On The Subject Of GMO

corn

So much for telling myself I wasn’t going to blog until Monday.

On September 6th, Scientific American’s editorial board wrote an article in which they come out against labeling Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) food.

And that’s good enough for me. Maybe it will put an end, once and for all, to the irrational hysteria over GMO.

As the editors of Scientific American correctly point out, we’ve been eating GMO food since the dawn of agriculture through a long process of selected breeding. All the food that you enjoy today once started out as something you wouldn’t recognize, such as a scraggly-looking grass that we now know as corn.

With the advent of genetic engineering, scientists as far back as 20 years ago have been using modern tools to tweak and improve genes of plant crops that allow them to resist drought and not wither and die under the use of herbicides.

Some crops, such as rice, have been genetically modified to produce more vitamin A, an essential supplement that without causes blindness in over half a million children worldwide.

Who on Earth would be against that?

It’s an insult to Third World countries who don’t get enough to eat or are forced to eat foods that are low in nutritional quality that we would be having this argument.

There is no scientific evidence to support the notion that GMO foods are somehow unsafe for you to eat. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization and the nanny-state European Union all agree that GMOs are just as safe as other foods.

Is it genetic engineering that bothers you? It shouldn’t. In fact, genetic engineering is far more precise and far less likely to produce an unwanted or unexpected result than conventional breeding techniques that are, at best, haphazard.

If we had to sit around and wait for conventional breeding techniques to solve the problems that plague agriculture half the world would have starved to death by now.

SA makes another valid point: non-GMO foods are far too expensive to grow and maintain. I once went on an “all organic” food kick and what I found was that this organic food was not only expensive but it went rotten faster – a double waste of my money.

Another plus about GMO is that agriculture is an environmentally destructive endeavor. I don’t need to be told this: all I have to do is look outside my window at the rice farms next door during planting seasons. Growing crops leeches minerals and nutrients out of the soil and if you do too much of this you end up ruining the land and have to take up even more land to compensate for the land you’ve lost.

Genetic engineering has found ways to grow more food on smaller plots of land without destroying it.

We’re up against an ever increasing population. People aren’t simply going to start having fewer babies and by the middle of this century there will be 10 billion people on this planet. They’re all going to need places to live and that means a lot of what was farm land will be given over so that these people may live on it but we’re also aware that these new arrivals will need food and places to grow it on and there’s no way we can possibly pull this off without genetic engineering.

Again, who on Earth is against that?

You have been eating genetically modified food since you were born, as have your parents and your parents before them. In the last 20 years, you have been eating food that has been tweaked as a result of genetic engineering and if there was anything to this “Frankenfood” hype, 20 years is a long enough time line in which we’d have all heard something by now if there was a problem with it.

As for myself, I love asparagus but hate that overpowering smell in your urine afterwards. Perhaps you geneticists could turn your hand toward solving that particular issue?

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29 thoughts on “On The Subject Of GMO

  1. Like the Scientific American editorial you are referencing, your blog contains numerous fallacies. First of all selective breeding and genetic engineering are not the same thing. All selective breeding does is mate two specific animals or plants that have desired traits in order to insure that you get more offspring with those desired traits. This is a simple proceedure that any reasonably intelligent 13 year old that has grown up in a farm where it is done can explain and even demonstrate. Genetic engineering involves inserting genes that would never naturally be present into the DNA of another organism. Not only are we taliking about crossing the species barrier, we are talking about crossing kingdom barriers by inserting bacteria genes into the DNA of plants or animals. This does not occur naturally and invovles a high level of genetic knowledge and technical expertise to accomplish. Also, GMOs are patented, How can GMOs be patentable if you cannot patent things that occur in or are directly derived from things that occur in nature? Second, the genetic engineering of plants is based on thirty year old theories that have been proven false. One gene does not directly code for only one trait. We know this today, but thirty years ago, when genetics was still new, one of the leading theories was that one gene coded directly for one trait. Also, the newly emerging science of epigenetics adds another set of problems for ggenetic engineering. We are now discovering that the protein coat around the DNA may be responsible for activating and deactivating certain genes in response to environmental stimuli. So genetic engineering is not the exact science it is advertised to be. Third, as far as golden rice is concerned, even if they ever manage to meet their target amount of about 34 mcg of Vitamin A/100 g of rice, that is still far less than what is naturally present in carrots (217 mcg/100 g), spinach (600 mcg/100 g), and cod liver oil (10,000 mcg/100 g). So who will this rice help? The starving children that need more vitamin A or the corporation that patented this product? Also, studies have shown that organic farming can produce just as much as, if not more food/acre than GMO crops. Also, GMO crops require increased pesticide use. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14735903.2013.806408 Stop just believing and regurgitating what you hear from “experts” and do some of your own research and thinking.

