Anti-biotech activists would the let Hawaiian papaya go the way of the Dodo

| July 3, 2013 |
Papaya (CREDIT: Flickr/Reeding). Papaya (CREDIT: Flickr/Reeding).

Biotechnology innovators rescued the Rainbow papaya in Hawaii from extinction. Now activists want to strangle this innovation.

In the 1980s, papaya farmers in Hawaii began detecting the first signs that their papaya crop was facing mortal danger from ringspot virus. By the mid 1990s, the virus had spun out of control. Trees withered, their leaves resembling bird claws. The fruit was pockmarked with ring-shaped infections. The island’s traditional papaya industry was on the verge of collapse.

Today, the industry is thriving. Trees are thick with leaves; the export trade to the mainland and parts of Asia is booming; and almost all of the precious fruit has been genetically engineered to resist the deadly virus.

Until this crisis, most crop biotechnology innovations had focused on cutting costs and increasing yields—adding herbicide resistance to minimize chemical usage or engineering plants to produce their own natural pesticide—the same bacterial insecticide (Bt) widely use by organic farmers.

The looming catastrophe set scientists at the University of Hawaii into action. Led by Dennis Gonsalves, now retired from the United States Department of Agriculture, the Hawaii biotechnology team targeted the virus. Ringspot works by hijacking the papaya’s cellular protein-making machinery to replicate itself. Gonsalves’ engineered papayas, however, have a small stretch of genetic code (RNA) that spurs the plants cells to effectively “silence” any similar viral RNA, rendering intruding ringspot mute. Under federal tight oversight, the researchers launched a small trial of the papaya in Oahu, where ringspot remains rampant—a procedure that would be banned under a bill now being debated in Kauai.

The first virus-resistant papayas were commercially grown in Hawaii in 1999, saving the industry from extinction. The genetically modified papayas are now no longer susceptible to infection by ringspot, allowing farmers to cultivate the fruit even when the virus is widespread. It was a dramatic demonstration of the best that crop biotechnology had to offer. Transgenic papayas now cover more than 2500 acres—three quarters of the total Hawaiian papaya crop.

‘Black hat’ anti-government conspiracy theories

It’s these papaya plants and other crops grown in Kauai using advanced genetic techniques that are under attack by anti-biotech crusaders, who have petitioned local governments to dramatically restrict the cultivation of genetically modified crops. On June 28, the Kauai County Council unanimously voted to approve a July 31st public hearing on Bill 2491. The measure calls for an unprecedented 500-foot pesticide-free buffer zone around public areas and bodies of water, a temporary moratorium on the experimental use and commercial production of GM crops until the county has conducted an Environmental Impact Statement on the industry’s health and environmental effects, and prohibits open-air testing of “experimental” pesticides and biotech crops. In other words, it would freeze GM technology in Kauai in its tracks, and force a rollback in cultivation.

The Kauai ordinance is designed to restrict even further already tight state and federal laws. The USDA now regulates the introduction of new biotech varieties. Once it approves a GM crop for planting, it is considered a deregulated crop and not experimental. The legislation would, in effect, keep GM crops suspended in what amounts to a permanent “experimental” status—in defiance of the findings and recommendations of every major independent science organization in the world.

The protestors ‘buffer zone strategy’ was hatched by the Center for Food Safety in Washington—a notorious anti-biotech group—and other mainland organizations looking to fan local fears and bypass existing legislation. CFS recruited and coached local Kauai councilmen this past spring after the Hawaii legislature considered and then killed, GM labeling laws, infuriating activists.

“This ordinance is about impacts on Kauai—Kauai health, Kauai environment,” claimed Councilman Gary Hooser. However, Hooser’s actions belie his moderate words; he is an avid anti-biotech campaigner, leading chanting protestors in front of the Hawaii State Capital on opening day of the legislative session earlier this year.

During the late June hearing, Bill Freese, CFS’s “science policy analyst”—he has no undergraduate training in crop science and holds no advanced degrees—trotted out the familiar litany of anti-biotech claims. CFS tried this strategy ten years ago when California was battling over similar proposed laws, targeting Sonoma County. As that debate evolved, it became clear to local residents and legislators that CFS and their local recruits were bending the science, and their efforts failed dramatically in counties that actually grew food.

These outside groups have also advanced an anti-GM bill on the big island of Hawaii, at the center of the Rainbow papaya industry, which is run by local farmers. There are no biotech companies currently on the big island; the proposed law is designed to keep them out.

The legislation would also drastically impact the vibrant ranching community on the big island, which prompted a recent rally by local farmers and ranchers in opposition to anti-GM legislation. They warned that the bill would prevent farmers from benefiting from modified crops that are resistant to diseases.

“Frankly, I’m sick and tired of having to defend my life’s work,” said Jason Moniz, representing the Hamakua Farm Bureau. Such a bill would have prevented farmers from adopting the transgenic Rainbow papaya in the late 1990s, bill opponents said.

The protestors have unified around the paranoid belief that the federal and state governments are engaged in a coordinated conspiracy against the public. Professional surfer and mixed martial arts fighter Dustin Barca, a lead figure with Ohana O Kauai, a local anti-biotech group, testified that that there is “big corruption in the government right now with the biotech industry.”

“Who can we trust in our government?” he told the Council, insinuating that Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the FDA—widely considered one of the most thoughtful minded public officials on biotech issues—and SCOTUS justice Clarence Thomas, are biotech lackeys, pulling the strings in Hawaii.

“Five hundred to 1,000 jobs isn’t worth the health of 30,000 other people,” Barca said. “And you know, I feel like it’s time to put human health over corporate wealth.”

Farmers and scientists respond

Although its supporters promote the bill as a “right to know” initiative, its critics see a Trojan horse. Scientists and farmers believe it is a direct assault on both science and commerce. Industry practices on Kauai and around the state are no different than what’s being done on the mainland, in island regions like Puerto Rico and across the world.

“This bill would create confusion and inconsistencies, where a few, but not all, farming operations would be expected to follow another set of rules and guidelines that conflict with requirements that are actually specified now on the labels of those products,” said Cindy Goldstein, a spokeswoman for DuPont Pioneer, at the recent hearing.

Pro-biotech supporters—locals employed by the industry and independent farmers—presented reams of peer reviewed studies, including a list of 125 independently funded reviews, on the safety and health of the GM crops in question.

