The Big Picture: Feeding Edge

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I agree to a point but there are some modified foods that gave this whole issue such a bad rep.

For example, there was a time when they put an ice water fish gene into tomatoes so it would survive frost better. This was because some fish have a type of blood that allows them to not freeze as easily and live in colder waters. It certainly sounded like a good idea-till a person with fish allergies suffered an allergic reaction to their salad.
Now i didn't say it was genetically modified foods because i'm not sure if this type of food modification is under the same title or not, but for people who panic before researching really aren't going to care are they? There are also some foods that don't have the same nutrition in them like they used to because of plants that were modified to grow more in quantity not quality.

And Frankenstein wasn't just considered mad because of the lightning thing. He dug up a bunch of graves and put a body together from scrap organs rotting in the ground and tried to animate it (and yes I read the book<3).

After saying that I still want to point out that I agree- and I love baby carrots o3o om nom.

There are two types of genetic engineering being referred to here: going in and tweaking the genes already in the organism and on the other hand introducing genes not already in the organism. Both are Genetically Modified Organisms. "Salmon-tomatoes" fall under that category.

There's selective breeding, or growing of vegetables, and then there's gene-splicing. I've never heard so horrible an explanation like this vid.

The REASON people are freaked out is that we're getting food that we're not all that sure of. By that I mean what their effects are on us and how we digest them.

Homogenized milk has been a controversial factor for a long time and it's still not sure at all that it's entirely safe to consume. Now more than ever we have an enormous list of things people spontaneously become allergic to, that's including food.

Chances are that people who are mortally allergic to say, strawberries, wouldn't have been if they(the berries) were completely natural. Another thing is that our genes radically change from one generation to the next, compared to a hundred years ago.

Moviebob, I sometimes agree with you, but in this case you are oversimplifying the matter to the extreme, you have no professional knowledge on the matter, and what you're presenting is YOUR OWN OPINION.

NO ONE knows what the effects are, because our food has never changed as much as it has the last 50 years, compared to the thousands of years before it.

In other words, this vid is not unlike propaganda designed to reassure the common public that everything is safe. The difference is, that Bob isn't a goverment goon, he's just being very hasty with his opinion and I dare say an idiot to try to convince people that they're scared of nothing.

You sir, could use a good dosage of openmindedness. You're being hypocritical about people not being open to the possibility that it's safe, when you're not even open to the idea that IT'S NOT.

Urh:

C_Topher:

Also, this technically isn't a new technology. Since the 1960's, most of the world's insulin is produced by incorperating the human insulin gene into E. coli bacteria using similar techniques to those used to make GM foods. We've been doing this for 50 years, people. The only difference is now we're using it outside the medical field. While there are a few remaining kinks to be worked out (as with all science), the there is little to no reason to be worried about ANY GM food. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to eat my lunch.

I hate to be a real anal retentive, but insulin produced from genetically engineered E. coli does NOT date back to the 1960s. The technology (for insulin production) was developed in 1978, and the insulin manufactured by these processes didn't hit the market until the 1980s. Prior to that we were still harvesting pigs (and before that, cows) for insulin. Hell, restriction enzymes (which are the key to gene splicing) weren't even isolated until 1970.

Furthermore, your (inaccurate) boast that "we've been doing this for 50 years, therefore it's 100% safe" is a terrible (not to mention fallacious) argument. Just because we haven't had a serious problem yet doesn't mean we'll never have one. For example, it was 32 years between the first nuclear power station going online and the Chernobyl disaster.

http://www.gene.com/gene/news/press-releases/display.do?method=detail&id=4160
Alright, I'll admit I got the dates wrong. I should have known better seeing as I'm about to write a final exam on the topic in a couple of days. Still, 30 years is a pretty long time. And I'm actually a student to someone who worked in the lab that harvested the pig pancreases used to produce the majority of the Western world's insulin (located in Winnipeg, the more you know).
Also, I did NOT claim this is 100% safe. I'm well aware of the limitation of the technology, primarily the fact that the mechanisms for gene expression and regulation aren't fully understood yet despite how long they've been studied. While we still have a ways to go, that doesn't necessarily mean it's not safe to consume GM foods. It just means we need to be smart consumers.
Finally, DO NOT bring up Chernobyl. That was caused not by the technology but by the people using it: http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub913e_web.pdf
Nuclear power is safe provided you don't screw around with safety protocols, so stop using it as the baseline for the evils of technology.