    1. “Like the Scientific American editorial you are referencing, your blog contains numerous fallacies.”

      Oh, this ought to be good. Continue…

      “First of all selective breeding and genetic engineering are not the same thing. All selective breeding does is mate two specific animals or plants that have desired traits in order to insure that you get more offspring with those desired traits.”

      You’re right, they’re not. One is slipshod and haphazard that is prone to produce unexpected/unwanted results and the other is genetic engineering.

      “This is a simple proceedure that any reasonably intelligent 13 year old that has grown up in a farm where it is done can explain and even demonstrate.”

      Artificial selection, mutagenesis, genetic engineering – it’s all the same. You’re manipulating the genome to produce a desired result. And we were having such a nice conversation…

      “Genetic engineering involves inserting genes that would never naturally be present into the DNA of another organism.”

      As does artificial selection and mutagenesis. You are introducing genetic traits that were never naturally present in the DNA of the target organism.

      “Not only are we taliking about crossing the species barrier, we are talking about crossing kingdom barriers by inserting bacteria genes into the DNA of plants or animals. This does not occur naturally and invovles a high level of genetic knowledge and technical expertise to accomplish.”

      That’s sort of the whole point and yes, it does take the sharpest tool in the shed to accomplish this.

      “Also, GMOs are patented, How can GMOs be patentable if you cannot patent things that occur in or are directly derived from things that occur in nature? “

      See: Intellectual Property.

      Okay, I see what the gripe is – you’re basically against anything that you deem unnatural. Fine, your choice but that would exclude you from a lot of activities I don’t foresee you giving up anytime soon especially at the cost of your life.

      If your kidneys fail, would you take a pass on dialysis? That’s unnatural. I could cite numerous unnatural examples that you would have no objection to but I’m going to skip this for now. I think you get the point.

      “Second, the genetic engineering of plants is based on thirty year old theories that have been proven false.”

      Well, that’s kinda what science does. If a theory is falsifiable, it’s thrown out in favor of a new theory. You mistakenly believe that once a scientific theory is in place it stays in place and that’s NOT how science works.

      “We know this today, but thirty years ago, when genetics was still new, one of the leading theories was that one gene coded directly for one trait.”

      Yup, and that theory was tossed in favor of the new theory which contradicted the old theory. Just like science is supposed to do.

      “Also, the newly emerging science of epigenetics adds another set of problems for ggenetic engineering.”

      Oh, you mean that genes undergo change and mutation? Whoa…but, still, you don’t say explicitly why this is a bad thing. After all, genetic mutation is the driving force behind evolution.

      “We are now discovering that the protein coat around the DNA may be responsible for activating and deactivating certain genes in response to environmental stimuli.”

      Yay science!

      “So genetic engineering is not the exact science it is advertised to be.”

      It’s a lot more exact than it used to be and certainly far more exact and precise than artificial selection and mutagenesis.

      “Third, as far as golden rice is concerned, even if they ever manage to meet their target amount of about 34 mcg of Vitamin A/100 g of rice, that is still far less than what is naturally present in carrots (217 mcg/100 g), spinach (600 mcg/100 g), and cod liver oil (10,000 mcg/100 g).”

