PopSci article claiming to debunk ten GMO myths

Status
Not open for further replies.

Dan Wilson

Senior Member.
A great article about GMO's and crops that debunks common myths. It discusses 10 claims, total, and also provides much more information.

http://www.popsci.com/article/scien...con=core-truths-10-common-gmo-claims-debunked (http://archive.today/xxC0S)


1) Claim: Genetic engineering is a radical technology.

Humans have been manipulating the genes of crops for millennia by selectively breeding plants with desirable traits. (A perfect example: the thousands of apple varieties.) Virtually all of our food crops have been genetically modified in some way. In that sense, GMOs are not radical at all. But the technique does differ dramatically from traditional plant breeding.

Here's how it works: Scientists extract a bit of DNA from an organism, modify or make copies of it, and incorporate it into the genome of the same species or a second one. They do this by either using bacteria to deliver the new genetic material, or by shooting tiny DNA-coated metal pellets into plant cells with a gene gun. While scientists can't control exactly where the foreign DNA will land, they can repeat the experiment until they get a genome with the right information in the right place.

That process allows for greater precision. "With GMOs, we know the genetic information we are using, we know where it goes in the genome, and we can see if it is near an allergen or a toxin or if it is going to turn [another gene] off," says Peggy G. Lemaux, a plant biologist at the University of California, Berkeley. "That is not true when you cross widely different varieties in traditional breeding."

2) Claim: GMOs are too new for us to know if they are dangerous.


It depends on how you define new. Genetically engineered plants first appeared in the lab about 30 years ago and became a commercial product in 1994. Since then, more than 1,700 peer-reviewed safety studies have been published, including five lengthy reports from the National Research Council, that focus on human health and the environment. The scientific consensus is that existing GMOs are no more or less risky than conventional crops.
3) Claim: Farmers can't replant genetically modified seeds.


So-called terminator genes, which can make seeds sterile, never made it out of the patent office in the 1990s. Seed companies do require farmers to sign agreements that prohibit replanting in order to ensure annual sales, but Kent Bradford, a plant scientist at the University of California, Davis, says large-scale commercial growers typically don't save seeds anyway. Corn is a hybrid of two lines from the same species, so its seeds won't pass on the right traits to the next generation. Cotton and soy seeds could be saved, but most farmers don't bother. "The quality deteriorates—they get weeds and so on—and it's not a profitable practice," Bradford says.
4) Claim: We don't need GMOs—there are other ways to feed the world.


GMOs alone probably won't solve the planet's food problems. But with climate change and population growth threatening food supplies, genetically modified crops could significantly boost crop output. "GMOs are just one tool to make sure the world is food-secure when we add two billion more people by 2050," says Pedro Sanchez, director of the Agriculture and Food Security Center at Columbia University's Earth Institute. "It's not the only answer, and it is not essential, but it is certainly one good thing in our arsenal."
5) Claim: GMOs cause allergies, cancer, and other health problems.


Many people worry that genetic engineering introduces hazardous proteins, particularly allergens and toxins, into the food chain. It's a reasonable concern: Theoretically, it's possible for a new gene to express a protein that provokes an immune response. That's why biotech companies consult with the Food and Drug Administration about potential GMO foods and perform extensive allergy and toxicity testing. Those tests are voluntary but commonplace; if they're not done, the FDA can block the products.
One frequently cited study, published in 2012 by researchers from the University of Caen in France, claimed that one of Monsanto's corn GMOs caused tumors in lab rats. But the study was widely discredited because of faulty test methods, and the journal retracted it in 2013. More recently, researchers from the University of Perugia in Italy published a review of 1,783 GMO safety tests; 770 examined the health impact on humans or animals. They found no evidence that the foods are dangerous.
Content from External Source
 
Last edited by a moderator:

moderateGOP

Active Member
A great article about GMO's and crops that debunks common myths. It discusses 10 claims, total, and also provides much more information.

http://www.popsci.com/article/scien...con=core-truths-10-common-gmo-claims-debunked


1) Claim: Genetic engineering is a radical technology.

