What most people don’t know, that they should, is that practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food. There are no wild seedless watermelons, there’s no wild cows, there’s no long-stem roses growing in the wild …

We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals, that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It’s called artificial selection. That’s how we genetically modify them. So now that we can do it in a lab, all of a sudden, you’re going to complain?

So we are creating and modifying the biology of the world to serve our needs. I don’t have a problem with that because we’ve been doing that for tens of thousands of years. So, chill out.

Hacked photosynthesis could boost crop yields

It is difficult to find fault with a process that can create food from sunlight, water and air, but for many plants, there is room for improvement. Researchers have taken an important step towards enhancing photosynthesis by engineering plants with enzymes from blue-green algae that speed up the process of converting carbon dioxide into sugars.
The results, published today in Nature, surmount a daunting hurdle on the path to boosting plant yields — a goal that is taking on increasing importance as the world’s population grows.

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If you haven’t heard by now - their ‘Real Vegan Cheese’ Indiegogo campaign is nearly fully funded - a team of Biohackers from Oakland, CA are currently developing cruelty-free vegan cheese by studying animal genomes to source natural milk-protein genetic sequences, which are then optimized for yeast to produce a yeast milk protein, synthesize, then, once placed in yeast cells, real milk-protein is produced from the DNA “blueprint” procured by the team.

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Why do this? From the campaign site:

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Indiegogo || Facebook || Twitter || Wiki || YouTube || Website

Read the article over at Motherboard to learn more, because this is as cool as it sounds.

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Imagine if today, scientists showed you the Aurochs Wild Ox, and said — “Give us time. In just a few years, we will genetically modify this wild animal, turning it into a different sub species whose sole purpose is to provide vast quantities of milk for humans to drink. They will produce 10x as much milk as did the original animal. But they will require vast grasslands to sustain. And some of you will get sick because you won’t be able to digest the lactose. But no need to label this fact. People will just figure this out on their own. The rest of you will be fine. We’ll call the result a Holstein Milk Cow.”

What would anti GMO-laboratory people say this story? Would they embrace it or reject it? Of course, over the past 10,000 years, this is exactly what we’ve done to that Ox - or whatever is the agreed-upon origin of the domesticated Cow. Call it GMO-agriculture. If you reject GMOs you fundamentally reject it all.

Vandana Shiva’s fiery opposition to the use of genetically modified crops has made her a hero to anti-G.M.O. activists everywhere. In this week’s issue, Michael Specter examines her controversial crusade.

Illustration by Jason Seiler / Reference: Amanda Edwards / WireImage

"Neil deGrasse Tyson may not be a GMO expert, but the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the European Commission all agree with him on the safety of GMO foods. So does the research.

"I’m amazed how much objection genetically modified foods are receiving from the public. It smacks of the fear factor that exists at every new emergent science, where people don’t fully understand it or don’t fully know or embrace its consequences, and therefore reject it. What most people don’t know, but they should, is that practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food.

There are no wild seedless watermelons; there’s no wild cows; there’s no long-stem roses growing in the wild — although we don’t eat roses. You list all the fruit, and all the vegetables, and ask yourself: Is there a wild counterpart to this? If there is, it’s not as large, it’s not as sweet, it’s not as juicy, and it has way more seeds in it.

We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals, that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It’s called “artificial selection.” That’s how we genetically modify them. So now that we can do it in a lab, all of a sudden you’re going to complain?

If you’re the complainer type, go back and eat the apples that grow wild. You know something? They’re this big, and they’re tart. They’re not sweet, like Red Delicious apples. We manufactured those. That’s a genetic modification.

Do you realise silk cannot be produced in the wild? The silkworm, as we cultivate it, has no wild counterpart because it would die in the wild. So there’s not even any silk anymore. So we are creating and modifying the biology of the world to serve our needs. I don’t have a problem with that, cause we’ve been doing that for tens of thousands of years. So chill out.”

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/neil-degrasse-tyson-believes-in-gmos-2014-7?nr_email_referer=1&utm_source=Triggermail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Science%2520Select&utm_campaign=BI%2520Science%25202014-07-31&utm_content=emailshare

The Next Generation of GM Crops Has Arrived—And So Has the Controversy

The first of a new generation of genetically modified crops is poised to win government approval in the United States, igniting a controversy that may continue for years, and foreshadowing the future of genetically modified crops.

The agribusiness industry says the plants—soy and corn engineered to tolerate two herbicides, rather than one—are a safe, necessary tool to help farmers fight so-called superweeds. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture appear to agree.

However, many health and environmental groups say the crops represent yet another step on what they call a pesticide treadmill: an approach to farming that relies on ever-larger amounts of chemical use, threatening to create even more superweeds and flood America’s landscapes with potentially harmful compounds.

Public comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft review of the crops will be accepted until June 30. As of now, both the EPA and USDA’s reviews favor approval. Their final decisions are expected later this summer.

Read more (via Wired)

Writing in the Journal of Animal Science, in the most comprehensive study of GMOs and food ever conducted, University of California-Davis Department of Animal Science geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam and research assistant Amy E. Young reviewed 29 years of livestock productivity and health data from both before and after the introduction of genetically engineered animal feed.
The field data represented more than 100 billion animals covering a period before 1996 when animal feed was 100% non-GMO, and after its introduction when it jumped to 90% and more. The documentation included the records of animals examined pre and post mortem, as ill cattle cannot be approved for meat.
What did they find? That GM feed is safe and nutritionally equivalent to non-GMO feed. There was no indication of any unusual trends in the health of animals since 1996 when GMO crops were first harvested. Considering the size of the dataset, it can reasonably be said that the debate over the impact of GE feed on animal health is closed: there is zero extraordinary impact.

People who say GMO helps fix world hunger are wrong.

Genetically Modified Crops are restricted to a select handful of countries.

GMO crops are used primarily for animal feed and fuel

- US: over 50% GMO
- Brazil & Argentina: 30% GMO
- China: 3% GMO
- India: 3% GMO
- EU: 0.21% GMO

Most developing/poverty stricken countries have no access to GMO foods due to patents made by companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta

The people who hold patents hold the right to say “Who plants what, and who sells what around the world”

Generally GMO foods/seeds are not engineered for sustainability and yield. However pesticide resistance does help with the aforementioned, it is not intended for that

"Genetic engineering causes centralization of food genes instead of diversification" - Agriculture at Crossroads 2008

This means that our food isn’t diverse genetically, causing prices to rise and monopolies to continue their hungry rule on seeds

"Evidence is emerging of herbicidal and insecticidal resistance in crop weeds and pests associated with GMO crops" - Agriculture at Crossroads and World bank 2008

"Glyphosate (a very powerful and common pesticide) tolerance in corn, soy and rice have increased herbicide use by 383 million pounds in the USA alone" - Union of Concerned Scientists Report November 2009 

Several States for example Georgia have had to abandon pieces of land due to Glyphosate resistant plants!

This means that because the land is so resistant to pesticides, it has an uncontrollable amount of weeds!

Summary: GMO in its /current/ state is only hurting us, I have yet to find to research proving its harmful to consuming GMO food, however the same goes for the opposite. I’m staying away from GMO all together mostly in protest of these monopolies.

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