      You’re a bit behind the times. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/96/3/658

      “Also, studies have shown that organic farming can produce just as much as, if not more food/acre than GMO crops”

      Nope. I can produce studies that contradict your studies. Here’s one now: http://www.scribd.com/doc/47829728/A-Detailed-Analysis-of-US-Organic-Crops

      Summary: organic farming is no position to tackle the problems of food demand for the foreseeable future.

      “Also, GMO crops require increased pesticide use.”

      I’ll concede that and I think I know the reason why: epigenetics. Did you think predator organisms wouldn’t adapt over time? They’re better at it than we are. We’ve been fighting that battle since before GMO came to the party.

      “Stop just believing and regurgitating what you hear from “experts” and do some of your own research and thinking.”

      Having just taken your generalizations and rebutted them point by point, I believe my research and thinking skills are in good working order.

      Wouldn’t you agree?

  2. I found your blog by following a comment you made elsewhere on someone’s anti-GMO rant. I think it is important to combat the delusional unscientific nonsense out there on this issue, but it sure takes a lot of patience and a huge reservoir of optimism. Big props to you for making the effort. Keep up the good work. As you say, it’s not just a matter of being right, it is a matter of the lives and health of people in the third world who will have to suffer the navel-gazing neurotic pseudoscience rampant in the wealthy west.

    1. Thank you, Prof, but let’s not be too harsh:

      There are some perfectly valid reasons to be concerned about emerging sciences like genetic engineering. People have a tendency to be leery of things they don’t fully understand and I don’t blame them one bit.

      100 years ago I could sit in a room filled with various objects and tell you how they all work. Today, I don’t fully understand how the Internet works – it’s only sufficient for me that it does and far more dastardly things have been perpetrated on it – but the good it does outweighs the harm and I’m fine with it.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      1. Too charitable, IMO. Neophobia is an understandable response, but attacking something without evidence (or without understanding the evidence) isn’t deserving of tolerance. Comparing GM to the internet doesn’t quite work, because marshaling evidence-based critiques of the internet is possible, from cyberbullying to lost productivity to illegal activity. Doing the same for GM is, given current data, not possible.

        I don’t mean to imply that there might not be, at some point, an ill-advised GMO, but the idea that one can chuck all GMO on the basis of one negative manipulation will always be an example of the slippery slope fallacy, and therefore logically untenable.

      2. Well, it seems our friend Allen has taken down his blog.

        I certainly hope it wasn’t anything I said or did. I didn’t mean to scare him off.

      3. By taking down his entire blog? A bit extreme, wouldn’t you say?

        It was probably his first time blogging, too. Jeeze…I had to go and be That Guy.

      4. I misconstrued. Figured you meant took down that *post*. Took down the whole blog? I feel bad, though I also can’t resist saying… maybe Monsanto got to him!

  3. I like your approach here and how you replied to allen w in a line-by-line fashion. I used to be anti-GMO and scared to death until I learned better. I had blindly accepted all the fear-mongering rhetoric and as so many anti-GMOers do, recited word for word from the movement’s script, generated by people like Vendana Shiva, Mercola, Jeffrey Smith and the Health Ranger. Every one of allen w’s arguments are regurgitated over and over from this same script. After my own research and direct connections with real scientists, I did a complete one-eighty in my views and have been blogging about it ever since. While no panacea, the benefits of GMOs outweigh the risks and the technology should be pursued when applicable.

    I am reblogging your article at Sleuth4Health!

      1. Well, hello Janice! So nice of you to stop by.

        So you work for Monsanto, do you? Just to let you know, I don’t think your company is bent on mutating the human race.

        Keep up the good work!

  4. Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. Sorry I haven’t been keeping up with your posts or my own as I should, but a 19 credit class load and working will tend to do that.

