Genetically Modified Organism: Are They Friend Or Foe?

Submitted by: Gerry1of1 1 month ago in Science


Good or bad? Do you want GMO foods or do you avoid them? Are GMOs bad for your health? Or is this fear unfounded? Discuss!
There are 33 comments:
Male 5,179
Without GMOs we would not have many of the medications we do now for example several forms of human  Insulin are produced by genetically engineered mice
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Male 241
Does anyone know about the Hawiian papaya industry?  Without GMOs it would have been completely wiped out.
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Male 23
Personally I think we'd all do better to learn to live in harmony with nature rather than trying to control it.
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Male 490
thunderbear as you sit behind your computer, that was made by literally raping the earth of its minerals and dumping the waste back into it, to type this coexist comment.
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Male 23
bophus And?  I don't own a computer but still, what's your point?
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Male 138
So, I didn't watch the video.  Did they talk about gmo-ing to make crops able to withstand weed killers like round-up and it's stronger variants (e.g., agent orange)?  That is what I consider the most dangerous part of this whole gmo thing.  Soak the ground in chemicals that kill everything but the plant you want to keep, and those same chemicals are getting into the plant you are keeping.  This is my theory on where the autism epidemic is coming from.
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Male 241
skeeter01 Not sure if you are old enough, but the parameters of what autism is has been broadened over the years to allow for catagorization on more and more outliers.  The same with ADHD or ADD or hyperactive kids.  It allows for them to be put into a treatment regimen that includes pharmaceuticals.
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Male 490
skeeter01 there is no such thing as an autism epidemic.  Autism has always been here.  But, 20 years ago, those on the non functioning end of the spectrum we called retarded and locked away and those on the high functioning "bad in social situations" we call weird.  We just bunch them all up now and call it a spectrum.  It is the same thing but a different name.  your "theory" is not a theory at all.
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Male 138
bophus I respectfully disagree.  my theory is indeed a theory because it exists - it may exist only in my head, but it exists nonetheless.  It may be wrong, but even wrongness does not mean it isn't a theory. So there!   

Now, with the semantics out of they way, I am not convinced by your argument that there is no such thing as an autism epidemic.  I do see your point that broadening the definition of autism by labeling various degrees of autism-like disabilties "a spectrum" appears to increase the number of cases, but that does not negate the fact that 20 years ago, autism-like disorders occurred in 1 of 2500 children, nowadays that number is more like 1 in 170 or so.  That increase is not due to people who were once just "weird" 20 years ago now being labeled autistic.  I believe there is a causative factor, and the increase in autism diagnoses lines up rather strikingly with the increase in GMOs.
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Male 136
I think the problem, at its base, is a concern over permanence and unintended consequences. GMO's currently appear to be safe and appropriate as a a food source. But... there is no going back.

For example:
70 years ago, no one really considered resistance to antibiotics when they were first being prescribed. Now we have a problem and can pull back on usage to combat this. 

If a GMO crop designed to kill beetles accidentally makes fetuses grow extra arms, there are few solutions to restore a previous crop version. Its out there self-perpetuating.

Also Mr. Narrator Man, the science ISN'T in. Current research may support its use, but like every other scientific pursuit, further monitoring and vigilance is required.
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Male 283
Let's just stop that right there. We have not, in no way, been genetically modifying plants for thousands of years. Selective breeding is not genetic modification. This video is highly misleading, and straight out wrong in its use of these terms. Buffer zones don't work, plants as far as middle Mexico have been cross contaminated by US corn. And while there is zero reason not to eat GMOs (that we know of), there are zero reasons to grow them. Genetically modified plants so far have not been more nutritious, they haven't produced higher yields. In painting a picture of GMOs in India, this video happily avoids that Indian farmers are killing themselves en masse because they can't afford the next seasons batch of Terminator seeds, and because they aren't allowed to replant. GMOs have saved fields in the past, but the important thing to remember,
From the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS):

"Contrary to myths about the superiority of GE crop yields, most yield gains in recent years are due to traditional breeding or improvement of other agricultural practices ... genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields."

I'm all for extra vitamin D in rice, saving the papaya, but this technology is being billed for far more good things than it has actually caused. At the end of the day, we're still sticking things in places they were never meant to be, and, well, I'm against that. 
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Male 230
thething911 appeal to nature is not an argument.