The bill as formulated clearly violates several long established “right to operate” and “right to farm” laws and would no doubt bring about costly litigation to burden taxpayers. It’s estimated that the new law in Kauai would, if passed, result in farmers using biotech seeds losing as much as 90% of their lands currently under cultivation.

Gonsalves, who is now retired from the USDA’s Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, is frustrated by the ongoing protests. Their actions, he has said, not only endangers the papaya crop, it strangles a technology that could save other struggling fruit and grains

“Twenty-five years ago, the technology was there,” Gonsalves told the New York Times. “From the public sector, what do we have to show for it? This papaya? … Is that a lot to show for 25 years and millions of dollars spent? I don’t think so. I don’t think so.”

Gonsalves’ work “is a model for what should have happened [everywhere],” Roger Beachy, former director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and one of the scientists who, in the 1980s, pioneered virus-resistance technology, he said. “He just plain stuck to it because the farming industry needed it.”

In 2010, the National Academy of Sciences, the country’s premier scientific advisory body, cited the lack of biotech work on specialty crops as one of farming’s most pressing problems. Basic science is not enough, it wrote. Researchers and farm-focused universities need to see these plants through to commercialization—which is exactly what the Kauai legislation is determined to choke off.

To date, Hawaii’s fertile soil has nourished thousands of trials of genetically modified crops, including corn, soybeans, cotton, potatoes, wheat, alfalfa, beets, rice, safflower, sorghum, as well as genetically engineered papaya—more varieties than any other state.

“Hawaii is ideally suited for field trials and seed production, because of the climate and the ability to grow corn and soybeans 52 weeks a year,” said a spokesperson for Johnston, Ia.–based Pioneer Hi-Bred International. The DuPont subsidiary has been producing GM corn and soybeans in Hawaii since the mid-1990, when the Food and Drug Administration approved the crops for commercial sale and has been on Kauai since 1968 with its winter research and parent seed operations.

Hawaii’s unique ecosystem—a year round average of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and its open acreage—make it a haven for farmers. Thanks to Hawaii’s temperate climate, seed companies can harvest three to four yields of some crops per year compared with only one-two yields in the mainland. The switch to genetically engineered crops has not only rescued the blighted papaya from oblivion, it’s turned the state into a farmer’s cornucopia, say island scientists.

“Genetically engineered crops can actually help our environment, help our economy, and secure jobs for our agricultural workers,” said Ching Yuan Hu, Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor and former associate director of research at University of Hawaii at Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

“It is important to understand that genetically modified plants are among the most highly studied foods that humans eat,” notes Karl Haro von Mogel, a plant scientist at the University of Wisconsin and founder of Biology Fortified, an independent website frequented by top scientists committed to agricultural sustainability. “Genetic engineering does not introduce any new classes of risk that are not already present with traditional plant breeding. In sum, there is no reason to think that living near field trials of experimental genetically modified plants poses any additional risk to the residents of Kaua’i, and indeed, there are benefits to the local farming economy from such trials.”

But you won’t hear that science-based perspective from the swat team of Washington, DC-based activists who appear determined to turn Hawaii—Kauai in particular—into Ground Zero for the anti-crop biotechnology movement.

Jon Entine, executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project, is a senior fellow at the Center for Health & Risk Communication and STATS (Statistical Assessment Service) at George Mason University.

  • RobertWager

    I just spent a day debating with someone from “Helsinki” (hmmm know any anti-GMO organizations there?) who would not identify themselves. They put out a series of debunked articles to counter the main stream science I presented.

    When they started losing the debate the attacks about my alleged money connection to Big-Ag became their approach. For the record one more time I personally receive zero dollars from the biotechnology industry.

    As of this morning the same personal attacks and they will not admit who they are and why they are posting from Helsinki on a Hawaiian news website.

    • RAndrewOhge

      Robert, if you do Research, check out what’s in my comment above, and have your staff at least look into this. While Biotech could stand for some modernization and open testing, I think you’ll find the real escalation of Resistance and Health issues occur at the time Monsanto switched from using a “Gene Gun” to utilizing Bacteriophages. Might some folks have had reactions and resistance appear? Likely-eventually, but never to the degree or at the speed it has-and note, unless your specifically looking for them, most Doctors or Researchers will never find them, as they live inside host cells. Worth looking into.

      • Keith Edmisten

        As far as I know, bacteriophages are used in cloning like plastids, not as a replacement for gene guns in the actual transformation.

        • RAndrewOhge

          Yet, Monsanto acquired approval to use them to carry the traits into the target cells of their various products. This is documented. At the time it made sense. The Gene Guns used less, as it is a hit or miss proposition. Phages replicate themselves faithfully so by first appearances, that would be much more efficient. The trait for Glyphosate(as well as resistance to a cocktail of toxic chemicals and heavy metals) came from a bacteria that didn’t just resist Glyphosate-it LIVED in it. Here’s the $64 unasked question. WHAT did that chain of genetic programming actually DO within the confines of the original bacteria? Also, since Phages invade bacteria, what’s happening to the bacteria needed to keep soil fertile AND to deter the over-growth of mold and fungi?

          • Tom

            Nnngh!!! Your ignorance is bottomless! Molds ARE fungi. Fungi are absolutely essential for soil health and nutrient cycling. You can’t have a healthy soil without both bacteria and fungi. And Agrobacterium (the source of the glyphosate-resistance gene ESPS synthase) does not “live in glyphosate”, it just happened to have a specific sequence variation that made the ESPS synthase gene resistant to glyphosate.

            http://www.pnas.org/content/103/35/13010.long

          • RAndrewOhge

            Monsanto first began talking about creating “Roundup Ready” crops in the early 1980s, although the first such crops (Roundup Ready Soybeans) did not actually premier on the market until 1996:

            “One day in the early 1980s, not long after Robb Fraley arrived at Monsanto, he met with two veterans of the company’s pesticide business. One of them suggested a project for Fraley’s team of genetic engineers. The company, he said, had found some bacteria that appeared to survive in the presence of Roundup, Monsanto’s new herbicide. Why didn’t Fraley and his gene wizards somehow find the gene responsible for this and splice it into plants? Plants that could similarly tolerate doses of Roundup could open up vast new markets for the herbicide. If farmers could plant Roundup-tolerant soybeans, for instance, they could spray Roundup on those fields, killing all the weeds without harming the crop.

