Mod+ Discussion - Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe? Should they be labeled?

Should GMO foods be labeled?

  • Yes

    Votes: 18 78.3%
  • No

    Votes: 1 4.3%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 4 17.4%

  • Total voters
    23
Just came across this on my twitter feed:

Scientists to begin revolutionary CRISPR trial on humans
https://pionic.org/scientists-to-begin-revolutionary-crispr-trial-on-humans
Although she isn't the most charismatic speaker, this TED talk is a good quick intro to the CRISPR tech:
https://www.ted.com/talks/ellen_jorgensen_what_you_need_to_know_about_crispr

Also, not CRISPR in this story but gene editing already saving human lives - https://www.newscientist.com/articl...ved-the-lives-of-two-children-with-leukaemia/
 
From the horse's mouth:

http://www.monsanto.com/products/pages/monsanto-agricultural-seeds.aspx
http://www.monsanto.com/products/pages/roundup-ready-xtend-crop-system.aspx



This is basically recognizes the fact that increased use of herbicides has caused a surge of resistant weeds, which "require further tools", i.e. more manipulation. Gee, what a surprise, a predictably unpredictable response from nature, which one is almost always guaranteed to get!

Clearly the two issues are directly related whether, or not, non-GMO farmers use herbicides. The introduction of GMO technology has altered the behavior around already existing herbicide-use, for the worse in my humble opinion.
I would agree that GE glyphosate resistant crops are one factor in the increased herbicide (glyphosate) use since farmers no longer have to be careful to avoid getting the product on the crop itself. There are other factors of course such as Monsanto's patent on glyphosate expiring in 2000, which created a bunch of competition in the market and led to price decreases so some farmers that used glyphosate sparingly before suddenly were using more of it because the economics made more sense. The issue of weed resistance has been a major issue ever since herbicides were developed and used and would be an issue with or without GE crops; however, I agree that GE crops have contributed to a wider range of resistant weeds that require more concentrated amounts of glyphosate or additional sprayings throughout the season. Furthermore, we shouldn't turn a blind eye to the excessive use of glyphosate on a non-commercial level; that is, homeowners and golf courses and equestrian centers and municipalities use TONS of glyphosate to manage weeds - so it's being applied everywhere not just on our conventional farmlands. Finally, there are studies that tease out the "inert" ingredients from the active ingredient (glyphosate) and demonstrate some detrimental effects of those inerts. So, you can't compare all glyphosate herbicides equally as they are created in different "formulations" - some which may be toxic without the active ingredient!
 
Then, on the insecticide side, you have Bt:



From the GMO Myths and Truths Report

http://earthopensource.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/GMO-Myths-and-Truths-edition2.pdf



Once again, GMO technology is very much related to the concomitant, herbicides, insecticides, etc, where some of the GMO-technology is actually designed around and with these other products in mind, as well as altering behavior on past use, and introducing these products into new areas they have never been in before.
Bt is used in all methods of farming (over last 100 years) and also on the home gardening scale as well. Here's a brief summary of it's use in GE crops:
http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/insecticidal-plants/
 
Alan Watts, on, well, not really GMOs, but the complexity of nature and attitudes towards it:



Maybe my new attitude towards GMOs is .... 'Maybe'.
Thanks for this quote and your open mind....we have to be able to dialogue about this stuff and consider a much bigger picture since the tech is rapidly advancing on so many fronts and the "translation" of the science to the consumer isn't very good. For example, take a look at the 480 "events" in the pipeline right now for GE crops:

http://www.isaaa.org/gmapprovaldatabase/eventslist/default.asp

I mean, when most folks think of GE crops, they think "Monsanto" and "Roundup Ready corn, soy, cotton" and rightfully so since RR crops now dominate the acreage these crops are grown on and the products of those crops are everywhere in our food supply...but those crops are just the tip of the iceberg - this tech isn't slowing down. As new tech in being explored through RNAi or CRISPR, it may be that we don't need to heavily rely on transgenics which is what I find most concerning to people I talk to. Then again, I can see a time where transgenics could lead to a situation where there are no more chemical herbicides but instead bio based ones that work through GE bacteria sprayed on soil surfaces!
 