"At the end of the day, we're still sticking things in places they were never meant to be, and, well, I'm against that." Have you ever used medicinr?
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Male 283
Fojos medicine doesn't create more medicine once it's inside you. It doesn't go in to your kids, so that they then have to make medicine their entire lives as well. One isn't the other. Get lost.
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Male 5,179
thething911 Corn is not a natural plant found in nature
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Male 903
thething911 Please explain how selective breeding is not genetic modification? It is the practice of deliberately introducing genetic changes to an organism. No, it isn't necessarily being done in a lab, but it is still a genetic change. It is a "natural" genetic modification, but still genetic modification, none the less. As to the reasons for GMO crops, they are numerous. The reason is not, to my knowledge, for "higher nutrition", as you imply, or necessarily even for "higher yields", per say. The main reasons that I have ever heard for GMOs are things like insect
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Male 153
whosaidwhat selective breeding is working with genetics true but different from gmo's. Selective breeding means taking two plants with desirable traits and breeding them to make plants more likely to have those traits. This process occurs naturally though in a much more random way. Genetically modifying an organism means manually inserting a gene into the dna of that organism. An example is creating wheat plants with a gene from a wasp to cause the wheat plant to produce the scent of the wasp there by scaring away insects that would eat the wheat. In nature a wheat plant and a wasp would not normally exchange dna. Another example  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/01/0111_020111genmice.html 
GMO's should be safe to eat as the change is just another protein and our digestive systems a designed to break down proteins.
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Male 903
taxidriver You are missing the point. Selective breeding IS genetic modification. Yes, its done differently, but it achieves the same results in the end. Yes, I realize that, as in your example, wheat and wasps will never naturally exchange DNA. However, a strain of wheat "native to" Australia will most likely never naturally exchange DNA with a strain "native to", say, Brazil. So, by your own definition, when these two strains are "crossed", so that, for example, the insect resistant properties of the strain from Brazil is combined with the lower water needs of the strain from Australia, it is a GMO, because the crossing would never occur in nature. I'm not trying to say that there are no differences between the two, as there certainly are, just that they are also the same in many ways, and that selective breeding IS genetic modification. Genetic modification occurs in nature, just not in quite the same way that we do it.
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Male 490
taxidriver so we have been genetically modifying our food for thousands of year.  Just because we are now doing it on an actual genetic scale, doesnt mean that selective breeding isnt modifying the plant to our benefit.  Bananas and corn are the two major ones that humans "invented".
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Male 283
read what taxi says, he's nailing it down. Think of selective breeding as curating nature, it's selecting from what's already there. Genetic modification is introducing changes that might not, or could not have happened in nature. I mean, if you want some good reads, check out just how powerful selective breeding was in both the cases of corn and bananas. The incredible variation and cultivability of modern agricultural plants is simply due to reinterbreeding successive generations of offspring, not anything that has only been possible for ~40 years. Rephrasing, the reason we have such wonderful produce is because of mendel, not monsanto. I get how the line can seem a little fudgey, check quora, would be my suggestion. I imagine someone's explained it extremely well somewhere.
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Female 7,866
As always- it all depends. Getting vitamin A into rice will save lives- developing glyophosphate wheat and patenting the seed is awful. It's always the problem- motives of greed and profit may not produce good results. Don't get me wrong, good motives don't make good actions- but it helps,
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Male 2,377
madduck ~Squrlz points upwards~ What the Testy Waterfowl said.
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Male 5,179
squrlz4ever ~Zigz points downwards~  What the Tasty TreeRodent said.
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Male 2,377
thezigrat LOL. "Tasty Tree Rodent." I'm going to have to get a T-shirt with that on the front. That's too good to pass up.
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Male 298
My only problem with genetically modified food is that there isn't more of them. Yum Yum Tum.
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Male 38,480
I want the best food science can provide so bring on the GMO.

 I also want the best athletes science can provide so bring on the performance enhancing drugs.
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Male 3,462
It's easy to complain about GM food when one has plenty to eat.


I was also going to mention that selective breeding is in itself producing GMOs, but the video covered that.
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Male 6,663
GMO's aren't inherently bad.  The parts that are problematic are the cross speciations.  IE putting fish genes in plants or mixing and matching different types of species.    It's not allowing scientist to go crazy with gene manipulation and avoiding unintended consequences.
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Male 283
normalfreak2 GMO's could be an extremely powerful force for getting good things done in the world. Just, not where the money's at I guess. They only get most of the bad rep because they're being sold by really bad people.
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Male 6,663
thething911 Oh I agree, I support GMO's.  Without them we wouldn't have the abundance of food we do have.  And if we want to keep feeding billions more we will continue to need GMO foods.  The major concern I have is the unintended consequences.
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Male 283
normalfreak2 "Contrary to myths about the superiority of GE crop yields, most yield gains in recent years are due to traditional breeding or improvement of other agricultural practices ... genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields." Yeah. no. It's just not true man. Increased yields have been entirely due to selective breeding.
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Male 3,462
normalfreak2 Most of my personal research says that plants have not and will not receive fish genes and the whatnot, or at least, such things are not on the market available to purchase.

In fact, the only source I could find was from a radio talkshow host who is a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, a UFO reporter, and a paranormal expert... 
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Male 532
normalfreak2 Why exactly is that "problematic"?
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Male 6,663
faustsshadow Specifically I was reading about putting animal genes with plant genes that make it so certain bugs that pollinate to die or adversely affect the environments that GMO's are added to.  Kinda like how the Monarch butterfly was almost wiped out.
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