This scares me

  • #26
Averagesupernova
Science Advisor
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If a bunch of GM seeds land in your field, and they manage to survive (without some special fertilizer). The only effect they are going to have is boosting crop levels in the first year, and then due to their inability to reproduce they will just die out and have no effect on the next year. No long term contamination there. Or am I missing something?

Some crops are able to reproduce and some are not. Corn for instance hasn't been able to reproduce well for 50 years. That is not to say if you plant a kernel of harvested corn it won't grow. It just may not produce a very good crop. That is why it is called seed corn and not corn seeds. It's a hybrid. Has nothing to do with modifying plant DNA. It has to do with selective breeding. Soybeans that are Roundup ready will reproduce over and over and over just as soybeans always have been. Going back 50 years to open pollenated corn will work like soybeans. The harvested kernel will reproduce over and over and over with the same results year after year but at a seriously reduced crop yield. Going from open pollenated corn to the hybrid was a huge step in production.
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Given typical farming practices, crops are rotated every year, so anything left in the field due to harvest loss or some (ridiculous) spilled seed, the next year whatever is left is considered a weed since a different crop has been rotated in.
 
  • #27
2,685
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Some crops are able to reproduce and some are not. Corn for instance hasn't been able to reproduce well for 50 years. That is not to say if you plant a kernel of harvested corn it won't grow. It just may not produce a very good crop. That is why it is called seed corn and not corn seeds. It's a hybrid. Has nothing to do with modifying plant DNA. It has to do with selective breeding. Soybeans that are Roundup ready will reproduce over and over and over just as soybeans always have been. Going back 50 years to open pollenated corn will work like soybeans. The harvested kernel will reproduce over and over and over with the same results year after year but at a seriously reduced crop yield. Going from open pollenated corn to the hybrid was a huge step in production.
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Given typical farming practices, crops are rotated every year, so anything left in the field due to harvest loss or some (rediculous) spilled seed, the next year whatever is left is considered a weed since a different crop has been rotated in.

Umm OK, but it is stated on the previous page they are modified NOT to reproduce, and as such, they cannot 'contaminate' other crops.
 
  • #28
Averagesupernova
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Umm OK, but it is stated on the previous page they are modified NOT to reproduce, and as such, they cannot 'contaminate' other crops.

What crop specifically? See my previous post. Just because it was stated somewhere doesn't make it true.
 
  • #29
2,685
22
They are referring to something in India, here is a link to an article about it:
http://paraschopra.com/publications/gm.pdf [Broken]

They put a 'terminator' gene in the plant to make it die after one season.
 
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  • #30
first, it's absurd to be discussing points raised in the film with people who have not watched it or investigated the issues raised therein.

the film raises all sorts of questions around GM foods. Clearly the crops that are unable to reproduce would not be the same products involved in potentially overtaking natural crops. Let's not forget GM also involves animals. Though GM fish are not yet available to the general public (that I know of), they very well may be in the near future. The film raises important issues (these fish are especially bred to eat and grow at exorbitant rates; should any of these fish get into an open habitat, the potential for an environmental disaster is very real-- and there is very little oversight over how these companies conduct business and test their "products").

there are many issues. for example, an organic farmer cannot sell his products as organic if they have been contaminated by GM crops, no matter how small the contamination.

As with every new technology, it's clear that we are overconfident about its safety and our ability to control it and use it responsibly. Time and time again we have been proven wrong, only we are no longer dealing with relatively manageable things such as carbon emission (great job we did there); we're now dealing with very serious technologies, and it seems to me that erring on the side of caution is the smart thing to do.

let me ask you this: How many times can we screw up before we learn our lesson? can we afford to keep making the same mistakes? are we going to be yet another generation that leaves our children and grandchildren with an unmanageable mess?
 
  • #31
124
0
That's correct. I previously held the opinion that genetic engineering was probably a benefit -- why else would they be doing it?

I didn't realize things like:

* Genetically modified seeds are driven around in large trucks, seeds blow out and contaminate the crops of farmers who are trying NOT to grow GM crops. Then, because the GM seeds are patented, the farmers are sued into bankruptcy and lose ownership of their crops.

* There are a lot of weird GM crops being grown around in secret locations, which have dangerous mutations, but since the locations are secret farmers cannot locate far away to prevent cross-contanination

* Genetically modified foods have not been tested for safety, the government won't fund research to test the foods, and instead the "testing" is highly biased and funded by the same companies who produce the GM food. The only reason they do this is to prevent other people from testing it, so that they can claim it's already been tested, and is safe..when in fact it is not. At the same time, the CEO of companies are saying things like, "It's not our job to make sure it's safe, we just sell the ****."

* GM plants have no health benefits, and some have known toxic effects...yet they are not labeled

The list just goes on and on

Point by point.

* Get better trucks. This isn't an argument against GM crops -- it's an argument their trucks suck.

* Please provide references. This is a very bold claim.

* 0:25 on addresses your point.

* Genetically modified plants have saved countless lives. I consider keeping millions of people from dying a rather formidable health benefit.

