Are you OK with GMO foods?
GMOs are fine
25.3% (20)
25.3% (20)
GMOs seem to be OK, but more testing would be nice
7.6% (6)
7.6% (6)
No GMOs until we're sure of the long term consequences
8.9% (7)
8.9% (7)
GMOs are a crime against nature
2.5% (2)
2.5% (2)
I only eat bacon (*abstain)
3.8% (3)
3.8% (3)
GMOs are fine, it's Monsanto that's causing the problem
49.4% (39)
49.4% (39)
Monsanto is a fine company and there's nothing wrong with their products
1.3% (1)
1.3% (1)
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Poll: Let's talk about Monsanto

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So on Saturday there's going to be a worldwide "Occupy Monsanto" protest:
http://occupy-monsanto.com/march-against-monsanto-may-25-2013/

Hatred for the company certainly has grown in the past couple years, to the point where it's starting to seem trendy. Most of the initial info people get about the company tends to come from biased and conspiracy laden YouTube videos, but this forum tends to be more contentious than most so hopefully we can cut through the myths.

There are already 16 countries banning either GMOs or Monsanto's products including Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, South Australia, Russia, France, Switzerland and Poland.
There's going to be a lot of arguments as to whether GMOs are really bad for you or not, but personally the fact that the FDA never really bothered to test the side effects of GMOs and the fact that Monsanto feels to need to sneak legislation like the "Monsanto Protection Act" which "effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future", I'm not very sure that Monsanto thinks their products are very safe. The "Monsanto Protection Act" particularly annoys me because it was passed in the same manner that indefinite detention was legalized, by stuffing it into another bill that would practically be a crime if it were not passed, in this case the Farmer Assurance Provision. On top of this, with all the stories of former Monsanto employees playing crucial roles in the FDA, I just cannot trust the GMO industry.

Personally I think we should have labels on food telling us if they have GMO ingredients in them. For people saying that getting rid of GMOs will cause a food shortage I say we'll just let the free market decide that when people show much more demand of non-GMO food.

I think that GMOs have the potential to improve human life in the future, but right now it seems like the technology is very young and Monsanto is throwing caution to the wind so they can make as much money as possible on their new tech by making patents and trying the coerce everyone into using their genes. Kind of the same way I feel about natural gas fracking at the moment. A race to make as much money as possible with no concern for people or the environment and using legal tactics to cover themselves.

Hammartroll:
SNIP

To start id like to say im a studying biologist who briefly visited a GMO company called syngenta to get a feel for it and THEN worked with an independant GMO lab team which was about 10 students and me. So ive seen both sides of the big industry and tiny team GMO work place and ethic.

Personally i think the chances of GMOs being harmfull is incredibly small. Infinitesimally small. So i dont particularly understand the fear, having seen the biology behind it the chances of it hurting people is next to impossible if your team arnt total morons. And even if they are i think youd have to actively TRY and hurt people to GM your product to be harmful. The only issue might be allergens in the new protien structure of your plants products perhaps. Even then, fairly unlikely.

That said the inability to investigate such a field properly is unadulterated bullshit. And even if the chance is small as i think it is the idea we have NO fail safes is totally ridiculous. ALL technology, even the seemingly sound needs a failsafe. Cmon people this is basic science, be RIGOROUS in ALL things. ALL experiments are treated as having a chance to fail or succeed either way. Monsato are dicks in this regard, no doubt about it.

I agree GM should be labelled. But in return we should educate people that its not fucking "franken food" or any weird stuff like that. An animal genome is NOT and NEVER will be integrated into a plant we use for eating. The idea is absurd.

Also im super sorry but this:

For people saying that getting rid of GMOs will cause a food shortage I say we'll just let the free market decide that when people show much more demand of non-GMO food.

Annoyed me. A food shortage for YOU might be "Let the free market decide, it wont matter" but for others it means dying a horrific death of malnutrition. I dont fucking think its appropriate to let the free market decide who lives and dies a slow painful death which will mostly affect young children in countries rife with famine and poverty. A food shortage to US will be an inconvenience. But dont downplay it like that. To others its the difference between a GIGANTIC amount of deaths and a better life.

For example:

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

Saved a billion lives. Yes you read that correctly. A BILLION lives. From starvation. Because he used GM to successfully breed a resistant and abundant source of food. He increased grain production in Mexico and India, the countries where famine WOULD doom people to an awful fate, exponentially. He is my personal hero and in my opinion one of the greatest men to ever live.

I cant really stand Monsanto, they RUINED the public image of a fantastic idea for a quick buck, like you said, throwing caution to the wind and perveting the ideas behind what Norman started in the green revolution. People shouldnt need to repeat buy seeds, the idea behind feeding the world with GM shouldnt be to make people dependant. Norman for me is the face of GM technology. The ability to use our knowledge to get out there and solve the worlds problems in an altruistic and greed free manor, using a tried and tested technology without bullshit making it look shady and raking in as much cash as possible. The big company i visited felt a little soulless. They did good science for the most part, and seemd honest but the feeling that the bottom line was the goal was lingering. It was a little weird. The tiny team is what i think this technology needs. It wasnt about money at all, the funding was extremely slim. But it was to solve a problem for the scientific merit of it and to improve peoples lives. I think if we can get this technology into the right hands and away from people who run Monsanto its a worth while endeavor.

