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Genetically Modified Food Pt. 1 (merged)

Re: Is GMO and man-made food our best future option?

Unread postby PrestonSturges » Wed 02 Sep 2015, 23:07:34

Here's an article on creating GMO sterile moths of an invasive species to combat their crop devouring brothers that are resistant to just about every insecticide.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/01/scien ... etics.html

Anti-GMO arguments have hardly budged in the last 30 years, and I don't expect them to keep up with recent developments.

I consider it mostly just trolling.
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Re: Is GMO and man-made food our best future option?

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 03 Sep 2015, 02:44:14

I think it is too late anyway the Genie has been let out of the bottle, GMO is here to stay.
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Re: Is GMO and man-made food our best future option?

Unread postby PrestonSturges » Thu 03 Sep 2015, 13:51:56

onlooker wrote:I think it is too late anyway the Genie has been let out of the bottle, GMO is here to stay.

I think that's one of the key reasons people oppose it - job security for the critics. :lol:
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Re: Is GMO and man-made food our best future option?

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 03 Sep 2015, 14:02:41

PrestonSturges wrote:
onlooker wrote:I think it is too late anyway the Genie has been let out of the bottle, GMO is here to stay.

I think that's one of the key reasons people oppose it - job security for the critics. :lol:

Clever :-D
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Re: Is GMO and man-made food our best future option?

Unread postby vox_mundi » Thu 03 Sep 2015, 14:09:13

Growing up on a farm provides protection against asthma, hay fever and allergies

Researchers at VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology, Belgium) and Ghent University have successfully established a causal relationship between exposure to so-called farm dust and protection against asthma, hay fever and allergies. This breakthrough discovery is a major step forward towards the development of an asthma vaccine. The results of the research were published in the leading journal Science.

It is commonly known that drinking raw cow's milk can provide protection against allergies. A 14-member research team, led by professors Bart Lambrecht and Hamida Hammad (both associated with VIB and Ghent University) has now established a solid scientific basis for this claim.

In addition to the causal relationship, the scientists discovered the mechanism behind this: farm dust makes the mucous membrane inside the respiratory tracts react less severely to allergens such as house dust mite.

Prof. Hamida Hammad (VIB/Ghent University): "This effect is created by the A20 protein, which the body produces upon contact with farm dust. When we inactivate the A20 protein in the mucous membrane of the lungs, farm dust is no longer able to reduce an allergic or asthmatic reaction."

These findings were then tested in patients. The results showed that people suffering from allergies and asthma have a deficiency in the protective protein A20. It explains why they react to allergens so severely. "We also assessed a test group of 2,000 children growing up on farms, and found that most of them are protected. Those who are not protected and still develop allergies have a genetic variant of the A20 gene which causes the A20 protein to malfunction."

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6252/1106
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Re: Is GMO and man-made food our best future option?

Unread postby PrestonSturges » Thu 03 Sep 2015, 14:18:33

onlooker wrote:
PrestonSturges wrote:
onlooker wrote:I think it is too late anyway the Genie has been let out of the bottle, GMO is here to stay.

I think that's one of the key reasons people oppose it - job security for the critics. :lol:

Clever :-D
Some people would say "cynical." :roll:
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Re: Is GMO and man-made food our best future option?

Unread postby Tanada » Thu 03 Sep 2015, 22:10:43

vox_mundi wrote:Growing up on a farm provides protection against asthma, hay fever and allergies

Researchers at VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology, Belgium) and Ghent University have successfully established a causal relationship between exposure to so-called farm dust and protection against asthma, hay fever and allergies. This breakthrough discovery is a major step forward towards the development of an asthma vaccine. The results of the research were published in the leading journal Science.

It is commonly known that drinking raw cow's milk can provide protection against allergies. A 14-member research team, led by professors Bart Lambrecht and Hamida Hammad (both associated with VIB and Ghent University) has now established a solid scientific basis for this claim.

In addition to the causal relationship, the scientists discovered the mechanism behind this: farm dust makes the mucous membrane inside the respiratory tracts react less severely to allergens such as house dust mite.

Prof. Hamida Hammad (VIB/Ghent University): "This effect is created by the A20 protein, which the body produces upon contact with farm dust. When we inactivate the A20 protein in the mucous membrane of the lungs, farm dust is no longer able to reduce an allergic or asthmatic reaction."

These findings were then tested in patients. The results showed that people suffering from allergies and asthma have a deficiency in the protective protein A20. It explains why they react to allergens so severely. "We also assessed a test group of 2,000 children growing up on farms, and found that most of them are protected. Those who are not protected and still develop allergies have a genetic variant of the A20 gene which causes the A20 protein to malfunction."

