I don’t believe a position that is “anti-GMO” is a tenable one, because most insulin that is synthesised today is derived from a genetically modified organism, usually from E.Coli or yeast (S. cerevisiae). Being anti-GMO in principle would mean protesting medicine for diabetics.

I understand having objections to particular GM crops, say BT corn; I also understand having objections to the industry monopolies possessed by unscrupulous agribusiness firms like like Monsanto. Further, I think it is perfectly reasonable to have objections to unsustainable farming practices that deplete soil and eat up forests, or predatory business practices that take up tracts of indigenous land.

What I don’t understand is being against fruits and vegetables that have received the transgenic equivalent of a vaccination: like the Ringspot-resistant Papaya, or the Sharka-resistant Plum.

It’s the lack of clarity and specificity in this conversation that I find maddening: I think complex questions deserve complex answers, and those aren’t to be found in a consumer boycott, or a sign that reads “hell no GMO.” If you are protesting GM crops, but can’t tell me the names of five, then why are do you feel entitled to speak on behalf of people who work in agriculture and horticulture?
— 

biodiverseed

If you want to learn about the wide variety of crops available, check out the Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment’s Global GM Crop Database.

#GMOs

I just signed a petition urging the FDA to keep GMO salmon out of the US. I think you should, too.

AquaBounty, the company creating the first-ever genetically modified salmon for human consumption, is playing fast and loose with environmental regulations, and we may end up paying the price.The FDA is still considering approval of the company’s dangerous GMO salmon. This could have huge ramifications if we don’t speak up to prevent it.

Fast-casual food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced it has removed all ingredients made with genetically modified organisms from its menu, making good on a two-year-old promise. It’s the latest example of the food industry stripping away ingredients, some more questionable than others, as consumers demand a say in what’s in their dinner.

There is no scientific evidence that GMOs pose a risk to health, as Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells readily acknowledges. “I don’t think this is about GMOs being harmful or not being harmful to your health,” Ells tells The Salt. “It’s a bigger picture. It’s really part of our food with integrity journey.”

Chipotle Says Adios To GMOs, As Food Industry Strips Away Ingredients

Photos: Meredith Rizzo/NPR; iStockphoto; PepsiCo; iStockphoto; iStockphoto

This is why you shouldn’t believe that exciting new medical study 

By Julia Belluz on Vox // March 23, 2015 

A highly regarded service that vets new studies for clinicians finds — on average — only 3,000 of 50,000 new journal articles published each year are well-designed and relevant enough to inform patient care. That’s 6 percent.

More often than not, single studies contradict one another — such as the research on foods that cause or prevent cancer. The truth can be found somewhere in the totality of the research, but we report on every study in isolation underneath flip-flopping headlines. (Red wine will add years to your life one week, and kill you quicker the next.)

For a study on whether everything we eat is associated with cancer, academics randomly selected 50 ingredients from recipes in The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Most foods had studies behind them claiming both positive and negative results. Researchers cannot always replicate the findings of other researchers, and for various reasons many don’t even try. All told, an estimated 85 percent — or $200 billion [USD] — of annual global spending on research is wasted on badly designed or redundant studies.

This means early  medical research will mostly be wrong until maybe eventually, if we’re lucky, it’s right. More tangibly, only a tiny fraction of new science will lead to anything that’s useful to humans.

Read more


*Think about this is you ever come across a study that tells you GMOs and glyphosate directly cause cancer, autism, alzheimers, and gluten intolerance.  

Check out what I found while skinning a bag of potatoes at the Fry Shop!  Does this studly spud remind you of anyone?

Maybe a certain blogger?

It’s me!  It looks just like me!

I’m sure the boys in the White House Science Lab would have you believe this agricultural abnormality is nothing to worry about, but my tater twin here is no doubt part of a plan to replace all of mankind with high carb clones!  Who could be behind such a ssssinister ssscheme?  The answer lies in all those extra s’s!  Ssssssee you next time, Weirdateers!

Scientists call for ban on editing human genome

While the technique has many benefits, such as curing genetic diseases, it can also be used to enhance qualities like beauty or intelligence – something ethicists believe should not be done.

The biologists are also concerned that the technique is so easy to use that doctors may push ahead with it before it’s clinically safe to do so, they say in a paper on the subject, which was published in the journal Science.