Also, watch this:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=2bc_1210627581 Watch 2:16 - on if nothing else

I'm not an expert in this area, but these arguments seem shaky. Seriously, watch from 2:16 on from the last video I posted; to me, this is the strongest argument for using genetically engineered crops.
 
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  • #32
ibnsos
Umm OK, but it is stated on the previous page they are modified NOT to reproduce, and as such, they cannot 'contaminate' other crops.

They do still contaminate through polination. Cross polination is one the main reasons many plants, corn included, do terrible season after season and why there are charts with distances to space fields to avoid it. If I have a field of heirloom corn and it gets pollinated by your hybrid corn (corn is wind polinated) then my corn is shot and I wont be able to use it for next years crop. This was one of the main complaints of many farmers that had spent decades developing their corn seeds since Montasanto wasn't letting others know where they had their hybrids growing there was no way to protect crops.
 
  • #33
490
2
Point by point.
* Get better trucks. This isn't an argument against GM crops -- it's an argument their trucks suck.

Uh..no. That's like saying a computer virus is not the fault of the programmer, but the fault of all the people on the internet that accidentally spread it. It's the fault of the person who created the beast, not the fault of the rest of society who can't control the beast.


* Please provide references. This is a very bold claim.

I told you it's in the movie. That is a reference. And if you were to watch the movie, you would get all the details. I created this post because I thought other people might want to see the movie. If you haven't watched it, then why are you even arguing about the claims it makes?

0:25 on addresses your point.

* Genetically modified plants have saved countless lives. I consider keeping millions of people from dying a rather formidable health benefit.

And how do you reconcile this with the information in the movie indicating that GM crops actually cause starvation indirectly?

Also, watch this:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=2bc_1210627581 Watch 2:16 - on if nothing else

Already seen it
 
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  • #34
Pengwuino
Gold Member
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Ok honestly, if you guys want to be serious, instead of going "look at this movie", "the movie explains...", "the movie sexfully showed...", use actual links to respected institutions that actually go about detailing what your arguments are. Otherwise this thread will probably get axed.
 
  • #35
Also, watch this:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=2bc_1210627581 Watch 2:16 - on if nothing else

Their show pisses me off even when I agree with them, which is most of the time.
The BS tactic:
- find respectable experts who are on your side and interview them
- find a bunch of complete nut cases who disagree with you to do the rebuttal.
- get angry.

Hell, even FOX News is more discrete in their bulls**tting.


The issue is not black and white. I've already said I'm not an anti-GM nut. I love biology and genetics and am very excited for its future applications. My point is very simple:
- proceed with caution. even when it seems like it's more caution than necessary. we've been wrong before, and some day we could REALLY screw up.
- never trust a large corporation. I don't care if they cure HIV and have the Dali Lama as their CEO.


the problem of hunger is the problem of poverty and of overpopulation (do you really think our planet can sustain 7 billion people? what if poverty were "solved"-- could it sustain 7 billion middle class consumers? how about 8 billion? 12 billion?-- overpopulation is a HUGE problem).
and those two problems will never be solved until some drastic changes are made in the infrastructure of our global society.
 
  • #36
124
0
Uh..no. That's like saying a computer virus is not the fault of the programmer, but the fault of all the people on the internet that accidentally spread it. It's the fault of the person who created the beast, not the fault of the rest of society who can't control the beast.
No. If I screwed up and dumped seed, that's my fault, not the seed's. If I kill people by dumping bleach in a water supply, it's my fault, not the fault of Clorox. Misusing something doesn't make it bad. If you want to show that GE crops are bad, provide evidence. People misusing them doesn't make it so.

I told you it's in the movie. That is a reference. And if you were to watch the movie, you would get all the details. I created this post because I thought other people might want to see the movie. If you haven't watched it, then why are you even arguing about the claims it makes?
"It's in the movie" is not a valid source. Try again.

And how do you reconcile this with the information in the movie indicating that GM crops actually cause starvation indirectly?
Again, sources. The movie is not a valid source. If you require sources indicating the many lives genetically engineered crops have saved, I would be happy to oblige.

Already seen it
Then you acknowledge GE crops have saved at least the lives of millions upon millions of people, and without GE crops it would condemn 2 billion people to death. How many deaths have been caused by GE crops?

I don't want to be a tight a** here, and I realize you just wanted to link us to a movie with some claims about GE foods that proved interesting, but GE crops have given some of the greatest benefits to humanity of our time, and it pisses me off when people make unfounded claims like 'they are untested'.
 
  • #37
124
0
Their show pisses me off even when I agree with them, which is most of the time.
The BS tactic:
- find respectable experts who are on your side and interview them
- find a bunch of complete nut cases who disagree with you to do the rebuttal.
- get angry.

Hell, even FOX News is more discrete in their bulls**tting.


The issue is not black and white. I've already said I'm not an anti-GM nut. I love biology and genetics and am very excited for its future applications. My point is very simple:
- proceed with caution. even when it seems like it's more caution than necessary. we've been wrong before, and some day we could REALLY screw up.
- never trust a large corporation. I don't care if they cure HIV and have the Dali Lama as their CEO.