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6252/1106


I am calling BS on this study. I grew up on a farm and though I didn't drink raw cows milk more than a couple times I was exposed to all the dust and bacteria you could hope for. Despite this I missed half of my first year of elementary school from chronic bronchitis and I have had pretty severe attacks of hay fever from time to time from my early teens onward.
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Re: Is GMO and man-made food our best future option?

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Thu 03 Sep 2015, 23:41:49

These guys should try selling canned farm dust.
Alberta company bottling air from Canadian Rockies and selling it worldwide
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Vitality Air model, Hannah Lam, holds a can filled with air that the compay says was collected directly from Banff, Alta. (Vitality Air)
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Re: Is GMO and man-made food our best future option?

Unread postby dissident » Fri 04 Sep 2015, 21:59:20

Correlation does not imply causation. The real reason growing up on a farm "protects" you is because you breathe in less NOx and fine mode aerosols (PM2.5). There was a theory being bandied about that the reason why eastern Europe coming out of the 1980s was less prone to asthma compared to western Europe was due to the "dirtier" air breathed by the poor, underdeveloped victims of communism especially when they were young. This was supposed to somehow prime their immune system. But aside from dick stroking ego boosting for western triumphalists this theory is utter rubbish. The reason that East Germans had less asthma than West Germans was because East Germans were breathing in orders of magnitude less car pollution in the places they lived. This was true even though they had the 2-cycle POS called the Trabant that would spew semi-burned oil laden blue smoke. The point is that the total volume of cars and their emissions was vastly smaller. These emissions are NOx, VOCs and associate fine mode aerosols. As the western car culture has penetrated and taken over the differential in asthma rates has basically disappeared.
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Pt. 1 (merged)

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 12 Apr 2016, 12:23:03

Mark Lynas of 6 degrees Could Change The World and Pandora fame has just published a new blog I think you all should read. As usual, much more at link below the quote.

The BBC has dismissed complaints by anti-GMO activists that its Panorama film ‘GM Food: Cultivating Fear‘ (non-UK viewers can watch it here or here), broadcast in June 2015, was biased and inaccurate. In a lengthy judgement just published (pdf), the BBC’s highest complaints body, the Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) of the BBC Trust, found that all the complaints made about the programme were without merit.

According to the ESC report,

Two complainants contacted the BBC to complain that an edition of Panorama about the new generation of GM foods misled the audience by making a claim of success for a GM aubergine crop which is not supported by the evidence.

These complainants are not identified by the BBC Editorial Standards Committee. However the UK-based anti-GMO website GM Watch revealed back in September 2015 in an unattributed article that it had “submitted a complaint to the BBC regarding the coverage of GM Bt brinjal in Bangladesh in the BBC Panorama programme, ‘GM Food: Cultivating Fear'”. Apparently when the piece was written the complaint had already been rejected by the BBC Editorial Complaints Unit, so GM Watch declared that it was now “escalating our complaint to the final level, the BBC Trust”. (I do not know who the second complainant was.)

The ESC’s judgement means that GM Watch’s complaint has been entirely rejected by every level of the BBC’s editorial standards and complaints process. The judgement is worth reading in full because it provides a forensic and lengthy examination of each issue that GM Watch sought to highlight and shows how the claims of the anti-GMO activists in this case are without foundation.

(I should state at the outset that I have an interest here: I was a contributor to the Panorama programme in the context of my work with Cornell University and USAID’s ‘ABSPII’ project in Bangladesh, and my name appears on a number of occasions in the ESC report, as you will see below.)

http://www.marklynas.org/2016/04/bbc-di ... rama-film/
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Pt. 1 (merged)

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 12 Apr 2016, 14:00:58

From the quote from T's cited article: "I have an interest here"

Pretty much all you need to know is right there.
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Pt. 1 (merged)

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 12 Apr 2016, 14:36:54

Gut Bacteria boost our immunity, protect us from infection and produce the enzymes we need to digest our food. Without these bacteria, we wouldn’t survive.

Humans in the U.S. have lost a third of their microbial diversity, mostly on their skin and in their stomachs and digestive tracts, said Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, associate professor of medicine at NYU. Microbe extinction may be at the root of modern plagues like asthma, allergies, diabetes, obesity and even some forms of cancer.

“The human body isn’t just what you see in the mirror,” she said. “It’s an ecosystem, just like a forest, just like the ocean, where microbes of many different species are interacting to support the whole.” “It’s shocking when you look at numbers how much total diversity has been lost.