I just read keresak's comment and is much more informative than any other comment here and even the clip itself.

[ Click ]

Reminds me of global warming and how we all laughed at it when it snowed in my area for the first time in ten years.Makes ya realize how true it is that ignorance is bliss

moviebob you are in fact the most entertaining thing on the internet that isnt porn. i look forward to watching your videos each week. keep up the good work

I have nothing to add to this discussion. I just wanted to pass along kudos on a interesting and fun topic.

My ex girlfriend used to lecture me about eating Genetically Modified Foods. I really wish we were still on speaking terms so I could use this to shut her up.

C_Topher:
Still, 30 years is a pretty long time.

If you think 30 years is a long time in genetics, then you have a very, very long way to go in your studies. A hundred years from now, you might begin to see the results. 30 years is nothing.
I don't want to tell you that whatever your prof's telling you is wrong, but it doesn't take a masters degree or PHd to figure out that there are potentially some extreme long-term effects of messing with genes in any way.

To summarize the more intelligent points in this thread.

1) Selective Breeding and genetic engineering are very different things.
2) Genetic engineering is far more unpredictable that breeding.
3) Genetic engineering is not inherently bad, and in fact can help to solve many problems.
4) Genetic engineering of food should continue, but it does need stricter regulation, and laws need to adapt so that companies cannot abuse the technology (as far as copyright laws etc.)

In conclusion. Bob is incorrect insomuch as there ARE legitimate concerns that accompany the new technology, but he is correct insomuch as we shouldn't fear it but rather lobby for regulation reform because it can ultimately be a cause of great good.

Smilomaniac:

C_Topher:
Still, 30 years is a pretty long time.

If you think 30 years is a long time in genetics, then you have a very, very long way to go in your studies. A hundred years from now, you might begin to see the results. 30 years is nothing.
I don't want to tell you that whatever your prof's telling you is wrong, but it doesn't take a masters degree or PHd to figure out that there are potentially some extreme long-term effects of messing with genes in any way.

It isn't the years that matter; it's the generations. 30 years is a LOT for bacteria, but nothing for man.

Man, now I'm wondering how a Robo-Tomato would taste on a pizza.

Nice one Bob. :D

I so want me a Tomato-209.

ReiverCorrupter:

It isn't the years that matter; it's the generations. 30 years is a LOT for bacteria, but nothing for man.

Good point. The effects I'm talking about is on humans however, or that was the intention.
Somewhat unrelated, but I nearly died post-operation from the antiseptic used on me, I had a violent allergic reaction to it(Yes, specificly the type of antiseptic, not an infection). I know, it's completely unrelated to genetics, but my point is that there are some things we use commonly, every single day and there are still some very nasty surprises waiting to happen out there.

Should we stop using that particular antiseptic? Of course not. But no matter what the numbers show, no matter what the test results are, there are always exceptions and sometimes massive accidents waiting to happen.

I don't believe in god, but I do believe in generations of natural selection and I certainly believe that science can't overcome something nature can't in a matter of a few years. Yet.

Huh... nobody complains about food eugenics...

Nice video to clarify "genetic engineering" as "artificial selection." I think people still worry that guys in white coats are pumping chemicals into their food though.

I am sorry Bob, but you got this one wrong, really wrong. While a lot of people fear Genetically altered food for no reason, There is a reason why Genetically Engineered Food is worrisome.