            “Fraley, according to one of the Monsanto veterans, reacted with scorn. “If all we can do [with biotechnology] is sell more damned herbicide, we shouldn’t be in this business.”…

            “Yet within a few years Fraley was singing a very different tune. Roundup tolerance became the project that bankrolled Monsanto’s pursuit of genetically engineered crops… It was the project on which Fraley built his career within the company.”[1]

            By 1982, Monsanto was already working on creating Roundup Ready crops. So was Luca Comai, a scientist from Calgene (a biotech company that Monsanto would later acquire).[2] In the summer of 1985, Monsanto successfully created petunia plants tolerant of small amounts of Roundup “but not to the amounts that farmers typically spray on weeds.”[3] In October of that year, Comai’s team published their own work in Nature.[4] Still, neither group produced anything that could be commercialized.

            By 1989, Monsanto was closer to their goal. Then they hit a breakthrough, with help from an unexpected source. Monsanto’s Luling, LA plant manufactured Roundup and released glyphosate residues into its waste ponds. There, in the ponds, were bacteria that had naturally evolved resistance to glyphosate. They had been discovered by Monsanto’s waste cleanup division, which hoped the bacteria could somehow help them clean up the environment. But ultimately, the group working on genetic engineering heard about them and found that it worked better than anything else they had tried to create Roundup tolerant plants.[5]

            Presently, only canola plants have been successfully engineered to contain a functional GOX enzyme (1). However, all the commercial RR crops contain a tolerant EPSPS gene. For soybean, cotton, and canola the glyphosate-resistant EPSPS was obtained from a soil bacterium in the genus Agrobacterium (strain CP4) (1, 15, 18). For corn, the source of EPSPS was its own cloned gene that had been mutagenized in vitro (i.e., in cell culture) (20). This technique involves changing the DNA bases of cultured plant cells by adding mutagenic chemical reagents. Resulting changes in DNA bases could slightly affect the amino acid composition of the host (i.e., corn) enzyme. Normally, mutagenesis will produce nonfunctional enzymes, but in some cases a few changes in amino acid sequence can still produce a functional enzyme. With the mutagenized corn line, the resulting EPSPS was 99.3% similar to the nonmutagenized EPSPS and still functional (i.e., it produced the aromatic amino acids), but it was resistant to the effects of glyphosate (20). The development of RR corn using a mutant version of its own EPSPS gene followed research nearly a decade earlier where petunia EPSPS was successfully altered and then reintroduced into the plant to effect tolerance to glyphosate (1,13).

            The most commonly used gene vector is a nonpathogenic strain of the E. coli bacterium that we all carry in our intestines. The genetics and structure of the E. coli chromosome are very thoroughly understood. More importantly, E. coli, like many other bacteria, contain in addition to their chromosome a smaller piece of double stranded DNA called a plasmid. Plasmids have the unique ability to replicate themselves independently of cell division. When they replicate, they can make numerous copies of desirable genes. Thus, E. coli can serve as a factory for gene synthesis or cloning; therefore it makes an excellent vector for transferring genes from one host to another.

          • Tom

            Nicely written but obviously not by you. And I fail to see the relevance of this post. It’s well known that soil bacteria can break down glyphosate entirely without any greater difficulty. Its low toxicity and bioavailability is what makes glyphosate such an attractive herbicide.

            http://jb.asm.org/content/186/14/4730.long
            http://aem.asm.org/content/61/2/538.long
            http://aem.asm.org/content/58/9/2993.long

          • RAndrewOhge

            Yet, that doesn’t happen. I theorize it’s because the amounts being used are now much larger than even a few years ago-PLUS the phages used to “infect” the host genes are escaping-a likely explanation of the exploding incidence of resistance in unrelated species, weeds, insects and other microorganisms…in fact it’s the only explanation for the trait showing up in all three. As to the Glyphosate: https://www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/glyphosate_studyresults_june12.pdf. Summary: “[1] Urine samples were collected from volunteers in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Macedonia, Malta, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the UK. A total of 80/182 samples tested were found to contain glyphosate. Volunteers were all city-dwellers and included vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets. No two samples were tested from the same household. The samples were analysed by Dr Hoppe at Medical Laboratory Bremen in Germany.”

          • Tom

            Seriously? You just linked to a Friends of the Earth-funded study that has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal and all samples come from volunteers (representative sample?) from countries that do NOT grow glyphosate-resistant crops. And this somehow invalidates decades of scientific research that glyphosate is biodegradable:

            http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1432-1033.1987.tb11437.x/abstract;jsessionid=D1538638FD55E81020B56EE93F6982E4.d03t01
            http://www.jbc.org/content/262/25/12164.long
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9390463
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12026075
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22202229

            Also, the doses found in this BS study never exceed 1.6 MICROGRAMS per litre with most samples below or very close to the detection threshold (150 nanograms per litre). You would expect to start seeing toxic effects only at concentrations that tens of thousands times higher (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23291146 ). It’s complete garbage.

          • TATT

            Yes, RAndrewOhge likes to copy/paste a lot of pseudo science, insert some diatribe sprinkled with ALL CAPS, etc etc etc… not completely sure if he really believes it, or is just trying to distract and annoy people. Either way is serves no worthwhile purpose.

          • RAndrewOhge

            Volunteer Studies = Independent Studies = Studies Vilified by Biotech, who never licenses or authorizes Independent Studies-I’E. If the Scientists belong to you [directly or indirectly], then so does the “Science”. Rather like “History is written by the victors”…right? But here’s an article I wrote based on some of my own investigations:

            Glyphosate and GMO Appear to Damage Health. IS That
            the WHOLE Story?

            by R Andrew Ohge 07/04/2013

            There may be more to all this. There’s an old (2005-2009)
            CBC Show called ReGenesis. It involves cases presented to a group
            contracted by the Canadian Government that require expertise in Biotech. I’m
            sure they try to follow the Science reasonably well, but who knows.

            One I just saw from 2005 popped my eyes wide open, as it
            was about Bacteriophages or simply Phages, when they get dangerous. I HAD
            assumed they COULD get dangerous, but under a likely constrained set of
            circumstances.

            I wanted to find out for myself.

            Surprise, these little beauties can not only carry
            traits. and literally inject them(amazingly the ones best suited to doing this
            actually look like robotized injectors with legs and a needle point), but they
            do other things. They can take those traits, magnify them, replicate incredibly
            fast, and move from host to host.

