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Author Topic: What is your opinion of GM food?  (Read 9639 times)

Offline genegenie

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What is your opinion of GM food?
« on: 09/09/2003 09:21:35 »
I was wondering what everyone thought about genetically modified food. I realise that it's a pretty controversial subject and I'm interested to hear different thoughts and opinions.

Sorry if this has been covered, I did a search and couldn't find anything.
« Last Edit: 17/05/2013 07:46:52 by chris »


 

Offline chris

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Re: GM food
« Reply #1 on: 09/09/2003 10:45:18 »
I don't think we have chatted much about GM technology in fact, great idea for a topic GeneGenie.

I think that GM technology has a lot to offer so long as it is used for the right reasons and in the right way and with adequate steps taken to ensure the safety of the consumer and the environment.

My chief concern, which no one has yet allayed, is that we don't have a genomic map of many of the organisms that we are modifying - take tomatoes for instance. We've no way of knowing what genes in the tomato may have been altered or disrupted by the process of modification. For example if modifying a tomato by inserting a novel piece of DNA affects the function of another native tomato gene  who's job is to remove a substance which is actually potentially toxic to people, but this gene is not essential to the tomato, you can see how you might produce tomatoes which contain traces of a substance harmful to humans, yet not know about it because the tomatoe grows normally. If the toxicity of this substance is cumulative (like chickling pea toxin which causes lathyrism for example) then it might be a while before you realised what had happened.

There's a good article by Mark Tester (Plant Sciences, Cambridge) in the articles section. Here's the link :

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/marktestercolumn.htm

Chris

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: GM food
« Reply #2 on: 09/09/2003 13:37:49 »
That's a very valid point, Chris. I know that there are traces of cyanide in tomato leaves. Obviously, there can be deadly toxins in natural foods. If these foods are altered, we could be opening a can of worms that we never expected.

I know we've all said it, that "they didn't look like that when I was in high school." Refering to the maturity and growth of these kids. I've always figured that it was due to steroids in meats. My feelings are, that natural whole foods are the best thing we can consume. I believe that we were supposed to eat them just the way they are. I'm not for modified / fortified foods myself.

Just a thought.
 

Offline Exodus

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Re: GM food
« Reply #3 on: 09/09/2003 15:41:47 »
Anyone see that classic simpsons episode when homer created a new vegetable called a Tomacco? Was a cross between a tomato and tobacco! People would take a bite then go "yuck" then need to eat some more. Was hilarious!

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: GM food
« Reply #4 on: 09/09/2003 17:15:58 »
Homer= genius. I saw that one. Loved it.
 

Offline roberth

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Re: GM food
« Reply #5 on: 10/09/2003 02:38:23 »
I'm not for modified foods either. I also think that the creators of the Simpsons are geniuses. I heard a rumour that James L Brooks is Mel's son. Can anyone confirm this. If he is, it's no wonder the show is so funny.
 

Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: GM food
« Reply #6 on: 10/09/2003 04:04:58 »
Hmmm, interesting. I'll look into it.
 

Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: GM food
« Reply #7 on: 10/09/2003 04:27:30 »
Mel was born in 1927 as Melvin Kaminski in New York City, and James was born in 1940 in New Jersey as James Brooks. Unless Mr. Kaminski was a father at 13, this shatters our hopes of a relation.

So, Mel did not in fact begat James.

I didn't realize that James was 63!
 

Offline genegenie

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Re: GM food
« Reply #8 on: 10/09/2003 04:32:31 »
I wish I'd seen that Simpsons edisode.[8D]

I agree Chris, a lot of good could come out of it........but, we actually know so little about the genomes of these organisms, genetic interactions, transcription factors etc etc. that there is so much potential for disaster.

I recently went to an International Genetics Congress, and there was a public symposium on GM. It was interesting listening to the plight of farmers in some of the African countries and how they wanted to plant GM crops that would withstand the harsh conditions. Those people saw GM crops as their saviour from starvation.
 

Offline chris

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Re: GM food
« Reply #9 on: 10/09/2003 11:19:17 »
In south america (argentina especially), farmers have enthusiastically embraced GM technology with good results.

I think that using the tehnology to help plants withstand brutal conditions and poor soils is an excellent approach and will certainly bear-fruit (no pun intended, well alright, just a little one then). The most important point to consider is that there is plenty of food in the world, the problem is distribution. If, however, we can make plants grow more effectively in conditions that they would not normally tolerate, we are half way to solving this problem. The other benefit is that it might take the pressure off land that is currently being flogged to death with fertilisers and god knows what to boost yields.

That said, we mustn't lose sight of the safety issue, no matter how altruistic our intentions. I personally would like to see evidence that the expression of foreign proteins (animal, microbial or plant) in other plants does not subtly alter the biochemistry of the plant, or its fruit and the accumulation of harmful substances, or, conversely the loss of beneficial agents.

