interesting article on GMO's

alan haighAugust 25, 2013

Now I need further instructions on how to post a link. They took away the easy access.

I'd be happy to eat "golden rice". What do you think?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good Morning Alan.

As far as I could tell the page you referred to is gone. But to link it with the GW post you should be able to copy and paste it to the "Optional Link URL" box just below the post. I'm looking at it on my browser right now as I type. Right below that is the "Name of the Link" box. When you see the link in this post both of those will have been filled in.

Here is a link that might be useful: Does this link work? NY Times article

This post was edited by marknmt on Sun, Aug 25, 13 at 9:12

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Mark the boxes you are referring to are there for a follow up but are no longer there for a new subject post.

Here is a link that might be useful: rice

This post was edited by bamboo_rabbit on Sun, Aug 25, 13 at 9:18

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How are the companies experimenting and producing GMO's differentiate between GMO's with biological, organic genes or chromomes v/s chemical additions, i.e. sugarbeets that are bred to forgo herbicide; definitions might clarify and not terrify. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

OK, in the future I will post my message and than supply link with first response. Thanks, BR

People tend to be most concerned the further apart the category of species being spliced on. In other words, in the case of yellow rice, the add-on comes from another vegetable. That is not too hard to swallow.

For BT corn it involves splicing a bacteria to the corn (maybe a bit scarier). Splicing some animal DNA onto a plant begins to seem the stuff of futuristic nightmares. Also, moving around neurological DNA could get extremely strange and horrifying (let's breed a race of slave raccoon- highly intelligent but submissive).

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 10:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It looks like a marketing gimmick. The golden is from beta carotene. Beta carotene is plentiful in poor people's diets, maybe not in the US, but any subsistence farmer eats leaves or underground vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.). Their beta carotene intake is already very high. The reason they are deficient is that they can not absorb it, since it is fat soluble and their diet is severely fat deficient. It is the reason why we dress salads with olive oil.

They would be helped far more by small daily portions of high quality fat. For example, black soldier fly larvae, which grow solely on any manure, and are self harvested and self purged. yes, BSF would also fix iron and zinc deficiencies, which are as endemic as vitamin A. of course, there is no market in the west and developing world for BSF.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 10:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Wow, glib, that is hard to believe, because this rice is not the product of a for profit corporation and appears to be a product to help solve a serious nutritional problem. According to the article the motives are not commercial. Are you sure of your facts?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 11:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I knew when I read this article this morning that someone would link to it here. Give our message board community credit for liking a good argument. :)

The Golden Rice effort to its credit, allows us to take the agribusiness angle out of the discussion and gets us talking solely about the merits (or lack thereof) of the science, testing, and implementation. I didn't feel that the article did a deep dive into the science enough to make a compelling case for this rice.

Education and introducing crops or foods high in beta-carotene was dismissed too quickly IMO:
"He said, too, that critics who suggest encouraging poor families to simply eat fruits and vegetables that contain beta carotene disregard the expense and logistical difficulties that would thwart such efforts."
I'm just not that high on the, "we have to deliver a nutrient and we have to deliver it in rice (because we can scientifically)" slant.

Personally, I avoid rice for the most part because it's loaded with carbs and arsenic. I'm not on a soap box about rice or arsinic, I just do a lot better with less of both. :)

This post was edited by mrclint on Sun, Aug 25, 13 at 12:22

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you take a gene from a carrot and add it to a tomato It is hard to imagine the down side. But on the other hand it is completely unknown territory and I am fine with focusing on hybreding and calling it good from there. I am not comfortable with men playing God. I mean that figuratively of course. The researchers do not see themselves that way at all.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 12:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The article states, clearly enough, that the rice will provide 50% vit. A to a healthy child. Now it is true that a healthy person has a 20-25% carotene- vit. A conversion, but people with nutritional deficiencies are not healthy to begin with, and in fact this deficiency happens easily enough in this country too. I am strongly in favor of better solutions to the food problem, specially solutions that solve long standing, widespread deficiencies, but I do not see the advantages here. I would much prefer just a bottle of olive oil thank you.