Humans have been manipulating the genes of crops for millennia by selectively breeding plants with desirable traits. (A perfect example: the thousands of apple varieties.) Virtually all of our food crops have been genetically modified in some way. In that sense, GMOs are not radical at all. But the technique does differ dramatically from traditional plant breeding.

Here's how it works: Scientists extract a bit of DNA from an organism, modify or make copies of it, and incorporate it into the genome of the same species or a second one. They do this by either using bacteria to deliver the new genetic material, or by shooting tiny DNA-coated metal pellets into plant cells with a gene gun. While scientists can't control exactly where the foreign DNA will land, they can repeat the experiment until they get a genome with the right information in the right place.

That process allows for greater precision. "With GMOs, we know the genetic information we are using, we know where it goes in the genome, and we can see if it is near an allergen or a toxin or if it is going to turn [another gene] off," says Peggy G. Lemaux, a plant biologist at the University of California, Berkeley. "That is not true when you cross widely different varieties in traditional breeding."

2) Claim: GMOs are too new for us to know if they are dangerous.


It depends on how you define new. Genetically engineered plants first appeared in the lab about 30 years ago and became a commercial product in 1994. Since then, more than 1,700 peer-reviewed safety studies have been published, including five lengthy reports from the National Research Council, that focus on human health and the environment. The scientific consensus is that existing GMOs are no more or less risky than conventional crops.
3) Claim: Farmers can't replant genetically modified seeds.


So-called terminator genes, which can make seeds sterile, never made it out of the patent office in the 1990s. Seed companies do require farmers to sign agreements that prohibit replanting in order to ensure annual sales, but Kent Bradford, a plant scientist at the University of California, Davis, says large-scale commercial growers typically don't save seeds anyway. Corn is a hybrid of two lines from the same species, so its seeds won't pass on the right traits to the next generation. Cotton and soy seeds could be saved, but most farmers don't bother. "The quality deteriorates—they get weeds and so on—and it's not a profitable practice," Bradford says.
4) Claim: We don't need GMOs—there are other ways to feed the world.


GMOs alone probably won't solve the planet's food problems. But with climate change and population growth threatening food supplies, genetically modified crops could significantly boost crop output. "GMOs are just one tool to make sure the world is food-secure when we add two billion more people by 2050," says Pedro Sanchez, director of the Agriculture and Food Security Center at Columbia University's Earth Institute. "It's not the only answer, and it is not essential, but it is certainly one good thing in our arsenal."
5) Claim: GMOs cause allergies, cancer, and other health problems.


Many people worry that genetic engineering introduces hazardous proteins, particularly allergens and toxins, into the food chain. It's a reasonable concern: Theoretically, it's possible for a new gene to express a protein that provokes an immune response. That's why biotech companies consult with the Food and Drug Administration about potential GMO foods and perform extensive allergy and toxicity testing. Those tests are voluntary but commonplace; if they're not done, the FDA can block the products.
One frequently cited study, published in 2012 by researchers from the University of Caen in France, claimed that one of Monsanto's corn GMOs caused tumors in lab rats. But the study was widely discredited because of faulty test methods, and the journal retracted it in 2013. More recently, researchers from the University of Perugia in Italy published a review of 1,783 GMO safety tests; 770 examined the health impact on humans or animals. They found no evidence that the foods are dangerous.
Content from External Source


I'm glad that Popsci got rid of their comments section because the CTs would be all over this. This is the most comprehensive report about debunking GMOs that I have ever seen! Way to go Popsci!!!
 

KAT

Active Member
A great article about GMO's and crops that debunks common myths. It discusses 10 claims, total, and also provides much more information.
http://www.popsci.com/article/scien...con=core-truths-10-common-gmo-claims-debunked

Link seems dead now.