    Now back to the matter at hand. As far as the golden rice study that you touted, it seems that the main scientist involved is facing charges of ethical violations connected to the study. That means, at least for now, that study cannot be said to conclude anything of worth to this debate.
    http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2013/15063-golden-rice-study-violated-ethics-rules-say-tufts

    Also, you insist on propagating the myth that genetic engineering of plants and animals is the same as selective breeding. This is not the case. Even a cursory examination will show vast differences in goals, techniques, and outcomes of the two processes. Selective breeding is just a way to get the traits you want in a plant or animal and involves nothing more complicated than pollination by hand for plants or artificial insemination for animals. Any reasonably intelligent 12 year old can do it. It also does not involve any fertilizations that could not happen in nature. In the few instances, like breeding mules, where you have a crossing of the species barrier, you never get viable offspring and must repeat the process for each new mule that you want. Genetic engineering involves actually splicing foreign DNA into a plant or animal to give it traits that it would never naturally have. This is a highly technical and scientific process that requires years of education and specialized training. This not only involves crossing the species barrier, but even the kingdom barrier (inserting bacterial DNA into plants). Also, the fact that you could even argue that the end products of genetic engineering are patentable, proves the differences of the two processes. No product of selective breeding is patentable because they could exist in nature and involve natural processes in their creation.

    So again, I assert that there are reasons to be cautious with GMOs. I will dive into the science more in my post this afternoon.

    1. “Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. Sorry I haven’t been keeping up with your posts or my own as I should, but a 19 credit class load and working will tend to do that. ”

      That’s quite all right, Allen – we all have priorities. I was concerned when your blog was no longer up.

      Glad to have you back.

      “Now back to the matter at hand. As far as the golden rice study that you touted, it seems that the main scientist involved is facing charges of ethical violations connected to the study. That means, at least for now, that study cannot be said to conclude anything of worth to this debate.”

      No, it doesn’t. Right there in the second paragraph of the article:

      “According to the Tufts report, the scientific conclusions of the study remain valid.”

      It seems a bit odd to me that you’d discard a study on the basis of one scientist not following the rules when it was the principal progenitor of the study (Tufts) that sanctioned the scientist in the first place.

      Science, once again, does its job.

      “Also, you insist on propagating the myth that genetic engineering of plants and animals is the same as selective breeding. ”

      By your own definition, it’s not a myth. You are introducing a heretofore unknown genetic inheritance into a target organism. There is not one iota of difference between mutagenesis and genetic engineering on this score, except that genetic engineering is far more precise and far less prone to haphazard, unwanted results.

      “Even a cursory examination will show vast differences in goals, techniques, and outcomes of the two processes.”

      Especially when that cursory examination reveals that one of these processes produced the result you weren’t looking for.

      “Selective breeding is just a way to get the traits you want in a plant or animal and involves nothing more complicated than pollination by hand for plants or artificial insemination for animals.”

      Again, you’ve already made it clear that your argument is against what you deem unnatural.

      “Any reasonably intelligent 12 year old can do it.”

      Oh dear. Is it your assertion to claim that I’m not any smarter than a 12 year old? Please stop.

      “Genetic engineering involves actually splicing foreign DNA into a plant or animal to give it traits that it would never naturally have.”

      Yeah, that’s the whole point of genetic engineering. What you don’t back up is your assertion that is somehow a bad thing.

      We’re still waiting for you to do this.

      “No product of selective breeding is patentable because they could exist in nature and involve natural processes in their creation.”

      Again, you’ve already stated your objection against what you deem unnatural. Please come up with a better argument.

      “So again, I assert that there are reasons to be cautious with GMOs. I will dive into the science more in my post this afternoon.”

      I never said there weren’t any reasons not to be but genetic engineering isn’t the bogeyman you paint it out to be and, what’s more, it’s rank propaganda from the wilfully ignorant.

      1. Then you agree with my point that selective breeding and genetic engineering are not the same process. My point was not that the difference between them proves genetic engineering to be bad in any way. My point was that biotech companies, like Monsanto, and people in the scientific community, like the editors of Scientific American, are falsely claiming GMOs are safe because GE is the same process as selective breeding. The fact that they are lying about this, is reason to doubt the safety of GMOs given the history of companies like Monsanto and products that they claimed were safe in the past, like DDT and Agent Orange.