It reminds me of someone I know, who went to Colombia with the Peace Corps, helping to plant a much more productive variety of potatoes. Those peasants ate 2kg of potatoes per day, and if you have to eat that many, they better be good. All the new, tasteless potatoes ended up being fed to the pigs, which is definitely a good thing for the peasants (they got to eat more meat and more fats, at least so long as those potatoes were around), but not the intended consequence, neither for the idealistic young man, nor for the american corporation that developed the potatoes. Our food giants have their own golden rice ready to market, too, and that certainly blemishes the message, but regardless, it looks like a market gimmick and a poor solution to a very real problem.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 12:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Glib, you are certainly a man very confident in your opinions, and write with obvious intelligence, but there seem to be a lot of people with the right credentials to analyze the benefits of this rice and have painstakingly studied the various aspects of the malnutrition issues. They've concluded that this rice may be highly beneficial and have invested heavily in its development.

I know that the Bill Gates foundation is extremely research oriented and laser focused on cost to benefit ratios and I'm somewhat impressed with the apparent intelligence and management skills of the founder (understatement irony works poorly on the internet). This foundation has bought in.

You've delivered a very scathing analysis on this project. How are you so confident that your research and understanding of these issues are adequate to speak with such authority? It is one thing to have doubts but you speak with absolute certainty that the people investing in this are completely wrong. It doesn't really add up to me.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 1:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I try to see a little beyond that. This is the type of silver bullet nutritional science that has done so much damage in the West, and elsewhere whenever the Western diet arrived. The things I do not like about golden rice (one or two already mentioned):

1) beta carotene is typically plentiful in the semitropical areas where deficiencies are seen. I will grant you that children should not eat too many greens, but still you have far better solutions in sweet potatoes and red palm oil (there are other tubers). These not only provide macro doses of vit. A (palm oil 83 times the RDA per serving), they also produce, per acre, a number of calories comparable to grains.

2) grains in general are ASSOCIATED with mineral deficiencies due to the presence of phytates. They also induce disease through inflammation of the gut, protease inhibitors, and lectins. I am fairly sure that improving global nutrition includes limiting grains intake. It does not help to alleviate one deficiency if you are going to make a few other ones worse. Polished rice also induces beri beri.

3) people's diets have evolved for thousands of years, and when given a wide choice of foods, most tribes/groups/civilizations do very well. They find ways to improve their nutrition. The problem of malnutrition is a severely restricted diet: vegan, dominated by grains, and very low fat. Give them enough fat, vit. A will solve itself.

4) Enough vit. A does not help if you do not have enough vit. K2. There is a blog which used to be excellent, (you can search for K2 there)

There are two sources of K2: a) bacteria in the gut, turning K1 into K2. K1 sources are dominated by greens, which have much more beta carotene than rice. 100 grams of collards have 150% the vit. A RDA, and they have vit. K1. b) the second is animal sources (the major one). Animal sources also generally provide the fats that you need for vit. A, while they will provide the B12, and the minerals that these people also typically lack.

So you will pardon me if I think of yellow rice as science gone bad. I see solutions that go from better than yellow rice to best. Surely there is a lot of room for GMO. If we were to restore the american chestnut via GMO, our country would get back an estimated billion trees, or about 25 trillions kilocalories per year in high quality carbohydrates. I would even agree on GMOing fruits to counteract the SWD. But it all needs to be done with the whole picture in mind. Since they do not appear to have the whole picture in mind, I suspect profit driven motives.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 6:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

But the rice is the staple in these diets- with what are you proposing to replace those essential calories? You can't just make some drastic instant change on where these millions and millions of people are drawing their sustenance, you have to work within the agricultural systems that are already feeding them.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 7:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I dismiss the premise that it is easier and/or makes more sense to genetically alter food instead of educating people on what to add to their diet or how to grow it.