This does zero debunking. It is sophistry and half truths, sets up straw men, deliberately keeps missing the point and claims mystery studies it doesn't bother quoting or linking. If I had to describe it in one word, I'd say "propaganda".

1) Claim: Genetic engineering is a radical technology.
Humans have been manipulating the genes of crops for millennia by selectively breeding plants with desirable traits. (A perfect example: the thousands of apple varieties.)
Content from External Source
Ohoh. Sophistry. Alarm bells. Splicing in genes from other species is not the same at all.

2) Claim: GMOs are too new for us to know if they are dangerous.
It depends on how you define new. Genetically engineered plants first appeared in the lab about 30 years ago and became a commercial product in 1994. Since then, more than 1,700 peer-reviewed safety studies have been published,
Content from External Source
More sophistry. Many substances have taken 30 years to find out they're not good for long-term use so that in itself proves nothing. Telling: no links to any of the studies so people can verify for themselves if the claims made for them are true (or if so many studies do actually exist).

3) Claim: Farmers can't replant genetically modified seeds.
So-called terminator genes, which can make seeds sterile, never made it out of the patent office in the 1990s. Seed companies do require farmers to sign agreements that prohibit replanting in order to ensure annual sales, but Kent Bradford, a plant scientist at the University of California, Davis, says large-scale commercial growers typically don't save seeds anyway.
Content from External Source
Not a health claim, but an economic claim against GM food. It is true large-scale commercial growers typically don't save seed for next year. POOR FARMERS in third world countries DO, so GM does nothing for improved food security where it really matters. Meanwhile farmers in many countries are sued for having GM pants that seeded themselves, which doesn't exactly help them either.

4) Claim: We don't need GMOs—there are other ways to feed the world.
GMOs alone probably won't solve the planet's food problems. But with climate change and population growth threatening food supplies, genetically modified crops could significantly boost crop output. "
Content from External Source
Again an economic claim - and again not true, as the "significant boosting" depends on the poorer farmers being able to afford the GM seed and the pesticides and fertilisers needed for it. We can feed the world ONLY if the food is produced at a price the hungry can afford to pay. If the increased price of inputs means only large corporations can afford to produce, millions of farmers who lose their livelihoods still won't be able to afford to eat. Look at rural unemployment and poverty in the USA for evidence.

5) Claim: GMOs cause allergies, cancer, and other health problems.
Many people worry that genetic engineering introduces hazardous proteins, particularly allergens and toxins, into the food chain. It's a reasonable concern: Theoretically, it's possible for a new gene to express a protein that provokes an immune response. That's why biotech companies consult with the Food and Drug Administration about potential GMO foods and perform extensive allergy and toxicity testing. Those tests are voluntary but commonplace; if they're not done, the FDA can block the products
Content from External Source
HAHA. Where are the links to the extensive tests? yes indeed they are voluntary and not at all enforced. Nor peer reviewed. An honour system to let the FDA know if there's a problem. "Other health problems" are not tested for, how can they be with a description as vague as that? But if a GM change causes, a protein to be changed, or a mineral to be not taken up, biochemical reactions depending on these won't happen - and may be decades before the shortage of that item shows up as disease. And may be different or people than for rats, mice and rabbits, so can't really be tested for on them. Because GM foods HAVE been around for so long, there are epidemiological studies possible now to show such effects.


The same 5 got quoted twice above and the link won't work, but I imagine the other 5 were no more scientific or accurate than these.
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
Link seems dead now.

This does zero debunking. It is sophistry and half truths, sets up straw men, deliberately keeps missing the point and claims mystery studies it doesn't bother quoting or linking. If I had to describe it in one word, I'd say "propaganda".

1) Claim: Genetic engineering is a radical technology.
Humans have been manipulating the genes of crops for millennia by selectively breeding plants with desirable traits. (A perfect example: the thousands of apple varieties.)
Content from External Source
Ohoh. Sophistry. Alarm bells. Splicing in genes from other species is not the same at all.