First off there is a difference between animal husbandry that gradually happens over 100 hundreds of years and cloning an animal. Yes cloning counts as Genetically Engineered Food. The main point being it isn't a variation of a certain animal it is the same god damn animal. This is really a problem when it is small scale, but on a massive scale animal bloodline could disappear to the point where there is only really only one cow in existence, but thousands and thousands of copies of that cow.

Is eating cloned cow going to harm anyone? No, but the eradication of bovine bloodlines leaves that part of the food chain endanger of being wiped off the face of the map. At that point it would one take one type of disease that cloned cow is extremely vulnerable make those cows extinct, and if we only have cloned cow then we as humans are then fucked. This could in turn be applied to any food.

This example may seem extreme, but Genetic Engineering could lead to the destruction Biodiversity. Will it? I don't know, but I am sure not going to put my faith in humans beings acting responsibly, when the consequences for their actions will not be seen of decades.

Secondly, while Genetically altered food may not be harmful to humans we should still have the right to know that we are consuming it. This is one of the hot topics on the issue. The corporations responsible for genetically altered food endless lobby the government on state and federal levels so that Genetically altered food can go unlabeled as such.

If you are willing to completely turn over one of your most basic needs to a corporation, falsely believing that they have your best interests in mind, then there probably no help for you.

Biologist here, shaking my head. Sure, genetic engineering is the same as selective breeding if you don't think words should have meanings.

Taking genes from one organism and inserting them into the genome of an organism from a different kingdom is hardly "selective breeding." A fish is not going to mate with a tomato. That's why there is a different term for that.

Also, Monsanto screws over small farmers and wants to patent genetic code. GMO food means acres upon acres planted with "round-up ready" corn that is actually one genetic individual. It's a political issue and an ecological problem, and I don't want my grocery $$ to support the cause.

Sure, there are people out there who are just plain scared and you can mock them all you want. But really, it's not THAT simple and by pretending it is you seem just as ignorant.

Twilight_guy:
Huh... nobody complains about food eugenics...

Nice video to clarify "genetic engineering" as "artificial selection." I think people still worry that guys in white coats are pumping chemicals into their food though.

Guys in white coats do pump chemicals into our food. Don't believe me Google Ammonia treated meat. It is a interesting process to say the least.

Well, now I'm going to be up all night thinking about the looming attack of the killer tomatoes.
I'll be up all night studying for finals but now you know what I'm thinking about.

And that's another win for science.

The same can be said for almost anything and yet we strive for innovation do we not?Whenever we have something new,there will always be someone to pick on it.In our nature,we reject that which we do not understand,and you can't really blame people for being paranoid.If you need an example then look at what people think of our gaming industries and the people who play those games.All stereotypes and miscalculations from misunderstanding.

Does that mean I can't enjoy frank n' beans without knowing it was done with normal science?

Is it weird that I could tell he was eating a carrot right away?
Anyway, I love genetic engineering, I mean how the hell else am I going to get my catgirls?

Plazmatic:

SpcyhknBC:
Thank you very much Bob for this. Speaking as someone who is currently studying this field, it's great to see someone actually dispelling people's fears. Now, where did I put the DNA to make those living bagpipes?

Also fun field in this vein, synthetic biology, or the making of biological toys, like bacteria which can solve sudoku.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/18/e-coli-bacteria-solve-sud_n_785494.html

hey can you answer to this guy?

Sarkis:
As a chef, I get a lot of information about GMO's.

And frankly yes, just because its altered does not mean is dangerous. The only cause for concern is that when you alter food slightly over generations the body adapts to it. And hybridizing and husbandry combine the genes of the same species.

GMO's can have very harmful side effects, but it is by no means assured. Simple scientific testing can determine its saftety.

The REAL problem is that this testing is not done, and the FDA does not even require biotech firms to tell them if their food is genetically modified.

Im pretty sure he's spouting bullshit, and he has little to no actual knowlege of the field, but just wanted to make sure.

I'm not sure if you're talking to me, or the other guy. Anyways, I don't know that much in regards to FDA regulations dealing with genetically modified food, but I have never ever heard of genetically modified food adapting to the body over generations causing problems.