I prefer my technology to be open source, and my food to be very natural. Bill and Melinda have joined team Monsanto to fight the "world is going to starve" without-GMOs-boogieman, while Michelle is fully organic. The President is still on the fence (like most politicians), most likely waiting for poll results or a directive from where ever it is that he gets directives from.

This post was edited by mrclint on Sun, Aug 25, 13 at 20:39

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 8:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Supplying links on the first post is possible, but not obvious.

When you write your first post and click "Preview Message" the preview gives you a chance to add pictures and URLS. Why it is this way I have no idea, but it sure seems to be the case. Try it and let me know if I'm missing the point here, but I think it'll work for you.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 10:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

One thing that bugs me about the article is that it keeps referencing vitamin A and genes found in carrots & squashes - sounds innocuous enough. But the DNA is from bacteria (doesn't specify) and daffodils, which are poisonous. Maybe it's safe, but where are the studies? Animal studies longer than 6 weeks showing safety?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 12:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Mr. Clint, how exactly is splicing a gene more dangerous than a naturally occurring mutation which occurs in nature on a regular basis?

I consider the tactic of putting a discussion in black and white- you are either with Monsanto or you are with Greenspeace not very helpful. Why would a charitable organization whose funding has come from an entirely different sphere of the economy than Monsanto buy into their "thinking" in a manner that is nefarious?

I can just as well assert that all opposed to GMOs are under the spell of superstition tied to a belief in the benign character of Mother Nature.

Conversely, If I was to anthropomorphisize nature, I could say she despises a monopoly and will not sleep until this human cancer is removed from the planet.

GMOs could be an essential weapon for our species in the war Mother Nature wages against any overly successful species.

Technology, at this point, may provide the only means of the continuing survival of our species and I believe we should keep an open mind to any tools that could help us assure adequate food for our species in what may be a very rough ride ahead.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 5:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This seems a bit more acceptable then the GMO round up ready line from monsanto.

However, a government iplimenting GMO food without asking its citizens is not fair. They are talking about starving people? What about stopping the problem at the root; Political corruption and personal/alterier motives by corperations or some businessmen, and bad agricultural practices. Did you know china is buying up african debt and planting farms there to feed china?

THere is a difference between nature and GMO. Nature doesnt select specific traits in one go. Nature doesnt go deep into the genome and selectively implant genes from another species, genus, or even family. Yes there is NATURAL SELECTION and adaptaion which takes mlllions of years being weeded out by survival. Nature doesnt go "im going to take the beta caratine from carrots and put in in rice"

Tropical countries are different then us. Generally speaking there is enough food for most people, since most are farmers or poor and live off the land. Its the cities that are driving agriculture in the tropics. Even then how can they eat? In borneo almost all the rainforest is gone due to palm oil plantations. Most of asia is rice farms now, which is why they probably chose rice.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 9:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Everything soon will be a GMO. It's natural for man to splice genes, so these most certainly are natural processes. It makes me laugh that somehow what we do is not natural. We fail to look at ourselves as animals. I'm not saying it's a good thing, although I do believe it is one of the best things we have ever done as animals.
Some things animals do are not productive, but natural selection will do it's work, even on GMO's.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 9:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I appreciate that rice is the staple, but people/groups act quickly when they recognize the improvement. I see how quickly my father in law adopted kiwis (fuzzy). They have their vit.C taken care of from November to May. He basically stopped planting other trees, not having a need for six months a year.

I would certainly favor using GMO to eliminate a threat to the sweet potato supply, say, but I think grains inherently damage human health, and one nutrient thinking is also a failure, as this case illustrates where A is addressed but K2 is not.

