GM Foods

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  #1  
Old 11-21-12, 03:08 AM
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GM Foods

There has been a lot of press lately about genetically modified foods, and it hasn't been good. Do you think people are overreacting to this, or are GM foods really that bad for people?
 
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Old 11-21-12, 06:16 AM
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In my opinion, we as a species have the ability to do many things the repercussions of which we do not understand. Personally, I don't believe humans are smarter than mother nature.
 
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Old 11-21-12, 06:41 AM
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I totally agree with mitch. History has shown that man is pretty short sighted when it comes to things like that. That being said, we have to weigh the benefits and risks of pretty much every thing we do, which is a judgement call. Some people have bad judgment. Others are way too paranoid. So what's reasonable?

That being said, one of the biggest GM products is BT corn, which as I understand it is a genetic modification that causes the corn to imitate a naturally occuring bacteria which causes the plant to produce a certain type of bacteria (Bacillus thuringeiensis) that is poisonous to cutworms, the main enemy of corn.

I have used BT spray to control cabbage loopers on the kole plants in my garden and it works well. They say there are no harmful effects to humans and I believe it. IMO people can be way too paranoid about stuff like this. I DO think that BT in the corn pollen is probably what's responsible for there being a huge decrease in the honeybee population, as well as many other helpful insects. So was that one of the foreseen side effects or not?

Another GM product is "Roundup ready soybeans" which are able to resist higher doses of the weed killer Roundup. Interestingly some plants are developing greater resistance to Roundup, similar to how certain strains of bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics.

Pharmaceutecals are part of everyday life, and with every drug (genetically or chemically produced) there are side effects and drug interactions. Some of these are known, other effects are unknown. I think that as humans we just have to learn to live with some measure of uncertainty in our life and not let it bother us. After all, at any moment a meteor could fall from the sky and hit us in the head. But I try not to think about that possibility too much. LOL Something is going to get every one of us eventually... I would just rather it be a long time from now... and not the slow painful kind.

Similarly, more and more, people freak out when they see (or imagine) there to be a little mold in their house. Is it really going to harm them? Maybe, maybe not. Mold has been around for millions of years and we've managed to survive. Some people are more susceptible to that than others. Then again, some people will get sick at the mere mention of the word. I forget what they call that, but there's a term for it.
 
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Old 11-22-12, 08:21 AM
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I agree, to an extent, with both responses so far.
I'm not entirely sure we're as smart as we like to think, and playing with genes and the link will (I said will on purpose there) have unintended consequences. While I don't expect all (or even most) of those consequences to be detrimental, there will be some and may be quite bad.
That said, every thing we change and every repercussion of that change allows us to gain some little bit of knowledge. And some of the modifications made to date (see previous post) have been extremely successful. Man has been doing genetic modifications for as long as man has been around, that's what I do when they stop selling unliked seed varieties, when I find some interesting accidental plant combination, or when I save and use seeds from that one plant that grew with a different feature (though this is certainly more natural type of it). I also think if we (Man) want to stay around, we will need GM plants to feed insane amount of people taking over the dwindling amount of farmland we have.
Anyway... good and bad it can be, we just need to make sure we are careful with the power that we play around with...
 
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Old 11-29-12, 04:21 PM
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I have used BT spray to control cabbage loopers on the kole plants in my garden and it works well. They say there are no harmful effects to humans and I believe it. IMO people can be way too paranoid about stuff like this. I DO think that BT in the corn pollen is probably what's responsible for there being a huge decrease in the honeybee population, as well as many other helpful insects. So was that one of the foreseen side effects or not?
I intend this reply in a friendly and informational way Actually BT corn pollen doesn't affect honeybees. The particular strain used in corn is more specifically known as bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki or BTk which is only effective against lepidopterus pests which include worms, moths, and of course the cabbage loopers you mentioned. There are other strains of Bt which are being developed to target mosquito larvae, Colorado potato beetles, etc. These strains would not affect pests outside of their target families. However, corn seed containing the Bt gene is now often treated with imidacloprid (which just so happens to be the active ingredient in K9 Advantix, and is also available under many brand names of insecticide in garden centers/box stores for the general public to toss haphazardly about their lawns and gardens). Imidacloprid unlike btk IS a very real threat to honeybees and many other benificials and in my opinion should be a restricted use pesticide.
 
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Old 11-29-12, 04:53 PM
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Bees start out as worms... eggs, then larvae, then pupa then bee. Just seems plausible to me that the reproductive cycle of the bees is what is being harmed... not adult bees. It just seems odd that honeybees have practically been wiped out around here in the last few years since BT corn became popular. In all likelihood you're right that there is probably something else to blame. I have nothing to prove my theory.
 
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