“Not caring about your microbiome is like not caring about your liver or your spleen,” Zimmer said. “They’re an important part of your body. You need to be concerned.”


Low-Fiber Diets Cause Waves of Extinction in the Gut

Over generations, mice deprived of fiber permanently lost some species of gut microbes. What does this mean for human health?

Fiber is a broad term that includes many kinds of plant carbohydrates that we cannot digest. Our microbes can, though, and they break fiber into chemicals that nourish our cells and reduce inflammation. But no single microbe can tackle every kind of fiber. They specialize, just as every antelope in the African savannah munches on its own favored type of grass or shoot. This means that a fiber-rich diet can nourish a wide variety of gut microbes and, conversely, that a low-fiber diet can only sustain a narrower community.

Sonnenburg, his wife Erica, and the graduate student Samuel Smits confirmed this idea in a recent experiment. ... Sonnenburg and Smits bred the mice from their first experiment, they saw that low-fiber parents gave birth to pups with narrower microbiomes, which lacked species present in the progeny of high-fiber parents. And if these bacteria-impoverished pups also ate low-fiber food, they lost even more microbes, especially those from the fiber-busting Bacteroidales group. As four generations ticked by, the rodents’ guts became progressively less diverse, as more and more species blinked out.

It also became increasingly hard to reverse these changes. If the fourth-generation mice switched to high-fiber meals, some of the missing microbes rebounded, but most did not. In other words, these species weren't just lying in wait in small numbers, waiting for the chance to bloom again; they had genuinely vanished.

These changes parallel those that have taken place over the course of human history. Many studies have now shown that the gut microbiomes of Western city-dwellers are less diverse than those of rural villagers and hunter-gatherers, who eat more plants and thus more fiber. The Stanford researchers’ experiment hints (but doesn't confirm) that this low diversity could be a lasting legacy of industrialization, in which successive generations of low-fiber meals have led to the loss of old bacterial companions. “The data we present also hint that further deterioration of the Western microbiota is possible,” the team writes.

There’s evidence that a diverse microbiome can better resist invasive species like Salmonella or Clostridium difficile, while low diversity is a common feature of obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, and other conditions.

“It is possible that rewilding the modern microbiota with extinct species may be necessary to restore evolutionarily important functionality to our gut.”

Sonnenburg's concern is that these changes play out over millennia, and hosts and microbes have time to acclimate to their new relationships. By contrast, our modern diets and lifestyles are changing our microbiomes very quickly, leaving us with communities that we haven't adjusted to. “Our human genome is constantly trying to keep up with this moving target of a microbial community,” he says. “If there are times when changes are exceptionally rapid, it might be problematic for host health.”
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Pt. 1 (merged)

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 12 Apr 2016, 14:47:12

Selection pressures push plants over adaption cliff – new study has significant implications for how we address rapid climate change

New simulations by researchers at the University of Warwick and UCL’s Institute of Archaeology of plant evolution over the last 3000 years have revealed an unexpected limit to how far useful crops can be pushed to adapt before they suffer population collapse. The result has significant implications for how growers, breeders and scientists help agriculture and horticulture respond to quickening climate change.

The new study (PDF) has just been published in the journal Evolutionary Genomics and is entitled “Evolutionary Genomics Surprisingly Low Limits of Selection in Plant Domestication“ It runs counter to the most common current thinking that plants are able to cope with evolutionary pressures that strain thousands of points of change in a plant and its genetic make up at a time. While there is a cost to the plant population in undergoing such a selection pressure that cost was seen as affordable.

The new research led by Professor Robin Allaby from the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, simulated 3000 generations of crop plants with an annual cycle. The researchers found that in fact if pushed to change too much too soon these plants came up against a genetic cliff face. The plants moved from a high likelihood of survival as a species if faced with anything up to 50-100 change pressures at a time, to almost certain irreversible population collapse and extinction if pushed even slightly beyond 50-100 such changes.

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“These simulations show how and why the spread of agriculture was likely tempered by the ability of crops to adapt to new environments, leading to economic collapse when the pace was too fast. Now we face a similar situation as modern environments change with the climate.”

"In terms of our future the limits to sudden evolutionary change may restrict our ability to breed traits into crops to keep pace with rapid climate change. Faced with such challenges we may have to be more open to changing the range of things we choose to grow if our climate changes rather than pushing what we currently grow beyond its limits."
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Pt. 1 (merged)

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 03 Jun 2016, 06:30:44

Interesting talk on how we define GMO legally, and what kind of headaches it causes.

https://youtu.be/kyrsNa1jLpo
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Pt. 1 (merged)

Unread postby vox_mundi » Fri 03 Jun 2016, 10:44:13

Genetically modified Golden Rice falls short on lifesaving promises

Heralded on the cover of Time magazine in 2000 as a genetically modified (GMO) crop with the potential to save millions of lives in the Third World, Golden Rice is still years away from field introduction and even then, may fall short of lofty health benefits still cited regularly by GMO advocates, suggests a new study from Washington University in St. Louis.