My mistrust of scientists, specially in food sciences, comes from years of pushing margarine (then corn oil) as a healthy fat, or for that matter building a billion dollar cholesterol industry out of flawed data. They publish peer reviewed papers that discuss feeding spoiled chewing gum to cows, and these papers have real consequences (to us and to the cows), since they improve someone's bottom line. As it is, the CIA handbook says that people live less here than in Cuba. Why should it be so, if not for choices that ignore human evolution, ignore antropological data, and ignore the common good?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 12:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

>how exactly is splicing a gene
> more dangerous than a naturally occurring mutation >which occurs in nature on a regular basis?

Do you know the actual process of 'splicing' a gene? It isn't exactly using a mircoscopic scalpel.

It is done by using viral DNA, because viruses are designed to hijack the DNA of cells. So, every GMO food has been intentionally infected with viral DNA, in addition to the DNA that is attempting to be transferred.

I don't know if there are studies specifically tracking the viral DNA once GMO foods are eaten.

Bacterial genes in GMO corn have been shown to transfer DNA to gut bacteria in humans, which then may begin producing pesticides inside our own guts. It is not a stretch to imagine that viral DNA may transfer genes as well.

I am certain we do not fully understand the mechanisms which make GMO's dangerous, but there is plenty of evidence to support the conclusion that they are dangerous, until proven safe.

There is also virtually no evidence to suggest that GMO's increase yields or are safe to eat.

Biotech have proven themselves totally incapable of containing their products as shown by contamination of neighboring fields and the escaped GMO wheat that was was never approved to be grown. They admitted themselves, they don't know how it got out - so they obviously don't know how to contain it!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 5:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

My point about mutations wasn't that it is identical in process, only that it is just as dangerous. When Monsanto releases a product that turns out to be nearly as deadly as aids, or at least the swine flu I will be convinced of dire consequences.

We all have our fears- how rational they might be depends on perspective. My pet fear is that climate change is going to make agriculture increasingly difficult or worse, perhaps create a sudden crash in our ability as a species to provide adequate food for ourselves.

The relative danger of GMO contamination pales in comparison by my thinking and may be just the technology we will rely on to eek out our continued existence from a less cooperative climate.

I want the technology to go forward, although I do agree it is risky, especially with our system of government that is steered by corporate money.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 5:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

H-man, I agree climate change is more terrifying. But I don't think GMO's are the answer. Indigenous landraces contain much wider genetic diversity and thus better resiliency.

Wish I could find the link to a video about rice farmers in one of the southeast asian deltas. Rising tides had caused the the fields to be inundated with seawater. It was only a few fields of the locally-adapted landraces that produced. They had deep genetics of salt tolerance. The corporate rice was wiped out. The local people are now turning back to their old practices of seed saving and rebuilding what's left of the genetic legacy their ancestors had left for them.

Our best bets lie in a diversity of crops and diverse, locally adapted genetics. The big seed companies can't help but reduce diversity.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Plants such as beets and swiss chard can be easily contaminated by GMO pollen. Pollen cannot be contained or isolated from home gardeners and farmers. They will not stop ruining existing plant DNA until they have lined their pockets with plant patent fortunes.
Poor people will be enslaved by plant contracts with mega corporations. Who will enforce the plant contract? Voila! They will buy mercenary companies. Monsanto just bought blackwater (xe) . Maybe their knowledge of plants will help people? Just look what happened to the farmers in india who signed up for this crud.
Roundup leaches minerals out of the soil....there is an epidemic of roundup resistant weeds requiring supplemental herbicides.
They want to make the cassava plant GMO. There is no better way to destroy a people than to take away their self sufficiency. This is exactly the plan.....

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 8:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Yuk, I would take a natural, already existing variety over a genetically engineered one that provided similar benefits any day.

The fact that there was an old variety with resistance to salt water is a good point and I appreciate your concern that breeding is being driven by a quest for patents and financial rewards, but that is the main driving force of technology in general and you have to take the bad aspects with the good.

