Genetically Modified Food Yes No?

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Would you eat GM Foods ?

Yes
18
69%
No
2
8%
Need more info
6
23%
 
Total votes: 26
Dr Raskolnikov
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Yes No?

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:39 pm

It's hard to argue that GMO crops are a danger to biodiversity. What biodiversity?

All the crops we currently grow for consumption in the human food chain are artificial, in that we have used artificial (rather than natural) selection to breed better crops. The traits that crops have that make them better for our purposes include greater yields, greater nutritional value, and greater resistance to pests and disease. GM technology simply enables us to access these traits more quickly.

And this essentially involves either adding or deleting genes selectively. The food itself is dead, and the genes are not capable of causing harm - they are broken down by digestion like any other plant genes. A gene from a fish that has been placed in a tomato is still just a string of ribonucleotides, essentially indistinguishable from any other from the perspective of digestion. Unless this genetic material is capable of self replication there can be no mechanism where damage could be caused to an individual who consumed it.
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Mirthomaniac
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Yes No?

Post by Mirthomaniac » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:39 pm

Dr Raskolnikov wrote:It's hard to argue that GMO crops are a danger to biodiversity. What biodiversity?
The argument has its justifications. We've reduced biodiversity at the genetic level for centuries, even millenia, through artificial selection. However, this is just one aspect of reduced diversity. Clearing land for more monoculture is the big one, I think. While the argument isn't unfounded, the alternative is large-scale famine.

Something obviously needs to be done about the population. Large scale sterilisation perhaps? :roll:
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Yes No?

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:03 pm

Mirthomaniac wrote:
Dr Raskolnikov wrote:It's hard to argue that GMO crops are a danger to biodiversity. What biodiversity?
The argument has its justifications. We've reduced biodiversity at the genetic level for centuries, even millenia, through artificial selection. However, this is just one aspect of reduced diversity. Clearing land for more monoculture is the big one, I think. While the argument isn't unfounded, the alternative is large-scale famine.

Something obviously needs to be done about the population. Large scale sterilisation perhaps? :roll:
In relation to the issue of clearing land for more monoculture, this is really true whether we are talking about GMO crops or standard, artificially selected crops.

But when we come to the great elephant dans la chambre, overpopulation, this brings us back to the... bete noir if you will. :mrgreen:

Cultures where religious belief thrives tend to be those that produce unsustainable population growth. Cultures where women have been emancipated and educated tend to be less religious and therefore tend to produce fewer children. So rather than sterilisation, I prescribe a good hefty dose of education. If only it were so easy!
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
Mirthomaniac
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Yes No?

Post by Mirthomaniac » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:47 pm

Dr Raskolnikov wrote: In relation to the issue of clearing land for more monoculture, this is really true whether we are talking about GMO crops or standard, artificially selected crops.
Of course, but the green revolution made monoculture and optimised crop growth almost trivial. It's the Super Street Fighter II Turbo of agricultural innovations. Norman Borlaug was awarded every honour imaginable in India (IIRC) purely for his contribution to the whole area. We would have monoculture either way, though, that is correct.
So rather than sterilisation, I prescribe a good hefty dose of education. If only it were so easy!
I still say sterilisation. You need a license to drive a damn car, and yet all you need is a complementary pair of reproductive systems and you're all set to manage a child :roll:
Last edited by Mirthomaniac on Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Beebub
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Yes No?

Post by Beebub » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:36 am

Mirthomaniac wrote: I still say steriilisation. You need a license to drive a damn car, and yet all you need is a complementary pair of reproductive systems and you're all set to manage a child :roll:
Are you for real?
Dr Raskolnikov
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Yes No?

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:12 pm

Beebub wrote:
Mirthomaniac wrote: I still say steriilisation. You need a license to drive a damn car, and yet all you need is a complementary pair of reproductive systems and you're all set to manage a child :roll:
Are you for real?
I know! That's not how you spell sterilisation... :wink:
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
Mirthomaniac
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Yes No?

Post by Mirthomaniac » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:29 pm

Dr Raskolnikov wrote:
I know! That's not how you spell sterilisation... :wink:
Post edited. Apologiez for the bad speling.
Beebub wrote:
Are you for real?
Now, now, at times a man lapses and leaves out the details. The sterilisation would obviously be reversible. :wink:
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Yes No?

Post by CairoTango » Sun May 15, 2011 8:58 pm

As a plant scientist, I can totally understand the OP's concern about GM food.

Unfortunately, the (occasionally justified) media scaremongering has overshadowed the benefits of GMOs.

But, its not just crops used as traditional food that is being GMed!

Until recently, commercial GM plants were restricted mainly to modifications that induced herbicide tolerance or resistance to pests but in the last ten years, a huge research effort has been invested in a generation of crops that will allow plants to be used as bioreactors.

Biopharmaceuticals developed thus far have included proteins, viruses, therapeutic serums, vaccines, blood components and an array of industrial chemicals such as plastic precursors. Interestingly, and what more than likely prompted this surge is development, it is 4-5 times cheaper to produce the protein in a plant rather then a cell culture.This is because in contrast to traditional microbial systems, plants can produce a much wider range of stereospecific molecules. ( & to highlight the importance of ensuring a stereospecifiic molecule, just think of the Thalidomide tragedy).

In addition, the potential of virus transfer from the animal cell culture into the protein is mitigated and production can be scaled up or down according to market need without huge investment.

Off the top of my head, here are a few of the therapeutics currently 'in development'.

*A rabies vaccine by Planet Biotechnology expressed in spinach. These plants can be grow locally in developing countries and simply administered to patients as a food which removes the need for the expense of sterile needles and syringes. In addition, some protein-based vaccines can be stored longer when contained in plant tissue therefore removing the need for fridges to keep the vaccines cool.
*Therapeutics that target bacterial and viral causes of diarrhoea, hepatitis B and HIV

*A humanised antibody to herpes simplex virus (HSV) has been made in soybean and is an effective vaccine against the HSV-2 virus that causes cervical cancer

Another advantage is the exceptional productivity that can be achieved by producing therapeutic proteins in GM plants. Alfalfa and tomato can sustain several cuttings per year with a potential annual biomass of 25 and 100 tonnes per hectare!

I could go on for years about this, but I think this will suffice for a first post! :D

I think the impasse might be breached if legislative bodies start licencing individual projects rather than individual plant species.
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Yes No?

Post by Ygern » Sun May 15, 2011 10:38 pm

Excellent, someone who know what they are talking about!
Welcome to our forums, CairoTango.
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Tulip1
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Yes No?

Post by Tulip1 » Mon May 16, 2011 8:16 am

welcome to the forum and excellent post CairoTango
Pope says atheists pick & choose their morals. Correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse & not having a problem with homosexuality.
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