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Are GM seed fears realistic?

  1. Jul 22, 2011 #1

    Evo

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    Or are people overreacting without understanding the science?

    http://news.yahoo.com/aussie-police-shut-greenpeace-hq-seize-evidence-081852648.html
     
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  3. Jul 23, 2011 #2

    I like Serena

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    I don't quite get what they are protesting against.
    What health risks exactly?
    What kind of cross-contamination?
    What is the secrecy about?

    I kind of assume the Greenpeace activists are not crackpots, especially not since apparently Greenpeace as an organization supports the actions.
    It seems to me there is more to it than is apparent from the article.

    This article really provides too little information!
    Can we get some more?
     
  4. Jul 23, 2011 #3

    Pythagorean

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  5. Jul 23, 2011 #4

    Ryan_m_b

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    It's a perfect example of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_hysteria" [Broken] people would rather sit in their ignorance and fear.

    It makes me sick, don't these people realise that most modern crops, cattle and pets are the result of thousands of years of genetic modification? For all those kiloyears our only method available was selective breeding, now we have better technologies and it's suddenly an issue. Not to mention the already widespread adoption of http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/USA._Genetically_engineered_crops_timeline.gif" [Broken].
     
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  6. Jul 24, 2011 #5
    I really don't understand the criticisms of GM food. Do people think it'll somehow magically give them cancer or something like that?
     
  7. Jul 24, 2011 #6

    Pengwuino

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    Yes.

    I'm not kidding.
     
  8. Jul 25, 2011 #7
    It's an overhyped exaggeration of possible health side effects. Sort of like the same hysteria surrounding radiation and radioactivity. While it increases the risk of adverse health effects (radiation I mean, the science is still out on GMOs), the risk is extremely small except in large doses. For this reason, some people say "Any increase is too much!" I usually tell them not to live in Denver (it has a higher background level than Los Angeles, e.g.). The science supports increased risk, but it takes a lot.

    The same holds true for GMO foods, except the long-term health effects of these have not been studied on humans, simply because they haven't been around long enough (well, technically, the big ears of corn are GMO). So, some people say, "They could be bad for us!"

    Now, those who oppose GMO patent issues, such as the monopolistic manipulation by the likes of Monsanto, I can understand.

    So, to answer your question Evo, many people are overreacting. Whether they understand the science or not is irrelevant.
     
  9. Jul 25, 2011 #8

    lisab

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    Re the bolded text: wow, my face-to-face experiences with activists from Greenpeace (and similar groups) are exactly opposite! I have found them to be closed-minded conformists, unwilling to see any other point of view other than theirs. They can regurgitate their script but aren't independent thinkers - in my opinion.
     
  10. Jul 25, 2011 #9

    Ryan_m_b

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    It's for reasons like this that one of the early and most prominent members of Greenpeace Patrick Moore now http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Moore_(environmentalist)#Views". On the subject of genetically modified crops
    It's no wonder that he's now so unpopular with people who believe in the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalistic_fallacy" [Broken] as ardently as an fundamentalist.
     
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  11. Jul 25, 2011 #10

    I like Serena

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    Interesting!
    Just.... interesting!

    I didn't know this and it's interesting reading material.

    I would still like to believe there are people within Greenpeace that care about people, animals, the fate of the world in general, and who do not behave like fundamentalist nut cases.
    I hope they make themselves known...
     
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  12. Jul 25, 2011 #11

    turbo

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    There are many people here in Maine that would like to curb the use of GM seed. Many of them are organic farmers that work hard to preserve genetic diversity of seed-crops, and sell their seeds to Johnny's Selected Seeds, FedCo's seed cooperative, and other outlets.

    Those businesses sell far and wide, and their viability is based on their ability to supply seeds that you can't get in the local hardware store. The local farmers are concerned primarily about cross-contamination, which could dilute the strains that they are preserving and promoting.