With all the great traditional medicine being practiced in China and elsewhere, capitalist western medicine is a part of the reason the planet is under so much human derived stress. The Chinese didn't wipe out polio, smallpox, cholera, and other diseases that helped keep human population in check..

The internet and modern computer technology wouldn't have come about without the same inspiration that drives Monsanto.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 8:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Our best bets lie in a diversity of crops and diverse, locally adapted genetics. The big seed companies can't help but reduce diversity."

Yes, on a deep level, Monsanto thinks it is driving evolution, but it is in fact some sort of random disruption of the Darwinian (slow) evolution process. It takes a very special time in human history (with over-reliance on four crops) and drives it to its extremes. And its motives are not improved human well being but profit. I am sure, too, that improved diversity is key to continued civilization.

What could go wrong? For one, humans are not known to adapt to non-Darwinian evolution. Insects may die but we are not safe either. I am almost completely off the grid food wise.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 9:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Glib, I think the explosion of the human population can be entirely tied to the technology brought about by non DNA cultural "evolution". To sustain it will almost certainly require more of the same, even if the process doesn't fulfill your ideological requirements.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 6:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

" It's natural for man to splice genes, so these most certainly are natural processes."

There is a massive difference between hybrids in nature and cross breeding, and splicing in bacteria and non "native" genes.

" but natural selection will do it's work, even on GMO's."

Thats the problem. Monsanto says their crops are "sterile", yet there is no such thing as 100% sterile crops. Even triploid cavandish banana has been known to set fertile seed. Pollen has already escaped in oregon, and as far as I know we have no idea how it will act in natural populations.

""I would certainly favor using GMO to eliminate a threat to the sweet potato supply, say, but I think grains inherently damage human health, and one nutrient thinking is also a failure, as this case illustrates where A is addressed but K2 is not.""

Yup, it isnt solving the problem at all. When we started farming out body size went from 6 feet in males to 5 foot 3. Our diet went from hundreds of food sources to a dozen or so. Grain enabled us to survive in post ice age europe, as well as our domesticated animals (whom most if not all shouldnt be fed grains as a staple food). We should be eating large amounds of cooked fruits and veggies with meat a few times a week. Love stock should be fed scraps or pasture.

""My point about mutations wasn't that it is identical in process, only that it is just as dangerous. When Monsanto releases a product that turns out to be nearly as deadly as aids, or at least the swine flu I will be convinced of dire consequences.""

Im more worried about some random genetic mutation, which have been recorded in GMO food. Genes can randomly swtch, unpredictably. What if it produces some disease which ends up like chestnut blight which wipes out corn? Farfetched? possibly, but far from impossible. We have too bad of a habit of doing environmental destruction, and figuring out how bad after the fact ( passanger pigeon or the carolina parakeet)

""My pet fear is that climate change is going to make agriculture increasingly difficult or worse, """

Our civilization was born in climate change. From the time the eastern african mountain chain was raised, which dried out africa which forced us to walk on 2 legs, to the time 70 000 years ago when sahara africa got wet enough to allow us to move north and out of asia, to the melting of the ice sheets in beringia which allowed the secondlarge wave of human migration into NA. It also drove the development of domesticated plants and animals.

There is one stark difference - Then they had natural resources to fall back on. They could walk into their forests and pick out food if needed. Most of us cant or will not. The Ironic thing is that farming is part of our problem as well. It degrades soil, encourages monoculture and eliminates natural habitat for plants and animals.

Either way I a not worried about our food and climate change. WHat I am worried about is our inability to want to change our diets and adapt o our local conditions. Would i tbe econimically feasable to grow rice in china if rainfall dropped by 1/4? Probably not, but they can get away with other grains.

The growing zones in the planet will be moving north. Rainfall patterns will change, the seasons will change (they already have), migration patterns will change, so will growing seasons. Does it make sense to grow food in california where there is no water, and in that fact allocate water so much that it drops one of the largest watersheds on the planet by 80%?