For example, many strains of corn have been genetically engineered to be resistant to certain chemicals. As part of ensuring that this gene does not transfer to other plants, these strains of corn cannot produce offspring, they are sterile. The only way for genes to transfer from one species to another in plants (I do mean plants, and they can do this and do do it quite regularly) is for pollen from one to fertilize the ovum of another. These strains do not pollinate, so each year, the farmers must buy a new batch of seeds from whichever company makes the corn strains. Because the plants can't reproduce, they can't evolve, therefore there is no adapting.

I have heard of organic plants evolving new toxins which may be poisonous to humans in a few generations, but I have yet to seen any hard literature in this area, so I'm hesitant to proclaim this as fact yet.

And so you know, my qualifications are a BS in Molecular Biology and I'm currently pursuing a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics.

Hey Bob, just like too say, I really enjoyed this episode.
There series seems to have progressed from your rambling in the second episode.

Keep up the good work!

What I perceive the general controversy surrounding GMO food isn't so much playing God with whatever we eat, but rather the industry practices that come with it, like questionable business practices(e.g. Monsanto and their terminator seeds, other companies and their vaguely organized crime-esque activities, etc.), a rise in outbreaks like e. coli that seem to originate from genetically modified foods(whether causation or just correlation is the bigger question), animal cruelty(obviously an individual's stance may vary), and environmental impact, among other issues.

I mean, the obvious benefits are that we're able to feed people all over the world(or at least industrialized nations) rather inexpensively, we're able to enjoy all kinds of food all year round and we're safeguarded against disasters with pest-resistant crops or pest-destroying practices.

There's a fair and fascinating general overlook of this in the documentary Food Inc. and I think it's pretty fair to both sides of the debate, but with the obvious and outright stated sympathies towards the organic market.

You want food horror, Bob? Thanksgiving turkeys that are selectively bred now to the point where they can't even have sex to create new turkeys because their thighs are so large. They're artificially inseminated in order to create more food, and they're pumped full of steroids and drugs to make them grow as large as possible, and they spend the majority of their lives in cages, wing-to-wing with more turkeys than should conceivably fit in one cage, knee-deep in their own shit. Their beaks are broken at birth so they can't kill one another or themselves, in the endless state of terror and distress that is their lives.

This is where your turkey comes from. The same is true of about 75% of your chicken, about 80% of your pork, and about 40-50% of your beef.

A super-cow for your troubles.
image
(That big tumor-ish looking bit is the tasty part :D)

A dumpster full of discarded male chicks for your time.
image
But who needs em amiright?

WALL-TO-WALL, BEAKLESS, SELF-MUTILATING MEAT-UNITS, ON THE HOUSE!
image
Just lookit their adorable little faces :3

And it goes on, and on, receding into the distance . . .
image
It's like the Matrix up in here. Except now WE'RE the awesome robot overlords! Yay...for........us?.........waitnoshit.

So yeah. It's not so much Franken-Food as it is Dante's-depiction-of-hell -Food. Given that, I think a little outrage and controversy just might, erm, be...a tad called-for.

Hell, if the visceral stuff doesn't do it for you and you want some REAL Orwellian nightmare fuel, wiki Monsanto or go watch 'Food Inc.' Even beyond the obvious moral/ethical outrage (granted, varies from person-to-person) there's problems with this at the levels of food safety, enabling political corruption, etc.

Anyone who bitches about GM crops needs to read about a guy named Norman Borlaug.

Whose that?

Well, he's just a guy who single-handedly saved almost a billion people. How? By finding new and better way to grow crops, AND to find new kinds of crops to grow.

Finding ways to make food cheaper and more plentiful is one of the best ways to save lives, and I fully support anyone and everyone who does it.

As someone who works in a grocery store and watches people spend $2 on cucumbers on a regular basis I just want to shove this video in their faces. I still stand by that organic foods is the biggest sham of this generation.