2) Claim: GMOs are too new for us to know if they are dangerous.
It depends on how you define new. Genetically engineered plants first appeared in the lab about 30 years ago and became a commercial product in 1994. Since then, more than 1,700 peer-reviewed safety studies have been published,
Content from External Source
More sophistry. Many substances have taken 30 years to find out they're not good for long-term use so that in itself proves nothing. Telling: no links to any of the studies so people can verify for themselves if the claims made for them are true (or if so many studies do actually exist).

3) Claim: Farmers can't replant genetically modified seeds.
So-called terminator genes, which can make seeds sterile, never made it out of the patent office in the 1990s. Seed companies do require farmers to sign agreements that prohibit replanting in order to ensure annual sales, but Kent Bradford, a plant scientist at the University of California, Davis, says large-scale commercial growers typically don't save seeds anyway.
Content from External Source
Not a health claim, but an economic claim against GM food. It is true large-scale commercial growers typically don't save seed for next year. POOR FARMERS in third world countries DO, so GM does nothing for improved food security where it really matters. Meanwhile farmers in many countries are sued for having GM pants that seeded themselves, which doesn't exactly help them either.

4) Claim: We don't need GMOs—there are other ways to feed the world.
GMOs alone probably won't solve the planet's food problems. But with climate change and population growth threatening food supplies, genetically modified crops could significantly boost crop output. "
Content from External Source
Again an economic claim - and again not true, as the "significant boosting" depends on the poorer farmers being able to afford the GM seed and the pesticides and fertilisers needed for it. We can feed the world ONLY if the food is produced at a price the hungry can afford to pay. If the increased price of inputs means only large corporations can afford to produce, millions of farmers who lose their livelihoods still won't be able to afford to eat. Look at rural unemployment and poverty in the USA for evidence.

5) Claim: GMOs cause allergies, cancer, and other health problems.
Many people worry that genetic engineering introduces hazardous proteins, particularly allergens and toxins, into the food chain. It's a reasonable concern: Theoretically, it's possible for a new gene to express a protein that provokes an immune response. That's why biotech companies consult with the Food and Drug Administration about potential GMO foods and perform extensive allergy and toxicity testing. Those tests are voluntary but commonplace; if they're not done, the FDA can block the products
Content from External Source
HAHA. Where are the links to the extensive tests? yes indeed they are voluntary and not at all enforced. Nor peer reviewed. An honour system to let the FDA know if there's a problem. "Other health problems" are not tested for, how can they be with a description as vague as that? But if a GM change causes, a protein to be changed, or a mineral to be not taken up, biochemical reactions depending on these won't happen - and may be decades before the shortage of that item shows up as disease. And may be different or people than for rats, mice and rabbits, so can't really be tested for on them. Because GM foods HAVE been around for so long, there are epidemiological studies possible now to show such effects.


The same 5 got quoted twice above and the link won't work, but I imagine the other 5 were no more scientific or accurate than these.
Can you provide any evidence (preferably with links) to back up your claims?
 

KAT

Active Member
Can you provide any evidence (preferably with links) to back up your claims?

Sorry. I am new here. I did not know it is like Wikipedia (1) (2) (3) everywhere.

Dan Wilson linked the above article with the comment "A great article about GMO's and crops that debunks common myths" And called it "This is the most comprehensive report about debunking GMOs that I have ever seen!". Is he going to be held to the same standard -- prove with links that this article does, in fact, debunk myths as he claims? All I did was point out that it does not, including, inter alia, the fact that it has no references to its sources.

I don't need to prove that, anyone reading the article can see for himself. And I can't easily find links to prove the negative that the article has no sources or references... a fact which alone is enough to show that it is not even trying to be scientific or factual. If, despite this, Dan can demonstrate that it is actually a good debunk, then I'll go into more detail about the contents of the article
 

scombrid

Senior Member.
POOR FARMERS in third world countries DO, so GM does nothing for improved food security where it really matters. Meanwhile farmers in many countries are sued for having GM pants that seeded themselves, which doesn't exactly help them either.