      2. “Then you agree with my point that selective breeding and genetic engineering are not the same process.”

        Insofar the method, not the results.

        “My point was not that the difference between them proves genetic engineering to be bad in any way. My point was that biotech companies, like Monsanto, and people in the scientific community, like the editors of Scientific American, are falsely claiming GMOs are safe because GE is the same process as selective breeding.”

        Prove that GMOs aren’t safe. You haven’t done that yet. All you’ve alluded to is what might happen and that’s not going to cut it.

        “The fact that they are lying about this, is reason to doubt the safety of GMOs given the history of companies like Monsanto and products that they claimed were safe in the past, like DDT and Agent Orange.”

        What exactly are they lying about? You haven’t provided any evidence that GMOs are unsafe.

      3. What exactly are they lying about? The biotech industry, by either explicit statement or inference has said that genetic engineering and selective breeding are the same. This, as you have agreed, is definitely not the case. Again, my purpose in exposing this was to show that fears and concerns about GMOs are not irrational but based on rational concerns about companies, like Monsanto, that have lied about the safety of their products before, like DDT and Agent Orange, and are exhibiting the same patterns of behavior with respect to GM agricultural products.

        Now that that point is settled, we have other points to discuss. While the Tufts study did say that there were only ethical violations, an article in Nature, dated 12/10/2012, stated the following: “Critics note that discrepancies remain over the full details of the trial. For instance, the CDC’s investigation revealed that the children ate Golden Rice just once during the study — and not lunch every day during the three-week study as the paper states.

        ‘How much Golden Rice did the children have exactly?’ asks Wang Zheng, a policy researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Policy and Management in Beijing. ‘Either the researchers are lying about this now or they lied about it in their paper. It’s a serious offence either way.’”
        http://www.nature.com/news/china-sacks-officials-over-golden-rice-controversy-1.11998
        So that means the scientists not only violated ethical procedures, they lied about the methods used in their study. This makes any conclusions of the study invalid as scientific evidence.

        And as to your point about genetic engineering being an “exact” procedure that gets the exact results desired, you cannot say that and hold epigenetics to be a valid science. If recent theories about epigenetics are true, and environmental factors can alter the protein coat surrounding DNA and thus trigger or suppress the expression of genes, how can you say that you can alter the genetic structure of an organism and not cause one or more epigenetic effects? If that is the case, genetic engineering is,in fact, creating novel proteins in the altered organism that cannot be predicted and therefore may not be detected in the testing of the GMO. Again, this does not mean that genetic engineering is inherently bad or that the scientists involved have any evil intent. It just means that the process is not as cut and dry as the biotech industry would lead us to believe and that there is a rational basis for concern and for keeping such experiments confined to a laboratory setting until such safety concerns can be adequately addressed. Also, proponents of GMOs are quick to say that they have been in the food supply for 20+ years. Well in those 20+ years, we have seen a rise in many health problems in this country, incuding food allergies. And while we do not know the causes, it will take years for the CDC to come to any reasonably sound conclusion. It takes up to 5 years to confirm a cause of a disease when you are reasonably sure you already know the cause. How much longer might it take when you consider all of the environmental factors that could possibly be causing the rise in food allergies and other diseases.

        I am not saying that the research itself is bad or that it will not bear very useful fruit (no pun intended) in the future. I am saying that there are valid reasons for caution and such research should be confined to controlled laboratory settings until it is proven safe per established ethical scientific procedures
        .

      4. “What exactly are they lying about? The biotech industry, by either explicit statement or inference has said that genetic engineering and selective breeding are the same.”

        They are. Whether it is achieved by mutagenesis or a PCR, the result is exactly the same.

        You haven’t proved or entered into any evidence they’re not. Once again, we are arguing Your Opinion.

