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GMO food a danger?

  1. May 23, 2009 #1
    Ok, someone pointed out to me a list of sources that "seem" like they are the real deal that proves the ingestion of GMO is harmful in lab rats. Unfortunately since this is not my field, I have no idea if this is the real deal. Can anyone verify this?

    If anyone is wondering, the context was when someone also linked http://www.financialsense.com/editorials/engdahl/2009/0521.html [Broken] that GMO food is harmful to your health.

    Anyone have any thoughts about this?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2009 #2
    Have you heard of any of these organizations? No.

    Do mice or rabbits do well on soybean or potato of ANY kind? - No.

    Get a clue -0 these are INTENDED to show an effect and the selction of plant and animal is designed in that manner.
     
  4. May 23, 2009 #3

    russ_watters

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    Putting the word "seem" in quotes and coming here to ask about the subject implies to me that your B.S. detector is working just fine. Yes, you have, in fact, stumbled upon anti-science crackpots who are going after GM food for reasons I can only imagine. GM foods have been around for longer than these people would like to admit and they do astonishing good for the world.

    Now I'm not saying that there are no risks, but the risks that there are are vanishingly small. Perhaps the biggest real risk is the risk of food allergies. When you mix dna of different plants, you may unknowingly end up feeding a person a plant protein they are allergic to. This risk, however, is not substantially different from just not being careful with the recipies of foods you eat (it is actually a big problem for people with peanut allergies). Thus, imo, it is not, strictly speaking, a GM food risk.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2009
  5. May 24, 2009 #4
    "Twelve female Swiss mice were fed ad libitum ona standard laboratory chow (Mulino & Frantoio delTrasimeno, Castiglione del Lago, PG, Italy) containing14% GM soybean (Padgette et al. 1995); in parallel, 12(control) mice were fed on the same diet with wildsoybean."

    http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cach...bean,”&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari
     
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  6. May 24, 2009 #5

    baywax

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    I've found the mother-lode of information on GMO benefits and impacts. All science and all backed with references. Let me lead into the study with a quote on the safety of GMOs. And let me remark that there are more unknowns about the effects of genetic modification than there are "knowns".

    http://www.bfn.de/fileadmin/MDB/documents/service/skript217.pdf
     
  7. May 24, 2009 #6

    Ygggdrasil

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    The article from the opening post which makes the strongest statement that GM foods are harmful (judging from the titles at least) is Irina Ermakova's 2006 article “Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies” from the Russian journal Ecosinform. Although it's hard to tell from the journal's website (http://www.ecosinform.ru/, google translation: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.ecosinform.ru), the journal does not appear to be a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

    Nature Biotechnology wrote a News Feature in 2007 examining Ermakova's claims about the dangers of GM soybeans. The article states that her "findings have yet to appear in a peer-reviewed journal and contradict publications in the literature." The article gives her the opportunity to explain her methods and findings, while also allows a group of four other researchers to critique her study (it should be noted that one of the four is a former staffer for a biotechnology organization and consultant to the biotechnology industry). After reviewing the details of Ermakova's study, the group writes in summary: "The experimental design does not follow internationally recognized protocols that were developed to guide researchers in proper design. The nature of the source material is unknown, the consumption by each animal is unknown and the composition of the diet is unknown. Too few animals were studied and gender differences were not recorded. The abnormally high mortality and low growth rates of the control groups point to poor animal stewardship."

    Links to the Nature Biotechnology article and the letters written in reply to the article can be found below (subscription required). In neither the original article nor her reply does Ermakova cite the Ecosinform article or any other publication when challenged that her work has yet to appear in a peer-reviewed journal. She can cite only a presentation made at a conference (link to non-peer reviewed conference paper also given below).

    Marshall A. "GM soybeans and health safety—a controversy reexamined" Nature Biotechnology 25, 981 - 987 (2007). doi:10.1038/nbt0907-981.

    "Correspondence: GM soybeans—revisiting a controversial format" Nature Biotechnology 25, 1351-1360 (2007). <http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v25/n12/index.html#cr>

    Ermakova, I.V. Influence of genetically modified soya on the birth-weight and survival of rat pups. in Proceedings of the Conference Epigenetics, Transgenic Plants and Risk Assessment, Frankfort am Main, Germany, December 1, 2005 (ed. Moch, K.) 41–48 (Öko-Institut, Freiburg, 2006). <http://www.oeko.de/files/forschungsergebnisse/application/octet-stream/download.php?id=277>[/URL]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. May 24, 2009 #7

    atyy

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    I followed Ygggdrasil's suggestions, and found this comment by Chassy et al in the correspondence section (presumably not necessarily peer reviewed) of Nature Biotechnology 25, 1356 - 1358 (2007): "We feel it is important to stress here that unlike the studies we cited, the reports from Malatesta and colleagues do not conform with established international standards and protocols and fail to document the source, the composition or the identity of the soybeans under study. But in contrast to Ermakova, these authors are scientifically cautious about the biological significance of their observations. We suggest that readers compare the literature we have cited with the three papers to which Ermakova refers and make a judgment for themselves about the effects of GM soy."
     
