wrong in feeling that GMOs have a more beneficial rather than detrimental effect towards agricultural activities as well as economic and social activities?

  45. #46 Kunaal Kalyan (u15092977)
    South Africa
    April 11, 2015

    Although it is clear that GM crops are beneficial to us, in the sense that it gives an increased yield which offers a solution to hunger and malnutrition problems around the world; or by helping to protect or preserve the environment by reducing the usage of pesticides, it is important to take into account the disadvantages as well. The major concerns centre around the fact that there are possible long-term effects or health risks to humans, as well as the concern that there is a possibility of reducing genetic diversity. Another concern is the cost factor. GM crops are extremely costly to produce and it requires highly skilled workers working with expensive equipment. This means that the countries that really suffer from food shortages won’t be able to benefit from GM crops. There are also ethical issues which need to be taken into consideration. As mentioned above, people have a right to know whether the food they are eating is a result of GM production or not. Also, does man have the right to change the course of nature? Bottom line is, further studies are required to asses the potential risks, even though the benefits are promising at the moment.

  46. #47 Kunaal Kalyan (u15092977)
    South Africa
    April 11, 2015

    Although it is clear that GM crops are beneficial to us, in the sense that it gives an increased yield which offers a solution to hunger and malnutrition problems around the world; or by helping to protect or preserve the environment by reducing the use of pesticides, it is important to take into account the disadvantages as well. The major concerns centre around the fact that there are possible long-term effects or health risks to humans, as well as the concern that there is a possibility of reducing genetic diversity. Another concern is the cost factor. GM crops are extremely costly to produce and it requires highly skilled workers working with expensive equipment. This means that the countries that really suffer from food shortages won’t be able to benefit from GM crops. There are also ethical issues which need to be taken into consideration. As mentioned above, people have a right to know whether the food they are eating is a result of GM production or not. Also, does man have the right to change the course of nature? Bottom line is, further studies are required to asses the potential risks, even though the benefits are promising at the moment.

    u15092977

  47. #48 u15145931
    April 12, 2015

    Interesting information, can grow and the phenomena myself without any qualified skills

  48. #49 u15145931
    April 12, 2015

    and use the phenomena myself

  49. #50 Tebogo u14169101
    pretoria
    April 13, 2015

    that is exactly my point Kunaal. we cannot ignore the risks that come with it, however as Imbre said as scientists we need to make GMOs more safer

  50. […] See: GMOs Are Interesting […]

  51. […] See: GMOs Are Interesting […]

  52. #53 Johannes
    Pretoria
    April 15, 2015

    It is true that some GMO’s do have a negative effect on the environment, but I believe that it can also be a great positive if we use it right and if it is controlled.

  53. #54 Johannes
    Pretoria
    April 15, 2015

    If we were to put more money into the research of GMO’s, could we not drastically reduce the negative impacts?

  54. #55 ConradiePJ-u15018050
    University of Pretoria
    April 15, 2015

    Although it is an undeniable fact that certain GMO’s have a negative impact on the eco-sistem and living organisms, we cannot argue that world hunger would have been far worse without it. When a person is starving would he/she really care if the food that he/she is given is genetically modified or not, and if it will have a negative impact on them in 20 years ?

  55. #56 Johannes
    Pretoria
    April 15, 2015

    15055940

  56. #57 T Venter (u15030190)
    Pretoria
    April 15, 2015

    GMO’s are definitely a massive scientifically breakthrough and would be a advantage for sustaining life

  57. #58 Andre Kolver
    Pretoria
    April 16, 2015

    GMO especially plants definitely has a big influence on our future. These plants are less effected by drought and several plant diseases which make it easier for farmers to produce, this being said plants are also being modified to produce a bigger yield and also have a better nutritional value than unmodified plants. These genetically modified plants may hold the key to secure our food resources in the future.

  58. #59 Charne Coetzer
    Pretoria
    April 16, 2015

    This is a very interesting article and although I do agree with the fact that the negative implications of GMOs should be taken into consideration it is an aspect on which scientists can work to ensure that minimal harm is done to humans eating GM food.
    In the long run GM crops will be the answer to feeding countries where the hunger rate is increasing every year because however one sees it GM food is still better than no food at all.
    14010926

  59. #60 Greyling N
    April 16, 2015

    Even though some people are scared of GMO ‘ s and what dangers they might hold for us I think it is a great way to solve the food crisis by increasing food production to be able to keep up with the increasing population. A lot of different organisms can be modified for a lot of different characteristics that can help us in a lot of different ways. I also find the process by which GMO ‘ S are produced very interesting.

    15063382

  60. #61 Tebogo u14169101
    pretoria
    April 17, 2015

    That is true, someone would not really check as to weather the food is labeled GMO or not if hunger is on their sight however the fact still remains the impact will be upon them in the long run @comment 55

  61. #62 S.P Mkhize
    April 17, 2015

    GM organisms are definitely interesting, as someone who is extremely captivated by anything involving genes I find that modifying crops through artificial selection supplies insight into where genetic engineering is going thus far. GM foods are becoming more and more common in super markets as they are selected to be the tastiest and most nutritious. There is no doubt that this modification decreases genetic variation in the environment but in the long run the skills learned from modifying these genes can help other scientists uncover other effective ways to utilise DNA for human benefit.

  62. #63 Gontse M.
    April 17, 2015

    I have heard that Genetically Modified Foods are having a negative effect on our hormones, meaning, eating these foods lowers the age at which a girl gets her first menstrual cycle, is that true?
    (u15044204)

  63. #64 Shiela Waters
    April 18, 2015

    But if GMOs are harmful why allow them on our shelves? I saw a picture on the internet of a worker spraying the crops with pesticides wearing masks, how could we eat something those consider harmful?

  64. #65 Terence H.
    Middleburg
    April 18, 2015

    As long as our people are being fed, you should not be questioning how it is being done, we should be appreciative.

  65. #66 sinon Mohavia(15066704)
    April 18, 2015

    that is an helpful plan that could help humanity but isn’t GMOs a ticking bomb that could explode later and bing many disease or disadvantage to earth?

  66. #67 Chiangjieh ARM (14295522)
    April 18, 2015

    I think GMOs are the main causative agents for cancer. It’s no coincidence that cancer was prevalence in the dawn of GMOs foods. Things will only get worst with the increase in technology.

  67. #68 ayiik
    April 18, 2015

    GMOs, the main causes of diseases in our society.

  68. #69 gatgek
    April 18, 2015

    but, history has shown that health among individuals has improve with advent in technological especially the introduction GMOs foods.

  69. #70 Jacqueline Maphutha
    Midrand
    April 19, 2015

    GMOs are quite a controversial topic in the science community as the bioethics committee does not approve of the use of GMOs as no research has shown what the long-term effects of GMOs are on human-beings however GMOs are a great way to ensure that people do not die of starvation simply because they live in dry, arid regions where the possibility of crop growth is simply impossible. I believe that GMOs will save many people on Earth. Science is there to enhance our lives not destroy them.

  70. #71 Jacqueline Maphutha
    Midrand
    April 19, 2015

    GMOs post #70 is u15036945

  71. #72 Carl
    PTA
    April 19, 2015

    Testing

  72. #73 tebogo u14169101
    pretoria
    April 19, 2015

    to show that GMOs have an effect on our hormones, in countries such as France and Germany have banned their production

  73. #74 ja
    texas
    May 18, 2015

    Senor Laden, Curious why you believe Jeffrey Smith and The Institute for Responsible Technology are not credible.

    If one looks beyond reductionist thinking, it seems clear that genetic engineering is interesting yet highly problematic.

    Will check back w you as possible.

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