        “This, as you have agreed, is definitely not the case.”

        No, I did not agree. Again, whether by mutagenesis or PCR the result is the same – you are introducing a heretofore unknown genetic inheritance in a target organism.

        “Again, my purpose in exposing this was to show that fears and concerns about GMOs are not irrational but based on rational concerns about companies, like Monsanto, that have lied about the safety of their products before, like DDT and Agent Orange, and are exhibiting the same patterns of behavior with respect to GM agricultural products.”

        And that’s the extent of your argument. No science, no evidence, no proof – just “I Hate Monsanto”.

        “Now that that point is settled”

        Hardly, but go ahead…

        “So that means the scientists not only violated ethical procedures, they lied about the methods used in their study. This makes any conclusions of the study invalid as scientific evidence.”

        Your facts are in error. Only ONE scientist was sanctioned for ethical violations while the progenitor of the study (Tufts) concluded that the science was valid not withstanding.

        Please stop embellishing. If you can’t stick to the facts, don’t bother coming around here anymore.

        “And as to your point about genetic engineering being an “exact” procedure that gets the exact results desired, you cannot say that and hold epigenetics to be a valid science.”

        Here we go again. Explain why genetic mutation is a bad thing. You have failed to do this so far.

        ” If recent theories about epigenetics are true, and environmental factors can alter the protein coat surrounding DNA and thus trigger or suppress the expression of genes, how can you say that you can alter the genetic structure of an organism and not cause one or more epigenetic effects?”

        Again, you fail to demonstrate why this is a bad thing.

        “If that is the case, genetic engineering is,in fact, creating novel proteins in the altered organism that cannot be predicted and therefore may not be detected in the testing of the GMO. Again, this does not mean that genetic engineering is inherently bad or that the scientists involved have any evil intent. It just means that the process is not as cut and dry as the biotech industry would lead us to believe and that there is a rational basis for concern and for keeping such experiments confined to a laboratory setting until such safety concerns can be adequately addressed.”

        Once again you are alluding to what MIGHT happen – not what has actually happened. “What if” isn’t a basis for this discussion.

        “Also, proponents of GMOs are quick to say that they have been in the food supply for 20+ years. Well in those 20+ years, we have seen a rise in many health problems in this country, incuding food allergies.”

        Now you’ve stepped in it. Put up your sources.

        “Well in those 20+ years, we have seen a rise in many health problems in this country, incuding food allergies.”

        Sources.

        “And while we do not know the causes”

        …we’re just going to go ahead and point the finger at GMO anyway because, hey, why let the truth get in the way of a good rant?

        “It takes up to 5 years to confirm a cause of a disease when you are reasonably sure you already know the cause.”

        We’ve had 20 years to determine this. So far, nothing.

        “How much longer might it take when you consider all of the environmental factors that could possibly be causing the rise in food allergies and other diseases. ”

        I don’t consider them because it’s all hearsay evidence. As far as I’m concerned, the science is in – and GMOs are just as safe as non-GMO foods, perhaps healthier.

        “I am not saying that the research itself is bad or that it will not bear very useful fruit (no pun intended) in the future.”

        I’m afraid that’s exactly what you’ve been saying and trying to convince me of.

        “I am saying that there are valid reasons for caution and such research should be confined to controlled laboratory settings until it is proven safe per established ethical scientific procedures”

        It already has.

      5. “They are. Whether it is achieved by mutagenesis or a PCR, the result is exactly the same.”

        The results are not the same. One could never breed resistance to Round-Up (Glyphosate) herbicide by traditional hybridizing of plants because that trait does not naturally exist in plants. It is achieved by splicing bacterial DNA into that of plants. That is something that would never happen naturally. So how can these two processes be the same? The methods and end goals are completely different.

        “Your facts are in error. Only ONE scientist was sanctioned for ethical violations while the progenitor of the study (Tufts) concluded that the science was valid not withstanding.