What the fuck am I reading? March against Monsanto? I swear, for some reason they get more hate than the tobacco industry despite most of the participants knowing fuck all about the actual issues.
I don't dispute that they have some pretty serious lobbying and all but the actual "arguments" you hear from the regular uninformed guy on the street is somewhere between "you can't, like, patent life, man" and ridiculous rumors about their vulcano skull fortress HQ from which they shoot poor farmers with orbital lasers.

Despite those claims the company has made some brilliant products and invests an insane amount of money into agricultural research & development. And the contamination problem would be much easier solved if they had specific zones divided by large other areas instead of going haywire with neighbouring farmers doing a different one each.

As for food shortage and GMOs (which is an awful term btw) you can take a look at India, which had a massive boom in "modern farming" with high-yield crops and chemical fertilizers correlating with the population boom and subsequent mass starvations before their introduction.
In the last years many small farmers have returned to organic farming and popular demand of it has increased as well, but while the costs are cut in production with use of natural dung fertilizers and such the consumer price of organic variation is actually still much higher due to lower yield. Atta, a traditional Asian wheat flour, for example is up to 200% more expensive as its organic equal. Of course one can argue that the increase in wages and general life quality in Indian cities allows for that, but that still leaves millions of impoverished families with drastically increased costs for basic food items. On the other hand traditional farming does require more manual labour, which is vital for the agriculturally oriented population, so I guess it goes both ways.

BiscuitTrouser:
Personally i think the chances of GMOs being harmfull is incredibly small. Infinitesimally small.

Well, I know one of my lecturers and his group are working with modified anthrax so considering how incredibly wide the term "genetically modified organism" is a harm evaluation is maybe harder than it may first look like.

BiscuitTrouser:
An animal genome is NOT and NEVER will be integrated into a plant we use for eating. The idea is absurd.

Or is it?
I mean... 700 percent increase in Vitamin C by implanting a rat gene. That's brilliant! Stupid consumers and their aversion to anything with rat in it.

BiscuitTrouser:

Hammartroll:
SNIP

To start id like to say im a studying biologist who briefly visited a GMO company called syngenta to get a feel for it and THEN worked with an independant GMO lab team which was about 10 students and me. So ive seen both sides of the big industry and tiny team GMO work place and ethic.

Personally i think the chances of GMOs being harmfull is incredibly small. Infinitesimally small. So i dont particularly understand the fear, having seen the biology behind it the chances of it hurting people is next to impossible if your team arnt total morons. And even if they are i think youd have to actively TRY and hurt people to GM your product to be harmful. The only issue might be allergens in the new protien structure of your plants products perhaps. Even then, fairly unlikely.

That said the inability to investigate such a field properly is unadulterated bullshit. And even if the chance is small as i think it is the idea we have NO fail safes is totally ridiculous. ALL technology, even the seemingly sound needs a failsafe. Cmon people this is basic science, be RIGOROUS in ALL things. ALL experiments are treated as having a chance to fail or succeed either way. Monsato are dicks in this regard, no doubt about it.

I agree GM should be labelled. But in return we should educate people that its not fucking "franken food" or any weird stuff like that. An animal genome is NOT and NEVER will be integrated into a plant we use for eating. The idea is absurd.

Yeah the anti-GM propaganda

really gets on my nerves since it's on every anti-Monsanto web page. The idea that the problem is the irresponsible use of GMs rather than GMs in general didn't even cross my mind when making the poll. More people should definitely learn about Norman Borlaug. Since you're in the field, if you were going to make a rival company to Monsanto, how would you design your plants so that you wouldn't end up making people dependent while at the same time preserving biodiversity? Also, could you do this while circumventing Monsanto's patents?

A food shortage for YOU might be "Let the free market decide, it wont matter" but for others it means dying a horrific death of malnutrition. I dont fucking think its appropriate to let the free market decide who lives and dies a slow painful death which will mostly affect young children in countries rife with famine and poverty. A food shortage to US will be an inconvenience. But dont downplay it like that. To others its the difference between a GIGANTIC amount of deaths and a better life.

For example:

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

Saved a billion lives. Yes you read that correctly. A BILLION lives. From starvation. Because he used GM to successfully breed a resistant and abundant source of food. He increased grain production in Mexico and India, the countries where famine WOULD doom people to an awful fate, exponentially. He is my personal hero and in my opinion one of the greatest men to ever live.

I cant really stand Monsanto, they RUINED the public image of a fantastic idea for a quick buck, like you said, throwing caution to the wind and perveting the ideas behind what Norman started in the green revolution. People shouldnt need to repeat buy seeds, the idea behind feeding the world with GM shouldnt be to make people dependant. Norman for me is the face of GM technology. The ability to use our knowledge to get out there and solve the worlds problems in an altruistic and greed free manor, using a tried and tested technology without bullshit making it look shady and raking in as much cash as possible. The big company i visited felt a little soulless. They did good science for the most part, and seemd honest but the feeling that the bottom line was the goal was lingering. It was a little weird. The tiny team is what i think this technology needs. It wasnt about money at all, the funding was extremely slim. But it was to solve a problem for the scientific merit of it and to improve peoples lives. I think if we can get this technology into the right hands and away from people who run Monsanto its a worth while endeavor.

You misunderstood me. In no way would I want a food shortage, what I meant was that as people had the information to start choosing more organic food over GM then the production would gradually shift to accommodate the demand. We'd find a way to feed everyone without GM food. This was also to show I was opposed to just legislating away all GM food at once because then we'd probably have a food shortage. (though I suppose it's my fault for sending the wrong message since I literally contradicted what I said at the beginning of the post, I'll have to fix that).