  9. May 24, 2009 #8

    Andy Resnick

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    This whole thread is based on a false premise- that GMO food is new. Humans have been genetically modifying foods since the beginning of agriculture. We can evolve plants (generally speaking) faster and more efficiently now.

    So, the debate really needs to be in terms of what is different- keeping in mind that 'naturally occurring' DNA hybridization is not unheard of.
     
  10. May 24, 2009 #9

    baywax

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    I think the question is asking about the dangers of what has been taking place during the last 25 years or so, where spider's genes are introduced to embryonic goats or the genetics of crops? Do you have any examples of these kinds of genetic modifications taking place "since the beginning of agriculture"?

    http://blogcritics.org/scitech/article/implanted-spider-genes-let-goats-produce/ [Broken]

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/67114104784q55n3/
     
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  11. May 25, 2009 #10

    Andy Resnick

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    I don't know of any specific examples of taking specific (desirable) genes from a spider and manually transfecting plant genomes, but here's a few examples of genetic modifications:

    http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/crops_03.html

    http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/timeline/corn.htm (from 1965)

    http://www.landscapeimagery.com/tomato.html (1883)

    http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/y4011e/y4011e0c.htm (1962)

    Clearly these are not from the dawn of history either, but the webernets record keeping doesn't go back that far. Again, in principle there is no difference between manually selecting hybridized crops and manually generating hybridized crops. Given that many shared genes appear in species as varied as humans through yeast, what is the real objection?
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  12. May 25, 2009 #11

    Monique

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    How can there not be a principle difference between the technological modifications that can be made now and the cross-pollination that has been carried out over the centuries? Clearly the molecular biology is very different, the genetics is very different as well (I don't think you can cross a pea-plant with a cherry tree).. to play the devil's advocate.
     
  13. May 25, 2009 #12

    atyy

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    No, of course there is no difference. In fact, Andy Resnick's only possible flaw is that his argument is not broad enough. We should consider evolution to be GMO. So the question is not GMO in general, but specific GMOs. By evolution, mushrooms are GMOs. Many are good to eat, and many are poisonous.
     
  14. May 25, 2009 #13

    Andy Resnick

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    I understand. However, I think you would agree that modern genetic engineering methods also do not 'cross a pea-plant with a cherry tree'. The only difference between pre-molecular biology and today is the specificity (and rational design) of the manipulation.
     
  15. May 25, 2009 #14

    baywax

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    There are many who object to genetically modified crops and livestock. Apparently their objections are real... whether the rational behind their objections is sound is another question. Its also apparent that any negative press about GMOs whether science or human interest is poo pooed as soon as its out the gate.

    I think it mostly has to do with the general manipulative and monopolizing nature of the business. Not to mention the fact that none of the "hybrids" have been clinically tested for 5 years before being released for consumption and that transparency of field results among the few companies practicing GM is either skewed or limited. Much the way many trials in science are tweeked to show positive results.
     
  16. May 25, 2009 #15
    Have there been any credible studies citing GMOs as a healthhazard in Cell or Nature? Something I've learned about the environmental movement is too often they will give mis-leading and often dis-honest information to push their agenda, corrupting whatever science they have to in order to get the job done. A lot of people starved to death in Zambia a few years ago because they used these strategies to convince the country's leadership that the donated GMO food was a major healthrisk, despite the lack of evidence.

    So you're saying reputable scientific bodies are corrupt and untrustworthy? That's quite a charge to make.
     
  17. May 25, 2009 #16

    mgb_phys

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    The problem isn't necessarily the GMO's DNA it's the reason for it.
    If you create wheat that can tolerate 10x as much weedkiller then farmers will use more weedkiller, the resistance will be passed onto the weeds and so more will be used. There are health problems in the surrounding area because of the dangerous concentrations of weedkiller - however 'safe' the GMO wheat is.
     
  18. May 26, 2009 #17

    Andy Resnick

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    That's one application of genetic manipulations, certainly. But, so are manipulations to make plants more drought-tolerant, to (IIRC) engineer goats to secrete insulin in milk, to increase yields, decrease time to harvest, incorporate antibiotics directly into the plant (to decrease pesticide application), to increase the viability and lifetime of the seeds, engineer algae to generate Vitamin A, engineer bacteria to eat oil (or poop oil)...
     
  19. May 26, 2009 #18

    mgb_phys

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    The problem is that all the PR releases are about drought resistant crops for Africa all the actual products are Roundup resistant wheat.
     
  20. May 26, 2009 #19

    turbo

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    And plants that produce their own pesticides. Through genetic manipulation, much of the corn grown today produces the same toxin secreted by bacillus thuringiensis (cry toxin), so that when an insect eats part of the plant, the toxin paralyzes the insect's digestive system, killing it. The use of transgenic crops may injure beneficial insects - we just don't know for sure, and information may be a long time coming, if ever. Transgenics may also increase the natural resistance of insect pests, making them harder to control.
     
  21. May 26, 2009 #20

    Any evidence?
     
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