Niggas in Hollywood just do the drugs right in front of you and act like aint shit happened. Motherfuckers be gay in Hollywood when you never expect it. They be having these big mansion parties and the whole mansion is a party and its a separate party in the little rooms. You be looking in all the rooms and you look into the wrong room. Is that two niggas kissing? Shut the door. It’s time to stop believing bullshit. We too old, we too smart. We too good to believe shit that don’t make sense. You’re too old to be believing in evolution but you’re too stupid. Evolution says people came from monkeys and the question is why are there still monkeys you dumb. Money can’t solve what’s fucked up about you. They already have concentration camps in the United States of America that they’ve been building for 4 years now (FEMA) and the question is who in the f are they going to put in that. They got to hate and Jesus was perfect. They don’t give a f*ck about us. These motherfuckers don’t give a f*ck about the medicine, they’re out making their motherfucking money. They give you one medication supposed to fix up some shit and the side effect f*ck up your leg. These motherfuckers don’t give a f*ck. One month they say this is the best medicine ever, it’ll cure everything. Then three months later you hear this quiet-ass commercial Have you or one of your loved ones been killed using our medicine? Dial 1-800-OUR BAD. The USDA has approved the sale of cloned meat to the American public. We saw the movie ‘Multiplicity’ we know what cloned means, it means retarded. You’re gonna feed us the retarded-ass cloned cow meat? I though niggas was gonna ride and tear up the streets. Some of you same niggas gonna be eating the shit outta that cloned meat and talking shit this cloned meat is delicious. Some of us are against the Illuminati, and we are against the Illuminati at our own detriment. When people are against the Illuminati, then they get punched in the face all the time, the press hates them and nobody likes them. Dave Chappelle has never been a part of the Illuminati, they don’t want him or me or people like us. But now, it’s not necessarily for us to stir up that hornet’s nest, unless we intent to get stung a million times. I didn’t understand that, they had to sting me a million times. I’m still not going to join, but I respect it a little more. Illuminati want me dead, I walk around like I don’t care. Understand, even if they was gonna kill me for the shit I got to say, I don’t know why I’m still here in the first place. I know if your mouth is really really big and you like to tell the truth for a living and you like to air people out, hatred is coming your way. I didn’t know it was going to be this type of hatred, but I’m concrete in all things because of He who strengthens me. That doesn’t mean I always make the right decisions, but I’m going to stand by what I stand for. At some point you have to figure out what example are you trying to be. If it’s just gonna be you’re gonna make it and live happily ever after and go off into the sunset then that’s what that is, otherwise you’re on the frontline of this battle. And those of us who understand that understand that this is a part of what comes with it. Satan, all your people suck. Satan ain’t shit. Everything he try to do he uses it cause he ain’t shit. His people ain’t shit, nothing he likes is shit.

Coming from that rural-centred background, it’s frustrating to me to see agricultural justice activism co-opted by urban-dwellers who hysterically yell about getting cancer from everything, when they have no connection to, or idea about how food is produced, or who produces it, or even who needs it most. It’s easy for the perpetual consumer to say “hell no GMO!” and talk about the purity of the natural world, or an ethic of noninterference, but I dare them tell the kid halfway around the globe with nutritional deficiencies that amino-acid enriched sweet potatoes should be banned, because they are “unnatural.”

This shouldn’t be about drawing artificial lines between manmade and natural: we gave up the right to complain about that when we domesticated animals and started farming during the Neolithic Revolution, 12,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent. Nothing about the way we live now is “natural,” but paradoxically, that sort of means everything we do is, because we too are evolving biological organisms, and technology–as well as being masters of our own genetic destinies–is a part of our evolutionary trajectory. If there is anything I learned in studying anthropology, it’s that this nature/culture divide is a false dichotomy.

With that in mind, one of my goals here at BiodiverSeed is to change the conversation about GMOs: let’s make it about scientific ethics, about not using poor people as guinea pigs, about food justice, about affordable land access, about protection of biodiversity, and about protecting open-source genetics, instead of debunked studies about GMO corn causing tumours in rats. Let’s centre an agricultural and food justice movement first and foremost on the needs of the people who produce our food, and around the people in the world who need more food.

We can change the conversation if we make a point of being critical, scientifically-literate, and open-minded. We started “playing God” when we invented agriculture, surgery, vaccines, and 3-D printed organs. We’re not about to stop with our food; so let’s make sure that food is healthy and accessible, and doesn’t continue to destroy the integrity of our biomes as we produce it.