I don't think it's necessarily a problem to want to make money off of GM tech, but when companies take things overboard to the point of revamping an ancient industry for the sake of wringing as much money out of people as possible then legislation may need to be created to protect the people. Hopefully the protests will do that. Hopefully we can restrain Monsanto while at the same time not creating a "dark age" for GM technology.

GMO is fine and Monsanto are dicks. I had to pick the bacon option though. I love me some crispy bacon.

Quaxar:
snip

Monsanto still acts like a bunch of careless pricks. There's pretty much a consensus now that cow hormones are bad for you and the cow. I can't find a carton of milk that doesn't say "cows not treated with rbst", yet Monsanto did all they could to prevent the product from being found out:

This video also shows how easy the main stream media can be manipulated btw.

So with this in mind and considering what they tried to slip into the Farmer Assurance Provision, can you really blame me for being unsure of their current products? I feel more comfortable going non GM.

As for countries like India, yeah GM tech has it's ups and downs, it's just with the way they run their business it feels like they're trying to take over the world with every farm being forced to use their seeds. There's a story where some GM seeds found their way into a seed shipment to Hungary where they decided to burn the resulting crop both to prevent further pollination and to act as a symbol of opposition to Monsanto. A lot of countries feel like it's an invasion of their sovereignty.
http://www.politicolnews.com/hungary-burns-all-monsanto-gmo-corn-fields/

also, India doesn't seem to be all that happy about Monsanto now-a-days

LetalisK:
GMO is fine and Monsanto are dicks. I had to pick the bacon option though. I love me some crispy bacon.

I tried to add an option that simply put the blame on Monsanto, but it wouldn't work for some reason.

EDIT- nevermind, somebody voted for the "GMOs are fine, it's Monsanto that's causing the problem" option, I guess it just didn't show up for me.

Monsanto has taken the usual techno-fear reaction we get from this kind of thing, and given it substance.

No, we don't need to create anything dystopian nightmarey with GMOs, but Monsanto gave it a try anyway.

Hammartroll:
Since you're in the field, if you were going to make a rival company to Monsanto, how would you design your plants so that you wouldn't end up making people dependent while at the same time preserving biodiversity? Also, could you do this while circumventing Monsanto's patents?

The core issue about those dependencies is that you're effectively selling something that's making you redundant. It's like the guy who invented a 3D printer that can replicate itself, if you can reproduce the product yourself why pay someone else for it again? That's the reason why Monsanto has this whole hard legal policy for contaminated fields where you either have to pay or destroy it, they pour billions into development of new seeds which they couldn't afford to do if everyone who ever bought them could just go ahead and use the improved product indefinitely after a one-time seed purchase. Either you have a huge up-front price, which no individual farmer is going to pay or even be able to afford, or you have some sort of subscription model based on reselling seeds and supplies.
If you try to go up against Monsanto you can effectively only do it more because developing, testing, approving and marketing a new variation is crazy expensive and you don't really have many other options if you want to stay in business against a quasi monopoly. It's basically the MMO problem with slight variations.

As for circumventing Monsanto's patents... with chemicals they sometimes just add some hydrogen or an inert group to the substance which effectively makes its formula and structure different enough that it is legaly not the patent anymore. I suppose the genetic equivalent of that would be to add missense mutations that code for amino acids with similar chemical properties or try silent mutations, basically alter the sequence of the introduced genes as much as possible while keeping the final amino acid sequence chemically close.
I'm not sure on what exactly the patent on an artificial organism entails right now though, so it's just a theory. And even if it's possible that procedure is probably going to cost your new company two or three digit millions to the first prototype, and that's not counting the very likely ensuing legal battle.

I'm just doing a double post here because you posted that while I was writing on and reading up for my other reply and editing into a massive post doesn't help readability either.

Hammartroll:

Quaxar:
snip

Monsanto still acts like a bunch of careless pricks. There's pretty much a consensus now that cow hormones are bad for you and the cow. I can't find a carton of milk that doesn't say "cows not treated with rbst", yet Monsanto did all they could to prevent the product from being found out:

Living in a country that tends to rather go overboard with regulating against GM plants and other "unnatural" methods I can't say I've ever seen any such label on my milk. In fact the only thing it has is a "100% natural". But yeah, agriculture regulations here are so paranoid the EU actually had to step in a few times and loosen them because they were too strict.

Hammartroll:
So with this in mind and considering what they tried to slip into the Farmer Assurance Provision, can you really blame me for being unsure of their current products? I feel more comfortable going non GM.

As for countries like India, yeah GM tech has it's ups and downs, it's just with the way they run their business it feels like they're trying to take over the world with every farm being forced to use their seeds. There's a story where some GM seeds found their way into a seed shipment to Hungary where they decided to burn the resulting crop both to prevent further pollination and to act as a symbol of opposition to Monsanto. A lot of countries feel like it's an invasion of their sovereignty.
http://www.politicolnews.com/hungary-burns-all-monsanto-gmo-corn-fields/

also, India doesn't seem to be all that happy about Monsanto now-a-days

I'm not saying the Monsanto company is particularly good but their established products aren't necessarily a representation of their business tactics. And that article you linked is really not helping the case, there's some awfully unprofessional passages in there.