We can adapt to climate change the way we always have. The problem is, back in the day we could just get up and move. We cant do that now. We are generally stuck in our cities. IT isnt easy for a city like phoenix to just pack up and move.

"Glib, I think the explosion of the human population can be entirely tied to the technology brought about by non DNA cultural "evolution". To sustain it will almost certainly require more of the same, even if the process doesn't fulfill your ideological requirements.""

Out population can be linked to 2 things: Trade (more so back in the day) and as recently as the 1900s, oil. The oil production and human population graphs are almost identical. OIl enabled less human power for labour, faster production and better technology. One engine on oil can replace a dozen workers and even more animals. IT increases the speed at which crops can be planted, harvested and sold, therefore speeding up profits. IT also made fertilizer cheaper (at the time), which forces the plants to grow and can exhaust soil organisms. This is why we have such bad soil depletion (on top of deforestation)

Oil production enabled medicine to accelerate, which brought about penecillin. By the 1950s there were about 40 medications on the market. This sped up our population growth that was fed by oil production.

For 10 000 years or more we have been cultivating plants. Crossing them and hbridizing them to the point we cant even tell where many originated. Most of our cultivated crops have more if not double the amount of genes a human has, and this is without any real knowledge of DNA and genetics. Pluots were created by the old fashioned way - hand pollination and selection. our post dust bowl hybrid corn was created the same way. The cavendish was a natural hybrid cultivated to perfection, same with the gros de michel banana, which was almost wiped out in the 50s (The only reason why we eat cavendish is because the michel banana was wiped out by the same virus that is wiping out cavendish today).

Why try to grow corn where it wont grow, just because thats what we are used too?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 7:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

GMO product rejection is fierce and global.


"More than 400 farmers from the Bicol region in the Philippines have successfully uprooted the ongoing field testing of Golden Rice in their community. They trashed the GMO rice in order to stop the planned commercialization of the crop.

The farmers have decided to take action against the ongoing Golden Rice field trials. Golden Rice is not an answer to the country’s problem of hunger and malnutrition ��" Bert Autor, farmer and spokesperson for SIKWAL GMO, an alliance of famers, students, consumers and academics based in Bicol who are against GMOs and Agrochemical Transnational Corporations. Secretary general of the KMP (region in Philippines) (2)
Farmers feel that the Agrochemical Corporations and the United States of America are behind the push for the adoption of golden rice and other GMOs. Golden rice is genetically modified with genes coming from bacteria and corn to produce beta carotene. Previously golden rice was scrapped because it didn’t work, and has only recently come back up through a testing phase. The reasons for it’s recent re-development is to combat malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency. Keep in mind however, that the average child suffering from malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency would have to eat 27 bowls of rice per day to be properly nourished, so really what benefit would golden rice supply?"

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 2:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am not against GMO crops by definition and I think that much of the fear associated with GMOs is due to a lack of understanding of exactly how they are produced and what the benefits are from certain modifications. That said, I do not think that GMOs are the answer to every problem or that every modification should be treated similarly.

From a technological perspective the fear of the source of a DNA sequence or the method by which it is delivered ('spliced') is unwarranted.

A DNA sequence coming from a bacterium vs from a plant is not inherently more or less safe. The benefit of using one over the other generally has to do with how well the protein is expressed or how stable it is in the recipient organism. There may also be differences in how well the protein functions at a given temperature or in its preference for certain substrates or cofactors.

The method of delivery of the DNA into a recipient is also not as scary as it sounds. There are many different methods of introducing DNA to cells including cell fusions (including mating), zapping them with electricity, rapidly changing the temperature, addition of certain lipids or ions, shooting them with gold particles, direct injecting with microscopic syringe, and yes using bacteria or viruses to "infect" the cells. These methods all have their own limitations and work better in some cells vs others. Some produce stable genetic changes and some are transient. The use of viruses is not the only way GMOs are created nor is the virus necessarily transferring viral DNA as was said earlier. The recipient genome does not necessarily have any marks other than the inserted gene, nor does viral DNA have to come along for the ride.