    I have an additional concern. Insects adapt really quickly, and the heavy use of GM corn that includes BT genes might make it impossible for gardeners to plant corn without having to deal with heavy losses due to corn-borers and other pests. I already have problems with fruit pests that I can't properly address with natural controls because orchards in this area rely so heavily on insecticides. I am an individual, and can't provide a study to prove this, to please label this as personal experience, but it is as real as can be.
     
  13. Jul 25, 2011 #12

    Evo

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    I don't believe that their personal profits are a good reason to ban GM seed. As was mentioned previoulsy, we have been modifying plants and animals since the beginning of time. Those so called "heirloom" plants are actually extremely modified from the original plants.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato#History
     
  14. Jul 25, 2011 #13

    turbo

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    It's not just a matter of personal profits, IMO. The Norweeds have been actively stockpiling seeds from far and wide, and I applaud the effort, because if GM varieties eventually prove to be not viable in the long term, we might have a bank to draw upon to re-establish healthy strains. Some of the vegetables that I grow are very old strains, and many of the apple trees on this property can't be found in any local orchard.

    I'm not saying that genetic modification is bad, in and of itself, but we need to be cognizant of the impact of cross-pollination, and insect-adaptation WRT to GM crops. These are not insignificant problems, especially when addressing starvation in 3rd world countries in which reduced viability of seed from each crop means that the citizens have to keep buying new seed every year, instead of planting from reserves from last year's crop. That's a big deal, IMO. We can't properly address hunger and poverty by supplying seed that won't propagate reliably.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  15. Jul 25, 2011 #14

    Evo

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    But isn't this more a problem with what some of the big companies are doing in order to protect their patented seed as opposed to just modifying the seed to produce better traits? Like the rice that has added beta-carotene that is so needed in under developed countries.

    This is a really good read.

    http://www.goldenrice.org/
     
  16. Jul 26, 2011 #15

    Ryan_m_b

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    Stockpiling seeds is a good idea for many reasons. However GM crops are all radically different to each other, even the same gene can act differently when placed in two different biology's. It's highly unlikely that if we created batches of GM crops that we would one day find them to be unviable; firstly because they would undergo extensive testing first and secondly it's highly unlikely that all crops would be unviable for the same reason.
     
  17. Jul 26, 2011 #16

    russ_watters

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    Why does one necessarily follow from the other?
    I don't see how one follows from the other here either...
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  18. Jul 26, 2011 #17

    russ_watters

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    While criminal sabotage just leaves people shaking their heads, the most damaging thing that such groups are doing is not even criminal:

    While they're afraid that GM food might be harmful, in an indirect but still very real way, "natural" food causes people to die in some cases, when chosen over GM food. It causes people to die because crop yields are substantially lower with "natural" crops than with GM crops, so when countries refuse agricultural aid in the form of GM seeds, or more directly, refuse actual crops, they cause the deaths of their own people.

    Though I doubt the normal definitions are sufficient to deal with it, this feels like murder to me.
     
  19. Jul 26, 2011 #18

    Ryan_m_b

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    Same here, golden rice is a key example. People who object to notions on vague ideological underpinnings such as "it's not natural" and "corporations just want money" smack me as childish aristocrats patronisingly making decisions for the poor of this world for their own good.
     
  20. Jul 26, 2011 #19

    russ_watters

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    And while we're at it, what does "corporations just want money" have to do with the environment? Is greenpeace primarily environmental activists or political activists?
     
  21. Jul 26, 2011 #20
    I don't know much about GM foods , i would like to make a point here, corporations are here to make a profit ( i am not against making a profit). when you look at larger interest of people, we still have to depend on these corporations (in the case of GM seeds) who effectively control the pricing of food grains. In some countries the seeds are supplied by the government at a subsidized rate. Food price inflation is already an issue in some countries . But i do not see GM seeds solving the issue of price inflation, because they are effectively controlled by corporations
     
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