Over 90% if not 100% of Americans want GMO ingredients labeled which is already the case in China, Russia and Some European countries. [...] By doing this Monsanto believes it will control the world's food supply thereby having power and control over all countries.
[...]
Internationally, Monsanto has been invading countries with GMO seed mostly due to the fact that no one wants their products.
Monsanto only exists as a bio-piracy due to the fact that an ignorant US Patent Office declared they could have a patent on seeds because they added pesticide to the seed kernel.

And pointing out I'm just against this specific article.

Indeed a lot of small Indian farmers aren't too fond of Monsanto for obvious reasons, they can actually save a lot of money and even improve their soil's quality with organic methods if they don't mind the decreased yield and added work. Monsanto products really are more of a big business thing, tending to square kilometers of monocultures in the most efficient way possible. A local who only has a few fields to tend to doesn't really require that. Not that anyone bothered to tell that to small Indian farmers back in the 60s who ended up taking out huge loans to "revolutionize" their fields and going broke because of it.

Hammartroll:

LetalisK:
GMO is fine and Monsanto are dicks. I had to pick the bacon option though. I love me some crispy bacon.

I tried to add an option that simply put the blame on Monsanto, but it wouldn't work for some reason.

EDIT- nevermind, somebody voted for the "GMOs are fine, it's Monsanto that's causing the problem" option, I guess it just didn't show up for me.

I didn't say I had to pick bacon because my option wasn't present. I had to pick bacon because...well, bacon, man.

LetalisK:
GMO is fine and Monsanto are dicks. I had to pick the bacon option though. I love me some crispy bacon.

Eh, this. Too early in the morning for any other meaningful contribution. Trying to patent genes? Dick move. Trying to improve farming-products (which they can sell) to prevent starvation? Fine with me.

I'm rather neutral on GMO's, but do have issues in regards to the economical and biological aspects with the entire endeavor. Economical because if you put out GMO plants as the 'safe and easy' alternative to what would be organic planting, you soon have GMO companies trying to undercut and underwork their products, especially with 'Single seed' type plants. Constantly having to buy a new batch of seeds every growing season, where if you hold only a few you get sued to hell and back.

The biological is because GMO plants are designed to withstand most of the current plant bugs and diseases, and if a farmer has only that specific brand of GMO plants, and an unknown bug/disease comes along, that crop is ruined. Without the minute genetic diversities amongst the more 'organic' plants, GMO plants can become susceptible to who knows what Nature decides to create. Now that can be offset though if the farmer uses GMOs from different companies, but that ties back to the economical problems.

GMOs can be good to help the more poor nations with more environmentally unfriendly lands, but the companies would need to be regulated and watched carefully so they don't wreck said nations economically.

one of the major issues with genetically engineered crops is

LordOfInsanity:
I'm rather neutral on GMO's, but do have issues in regards to the economical and biological aspects with the entire endeavor. Economical because if you put out GMO plants as the 'safe and easy' alternative to what would be organic planting, you soon have GMO companies trying to undercut and underwork their products, especially with 'Single seed' type plants. Constantly having to buy a new batch of seeds every growing season, where if you hold only a few you get sued to hell and back.

The biological is because GMO plants are designed to withstand most of the current plant bugs and diseases, and if a farmer has only that specific brand of GMO plants, and an unknown bug/disease comes along, that crop is ruined. Without the minute genetic diversities amongst the more 'organic' plants, GMO plants can become susceptible to who knows what Nature decides to create. Now that can be offset though if the farmer uses GMOs from different companies, but that ties back to the economical problems.

GMOs can be good to help the more poor nations with more environmentally unfriendly lands, but the companies would need to be regulated and watched carefully so they don't wreck said nations economically.

exactly right on crop diversity. at one time a wheat farm might have half a dozen varieties growing in the same field. sure you dont get the yield of a GMO crop but if something unexpected hits the field you only loose part of the crop not the entire damn thing

thaluikhain:
Monsanto has taken the usual techno-fear reaction we get from this kind of thing, and given it substance.

No, we don't need to create anything dystopian nightmarey with GMOs, but Monsanto gave it a try anyway.

This is why I get cynical when transhumanist and singularity folks start yapping about our wonderful transcendence. Imagine a company like Monsanto being the first one to sell superhuman implants or whatever. Their terms and conditions would probably look something like this:

"..said implant is for use by the original purchaser and not permitted for resale. In the condition that Monsanto becomes a paramilitary organization the implanted are legally obligated to act as the companies' revolutionary guard And no copies may be made of the implants' software under punishment of law.."

Hammartroll:

thaluikhain:
Monsanto has taken the usual techno-fear reaction we get from this kind of thing, and given it substance.

No, we don't need to create anything dystopian nightmarey with GMOs, but Monsanto gave it a try anyway.

This is why I get cynical when transhumanist and singularity folks start yapping about our wonderful transcendence. Imagine a company like Monsanto being the first one to sell superhuman implants or whatever. Their terms and conditions would probably look something like this:

"..said implant is for use by the original purchaser and not permitted for resale. In the condition that Monsanto becomes a paramilitary organization the implanted are legally obligated to act as the companies' revolutionary guard And no copies may be made of the implants' software under punishment of law.."

Well, there is that, but companies could start being much more evil with the stuff they sell already

Quaxar:

BiscuitTrouser:
Personally i think the chances of GMOs being harmfull is incredibly small. Infinitesimally small.

Well, I know one of my lecturers and his group are working with modified anthrax so considering how incredibly wide the term "genetically modified organism" is a harm evaluation is maybe harder than it may first look like.

