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Author Topic: Can the bacteria used to make GM crops trigger disease outbreaks?  (Read 4938 times)

Sue Berlach

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Sue Berlach asked the Naked Scientists:

As stated in your article, genetic modification (GM) of plants is often (or always?) done using bacteria.

So is it possible the recent outbreaks of disease in the USA from bacteria in various vegetables - most recently tomatoes, also onions and lettuce previously - is a result of the GM process?

The companies, eg Monsanto, that make GM seeds would not say if it were. Is it possible?

What do you think?


 

Offline StevenJack

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I read this topic.I think it is not possible the recent outbreaks of disease in the USA from bacteria in various vegetables.
newbielink:http://www.yishanteashop.com [nonactive]
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newbielink:http://www.yishanteashop.com [nonactive]

 

Offline LeeE

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It can't be proved to be impossible - It can only be shown to be extremely unlikely.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_proof
 

Offline rosalind dna

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Isn't Genetic Modification in crops one of the many causes for
the country's wildlife dieing off.

Like the insects die so no food for the birds then no food for their young so no way of pollenationg the plants etc

also it can takes at least 10 - 20 years for the GM insectide to go out of the earth/soil so in fact it gets into the water then
obviously into Human foods. .......
 

Offline Bored chemist

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"Isn't Genetic Modification in crops one of the many causes for
the country's wildlife dieing off."
Rosalind, you live in the UK where no genetically modified crops are grown (except in tiny experiemntal plots). How could something that isn't here be responsible for anything?
http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/gm/crops/faq.htm

The biggest use of GM pesticides is the bt toxin in cotton. The toxin is a naturally occuring compound and is fully biodegradeable and of low toxicity to mammals (unlike the heavy metals that are deemed "organic" by the soil association).

Here's a site with some more info (though I have to say I think they are a bit keen on the stuff)
http://www.bt.ucsd.edu/index.html
 

Offline rosalind dna

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"Isn't Genetic Modification in crops one of the many causes for
the country's wildlife dieing off."
Rosalind, you live in the UK where no genetically modified crops are grown (except in tiny experiemntal plots). How could something that isn't here be responsible for anything?
http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/gm/crops/faq.htm

The biggest use of GM pesticides is the bt toxin in cotton. The toxin is a naturally occuring compound and is fully biodegradeable and of low toxicity to mammals (unlike the heavy metals that are deemed "organic" by the soil association).

Here's a site with some more info (though I have to say I think they are a bit keen on the stuff)
http://www.bt.ucsd.edu/index.html


BC yes that is right that the UK does not have any GM crops now in
2008 but I have looked at the DEFRA site and as of next year
the UK will have GM oilseed rape and GM maize growing commercially.

I had to look for that it has not been on the news
http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/gm/crops/faq.htm
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Whatever happens next year it cannot be responsible for any problems with wildlife now (unless they have time machines).
GM crops have been grown in large quantities elsewhere in the world for years without any great problems. What would be the point of continuing to deny our farmers the advantages of these crops?
 

Offline LeeE

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Personally, I don't think that a couple of decades is long enough to prove (to reasonable limits) the safety of GM crops, either to humans or other fauna and flora.  In my opinion, it needs to be tested over several (human) generations before being introduced in to our food chain.  Just because we can't see anything wrong with it now doesn't make it safe and there have been too many examples in the recent past where science has got it wrong and things that once seemed like a good idea turn out to have long-term or unforeseen problems e.g. asbestos, thalidomide, lead in petrol, radioactive paint on watch faces etc.

GM crops are a good idea, but they're being rushed in too quickly and primarily to turn a profit rather than for the benefit of humankind.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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You might be right but I think a few decades is about right. Asbestos was known to be dangerous, even in ancient Rome. Thalidomide was only  on the market for about 7 years. Lead in petrol was in widespread use for something like 60 years, but even at the outset it was known to be toxic. Radium paints were patented in about 1915; within 10 years they were known to be dangerous but they kept on making them.

Pepople take risks if they see benefits (even so trivial as glow in the dark light switches). At least in the case of GM crops there have been deliberate attempts to find out if they are harmful. That never really happened with the other products you mentioned.
 

blakestyger

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They only use the bacteria to propagate the genes - this is because you can get a generation every 20 mins.
It's the genes they use not the bacteria.
 

Offline rosalind dna

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Monsanto's Roundup Pesticide was also used as mustard gas in
the first world war. now that is SCAREY

Also when the GM crops were tested in the Uk then the wildlife
were severely diminished. Even around Organic farms.
 

blakestyger

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Monsanto's Roundup Pesticide was also used as mustard gas in
the first world war. now that is SCAREY.

Are you sure - have you got a source for this?
 

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