Chris



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Offline roberth

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Re: GM food
« Reply #10 on: 11/09/2003 00:48:08 »
Thanks for clearing that up for me Ians Daddy. I'll let the mates know they were misinformed..it's amazing what can become fact over a couple of beers.
 

Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: GM food
« Reply #11 on: 11/09/2003 00:54:13 »
I still believe several things I've heard over beers. Especially when I'm talking to myself.
 

Offline Donnah

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Re: GM food
« Reply #12 on: 13/09/2003 18:42:40 »
Excellent article by Mark.  He brings many good points to light such as "the ability to decontaminate polluted land by degrading organic pollution".  I think that GM research is a good thing, but that longer term studies should be done before using GM to "solve" problems.  How do we stop bugs from cross pollinating GM and traditional plants?  We can't, therefore we have already lost control of the experiment.

It reminds me of the bovine embryo transfers we did in the early 1970s.  There was some resistance, some even accused us of doing the devil's work, but now it's widely accepted.
 

Offline confusious says

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Re: GM food
« Reply #13 on: 16/05/2013 15:39:24 »
I think it is wrong to interfere with nature, this is not cross polination, but adding a soil bacteria to the plant, we do not yet know if this is safe. I recently returned a soya product because it was GM.
 

Offline wolfekeeper

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Re: What is your opinion of GM food?
« Reply #14 on: 21/05/2013 00:05:39 »
We never know anything is safe.

Many potato species are actually toxic; and I don't mean GM potato, ordinary potatoes bred the ordinary way.

One scientist breeding potatoes took a batch home, it was delicious. Unfortunately he was then violently ill, it was only when he was talking to his colleagues about it that they pointed out he had classic potato poisoning symptoms. That variety is certainly NOT being sold today!

On the other hand there was one batch of tryptophan, a food supplement, from Showa Denko K. K. Japan that was being created with bioengineered bacteria. Turned out that the process created some other chemical contaminants that killed people at high doses. It's unclear whether it was the GM modified bacteria that was responsible or just sloppy control of the process that allowed something else to grow; and the company destroyed the bacteria before anyone could find out.
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: What is your opinion of GM food?
« Reply #15 on: 21/05/2013 18:43:27 »
I think it is wrong to interfere with nature, this is not cross polination, but adding a soil bacteria to the plant, we do not yet know if this is safe. I recently returned a soya product because it was GM.
But what do you mean by 'natural'? Before man came along to modify the genetics of foodstuffs, most of them were practically inedible. Very little of the food we eat has not been genetically modified in one way or another. GM technology is just one more technique in the genetic modification toolkit.

Appropriately selected and thoroughly tested, I have no problems with it. It's not the GM'ness that worries me, but the appropriateness of the gene selection and the thoroughness of the testing. Likewise, I have no problems with nuclear power per se, but I have concerns with specific reactor designs and testing.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is your opinion of GM food?
« Reply #16 on: 18/06/2013 00:27:54 »
There are thousands of "natural" plant species out there, most of which are unpleasant or poisonous and all of whcih compete for ground space with the few species that we eat. I doubt that anyone would market a GM species that was toxic - poisoning your customers is bad for business.

My concern is that a successful GM product could lead to a dangerous monopoly. Suppose I made the ultimate rice, that yielded twice as much as any other species and was resistant to every known disease and pesticide. You would be forced out of business if you grew anything else, because you could not compete on price or reliability with anyone who grew my ultimate rice. So in, say, 5 years, nobody has any natural seed or the necessary skills to grow natural rice. But my stuff is sterile and patented, so you have to buy each year's seed from me. I now control half the world's food supply!   

Impossible? Whatever happened to Betamax and 8-track stereo tapes?
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: What is your opinion of GM food?
« Reply #17 on: 18/06/2013 20:30:30 »
Monocropping is always dangerous.
Yes, I also believe it gives far too much power to a single company.

GMO Soy seeds supposed to be about 3x more expensive than non-GMO seeds, but who is to say that once a monopoly is established, the price won't be raised to 100x as much?  And, the patents will undoubtedly be extended forever by introducing and repatenting new varieties, and taking the old ones off the market.

Some of the GMO plants are supposed to be engineered to be disease resistant.  But, who's to say the next super-bug won't find them quite tasty, and with essentially all seed being genetically similar, the effects could be devastating.

In the case of hybrid corn, I don't know how widespread the farms with seed crops are, but what is the risk of a natural disaster wiping out many of the seed crops, leaving farmers with sterile seeds that can't be planted.
 

Offline shagydeep

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Re: What is your opinion of GM food?
« Reply #18 on: 25/06/2013 10:45:56 »
Hello,
I would like to prefer organic food in morning...
 

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Re: What is your opinion of GM food?
« Reply #18 on: 25/06/2013 10:45:56 »

 

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