            Most Medical Professionals and Research Doctors seldom
            find them unless they’re looking specifically for them. Their favorite din-din?
            BACTERIA, like the kind needed to keep the soil healthy and fertile.

            They can infect the insects and larvae that feed on the plant
            containing microorganisms hiding the Phage, pass to and thrive IN the insect,
            and be passed on through any vector the insect invades (Biting insects like
            mosquitoes-now ALSO genetically engineered) can find.

            IF you track Glyphosate resistance up until the seed
            companies went from using the inefficient “Gene Gun” to employing the
            much more exciting and effective Bacteriophage[1], you’ll see a sudden rise in Resistance, as well as the
            Health issues laid at Biotech’s feet.

            NO ONE SUSPECTED OR COULD know. We’re only able to see
            expression on a Quantum Level the last few years, only knew about internal
            cellular programming and memory recently. The Phages ALWAYS had such
            potential…it’s what they do, busy little memory sticks-downloading,
            uploading, remembering, evolving and transmitting-spreading like a Cancer.

            The Geo-Engineering, with it’s current cocktail of heavy
            metals, aluminum, strontium and barium in nano-particle form has been weakening
            the soil, at the same time, which is also weakening and killing soil
            microorganisms vital to the fertility of our crop lands.

            When the Bacteria is gone, that leaves only the Fungus,
            smuts and molds-the almost life forms-large and small-one in particular, Candida
            Albicans is everywhere and has been found “farming viruses
            and bacteria”.[2] Likely, these rogue phages have already
            changed them, most likely are responsible for the rogue wheat, and are the most
            dangerous life form loose on earth.

            It was NEVER just the traits. Left to simple mechanical
            insertion, there might have been SOME resistance and health issues to be
            investigated and address, but with the loosing of the Phages[3] it’s all nearly out of control. SO…what is Biotech
            going to do about it, before the super mold infested soil refuses to grow even
            the Patented seeds?

            Then consider two other things. First, the unknown
            pathogen[Dr Don Huber warned of it in a letter to USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack]in the light of the
            potential damage wreaked by the uncontrolled expansion of the phages.

            Then, suppose the Phages only carried the “trait”
            for the Glyphosate[Found Bacteria Living in Pools] and heavy metal toxicity
            resistance. This trait was extracted from a bacteria that didn’t just resist Glyphosate,
            it LIVED in it.

            No one ever asked the question: What does this uncertain
            chunk of genetic expression DO in it’s genomic environment, and what are the
            implications once the Phages have spread it to the ends of the earth?

            It’s time someone looked into this.

            [1] DNA
            Plant Technology (DNAP), Agritope and Monsanto developed tomatoes that delayed ripening by
            preventing the production of ethylene,[9] a hormone that triggers ripening of fruit.[10] All three tomatoes inhibited ethylene production
            by reducing the amount of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), the precursor to ethylene. DNAP’s tomato, called Endless
            Summer, inserted a truncated version of the ACC synthase gene into the tomato that interfered with the endogenous ACC synthase.[9] Monsanto’s tomato was engineered with the ACC deaminase gene from the soil bacterium Pseudomonas
            chlororaphis that lowered ethylene levels by breaking down ACC.[11] Agritope introduced an S-adenosylmethionine
            hydrolase (SAMase) encoding gene derived from the E. coli bacteriophage T3, which reduced the levels of
            S-adenosylmethionine, a precursor to ACC.[12] Endless Summer was briefly tested in the
            marketplace, but patent arguments forced its withdrawal.[13]

            [2] Biofilms of C. albicans
            are capable of holding other micro-organisms and more likely to be
            heterogeneous with other bacteria and fungi in the environment and on medical
            devices. [3] Now that you’ve got your genes, the next step is inserting them
            into the plants. There are a couple ways to do this, including using “gene
            guns” that literally shoot pieces of DNA. A .22-caliber charge fires a metal
            particle coated with DNA into plant tissue. Monsanto no longer uses the
            technique, but it’s still widely used among other biotech companies.

            For omega-3 soybeans, Ursin
            and colleagues used a slightly more delicate process, heating soybean seedlings
            to place them under stress and make them susceptible to a bug
            calledAgrobacterium tumefaciens. The organism specializes in invading plant DNA
            and tricking it into producing sugars and amino acids that feed the bacteria.
            Scientists can exploit this Trojan horse ability and insert new proteins into
            the plant’s chromosomes. The plant recognizes this foreign encoded protein as
            one of its own, Ursin said.

          • Tom

            Since you didn’t provide any references to your stunning article, I will happily do so for you:

            [1] Back of breakfast cereal box
            [2] Back of breakfast cereal box
            [3] Back of breakfast cereal box
            [4] Back of breakfast cereal box
            [5] Back of breakfast cereal box
            [6] Back of breakfast cereal box
            [7] Back of breakfast cereal box
            [8] Back of breakfast cereal box
            [9] Back of breakfast cereal box
            [10] Back of breakfast cereal box
            [11] Back of breakfast cereal box
            [12] Back of breakfast cereal box
            [13] Back of breakfast cereal box

          • RAndrewOhge

            Thank you, Tom, for relentlessly targeting this thread with you volleys of “shots”. You complain about my data, and this is the most honest and real you’ve supplied. Do you think this bothers me? Not at all. Anyone familiar with the tactics of the Biotech “True Believers” recognizes them, and if like, ALSO understands how comment count promotes readership through Search Analytics, is thankful for your little contributions. Because of you, more people got to read this. Many will check Links, but more importantly, do research. You MUST know you’d never win me over, but thanks to you, I reached a much larger number of possibles. That’s how Flash Point statistical pattern probabilities evolve…it’s why we will win. Your egos just cannot be contained.