BiscuitTrouser:
An animal genome is NOT and NEVER will be integrated into a plant we use for eating. The idea is absurd.

Or is it?
I mean... 700 percent increase in Vitamin C by implanting a rat gene. That's brilliant! Stupid consumers and their aversion to anything with rat in it.

Very true, GMO means about as much as "Captive animal". It couuuld be a kitten. Or a rabid pack of wolves. The distinction is everything and the broad term doesnt help anyone. What the organism is and where its donor genes are coming from are the entire point.

Also i had NO idea we could successfully splice animal and plant genomes. I asked my fellow researchers about it on my brief stay and they seemed fairly doubtful it could be done in a meaningful way, the structural difference between the vast majority of animals and plants meant producing an animal protein in a plant would likely do nothing or be extremely complicated to pull off, the physiology just doesnt interact with the same protiens. I suppose we just jumped that hurdle.

I was also directed to a similar paper mentioned in your paper XD

"Nessler says that the timing of his experiment was fortunate. Shortly after he and his colleagues had successfully introduced the gene into lettuce, another scientist's paper stated that plant and animal biochemical pathways differed so much that animal genes could not work in plants. So, theoretically, he says, the experiment shouldn't have worked - and if he had read and believed the conclusions of that article, he might never have attempted it."

Youre right though about the expense. In the small lab i worked in we pretty much had the shittiest day ever because we got sold a bunch of duff primers and nucleotides and were denied a refund. It delayed our work by a week and the budget for these kinds of things was TIGHT despite in laymans terms having a lot of facilities and materials already available to us. Every tiny thing adds up, i wasnt even aware how much primers were. I know Monsato charging a lot to poor farmers seems and likely is extremely unethical. But if youre researching a billion dollar product that will save and is meant for poorer farmers how on EARTH to you market and sell that without either being a dick or going under hard and fast.

By the look of it, I'm with most others here. GM food is fine with me, and if it wasn't for Monsanto, I'd prefer to buy GM rather than organic. The way I'm thinking, any genes put into such food, as well as any chemicals used, have been meticulously tested against standards that are set at an insane level. However, I do think it ought to be labelled as GM, simply because people ought to know what they are eating. If we could do that and lift the image of GM food to something rather excellent, then I will be rather more happy. I will also note that I know of Norman Borlaug, and his is fucking awesome. Really, I cannot think of anyone whose contribution to mankind has been so understated.

As for Monsanto, those guys are bad. Really bad. They single-handily destroyed the image of GM crops by associating them with a near-monopolising corporation run by dicks. Ironically, without Monsanto, there may well would be a much lesser debate on GM food.

GMO's are fine they are not doing anything that we have not been doing for the pass 12-15,000 year or so just quicker and more accurate.
GMO's are not what most people think they are, they are not creating the tomeato. They are just taking selective cultivation to it's natural evolution where you isolate the specific gene's that manifests in certain trait you want in a crop to ensure it will actually end up in the final product. It also makes the process much quicker since you rely on gene sequencing to verify the traits of a crop rather than have to go trough intensive and long cultivation to ensure that the traits have indeed been passes to your new crop.

However the issue with "engineered" seeds or more with Monsanto is their business practices not any imaginary health risks that come from "unnatural" crops, since all crops today are unnatural and in some cases like the Banana are completely engineered and dependent on humans for "survival" since they have no other means for reproduction.

All of the Monsanto seeds are protected with patents, and Monsanto ties farmers with draconian contracts that pretty much force them only use their seeds, no crops mixing, and with fertile crops like corn pay dividends to Monsanto for years after they stop using their seeds since there's a good chance some of the crops will grow out of Monsanto seeds for years to come.
Farmers have to use "GMO's" to compete they produce crops of much much higher quality faster and much cheaper since the crops were designed to be resistant to pests and environmental hazards, consume less water, require less fertilizers and grow at much faster rates. The problem with Monsanto and other similar companies(most of which are European, and i have no idea why everyone is sticking to Monsanto i guess because they are American) abuse that fact to force them to comply with "EULA's" which in any other industry would trigger every monopoly alarm in the market.

P.S.

If anything should be banned it's the use of "Organic" in food products just as we did with "diet" drinks, and "light" cigarettes.

Organic just means they sell you the same crap for more, or much worse is that they sell you an inferior product(which comes of GE seeds like anything else these days) but instead of using chemical fertilizers which were designed to be effective and safe for consumption they use manure which increases the bacteria counts a tenfold, and instead of using safe self-degrading pesticides they use crap like nicotine(which is the oldest pesticide known to man, and one of the main causes of the latest bee problem) and organo-phosphates (AKA nerve agents) because they are "natural".

I can't understand how people are actually buying into that crap, every time there's some Facebook "protest" in a store that tells me to only buy "organic" i want to stab them to death with a genetically modified carrot.

Verbatim:
GMO's are fine they are not doing anything that we have not been doing for the pass 12-15,000 year or so just quicker and more accurate.

W-e-l-l... I'd say what we're doing now with GMOs is not quite like what we've doing for the past 12-15,000 years, although I'd agree that it should be pretty much fine. In terms of health, anyway - IP-based control of food is a little more uncomfortable for many people.

Verbatim:
The problem with Monsanto and other similar companies(most of which are European, and i have no idea why everyone is sticking to Monsanto i guess because they are American)

I doubt it's anti-Americanism - not least because Monsanto gets most punishment in the USA itself. It's more likely to be that Monsanto was one or more of the earliest, biggest and most aggressive GMO companies. Similar to why McD's cops the flak ahead of BK, KFC and Pizza Hut in fast food.