        Please stop embellishing. If you can’t stick to the facts, don’t bother coming around here anymore.

        I reported facts that you are choosing to ignore because you don’t like them. The article in Nature clearly states that the Chinese CDC officials found evidence that the scientists lied about their methods and there spokesperson clearly stated this. And he said “scientists,” plural not singular. How is any study valid if there is proof that scientists involved lied about their methods? It is not. And just how am I embellishing when I have given you a direct quote from a Chinese government offical directly involved in investigating the fraudulent practices of the research team that conducted this study, as reported in a reputable science journal? Seems pretty cut and dry to me. Any disputing of this should be directed to the editorial board of Nature and/or to the appropriate person at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Policy and Management in Beijing. Let me know how that turns out.

        And how has there been any proof of GMOs being safe? As you said to me in an earlier reply, I can come up with as many studies showing dangers of GMOs as you can showing safety. However, the only long term, properly conducted, scientifically valid study of the effects of a GMO diet is the Seralini study, which I will be talking about in my blog after I post this reply. That study shows that there are grave health risks associated with a GMO diet and/or the Round-Up (glyphosate) herbicide that a major portion of GMO crops are treated with. So there is hardly any scientific consensus either way. Thus, when faced with data that shows health and environmental damage, the only ethical thing to do is to confine any genetic engineering of crops to controlled laboratory settings until they can be proven safe.

      6. I’m pretty sure anti-GMO feelings played a part in the decision to look into Prof. Tang’s research.

        I hope they didn’t, but I’m pretty sure they did.

        Golden Rice is an easy target. It is a small-scale workshop-type project that if successful will help the poorest of the poor. Nobody is going to make money out of it. Nevertheless it is a GMO project and when you discredit it you’ve won.

        The anti-GMO brigade consider GMO a sin and that is their motivation.

        Keep in mind that the sanctions didn’t come down to the topic of her research or to her findings, but to her apparent failure to follow rules regarding human subjects research.

        These rules tend to be pretty strict in research involving minors, and require informed consent from all parents of the subjects.

        This is no way in an indictment of GMOs – a fact that seems to be lost on you.

        And something else…

        All this means is that nobody working under US juristiction will get involved in such projects now that the anti-GMO lobby has gotten a hold of it.

        Dr. Tang has closed her lab. Do you understand what that means? She has terminated her career and her students and post-docs are out in the cold and thus the sum of human knowledge is once again diminished.

      7. It is not an indictment of GMOs but neither is it a validation of their safety. Whatever may have prompted the investigation does not matter. What matters is that serious ethical violations were discovered as well as evidence the researchers lied about their methods. That means that their conclusions are not valid. And as far as any lobbying going on, how many times have the biotech industry and pro-GMO scientists lobbied to get papers removed from journals and how many reputable scientists have lost jobs because of research that showed saftety concerns with regards to GMOs, when there was no evidence or findings of any wrongdoing on the part of the researchers? As long as GMO or any other research is carried out in an ethical and honest manner, it will continue to be done, especially with biotech companies backing it to the tune of millions of dollars. What this incident does clearly show is how science gets corrupted when it is conducted for corporate profit instead of to find the truths about the world around us. Which brings us fuul circle to my first points that given Monsanto’s recent past of lying about the safety of their products, it is very reasonable for people to not trust them when they say GMOs are safe, especially when they are fighting labeling legislation.

        And stop with the naive argument that multi-billion dollar corporations will just give golden rice away with no expectation of profit. Their actions in suing organic farmers for patent infringement, who don’t even want their GM plants, just because some GM pollen blew into an organic field and crosspollinated, put that tired rhetoric to the lie. Corporations have one legal responsibility in America, to increase profits for their shareholders. Do you truly think these corporations are going to give away what cost millions of dollars in research and development and is potentially worth billions over the long run? I know that is not the case because their actions say it is not the case.

        And who mentioned anything about GMO being a “sin”? It certainly was not me. And you said I am not using scientific arguments? Hmm…

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