Perhaps you can cite evidence for this claim.

The cases I’ve read in which Monsanto has sued farmers have involved the farmers deliberately creating seed stock that isolated round up resistent genes. The farmers then proceeded to grow their subsequent plantings using Roundup Ready techniques. That looks like a clear deliberate patent violation that Monsanto is correct to challenge.

I’ve not seen verified cases of Monsanto going after farmers that simply have their crop contaminated with Monsanto crop genes, in this country or otherwise.

NPR did a better debunk of the seed-stock myths a couple of years ago:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/20...ve-myths-of-genetically-modified-seeds-busted
 
Last edited:

deirdre

Senior Member.
I don't need to prove that, anyone reading the article can see for himself. And I can't easily find links to prove the negative that the article has no sources or references... a fact which alone is enough to show that it is not even trying to be scientific or factual. If, despite this, Dan can demonstrate that it is actually a good debunk, then I'll go into more detail about the contents of the article
sophistry
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
Sorry. I am new here. I did not know it is like Wikipedia (1) (2) (3) everywhere.

Dan Wilson linked the above article with the comment "A great article about GMO's and crops that debunks common myths" And called it "This is the most comprehensive report about debunking GMOs that I have ever seen!". Is he going to be held to the same standard -- prove with links that this article does, in fact, debunk myths as he claims? All I did was point out that it does not, including, inter alia, the fact that it has no references to its sources.

I don't need to prove that, anyone reading the article can see for himself. And I can't easily find links to prove the negative that the article has no sources or references... a fact which alone is enough to show that it is not even trying to be scientific or factual. If, despite this, Dan can demonstrate that it is actually a good debunk, then I'll go into more detail about the contents of the article
Perhaps reviewing the Posting Guidelines would be a good idea. This is a site about evidence and not opinions. You haven't done anything but give the latter.
 

KAT

Active Member
Perhaps you can cite evidence for this claim.

The cases I’ve read in which Monsanto has sued farmers have involved the farmers deliberately creating seed stock that isolated round up resistent genes. The farmers then proceeded to grow their subsequent plantings using Roundup Ready techniques. That looks like a clear deliberate patent violation that Monsanto is correct to challenge.

I’ve not seen verified cases of Monsanto going after farmers that simply have their crop contaminated with Monsanto crop genes, in this country or otherwise.

NPR did a better debunk of the seed-stock myths a couple of years ago:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/20...ve-myths-of-genetically-modified-seeds-busted


http://rt.com/usa/monsanto-patents-sue-farmers-547/

one little quote from that "The biotech leviathan has filed over 140 lawsuits against farmers for planting the company’s genetically-engineered seeds without permission, while settling around 700 other cases without suing."

This includes farms with contamination, NOT deliberate planting. In fact organic farmers who want nothing to do with GM,which makes their product valueless; that's why they went to court over it.

So your debunker above didn't do a simple Google search. Nor did you.
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
http://rt.com/usa/monsanto-patents-sue-farmers-547/

one little quote from that "The biotech leviathan has filed over 140 lawsuits against farmers for planting the company’s genetically-engineered seeds without permission, while settling around 700 other cases without suing."

This includes farms with contamination, NOT deliberate planting. In fact organic farmers who want nothing to do with GM,which makes their product valueless; that's why they went to court over it.

So your debunker above didn't do a simple Google search. Nor did you.
http://thesoapboxrantings.blogspot.com/2013/05/debunking-anti-monsantoanti-gmo-claims.html
2. Monsanto's propriety and legal actions harm small farmers.

Monsanto has, since the mid-1990's, filled 145 suits against individual US farmers forpatent infringement and/or breach of contract in connection with its genetically engineered seed, and while this may sound like a lot, this is actually a very small number in comparison to thousands of individual, independent farmers in the US.

Also, only 11 of these suits actually went to trial, all of which Monsanto won.
Content from External Source
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top