Another factor is possibly that Monsanto is also more visible because it is largely perceived as an agribusiness company. Most of the other big GMO makers are, I think, still best known as general chemical companies (Dupont, Bayer, etc.?), so not as easily associated with food production.

GMOs are fine with me & we need to embrace at least plant & bacterial forms to keep feeding the world's ever-increasing population. The long-term effects of GMOs are also very unlikely to harm anyone.

I have an issue with one company alone owning IP on food crops though, maybe governments should buy the rights & allow anyone to grow them, which is more in line with what we've done historically. I'm also not really in favour of GM animals as the technology is a lot harder.

Also plants in general need to be grown so that there are multiple varieties in one field to prevent resistance arising to GM or a particular pathogen destroying harvests.

Esotera:
GMOs are fine with me & we need to embrace at least plant & bacterial forms to keep feeding the world's ever-increasing population. The long-term effects of GMOs are also very unlikely to harm anyone.

I have an issue with one company alone owning IP on food crops though, maybe governments should buy the rights & allow anyone to grow them, which is more in line with what we've done historically. I'm also not really in favour of GM animals as the technology is a lot harder.

Also plants in general need to be grown so that there are multiple varieties in one field to prevent resistance arising to GM or a particular pathogen destroying harvests.

Give the rights to grow them to anyone? why?
They spend billions on developing the technology, they need to recoup their investment.

The problem is that currently they prevent you from using the land for anything else(to a period of several decades on some seeds), and prevent you from cultivating anything from their seeds.
The biggest problem is that they not only patent the technology that allows them to modify the genetic structure of cells, but also patent the genes they introduce into the cell.

When they either introduce an existing gene(which exists in other crops), or actually modify a gene to create a new one they patent that process. This means that they can prevent you from using the seeds to cultivate and breed other crops. And for crops(that are not sterile since the majority of the crops now are) that leave seeds in the field they can actually prevent you from farming the land for years and even decades after you've stopped using their seeds.

Companies need to make money, but there should be some regulations on the restrictions they impose on their users. Currently it would cost too much to actually stop using Monsanto's(or any other agrotech company) seeds that farmers that either can't keep paying the price, or not willing to work with them have to abandon their fields.

I would be fine with GMO's if it wasn't for Monsanto.

BiscuitTrouser:

I agree GM should be labelled. But in return we should educate people that its not fucking "franken food" or any weird stuff like that. An animal genome is NOT and NEVER will be integrated into a plant we use for eating. The idea is absurd.

I want to ask you how you feel about 'bt corn' then? I'd also like to know your opinion on 'Round-up ready' GMOs considering they are specifically genetically designed to be resistent or immune to certain pesticides, not to mention what happens to excess pesticide material present in both the plant and the soil, and thus in the food?

I'm not trying to ask a loaded question either; I'm not a biologist or even a natural scientist, I'm a network engineer, so my exposure to this type of stuff is through heavily filtered sources that I'm well aware are bias.

My personal biggest concern with GMOs is having a handful of companies that are in total control of the world's food supply.

Although this type of stuff drives me absolutely crazy too;
From: http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/05/us-supreme-court-upholds-monsant.html

The court ruled that Monsanto's patents cover not just genetically engineered seeds distributed by Monsanto and its agents, but also seeds circulating in the environment that contain Monsanto's genes.

So once Monsanto's seeds proliferate the environment and overwhelm natural seeds, what then?

l0ckd0wn:

I want to ask you how you feel about 'bt corn' then? I'd also like to know your opinion on 'Round-up ready' GMOs considering they are specifically genetically designed to be resistent or immune to certain pesticides, not to mention what happens to excess pesticide material present in both the plant and the soil, and thus in the food?

BT corn is actually a very good example of GMO's done very right. You see the BT gene produces a protein that is utterly unique to the stomach lining of the caterpillar species in question, it is NOT a universal toxin and as a matter of fact it has zero effect on most other caterpillar species, it actually has limited effectiveness against members of said species from parts of the world where BT corn isnt used, its been very specifically modified to attack a very specific organism. The genius of this is that because it attacks the stomach proteins to prevent further feeding on leaf matter any predator eating the caterpillar will, by total necessity, have different stomach proteins to enable them to be predators rather than herbivores. The BT gene to me is how GM resistance should be bred, not creating a plant likely to go on a warpath through all the native fauna, but instead one adapted ever so slightly to overcome the greatest obstacle the farmers face in a specific area.

An important thing to remember though, that you brought up is that the proteins remains, which is why its important to dispose of waste product from said farms in a place that wont destroy the native wild population of said caterpillar. It should be a priority to ensure farmers know the importance of not letting waste materials contaminate native populations. On the other hand is it ethical to let the corn borer go extinct? After all its arguable claimed MANY lives by destroying food sources in struggling nations. We have no qualms about railing against the mosquito, a creature that has arguable killed more humans than any other source ever in human history including war (yes malaria is that deadly). Its a difficult question, and the sacrifice of a species for our greater survival has been done before (thank god you cant find smallpox around anymore) on a smaller level.

My personal biggest concern with GMOs is having a handful of companies that are in total control of the world's food supply.