          • Tom

            RAndyOhge, it’s been a pleasure. And to all you other truth seekers out there wanting to do your own research (good for you!), try some of these sources:

            “Harvest of Fear” Nova/Frontline (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NsI0ba9dNg )

            “Jimmy’s GM Food Fight” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCnld7-maoE )

            “Genetically Modified Foods: Monsters or Miracles?”, lecture by Nina Fedoroff (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPoK-9GfGmM )

            “The Ethics of Modern Agriculture: Organic Foods vs. Frankenfoods”, lecture by Robert Paarlberg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGxVJjUw-CU )

            “Playing God? Monsters, Miracles, and the Politics of Genetic Engineering”, lecture by Ronald Herring (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RxpypapQeDk )

            “Looking Back: Environmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops”, lecture by Yves Carrière (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbQEtnIvE_I )

            “Ethics of Animal Biotechnology”, lecture by Alison Van Eenennaam (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cN1w7EionA4 )

            “Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States”, The National Academy of Sciences (https://download.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12804 )

            “Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods: Approaches to Assessing Unintended Health Effects”, The National Academy of Sciences (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10977 )

            “A decade of EU-funded GMO research” (ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/fp7/kbbe/docs/a-decade-of-eu-funded-gmo-research_en.pdf )

            The Biology Fortified blog (http://www.biofortified.org/ )

            David Tribe’s GMO pundit blog (http://gmopundit.blogspot.se/ )

          • RAndrewOhge

            And here’s a few more:

            GMO Myths & Responses

            Myth 1.GM is the same as conventional breeding

            Genetic Engineering is not selective or cross breeding. Here is the USDA definition of Genetic Engineering “definitions are used by agencies that regulate genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). In the United States, under guidelines issued by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, genetic engineering is defined as the genetic modification of organisms by recombinant DNA techniques (7CFR340: 340.1).” “Recombinant DNA techniques (DNA formed by combining segments of DNA from different organisms)” http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/biotechnology/glossary.htm

            Definition GMOhttp://books.google.com/books?id=nX3MXt0hiv0C&pg=PA241&lpg=PA241&dq=USDA+intra-specific+hybrid+definition&source=bl&ots=wE0b5SIUK4&sig=cElaWRH84w9Ur3S9kdngwVgYoxo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=w9XwT-r-DJOE8ASyy6GQAg&ved=0CGMQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=USDA%20intra-specific%20hybrid%20definition&f=false

            “Genetic Engineering”(GE) that is because America likes to be different(we don’t use the metric system, etc.) the rest of the world uses GM(including scientists) but the terms GE and GM basically mean the same thing so your friend is wrong, here is the definition. “(1) GENETIC ENGINEERING.—(A) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘‘genetic engineering’’ means a process that alters an organism at the molecular or cellular level by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes.(B) INCLUSIONS.—The term ‘‘genetic engineering’’ includes—(i) recombinant DNA and RNA techniques;(ii) cell fusion;(iii) microencapsulation;(iv) macroencapsulation;(v) gene deletion and doubling;(vi) introduction of a foreign gene; and(vii) changing the position of genes.(C) EXCLUSIONS.—The term ‘‘genetic engineering’’ does not include any modification to an organism that consists exclusively of—(i) breeding;(ii) conjugation;(iii) fermentation;(iv) hybridization;(v) in vitro fertilization; or(vi) tissue culture.”http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2012-06-11/pdf/CREC-2012-06-11-pt1-PgS3903.pdf#page=15

            Biologist Pushpa Bhargava “A much larger number of mutations(genetic changes) occur on genetic manipulation than in normal plant breeding. Such mutations can change the chemistry and biochemistry of the organism at the molecular level, which could have a dramatic impact on the functioning of the plant.”“http://gene.ch/genet/2009/Nov/msg00002.html

            2006 The mutational consequences of plant transformation. “Transgene insertion is infrequently, if ever, a precise event.””These genome-wide mutations can number from hundreds to many thousands per diploid genome.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16883050

            Transformation-induced Mutations in Transgenic Plants

            “If plant transformation were precise, 20 transgenic plants, derived from the same parent plant material and carrying the same transgene, would be identical in phenotype. Furthermore, they would be identical to the non-transgenic parent plant, except for the transgenic trait. This, however, is usually not found in practice. Phenotypic variation is the norm within populations of plants from the same experiment (Hoekema et al., 1989; Conner et al., 1994; Bregitzer et al., 1998; Singh et al., 1998; Kaniewski and Thomas, 1999; Shu et al., 2002) and breeders and researchers must carefully screen numerous transformed plants to obtain one or a few plants which exhibit only the desired traits (Kumar et al., 1998; Dear et al., 2003). Despite this, even plants originally selected as having the appropriate phenotype are often found, during later experiments or commercial use, to have unexpected and unintended traits (Kuiper et al., 2001; Haslberger, 2003).” http://www.econexus.info/publication/transformation-induced-mutations-transgenic-plants

            “The genetic modification process is very inefficient, costly, and time consuming — there are usually only a handful of successful “events” for each GM crop, and it takes millions of dollars and six to fifteen years to bring each crop to market.”
            http://www.cpet.ufl.edu/sets/PDF/GMO%20Manual.pdf

            Myth 2. This is no evidence of GM harming wildlife

            2003 WILD BEE ABUNDANCE AND SEED PRODUCTION IN CONVENTIONAL, ORGANIC, AND GENETICALLY MODIFICATION CANOLA “There was no pollination deficit in organic fields, a moderate pollination deficit in conventional fields, and the greatest pollination deficit in GM fields. Bee abundance was greatest in organic fields, followed by conventional fields, and lowest in GM fields.”http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/03-5271

            2010 Occurrence of maize detritus and a transgenic insecticidal protein (Cry1Ab) within the stream network of an agricultural landscape.“Six months after harvest, we conducted a synoptic survey of 217 stream sites in Indiana to determine the extent of maize detritus and presence of Cry1Ab protein in the stream network. We found that 86% of stream sites contained maize leaves, cobs, husks, and/or stalks in the active stream channel. We also detected Cry1Ab protein in stream-channel maize at 13% of sites and in the water column at 23% of sites.””Cry1Ab proteins persist in maize leaves and can be measured in the water column even 6 mo after harvest.”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20876106

            2007 Toxins in transgenic crop byproducts may affect headwater stream ecosystems. Loyola University Chicago “corn byproducts, such as pollen and detritus, enter headwater streams and are subject to storage, consumption, and transport to downstream water bodies. Laboratory feeding trials showed that consumption of Bt corn byproducts reduced growth and increased mortality of nontarget stream insects. Stream insects are important prey for aquatic and riparian predators, and widespread planting of Bt crops has unexpected ecosystem-scale consequences.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17923672

            2005 Impact of Bt Corn on Rhizospheric and Soil Eubacterial Communities and on Beneficial Mycorrhizal Symbiosis in Experimental Microcosms “Plant residues of transgenic plants, plowed under at harvest and kept mixed with soil for up to 4 months, affected soil respiration, bacterial communities, and mycorrhizal establishment by indigenous endophytes.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1287690/http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16269702