"Golden Rice is still not ready for the market, but we find little support for the common claim that environmental activists are responsible for stalling its introduction. GMO opponents have not been the problem," said lead author Glenn Stone, professor of anthropology and environmental studies in Arts & Sciences.

"The rice simply has not been successful in test plots of the rice breeding institutes in the Philippines, where the leading research is being done," Stone said. "It has not even been submitted for approval to the regulatory agency, the Philippine Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI)."

... As Stone and Glover note in the article, researchers continue to have problems developing beta carotene-enriched strains that yield as well as non-GMO strains already being grown by farmers.

The simple fact is that after 24 years of research and breeding, Golden Rice is still years away from being ready for release.
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Re: Genetically Modified Food Pt. 1 (merged)

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 10:17:17

For more than a decade controversy has raged in the world’s media about whether genetically engineered crops are dangerous, as many environmentalists have long claimed.

Yet away from the headlines, a quiet revolution has been unfolding in Asia. In Bangladesh, thousands of smallholder farmers are engaged in successfully growing the world’s first GM food crop expressly developed for poorer countries. Indonesia is not far behind.

Bangladesh’s new crop — a genetically modified eggplant, called “Bt brinjal”, which is resistant to insect pests — is the “GMO” that anti-GMO activists don’t want you to know about. Opponents of genetic engineering technology insist that GMO crops are unsafe for human consumption and also result in more pesticide use.

They also claim that GM seeds do not reproduce and that farmers have to go back to seed companies year after year, making them powerless and beholden to multinational corporations.

Yet Bangladesh’s Bt brinjal gives the lie to all these assertions. The Bt gene added to the eggplant comes from a common soil bacterium, already used for decades by organic farmers as a spray. Bt kills caterpillars that otherwise devastate the crop, but is a completely harmless protein as far as humans are concerned. It is also safe for other insects, so protects the wider ecosystem.

Crucially, this biological and natural pest control allows farmers to drastically reduce their use of toxic insecticides — a huge benefit, as Bangladeshi eggplant growers are accustomed to spraying insecticides 80 or more times in a single season.

This has devastating impacts both on farmers’ health and the surrounding environment, with thousands of pesticide poisonings per year, sometimes with fatal consequences.

Environmental groups ought to be strong supporters of Bt brinjal. After all, some of the poorest farmers in the world have had their livelihoods drastically improved, and the application of toxic insecticides has been reduced by 80 to 90 percent.

But so deep has anti-GMO ideology embedded itself in the DNA of today’s green movement, that leading voices are unable to admit to any success for the technology they have vilified for so long.

Instead, Bt brinjal has been subject to a smear campaign in the Bangladeshi press with loud and baseless claims that the crop is poisonous, aimed at scaring farmers away from growing it or consumers from eating it.

As an environmentalist, I found myself despairing that a movement I have believed in for so long could have become so corrupted. The only beneficiaries from the anti-GMO campaign are the pesticide manufacturers, who would otherwise lose markets as farmers spray less insecticide.

Although Bangladesh’s government has so far stood up to the intimidation campaign, neighboring India quickly folded in the face of a fanatical campaign of opposition, banning Bt brinjal in 2010. The ban remains in force today.

In the Philippines, Greenpeace and other groups persuaded the Supreme Court to issue a prohibition order on Bt brinjal in December 2015. The court’s decision has just been reversed, but valuable years have been lost — years in which farmers growing the crop have continued to be dependent on the very insecticides environmentalists claim they are against.

What happens in Bangladesh is especially important because many other developing countries are watching closely. Here in Indonesia GMO crops have been on go-slow because of government inertia, but a genetically-engineered drought-tolerant sugarcane has already been such a success that a high-level Indian team came to visit to assess the potential for Indian cultivation.

A blight-resistant potato, drought-tolerant rice and virus-resistant tomato are also in the pipeline. All technologies have upsides and downsides. It would be foolish to assert that GM crops will always be good whatever the circumstances. But it is equally foolish to insist — as so many activists do — that they will always be bad.

And it seems particularly unjust when the benefits from scientific progress are denied to the very people who could benefit from them most — poor, smallholder farmers. Indonesian farmers can look at those in Bangladesh and push Jakarta to take a more pro-active approach.


http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016 ... world.html
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