Er, defibrillation isn't used on dead people, that's an extremely common misconception. It's used on people whose heart rates have become erratic, it stops the hearts and gives our natural pacemaker a moment to (for lack of a better phrase) 'get it's bearings' and get the heart pumping properly again.

Bob, when you celebrate a carrot, bred for it's aesthetics, you ignore the fact that foods aren't being selectively bred for their nutritional content or even taste. When Monsanto holds the patents on everything you consume, there might be a conflict of interest in delivering sustenance and delivering profit to share holders. I trust a corporation to do everything in its power to generate revenue, including flooding a market with foods that grow fast and heavy without providing the nutrients necessary to sustain life.

From the company that brought you agent orange comes: everything you eat!

Yeah, it's not a conspiracy, bob, it's business. And businesses aren't in it for the consumer.

Skeptiod has a good podcast on this: http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4112

Well first off, don't put to much faith in the term "franken" whatever, or at the very least, the next time you hear the term, see if the person using it at least knows Frankenstein was the doctor not the monster, then see how much of the book and or movie they know beyond the 3 most commen elements: doctor animates corpse, reanimated corpse kills girl, villigers seige doctor's home. I think most people have more experience with Herman Munster than even the classic film, let alone the book.

Second, there's a genral distrust of science, and not just from relgious nuts. By its nature, science is about saying "we were wrong, and this is right" often contridicting itself voer time. Just think of all the things once good for us later revealed bad, from all meat diets, to lead paint, to DDT. Factor in mushroom cloud images and one of the most common story elements being someone falling due to their own hubris, and you get a recipe for people afraid to move forward lest we suffer the ill effects unforseen by an overeager scientist. Sometimes you even get a more tangible example. Do you think that the internet would have grown at the rate it did if corporations foresaw movie, music, and game pirates?

The issue itself, well, overall I'm not sure, but then, the C- I got in 10th grad biology encouraged me to take physics so my thoughts wouldn't have much qualification behind them, but between growing populations, rising meat prices, and a neverending hope that someone will discover the genetic sequance to make fattening foods healthy without sacrificing taste, I'll side with the tinkerers for now.

God I love movie bob so much.

C_Topher:

http://www.gene.com/gene/news/press-releases/display.do?method=detail&id=4160
Alright, I'll admit I got the dates wrong. I should have known better seeing as I'm about to write a final exam on the topic in a couple of days. Still, 30 years is a pretty long time. And I'm actually a student to someone who worked in the lab that harvested the pig pancreases used to produce the majority of the Western world's insulin (located in Winnipeg, the more you know).
Also, I did NOT claim this is 100% safe. I'm well aware of the limitation of the technology, primarily the fact that the mechanisms for gene expression and regulation aren't fully understood yet despite how long they've been studied. While we still have a ways to go, that doesn't necessarily mean it's not safe to consume GM foods. It just means we need to be smart consumers.
Finally, DO NOT bring up Chernobyl. That was caused not by the technology but by the people using it: http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub913e_web.pdf
Nuclear power is safe provided you don't screw around with safety protocols, so stop using it as the baseline for the evils of technology.

I was not "using it (Chernobyl) as the baseline for the evils of technology" (one thing that really gets on my tits is when somebody accuses me of being a Luddite, deliberately or not). I was, in fact, trying to cite Chernobyl as an example of the problems that arise by the irresponsible use of technology (and we appear to be in agreement here). It is my heartfelt opinion that science is purely amoral in the truest sense of the word (which is to say that it is neither "moral" or "immoral") as it is merely a tool, like a hammer - the "morality" lies in the person wielding the tool. As an (oversimplified) example - you can use a hammer to build a house, or you can use it to cave somebody's skull in. If the hammer is used for the latter purpose rather than the former it is not the hammer that is evil.

I think that genetic engineering, if used sensibly, can indeed be a useful tool. In my opinion the trouble is that our understanding of biology is still rather lacking for us to safely use genetic engineering with confidence. We shouldn't be hysterical about GE, but we sure as shit need to be vigilant, wouldn't you agree?

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