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A study published this week in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology finds that exposure to commonly used pesticides — the herbicides Dicamba, 2,4-D, and glyphosate – may affect the way that bacteria reacts to antibiotics, in a way that leads to increased resistance. It’s the first, Civil Eats reports, to make this connection — typically, pesticides are tested for their potential to kill organisms. But it’s pesticides’ sub-lethal effects that, in this case, appear to be causing the problem: exposure to the chemicals wasn’t enough to kill the e. coli and salmonella bacteria used in the study, but it was enough to make them activate proteins, as a defense mechanism — one which could ultimately make them stronger.

Yet another factor contributing to the superbug crisis.

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.
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Papaya Ringspot Virus, and the “SunUp” and “Rainbow” Papayas

The genetically modified trees that saved a species

Whenever I see photos of the symptoms of Papaya Ringspot Virus (PRSV) up close, I actually think that if it weren’t so destructive, if would be beautiful.

One of the two strains of this Potyvirus, called PRSV-P, infects both Papayas (Carica papaya) and cucurbits (Cucurbitaceae); the plants suffer mosaic (interference with photosynthesis), leaf distortions, patches of necrotic tissue (which invites fungal infection), deformities in the fruit, and greatly-reduced yields. The virus is highly infectious, moving rapidly from plant-to-plant, primarily through aphid predation. 

Papaya Ringspot Virus Symptoms

After being introduced to Hawaii in the 1930s, the virus mutated, and by the 1950s had halted 94% of Papaya plantations on Oahu. Production moved to other islands, but the pathogen followed, and also began infecting home gardens in the 1970s. Even with aggressive horticultural and insecticidal management, by the 1990s, the virus infected commercial plantations, and over 50%-80% of the industry was decimated in various global sites of production.

Carica papaya is a rather genetically homogenous tree, so there were few reservoirs of resistance to the virus to be found in feral or wild populations of the plant. As a result, something else needed to be done to save the production of this fruit: in 1998, the answer came in the form of genetic engineering.

The Transgenic Papaya

At Cornell University, Dennis Gonsalves from Kohala, Hawai’i, created the “SunUp” and “Rainbow” Papayas (the latter is an F1 hybrid of the former and the red-fleshed “Kapoho”). [x]

Using a tool called a gene gun, the embryogenic tissues of this plant were injected with a benign protein coat of PRSV-P (the virus that plagued them), which basically operates on the same principles as a vaccination: plants with this protein coat are immune to the virus, and also provide a sort of herd immunity to non-GM plants, by breaking up corridors of transmission (the virus is spread during pruning, or by sucking pests like aphids).

This is called Pathogen-derived resistance (PDR), and is not unprecedented in nature: for example, fragments of endogynous retrovirus proviruses make up 8% of the human genome.

Today, over 80% of papayas sold globally are genetically modified to be immune to this virus. When these transgenic varieties were introduced, seeds were given away to farmers for free, and though there has been gene flow into conventional papaya populations (about 1%, as most commercial papayas are hermaphroditic and self-pollinating), there are no patent restrictions on private individuals re-planting seed from GM papayas.

Protests, and the Future of Transgenic Papayas

Unfortunately, the very innovation that was supposed to save the livelihoods of Hawaiian farmers has crippled the industry again, but this time, it’s leery export markets, legal battles, and consumer boycotts that have whittled down sales to 1/5th of what they were following the industry’s recovery. Anti-GMO boycots targeted papayas on “do not buy” lists, despite the fact that fruits infected by Papaya Ringspot Virus itself–not just a protein coat–have been safely consumed by humans for decades.

Aubrie Marie of ‘Babes Against Biotech’

Gonsalves himself, the retired plant pathologist who worked to create these fruits, has been subjected to endless abuse and harassment by protestors: groups like “Babes Against Biotech” have formed in Hawaii to protest his work, creating and spreading un-sourced scare graphics linking GMOs and pesticides to conditions like autism.

Celebrities and campaigners are quick to field all manner of conspiracy theories, because of a long-standing (and not unreasonable) distrust of biotech firms; however, this sloganeering reveals that the protestors know very little about the origins of these transgenic papayas. These are crops that were created by an academic institution for the public good, in order to avert a disaster. 

Only time and accurate information will work against the tide of consumer resistance. Until then, it’s the papaya farmers that pay the price.


#GMOs #chemophobia #food politics #GMO labelling #Hawaii #USA

You can’t pick and choose whichever scientific facts you like

Forbes: Cites scientific authorities to support consumption of GMOs

Me: Science wins again

Forbes: Ignores scientific authorities regarding evidence to climate change

Me: What, no…

Greenpeace: Cite scientific authorities about the evidence to climate change

Me: Oh okay, good.

Greenpeace: Ignores same scientific authorities and goes against GMOs

Me: OH COME ON!