Mine too. I was happiest when i worked with my tiny team of ten. You see we were grouped with a lot of other sub teams who were totally independent financially and as a research group but shared relevant findings. We all were solving different problems for English farmers. My partner was researching a bacterium needed to grow legumes in Britain since the plant depends entirely on their production of natural nitrates to survive. Not only would this INCREASE crop diversity but the natural production of nitrates in soil would lessen the need for fertilizer. It was a noble project and if successful would belong to a group of 10 people and about 30% the university for our funding. Someone else was working on breeding a viral vaccine (a virus that infects invading bacteria ONLY known as a bacteriaphage) for the British oak that, at that moment in time, was VERY visibly in the middle of a plague from a foreign invading disease. Viral vaccines might be another very good way to control invading pests.

This distributed the rights and wealth for each advancement around the scientific community. I think this makes people totaly responsible for their work and unable to hide behind big business while simultaneously giving farmers more options. My partner loved her project because it actively undid the damage GMO's might do, contamination and mono cultures by using GMO technology more creatively. Jegus i enjoyed working with her.

The court ruled that Monsanto's patents cover not just genetically engineered seeds distributed by Monsanto and its agents, but also seeds circulating in the environment that contain Monsanto's genes.

So once Monsanto's seeds proliferate the environment and overwhelm natural seeds, what then?

Like i said, its important to keep fields seperate from the environment, and to be frank thats mostly quite easy. Why dont you see natural fruit and veg just growing EVERYWHERE in the country, your garden, just spreading from the farms like wild fire? Its because said plants are usually very dependant on the farmers work and soil addatives LIKE nitrates to grow well in that environment. HOPEFULLY mansantos seeds shouldnt take over the environment with this in mind. But even then, UTTERLY dick move. I know they need to recover losses in the expensive research but seriously? This is why i favor the MANY small research team approach in MOST cases. It minimizes losses and is usually funded by a local university rather than a big business.

Verbatim:

Give the rights to grow them to anyone? why?
They spend billions on developing the technology, they need to recoup their investment.

The problem is that currently they prevent you from using the land for anything else(to a period of several decades on some seeds), and prevent you from cultivating anything from their seeds.
The biggest problem is that they not only patent the technology that allows them to modify the genetic structure of cells, but also patent the genes they introduce into the cell.

When they either introduce an existing gene(which exists in other crops), or actually modify a gene to create a new one they patent that process. This means that they can prevent you from using the seeds to cultivate and breed other crops. And for crops(that are not sterile since the majority of the crops now are) that leave seeds in the field they can actually prevent you from farming the land for years and even decades after you've stopped using their seeds.

Companies need to make money, but there should be some regulations on the restrictions they impose on their users. Currently it would cost too much to actually stop using Monsanto's(or any other agrotech company) seeds that farmers that either can't keep paying the price, or not willing to work with them have to abandon their fields.

Because GM crops are going to be essential for existence just like conventional crops are now, anyone should be able to grow whatever variety they want. Governments would be able to compensate investment & possibly even offer contracts to tender to develop strains that aren't particularly profitable for companies to develop. I also have a massive issue with patenting genes in any multicellular organisms as it can majorly obstruct research.

BiscuitTrouser:

Annoyed me. A food shortage for YOU might be "Let the free market decide, it wont matter" but for others it means dying a horrific death of malnutrition. I dont fucking think its appropriate to let the free market decide who lives and dies a slow painful death which will mostly affect young children in countries rife with famine and poverty. A food shortage to US will be an inconvenience. But dont downplay it like that. To others its the difference between a GIGANTIC amount of deaths and a better life.

For example:

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

Saved a billion lives. Yes you read that correctly. A BILLION lives. From starvation. Because he used GM to successfully breed a resistant and abundant source of food. He increased grain production in Mexico and India, the countries where famine WOULD doom people to an awful fate, exponentially. He is my personal hero and in my opinion one of the greatest men to ever live.

I'm heavily inclined to agree:

I'm starting to believe that all these people who blindly advocate the free market because free market have little experience of the real-world free market beyond their safe Western borders. All those great foundational free market economists (Adam Smith and so on), even Hayek, were all for social security, welfare, education, and regulation. The only way I can understand such modern ideological extremism is as the result of cultural echo chambers.

Danny Ocean:

I'm heavily inclined to agree:

SNIP

I'm starting to believe that all these people who blindly advocate the free market because free market have little experience of the real-world free market beyond their safe Western borders. All those great foundational free market economists (Adam Smith and so on), even Hayek, were all for social security, welfare, education, and regulation. The only way I can understand such modern ideological extremism is as the result of cultural echo chambers.

That was a good watch, heres my favourite quote from Norman:

"Some of the environmental lobbyists of the western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They have never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they would be crying out for tractors, and fertilizer, and irrigation canals, and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things."

I think it applies here also.

l0ckd0wn:
I want to ask you how you feel about 'bt corn' then? I'd also like to know your opinion on 'Round-up ready' GMOs considering they are specifically genetically designed to be resistent or immune to certain pesticides, not to mention what happens to excess pesticide material present in both the plant and the soil, and thus in the food?

I think Biscuit has covered BT corn pretty well but just let me jump in here and say that Roundup is brilliant.
Traditional methods use various different herbicides sprayed a few times spread over the season to battle weeds, and some of those, like chlorinated hydrocarbons, are rather nasty and not healthy at all. Roundup on the other hand works with a broad spectrum of weeds and can thusly be used more scarcely, does not bioaccumulate in plants, in contact with soil rapidly inactivates and can be quickly degraded by bacteria (even quicker in water), is at worst "slightly toxic" to fish and according to EPA estimations even a lifelong diet solely on plants with the maximum residue doesn't have serious health effects on humans.
With this more efficient weed extermination method you also reduce the need for tillage, thus reducing carbon release, improving soil fertility and resistance to storms washing your pesticides into rivers.