It should be noted, that the 'human' genome is actually comprised of quite a bit of inactive viral DNA (about 8%). In addition about 40% of our DNA is made of transposable elements that are likely of viral origin. This percentage is closer to 80-90% in many plants.

I am saying all of this because I think it is important that people understand that the science behind GMOs should not be something to fear. Science and application, however, are very different things. Using bacteria or yeast to produce insulin for diabetics is a good example of the technology at work, while super-raccoon slaves are a good example of a bad application.

From a sustainability and environmental point of view there is a big difference between engineering a crop to provide a nutritional advantage vs making something pest or herbicide resistant. Adding a nutritional advantage to a crop (like beta carotene production) likely will give the plant a selective disadvantage and would not necessarily be harmful if the plant in question cross bred with the non GMO crops. Pest resistance is a selective advantage and is just asking for trouble over time. Insects and fungi themselves will eventually develop a resistance and then we are back to square one.

Often better solutions for these things are increasing crop diversity and re-discovering long lost varieties of our current crops that are naturally resistant to the forces we are trying to overcome. We can develop crops to deliver higher levels of beta carotene to children in the Philippines, or we can focus on why these children are malnourished and try to fix the larger social issues at the same time.

Golden rice may or may not be good thing, but I am concerned that the push to get it out there may just be an attempt by the field to get some good press. I am wary of anything coming out of Monsanto, but just because a product is free or is from a non-profit doesn't mean that they have the best interests of the people as their focus.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 3:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow, sorry that was so long.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 3:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dnt worry about it being too long... That is a great response and goes a long with my line of thinking especially the last 3 paragraphs.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 4:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Unfortunately, the majority of folks out there don't understand even the most basic scientific concepts. They 'know' what they know, even if it's wrong.
I don't hate Monsanto, but there are plenty out there who would eschew anything Monsanto produced, even if it were the miracle crop or compound that cured all ills.

yk - If, as the article you linked suggests, it's true that a child would have to eat 27 bowls of rice to be properly nourished (I'm presuming they've done some sort of mathematical computation to arrive at that number of bowls of rice that would provide every nutrient at its minimum daily recommended amount (but some would likely be in excess) - the devil's always in the details) - but, if they're only going to get one or two bowls, wouldn't we at least hope that they got enough Vitamin A precursors in those one or two bowls of rice to prevent blindness and help with proper neurologic development? Or, would the anti-GMO folks rather that child starved AND was blind/retarded rather than have them consume a GMO product?
Just wondering...

This post was edited by lucky_p on Wed, Sep 4, 13 at 17:04

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 4:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

SF rhino, I agree that was a great article and not at all long given what you covered- very concise, really.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 4:47PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
what are signs that a cleft graft has failed and how soon to know?
Also, when grafting onto rootstock, how high up do...
First Bench Grafts Using a Fieldcraft Topgrafter
Hi all, I've been patiently waiting for signs of life...
Converting typhoon damaged hillside forest to blueberry plantation
Hello all We've recently obtained a small strip of...
Urgent grafting advice: Experiment Antonovka +/- B9 interstem
You can read my previous posts to see photos of my...
Lime and lemon tree Houston area?
Best lime and lemon tree for Houston area? What are...
Sponsored Products
Saratoga Stripe Giclee Novo Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
Authentic Models SL037 Main Hold Lamp
Beyond Stores
Arteriors 14 Light Vaughn 38" Wide Chandelier
Lamps Plus
Ivonne Mocha 16-Inch Decorative Pillows (Set of 2)
'Sandcastles' Pillow
$12.99 | zulily
Tall Giraffe Beside Table Lamp for Studying
Home Decorators Area Rug: Gibbs Aqua 7' 9" Round
Home Depot
Textured Lines Rug 15' x 20' - BEIGE
$9,899.00 | Horchow
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™