Thanks for this quote and your open mind....we have to be able to dialogue about this stuff and consider a much bigger picture since the tech is rapidly advancing on so many fronts and the "translation" of the science to the consumer isn't very good. For example, take a look at the 480 "events" in the pipeline right now for GE crops:

http://www.isaaa.org/gmapprovaldatabase/eventslist/default.asp

I mean, when most folks think of GE crops, they think "Monsanto" and "Roundup Ready corn, soy, cotton" and rightfully so since RR crops now dominate the acreage these crops are grown on and the products of those crops are everywhere in our food supply...but those crops are just the tip of the iceberg - this tech isn't slowing down. As new tech in being explored through RNAi or CRISPR, it may be that we don't need to heavily rely on transgenics which is what I find most concerning to people I talk to. Then again, I can see a time where transgenics could lead to a situation where there are no more chemical herbicides but instead bio based ones that work through GE bacteria sprayed on soil surfaces!
Thank you for weighing in on these topics! You are way more informed then most of us on here, so helps the rest of us learn something and keep our views balanced. Always like to read your posts :)
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

More farmers claim that Monsanto's leading weed killer product caused them cancer

Last week, a federal judge in California released internal emails from Monsanto that indicated some research on the safety of glyphosate had been written by company employees. A company executive suggested in an email that Monsanto could pay academics to put their names on papers to lower costs and referred to an earlier time when that was done.

Kennedy said those tactics created dubious research that regulators relied on.

"These studies were not done by scientists at all but were ghostwritten in order to fool the public and also the regulatory agency," Kennedy said.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

I think you're posting in the wrong thread ;)
Well it could also go in the Critiques of Science as Currently Practiced thread, but given the need for investigation of a major corporation in support of GMOs it seems appropriate here.

The original question is whether GMO foods should be labeled, so this question of Monsanto's conduct is relevant. I certainly don't plan to be first at the gate to gobble up GMOs. I'll let Novella try it out.
 
This was very cool ....

A molecular on/off switch for CRISPR
https://phys.org/news/2017-03-molecular-onoff-crispr.html

Picture bacteria and viruses locked in an arms race. For many bacteria, one line of defense against viral infection is a sophisticated RNA-guided "immune system" called CRISPR-Cas. At the center of this system is a surveillance complex that recognizes viral DNA and triggers its destruction. However, viruses can strike back and disable this surveillance complex using "anti-CRISPR" proteins, though no one has figured out exactly how these anti-CRISPRs work—until now.

For the first time, researchers have solved the structure of viral anti-CRISPR proteins attached to a bacterial CRISPR surveillance complex, revealing precisely how viruses incapacitate the bacterial defense system. The research team, co-led by biologist Gabriel C. Lander of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), discovered that anti-CRISPR proteins work by locking down CRISPR's ability to identify and attack the viral genome. One anti-CRISPR protein even "mimics" DNA to throw the CRISPR-guided detection machine off its trail.

"It's amazing what these systems do to one-up each other," said Lander. "It all comes back to this evolutionary arms race."

..........

These anti-CRISPR proteins keep the bacteria from recognizing the viral DNA," Lander explained. He called these anti-CRISPR proteins "exceptionally clever" because they appear to have evolved to target a crucial piece of the CRISPR machinery. If bacteria were to mutate this machinery to avoid viral attacks, the CRISPR system would cease to function. "CRISPR systems cannot escape from these anti-CRISPR proteins without completely changing the mechanism they use to recognize DNA," he said.
I know I talk about nature responding to our "manipulations", but this still blew me away some. Very cool stuff here, but sounds potentially dangerous to me.
 
Probably you could cross post this under critiques of science as currently practiced.

From the article
The accusations are backed by a batch of emails, used in court as evidence, which were written by some Monsanto executives, instructing the staff to “ghost-write” articles and then have some “independent scientists” just sign their names under the “study” in order to reduce costs.
 
Probably you could cross post this under critiques of science as currently practiced.

From the article
We could do with another thread: Critiques of Capitalism and Corporate Greed as Currently Practised.

Btw, I haven't read Baccarat's link but I'm guessing there's nothing about the actual safety of GMOs in it.
 
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