            2009 Effects of Activated Bt Transgene Products (Cry1Ab, Cry3Bb) on Immature Stages of the Ladybird Adalia bipunctata in Laboratory Ecotoxicity Testing “A. bipunctata larvae fed with the lepidopteran-active Cry1Ab toxin exhibited significantly higher mortality than the control group.””This suggests that the increased mortality of larvae in the toxin feeding trials was caused directly by the activated Bt toxins “ http://www.springerlink.com/content/4317km7733582u32/

            2008 Does Cry1Ab protein affect learning performances of the honey bee Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera, Apidae)? Instituto de Ecologia, Veracruz, Mexico. “honey bee feeding behaviour was affected when exposed to the highest concentration of Cry1Ab protein, with honey bees taking longer to imbibe the contaminated syrup. Moreover, honey bees exposed to 5000 ppb of Cry1Ab had disturbed learning performances. Honey bees continued to respond to a conditioned odour even in the absence of a food reward. Our results show that transgenic crops expressing Cry1Ab protein at 5000 ppb may affect food consumption or learning processes and thereby may impact honey bee foraging efficiency.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18206234

            2010 Quantification of toxins in a Cry1Ac + CpTI cotton cultivar and its potential effects on the honey bee Apis mellifera L. “during a 7-day oral exposure to the various treatments (transgenic, imidacloprid-treated and control), honey bee feeding behaviour was disturbed and bees consumed significantly less CCRI41 cotton pollen than in the control group in which bees were exposed to conventional cotton pollen. It may indicate an antifeedant effect of CCRI41 pollen on honey bees and thus bees may be at risk because of large areas are planted with transgenic Bt cotton in China. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20700762

            2011 Decline of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico: is the migratory phenomenon at risk? “Three factors appear to have contributed to reduce monarch abundance: degradation of the forest in the overwintering areas; the loss of breeding habitat in the United States due to the expansion of GM herbicide-resistant crops, with consequent loss of milkweed host plants, as well as continued land development; and severe weather.” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1752-4598.2011.00142.x/abstract

            2011 Evidence of reduced arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal colonization in multiple lines of Bt maize “These findings are the first demonstration of a reduction in AMF colonization in multiple Bt maize lines grown under the same experimental conditions and contribute to the growing body of knowledge examining the unanticipated effects of Bt crop cultivation on nontarget soil organisms. “ http://www.amjbot.org/content/99/4/700.full

            http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/CFS-Science-Comments-2_RRSB-DEIS.pdf

            http://www.gmfreecymru.org/pivotal_papers/hungarian.htm

            http://www.fourwinds10.net/siterun_data/science_technology/dna_gmo/news.php?q=1269701013

            http://www.ioia.net/tables/biotechtbl.htm

            Transgenic Insecticidal Corn: Beyond Insecticidal Toxicity to Ecological Complexity

            http://www.researchgate.net/publication/232694303_Transgenic_Insecticidal_Corn_Beyond_Insecticidal_Toxicity_to_Ecological_Complexity

            Myth 3.GM saved the papaya

            THERE ALREADY IS A NON-GM PAPAYA MADE THROUGH CONVENTIONAL BREEDING THAT IS RESISTANT TO RINGSPOT VIRUS! http://www.springerlink.com/content/48t805l7w7564288 GM Papaya in Hawaii, like GM cotton in China created new pest infestations and cost farmers millions. GM papaya caused an infestation of phytophthera and blackspot fungus. In 2005 Hawaii papaya production fell 17 percent, the smallest crop since before 1980. Sales dipped 14 percent to $10.6 million. GM papaya was introduced in 1998. Papaya production picked up that year and for the following three years. In 2002, production resumed its slide and has declined each year since. http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Mar/19/bz/FP603190311.htmlhttp://www.hawaiiseed.org/in-print/press-room/press-clips/plenty-papaya-problems

            Myth 4.Organic rots too fast

            ORGANIC DOESN”T ROT TOO FAST! 2010 PubMed, Fruit and Soil Quality of Organic and Conventional Strawberry Agroecosystems, Washington State University “When strawberries were exposed to a two-day shelf-life interval, the percent loss in fresh weight was significantly less for the organic berries than for the conventional berries. These results indicate that the organic strawberries would have a longer shelf life than the conventional strawberries” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2931688/

            Quality of plant products from organic agriculture “Organic crops also contain statistically more mineral compounds and usually have better sensory and long-term storage qualities.” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jsfa.3000/abstract

            *Myth 5.GM uses less space than Organic

            GM USES TOO MUCH SPACE!! Gm often requires both refuges(20%-50%) and larger buffer zones(300m in the EU) than organic(Typically, a buffer zone is 25-30 feet). http://www.mosesorganic.org/attachments/productioninfo/fstranscrop.html)

            Larger Refuges Needed to Sustain Success of Bt Corn(50%) http://www.entsoc.org/press-releases/larger-refuges-needed-sustain-success-transgenic-corn

            Myth 6.Organic can’t help poor countries http://www.essex.ac.uk/ces/esu/occasionalpapers/SAFErepSUBHEADS.shtmhttp://www.ifad.org/evaluation/public_html/eksyst/doc/thematic/organic/asia.pdf

            UN report Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa which states “Poverty is a major contributory factor to food security, organic farmers benefit from (i) cash savings, as organic farming precludes the need to purchase synthetic pesticides and fertilisers; (ii) extra incomes gained by selling the surplus produce(resulting from the change to organic); (iii) premium prices for certified organic produce, obtained primarily in Africa for export but also for domestic markets; and (iv) added value to organic products through processing activities. These findings are backed up by studies from Asia and Latin America that concluded that organic farming can reduce poverty in an environmentally friendly way.” “Organic farming can lead to increased food production – in many cases a doubling of yields has been seen”"the average crop yield increase was even higher for these projects: 116 per cent increase for all African projects and 128 per cent increase for the projects in East Africa” http://www.unctad.org/en/docs/ditcted200715_en.pdf

            “Today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live- especially in unfavorable environments.”"To date agroecological projects have shown an average crop yield increase of 80% in 57 developing countries, with an average increase of 116% for all African projects.” http://www.srfood.org/index.php/en/component/content/article/1174-report-agroecology-and-the-right-to-food

            The Economics of Certified Organic Farming in Tropical Africa: A Preliminary Assessment http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Digital-Library/Publications/Detail/?ots591=eb06339b-2726-928e-0216-1b3f15392dd8&lng=en&id=30678

            http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/Y4137E/y4137e05.htm#P3_9

            Myth 7. GM crops will stop hunger and poverty

            “The world currently produces enough food for everybody, but many people do not have access to it” http://www.fao.org/hunger/en/ “A UN investigator into food policy, Jean Ziegler, told the London-based Independent newspaper that he was “against the theory of the multinational corporations who say if you are against hunger you must be for genetically modified organisms”.