I completely agree with your points. I dislike Penn and Teller's somewhat dishonest representation of the opposite side they're arguing for, though I generally think they get their facts and opinions right. I only linked to that part of their video because it provided some arguments that showed the truth of the matter -- which meant I had to type less. :)
 
  • #38
CRGreathouse
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Were they also sneaky enough to pay off Indian farmers to commit suicide because they can't afford to keep purchasing GM seeds that are modified not to reproduce, and now have no way out?

I think if you seriously consider what you just wrote you'll see how silly it is without any need for me to explain it to you.
 
  • #39
Junglebeast said:
I told you it's in the movie.
As already pointed out asking people to watch an hour and a half video that they will probably need to take notes on so that they can actually look up and source claims for an hour or so afterward is really not very conducive to discussion on a forum.
I watched about half way through and when they started telling the sad story of mexicans having their culture destroyed by GM corn I just couldn't take it any more.
The vast majority of the first half of the video that I watched says little about any danger of using GM plants and almost entirely focuses on the ethics of the practices of Monsanto. Bad or greedy corporations are nothing new and GM foods didn't bring them aboiut.
Its also funny that they continually repeat that GM foods require no testing but don't really support this. They explain to the audience that the USDA is supposed to study the environmental impact of certain agricultural businesses and completely out of context cite a number of cases where the USDA did not require environmental impact reports from GM food companies. They then explain that the EPA is in charge of regulating pesticides and that the BT found in most GM foods is a natural pesticide..... and thats it. They don't even claim here that the EPA hasn't done any regulating or required any testing. The same with the FDA. They explain what it is and that's that. No claims what so ever that there has been no regulation or testing. After this they then go on to make claims that there is no testing done except by the companies themselves but continue to make no actual claims as to the involvement or lack there of by these organizations except to pull out an out of context quote here and there and say that many people working for these organizations have worked for Monsanto.
They also never explain that Percy Schmeiser was never actually held financially liable for the GM canola found on his property, that he was able to get them to pay to have it removed from his property, and that he has no gag order so he can sue them if it ever happens again!

Any way. I have things to do. I'll come back and see if I can't find an article somewhere tearing that silly video apart for you.
 
  • #41
421
1
Many GM food crops have been bioengineered to produce the same toxin produced by bacillus thuringiensis. It paralyzes the gut of insects that consume parts of the plant, including insects that may be beneficial, like pollinators. There is a lot of "we don't know" centered around honeybee colony collapse disorder. If the BT toxin is expressed in parts of the plants that the bees need for food (pollen), who's to say that GM plants don't have a part in killing off the bees?

I'm not so sure of that. From what I learnt from a course I took on biotechnology, BT genes are harmful only to certain insects and not all. I can't find my textbook now, but off my head I remember that when it was used to enhance cotton, it was harmful to insects such as the bolworm which ate away cotton, but allowed some other useful insects to pollinate. I shall give you sources when I find my text, but I am quite sure that it is harmful only to certain insects.
 
  • #42
Averagesupernova
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This needs to move to biology or something because alot of the claims here are complete nonsense.
 
  • #43
18
9
Many GM food crops have been bioengineered to produce the same toxin produced by bacillus thuringiensis. It paralyzes the gut of insects that consume parts of the plant, including insects that may be beneficial, like pollinators. There is a lot of "we don't know" centered around honeybee colony collapse disorder. If the BT toxin is expressed in parts of the plants that the bees need for food (pollen), who's to say that GM plants don't have a part in killing off the bees?

The fact that they've found a parasite causing it?
 
  • #44
mheslep
Gold Member
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Their show pisses me off even when I agree with them, which is most of the time.
The BS tactic:
- find respectable experts who are on your side and interview them
- find a bunch of complete nut cases who disagree with you to do the rebuttal.
- get angry.

Hell, even FOX News is more discrete in their bulls**tting.


The issue is not black and white. I've already said I'm not an anti-GM nut. I love biology and genetics and am very excited for its future applications. My point is very simple:
- proceed with caution. even when it seems like it's more caution than necessary. we've been wrong before, and some day we could REALLY screw up.
- never trust a large corporation. I don't care if they cure HIV and have the Dali Lama as their CEO.


the problem of hunger is the problem of poverty and of overpopulation (do you really think our planet can sustain 7 billion people? what if poverty were "solved"-- could it sustain 7 billion middle class consumers? how about 8 billion? 12 billion?-- overpopulation is a HUGE problem).
and those two problems will never be solved until some drastic changes are made in the infrastructure of our global society.
Please stop side tracking the GM topic with Malthusian hand waiving about all the world's problems.
 
  • #45
Please stop side tracking the GM topic with Malthusian hand waiving about all the world's problems.

What, about us screwing up major many times before by misusing new technologies? It's called precedent; it's relevant to a discussion. Where's the sidetracking? My last points are directly related to issues raised earlier by other users (like Penn & Teller's video).

That you are unable to see the interconnectedness of related issues is not my problem.
 
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