There really isn't much negative to say about Roundup except that it's an exclusive Monsanto product.

Well, they're located about 15 minutes from where I live.

The problem I often see is that people don't separate their feelings on GMO plants with their feelings on Monsanto. And every time I hear "frankenfood" I laugh a little inside

Too early AM for meaningful contribution, but I love the fact that Britain is listed as 'England' under that petition. Even Glasgow.

OT, I've not really heard of this company, but patenting genes is pretty grim. Of course, companies will do it as long as they're allowed to. *Glares at government*

In terms of the wider ramifications of GM, there are potential risks with regard to crop diversity and destruction of wild breeds.
There are also more human concerns about power being concentrated in the hand of larger farms and agri-companies.
New seeds need to be bought yearly so after a few years the seed companies can basically name their price.
Also, when GM seeds blow onto neighbouring farmer fields, those fields can sometimes then not be sold because they're a mix of GM and not GM crop. Larger farms have been accused of doing this deliberately to put small farms out of business, buying up the land for cheap, and monopolising.

OneCatch :
Too early AM for meaningful contribution, but I love the fact that Britain is listed as 'England' under that petition. Even Glasgow.

OT, I've not really heard of this company, but patenting genes is pretty grim. Of course, companies will do it as long as they're allowed to. *Glares at government*

In terms of the wider ramifications of GM, there are potential risks with regard to crop diversity and destruction of wild breeds.
There are also more human concerns about power being concentrated in the hand of larger farms and agri-companies.
New seeds need to be bought yearly so after a few years the seed companies can basically name their price.
Also, when GM seeds blow onto neighbouring farmer fields, those fields can sometimes then not be sold because they're a mix of GM and not GM crop. Larger farms have been accused of doing this deliberately to put small farms out of business, buying up the land for cheap, and monopolising.

Exactly. I don't agree with pesticide resistant GMOs. Beekeepers are already having issues with colonies collapsing because of companies such as Bayer. Chemicals like clothianidin and imidacloprid are both members of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. They are well known as insect neurotoxins, especially to bees. Without pollination it becomes a serious threat to crop yields.

x-Tomfoolery-x:

OneCatch :
Too early AM for meaningful contribution, but I love the fact that Britain is listed as 'England' under that petition. Even Glasgow.

OT, I've not really heard of this company, but patenting genes is pretty grim. Of course, companies will do it as long as they're allowed to. *Glares at government*

In terms of the wider ramifications of GM, there are potential risks with regard to crop diversity and destruction of wild breeds.
There are also more human concerns about power being concentrated in the hand of larger farms and agri-companies.
New seeds need to be bought yearly so after a few years the seed companies can basically name their price.
Also, when GM seeds blow onto neighbouring farmer fields, those fields can sometimes then not be sold because they're a mix of GM and not GM crop. Larger farms have been accused of doing this deliberately to put small farms out of business, buying up the land for cheap, and monopolising.

Exactly. I don't agree with pesticide resistant GMOs. Beekeepers are already having issues with colonies collapsing because of companies such as Bayer. Chemicals like clothianidin and imidacloprid are both members of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. They are well known as insect neurotoxins, especially to bees. Without pollination it becomes a serious threat to crop yields.

Which is funny because neonicotinoids are actually part of the "classic" agriculture and as such are most widely in use on genetically unaltered plants, with the pilot for a plant-produced neonicotinoid defense having been banned across Europe pretty much from the start, much earlier than the general one we got now.

Quaxar:

Which is funny because neonicotinoids are actually part of the "classic" agriculture and as such are most widely in use on genetically unaltered plants, with the pilot for a plant-produced neonicotinoid defense having been banned across Europe pretty much from the start, much earlier than the general one we got now.

Classic? Nah, not really. They haven't even been around for 50 years yet. And most of the time spent on them has been in development. Widespread usage only started in the 90s. Those bans in Europe were also temporary, and in select countries. The EU only just voted this year to have them banned outright.

BiscuitTrouser:
Personally i think the chances of GMOs being harmfull is incredibly small. Infinitesimally small. So i dont particularly understand the fear, having seen the biology behind it the chances of it hurting people is next to impossible if your team arnt total morons. And even if they are i think youd have to actively TRY and hurt people to GM your product to be harmful. The only issue might be allergens in the new protien structure of your plants products perhaps. Even then, fairly unlikely.

The problem with this line of thinking, writing potential dangers off as infinitesimally small, is that it's already happened with the hybridized forms of wheat which are generally grown today. They wanted to make them grow faster and have better yields which they basically achieved. They also have nasty long term side effects like huge impact on blood sugar, increased obesity rates, and various other chronic issues. Granted, this was before we really had the ability to go in and manipulate individual genes and were basically selectively breeding and cross breeding different wheat strands instead, but when you take people who may not know what the long term effects of creating different proteins and other compounds in food may be, give them a very specific goal to achieve, and then don't bother to do any really stringent testing once they achieve it (which was the case with the development of modern strains of wheat used throughout the world), you're asking for trouble. The human body is a pretty damn complex system, and it's easier to hand wave things as being largely unchanged or still "natural" and assume there won't be any issues when the reality could be that you're dead wrong and no one's going to figure out that human health is negatively impacted for decades.

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