            “There is plenty of natural, normal, good food in the world to nourish the double of humanity,” he says.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2459903.stm

            People starve/undernourished primarily because they are too poor to buy food! .”Poverty is the principal cause of hunger.” http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm

            There are huge government subsidies on GE crops like corn, soy, etc. in the U.S., these subsidies create an artificial low price for these products and farmers in poor countries who do not receive subsidies can’t compete. It is subsidies on GE crops that INCREASE poverty, hunger, etc. http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba547

            http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1603/EC12080?journalCode=ecen ) and buffer zones that are much larger than organic. For example, Austrian politician Jorg Leichtfried says “if we would use these modified plants and have 300 meter zones to protect others, half of our acres wouldn’t function anymore, so half of our production may be not functioning anymore.” One of the problems is poor countries already have poor access to their land, GM forces them to waste much of that limited land.

            Another problem is, most GE crops aren’t even “food crops”. Varieties of Bt corn are primarily used for ethanol production, cattle feed and corn syrup, corn oil, etc. Cotton and Canola varieties are primarily used for oils, Sugar beets used for sugar, Tobacco isn’t food, etc. Most GE crops are “food additive crops”, they don’t reduce starvation anymore than table salt reduces starvation.

            Another issue is the use of patents for transgenes often drives up costs, restricts seed saving and experimentation by the individual farmer and since most GM crops are herbicide tolerant it forces poor farmers to buy expensive inputs.

            “Poverty is a major contributory factor to food security, organic farmers benefit from (i) cash savings, as organic farming precludes the need to purchase synthetic pesticides and fertilisers; (ii) extra incomes gained by selling the surplus produce(resulting from the change to organic); (iii) premium prices for certified organic produce, obtained primarily in Africa for export but also for domestic markets; and (iv) added value to organic products through processing activities. These findings are backed up by studies from Asia and Latin America that concluded that organic farming can reduce poverty in an environmentally friendly way.” “Organic farming can lead to increased food production – in many cases a doubling of yields has been seen”"the average crop yield increase was even higher for these projects: 116 per cent increase for all African projects and 128 per cent increase for the projects in East Africa” http://www.unctad.org/en/docs/ditcted200715_en.pdf

            The UN and World Bank report,International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development by 400 scientists, concluded that biotech crops have very little potential to alleviate poverty and hunger. Robert Watson, the director of the IAASTD, and chief scientist at the UK DEFRA, responded to a question from the newspaper, The Daily Mail – Are GM crops the simple answer to hunger and poverty? with the words, “I would argue, no.” http://www.agassessment.org/reports/IAASTD/EN/Agriculture%20at%20a%20Crossroads_Executive%20Summary%20of%20the%20Synthesis%20Report%20(English).pdfhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-559965/GM-foods-answer-worlds-food-shortage-crisis-report-says.html

            Myth 8.Organic can’t feed the world

            Organic agriculture and the global food supply, University of Michigan “Model estimates indicate that organic methods could produce enough food on a global per capita basis to sustain the current human population, and potentially an even larger population, without increasing the agricultural land base. We also evaluated the amount of nitrogen potentially available from fixation by leguminous cover crops used as fertilizer. Data from temperate and tropical agroecosystems suggest that leguminous cover crops could fix enough nitrogen to replace the amount of synthetic fertilizer currently in use. These results indicate that organic agriculture has the potential to contribute quite substantially to the global food supply, while reducing the detrimental environmental impacts of conventional agriculture.” http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=1091304

            “Organic farming can yield up to three times as much food as conventional farming on the same amount of land.”"in developed countries, yields were almost equal on organic and conventional farms. In developing countries, food production could double or triple using organic methods”" http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070711134523.htm

            Impact of compost use on crop yields in Tigray, Ethiopia “Fields treated with compost gave higher yields of both grain and straw than those treated with chemical fertilizer” ftp://ftp.fao.org/paia/organic­ag/ofs/02-Edwards.pdf

            “according to thirteen years of data from a side-by-side comparison at Iowa State University’s Neely-Kinyon Research and Demonstration Farm.““Averaged over 13 years, yields of organic corn, soybean and oats have been equivalent to or slightly greater than their conventional counterparts. Likewise, a 12-year average for alfalfa and an 8-year average for winter wheat also show no significant difference between organic yields and the Adair County average.” http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/news/11-15-2011/long-running-experiment

            “organic forage crops yielded as much or more dry matter as their conventional counterparts with quality sufficient to produce as much milk as the conventional systems; and organic grain crops: corn, soybean, and winter wheat produced 90% as well as their conventionally managed counterparts.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325101134.htm

            “The paper also quotes recent models of a global food supply grown organically which indicate that organic agriculture could produce enough food on a global per capita basis for the current world population.“These models suggest that organic agriculture has the potential to secure a global food supply, just as conventional agriculture is today, but with reduced environmental impact,” according to FAO. http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2007/1000550/index.html

            “Overall, the world average organic yields are calculated to be 132 percent more than current food production levels” ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/meeting/012/ah952e.pdf

            http://www.pigbusiness.co.uk/pdfs/Soil-Association-Can-Organic-feed-the-World.pdf
            http://orgprints.org/10345/

            “The climate crisis was used to boost biofuels, helping to create the food crisis; and now the food crisis is being used to revive the fortunes of the GM industry.” — Daniel Howden, Africa correspondent, The Independent (UK) http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/daniel-howden-hope-for-africa-lies-in-political-reforms-922487.html

            “The cynic in me thinks that they’re just using the current food crisis and the fuel crisis as a springboard to push GM crops back on to the public agenda. I understand why they’re doing it, but the danger is that if they’re making these claims about GM crops solving the problem of drought or feeding the world, that’s bullshit.” – Prof Denis Murphy, head of biotechnology, University of Glamorgan, Wales http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/5438/

