Response: 8 Shocking reasons GMO's are bad for you

An anti-GMO article was posted on IFLS; Let's respond.

The 8 shocking reasons are false. Let me show you.

Response: [8 Shocking reasons GMO's are bad for you].

1. Health consequences are largely unknown.

[health consequence of gmo] on scholar.google gives a great many results. This article seems rather nice: http://rameznaam.com/2013/04/28/the-evidence-on-gmo-safety/

2. GMOs are unlabeled in America.

And the european union has banned gmos! That's good to know, as I live there and didn't know that. Indeed, the EU doesn't  know it either; http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/index_en.htm .

On a sidenote, they aren't labelled in our shops either.

3. Genetic modification reduces genetic diversity.


That's not even true; we introduce a variation artificially, but they still vary. Indeed, the aim of GMO's is often to increase the robustness of the crop to many kinds of things, including those noted in this reason. I'm not sure how this is supposed to reduce genetic diversity; especially as the crops we would use otherwise are applied in the same way. It's not as if we reuse the seeds; rather, we have seeds from a seed-farm, and we use those on a yield-farm. As a result, genetic diversity is reduced in all of them - by simple artificial selection on what plants are of 'proper quality'  to sell their seeds.

4. Once the mutant genes are out of the bag, there is no going back.



I thought that, just now, we wanted more variability; and now, suddenly, hybrid transgenic/naturals are wrong. The japan thing isn't backed up, and I can find only a reproduction of the story among a great number of anti-gmo websites.

On a sidenote, while the idea of the gmo crops is to be more robust, that is not guarantee that they are also better in the wild. If anything, native plants are often stronger just because they are widely spread in the home country, which is also the kind of home they're adapted to. Certainly, foreign plants can wreak havoc - ask new Zealand - but that's not a gmo thing. It's a foreign plant thing.

GMO's are made by horizontal gene transfer to induce certain things we want. This is faster, stronger and rather more predictable than waiting for nature to do it.

5. GMOs are not the answer for global food security.

No increase in yield nor a decrease in pesticides, which is what they're made for. Does that sound fishy? [Onfarm field trials carried out with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton in different states of India show that the technology substantially reduces pest damage and increases yields, ,http://www.ask-force.org/web/BioEconomy/Qaim-Zilberman-Yield-Effects-2003.pdf] So, the increased yield part is a lie. How about pesticide reduction? . [On a global basis GM technology has reduced pesticide use, with the size of the reduction varying between crops and the introduced trait. It is estimated that the use of GM soybean, oil seed rape, cotton and maize varieties modified for herbicide tolerance and insect protected GM varieties of cotton reduced pesticide use by a total of 22.3 million kg of formulated
product in the year 2000, http://www.ask-force.org/web/Benefits/Phipps-Park-Benefits-2002.pdf].

6. Genetically engineered foods have not been proven to be safe, but the few studies conducted don’t look so hot.

 Isn't this the same as reason #1? Anyway, take a look at this:
Results of feeding studies with feed derived from GM plants with improved agronomic properties, carried out in a wide range of livestock species, are discussed. The studies did not show any biologically relevant differences in the parameters tested between control and test animals. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18328408]
 So.. It doesn't look to good, right?


7 .Big biotech firms have very sketchy track records.

Yes, so what? You were assaulting genetically modified organisms - not the companies. The issue was the technique  or, rather, the commercial results of it. Don't move the goalposts; we were talking about GMO's and their safety, not the corporate track record.

8. GMOs require massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.

Earlier, I provided an article that shows they have globally reduced pesticide use. Herbicides and fungicides are in the same category; or maybe not. The crops are affected less by the pesticide/herbicide/fungicide - which is a good thing, generally .

The GMO's do not require more or less of those than the 'natural' plants, or rather, the artificially selected plants, do. They're just affected less by the measures used.

9. Summary

The bottom line is that genetically modified organisms have not been proven in any way to be safe, and most of the studies are actually leaning the other direction, which is why many of the world’s countries have banned these items whose DNA has been genetically engineered. In America, they aren’t even labeled, much less banned, so the majority of the populace has no idea that they are eating lab-created DNA on a daily basis.
Now you do; your best defense is to purchase certified organic food, which cannot contain any GMOs, and to tell your friends and loved ones to do the same.
Time for my version. The bottom line is that the article doesn't actually use scientific research nor attempts to back up anything they state; it is a set of strawmans, lies and red herrings.

The european union in particular hasn't banned gmo's - that's a really, really big lie.

Author's opinion. 

Personally, I'm all for transgenics. I'm also all for proper legislation, standardised assessments and so on. In fact, that's exactly what is being worked and improved on.

I certainly agree that there are unknowns. However, those unknowns can be all kinds of things; where anti-gmo conspiracists only assert that they will be negative, we also don't know if there are any postives.

And don't misunderstand the technique. I want to point out some things:
If the rDNA sequences encode a gene that is expressed, then the presence of RNA and/or protein products of the recombinant gene can be detected, typically using RT-PCR or western hybridization methods.[8] Gross phenotypic changes are not the norm, unless the recombinant gene has been chosen and modified so as to generate biological activity in the host organism.[9] Additional phenotypes that are encountered include toxicity to the host organism induced by the recombinant gene product, especially if it is over-expressed or expressed within inappropriate cells or tissues. (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recombinant_DNA).
So, the effect of the technique can be easily validated. As a result, non-intentional effects can be easily tracked - if so, the crop will be deemed unusable and removed.

However, anti-gmo conspiracists assert you that it will be negative, that the 'big gmo' pays to circumvent health agencies and so forth. It's all nonsense.

GMO crops, or rather, transgenics, offer a very pleasant option for farmers; more yield, less things like pesticides, wider applicability - the latter is important for developing countries, for instance on the african continent.

Demonising them with all kinds of stuff is counterproductive. It's okay to be sceptical, to call for proper legislation and independent assessment. I'm with you on that. I'm not with you on this-stuff-is-evil nonsense.


Popular posts from this blog

Commentary to the International Monsanto Tribunal verdict

200 Reasons why flat-earthers are simply wrong. (Rebuke: 200 Proofs the earth is not a spinning ball.)

Rebuke: Climate Change in 12 minutes - The Skeptic's Case