            Myth 9.Doctors don’t think GM foods harm health(causation)The American Academy of Environmental Medicine(AAEM) website states”There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects.”"The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.”"Also, because of the mounting data, it is biologically plausible for Genetically Modified Foods to cause adverse health effects in humans.” http://www.aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

            British Medical Association Call for Ban on Genetically Engineered Crops and Food http://www.ethicalinvesting.com/monsanto/news/10051.htm

            Myth 10. We need GM because we don’t produce enough food to feed the world/ Zambia starved without GM food

            The 2010 data on the worldhunger website states “The world produces enough food to feed everyone.”"Poverty is the principal cause of hunger.” http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htmFAO states

            “The world currently produces enough food for everybody, but many people do not have access to it” http://www.fao.org/hunger/en/ It is immoral to promote GM foods being kept outdoors and for human consumption when there are possible health, environmental and contamination risks. Especially when studies suggest organic foods can benefit poor countries and feed the world without GMOs(see #6 and #8).http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm

            “This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day” http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm

            7,023,324,899 people http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/broker

            300 extra calories during pregnancy http://www.nal.usda.gov/wicworks/Sharing_Center/NJ/eating_right_pregnancy.pdf

            Women age 15-64 = 2,301,659,048 Pregnant = 5% = 115,082,952.3 x 300 cal = 34,524,885,600

            Lowest needed(light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life. ) = 1828.92 calories per person = 12,720,185,600 + 3.5 billion(from UNEP change) = 16,220,185,600

            Highest needed(walking more than 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour in addition to the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life. ) = 2442.12 calories per person = 9,526,232,069+ 3.5 billion(from UNEP change) = 13,026,232,069

            3312.42 calories per person = 22 trillion calories, 7,023,324,899 people

            Myth 11. FDA regulations require that they test every GMO before it is used commercially

            The FDA does not generally test GMOs as part of their regulations. FDA website says “Because FDA determined that bioengineered foods should be regulated like their conventional counterparts, FDA has not to date established any regulations specific to bioengineered food.” ” FDA established an informal process by which firms can inform the Agency that they have completed a food or feed safety assessment. FDA requests that firms submit a summary of their assessment to the Agency.” GMO manufacturers test the GMOs, not the FDA. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Testimony/ucm112927.htm

          • turtlegirl784

            Ahh, real science. Random samples, use of blinds, and all the other things that make the results more reliable. Thanks for posting those links
            I do occasionally allow myself to be drawn into arguments online, even though I know I’m highly unlikely to convince anyone who outright disagrees with me. My aim is nearly always to inform readers who might not yet have an opinion on whatever the subject is. I can’t stand to see a statement of dubious veracity go unchallenged.

    • First Officer

      Yes, there seems to be an epidemic of SAS, Shill Accusation Syndrome.

  • RAndrewOhge

    Jon, I don’t know if you’re actually a Researcher or know one-but you NEED to look into this: There’s an old (2005-2009) CBC Show called ReGenesis. It involves cases presented to a group contracted by the Canadian Government that require expertise in Biotech. I’m sure they try to follow the Science reasonably well, but who knows. One I just saw from 2005 popped my eyes wide open, as it was about Bacteriophages or simply Phages, when they get dangerous. I HAD assumed they COULD get dangerous, but under a likely constrained set of circumstances. I wanted to find out for myself. Surprise, these little beauties can not only carry traits. and literally inject them(amazingly the ones best suited to doing this actually look like robotized injectors with legs and a needle point), but they do other things. They can pick up traits, magnify them, replicate incredibly fast, and move from host to host. Most Medical Professionals and Research Doctors seldom find them unless they’re looking specifically for them. They’re favorite din-din? BACTERIA, like the kind needed to keep the soil healthy and fertile. They can infect the insects and larvae that feed on the plant, those microorganisms IN the insect, and be passed on through any vector they can find. IF you track Glyphosate resistance up until the seed companies went from using the inefficient “Gene Gun” to employing the much more exciting and effective Bacteriophage, you’ll see a sudden rise in Resistance, as well as the Health issues laid at Biotech’s feet. NO ONE SUSPECTED OR COULD know. We’re only able to see expression on a Quantum Level the last few years, only knew about internal cellular programming and memory recently. The Phages ALWAYS knew…it’s what they do, busy little memory sticks-downloading, uploading, remembering, evolving and transmitting-spreading like a Cancer. The Geo-Engineering has been weakening the soil, as well. When the Bacteria is gone, that leaves only the Fungus, smuts and molds-the almost life forms-large and small. One in particular, Candida Albicans is everywhere and has been found “farming viruses and bacteria”. It’s in EVERYTHING, and likely these rogue phages have changed them, are responsible for the rogue wheat, and are the most dangerous life form loose on earth. IT was NEVER the traits. Left to simple mechanical insertion, there might have been SOME resistance and health issues to be investigated and address, but with the loosing of the Phages it’s all nearly out of control. SO…what is Biotech going to do about it, before the super mold infested soil refuses to grow even the Patented seeds?.

    • Tom

      Oh God, be wary of posts with a lot of CAPITALIZED words in them. I can’t possibly address every error in your post so I’ll stick to a few facts (and I’m a scientist so I know my sh*t). First, phages only infect bacteria. Otherwise they’re plain old viruses (of which phages are a part). Second, phages are the most abundant form of life on this planet and whatever we humans do is unlikely to change their dynamics (science journalist Carl Zimmer has tons of interesting articles on phages and viruses in general). Third, since phages only infect bacteria, they can’t be used to transform plants. There might be research ongoing where plant biologists try to use plant-specific viruses to engineer crops. Viruses are already used in engineering animal cells (e.g. baculoviruses are used to engineer insect cells). Lastly, I work with the yeast Candida albicans and its relatives and I can assure you that they most certainly do not farm viruses or bacteria.

      • RAndrewOhge

        Yet, Monsanto acquired approval to use them to carry the traits into the target cells of their various products. This is documented. Perhaps you can get your money back from the school that misinformed you.

        • Tom

          Phages can be used to engineer bacteria. That has been done since the 70s. And I’m sure there are phage-engineered bacteria that have been approved for industrial use and I’m assuming that those are the documented cases (I’m guessing rBGH) you’re referring to.

          And they’re not “schools”, they’re “universities”. Try going to one.