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Thread: Genetic Engineering

  1. #1
    thewizeard's Avatar re-member BT Rep: +1
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    First I will give you my opinion. I am against it because we can not see what the affects will be for our children and their chidren.. I also believe that when we buy our food, we should be aware of the ingredients used in its production. Some people might say, "No problem we will put it on the labels." This happens of course although one often needs a magnifying glas to read it. Another problem is contamination:

    Greenpeace



    Italian seeds contaminated with GE maize
    Scandal highlights loopholes in new European legislation

    Thu 10 July 2003
    ITALY/Piemonte


    Over 100 farmers in Northern Italy have discovered that non-genetically engineered (GE) maize seeds that they bought and planted, were in fact contaminated by GE maize. The fact that cases like this are happening on a regular basis, raises serious questions - such as how are the seeds getting contaminated in the first place? Is it part of a deliberate strategy by companies selling GE seeds?


    The 400 hectares of GE contaminated maize will soon flower, so government officials and farmers leaders in the Piemonte region are meeting to work out what to do with the maize to stop further contamination.

    The contamination came to light after routine seed tests by the Italian authorities - unfortunately conducted after the seeds had been planted. Although the exact details of what happened have yet to be made public, local reports and previous experience suggest that GE varieties produced by Monsanto may be the source of the contamination. Farmers reportedly bought the seeds from the company Pioneer Seeds that not only sells conventional non-GE seeds, but also acts as a sales agent for Monsanto's GE seeds in many countries.

    A full investigation must be conducted not only of the contamination in Piemonte, but of what appears to be Monsanto's policy of deliberate contamination of non-GE seeds and farming.

    Greenpeace spokesperson Federica Ferrario ask "With such cases happening on a regular basis the question has to be asked whether this is gross negligence or whether contamination of conventional seeds is part of a deliberate strategy of companies who sell GE seeds. In either case, legislation and legal action are required to make those responsible pay for the costs associated with their contamination and to prevent more such contamination in the future."

    Coming less than one week after new EU legislation on labelling and traceability of GE food and animal feed, this case highlights two of the major loopholes still existing in European legislation and already acknowledged by many EU governments.

    "It is one thing to have good labelling laws in place which make sure food products and animal feed are labelled if they do contain GE ingredients, but if Monsanto and its sales agents such as Pioneer Seeds are allowed to continually contaminate normal non-GE seeds, then that will make an absolute nonsense of the new legislation because it will entirely deny any choice for farmers or for consumers", added Ferrario.

    Legislation is urgently needed to prevent seed contamination and ensure strict liability for the GE company responsible when contamination does occur.


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    This is a problem that I am sure is being repeated all over the world. No doubt in countries where the controls over the planting of GM plants are less stringent than
    what we are used to. This highlights the fact that even in Europe controls are failing.

    What is your opinion ?

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    I'm all for genetic engineering, I don't really think the safeguards will stop the genes from spreading, but that doesn't bother me. I rather doubt that we'll create any wheat or weeds that will take over the world.

    What about genetic engineering of humans? I'm all for that too once the tech gets a lot better, right now it would be pointless as we don't have a clue and the birth defect rate/ stillbirth rate is huge. Personally i reckon something has to be done because we've almost removed ourselves from natural selection and i don't think it will take toooo many generations for widespread problems to start creeping in. Then i personally feel its either genetic engineering or eugenics I don't much like the idea of relying too heaviliy on artificial implants etc.

  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    MagicNakor's Avatar On the Peripheral
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    What most people don't realize is that humans have been "genetically engineering" plants and animals for centuries. Ever grafted a tree? Ever seen a purebred dog? It's just no longer on such a base level.

    things are quiet until hitler decides he'd like to invade russia
    so, he does
    the russians are like "OMG WTF D00DZ, STOP TKING"
    and the germans are still like "omg ph34r n00bz"
    the russians fall back, all the way to moscow
    and then they all begin h4xing, which brings on the russian winter
    the germans are like "wtf, h4x"
    -- WW2 for the l33t

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    true look at killer bees, they're an example of the classic form of genetic engineering going wrong.

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    lynx's Avatar .
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    That is not genetic engineering, it is selective breeding.

    Yes, selective breeding can go wrong, but it isn't going to introduce pig genes into tomatoes. What do the islamic and jewish faiths think about that sort of thing - not able to eat tomatoes because of possible contaminition ?

    There has not been time for sufficient evidence to be gathered as to whether GM foods are safe, so let's keep them separate for the time being.

    We have the nonsense from the US about not being able to identify GM soya separately from the non-GM variety, which is one of the current beefs they have with the EU, who say they must. But at the same time food manufacturers proudly claim they can identifiy all ingredients they use even down to the fields they were grown in, and the time they were harvested to the nearest hour.

    Who is kidding who ?

    Edit: clarity
    .
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    selective breeding is a form of genetic engineering as u r selecting the genetic traits and therefore genes u want in an animal. Teh fact that pigs and tomatoes can't interbreed is trivial, viruses can carry genes between different species and any of the genes that u successfullly splice could occur naturally. IMO the danger at the current level of use is greatly outweighed by the knowledge gleaned from it.

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Originally posted by ilw@16 July 2003 - 12:42
    selective breeding is a form of genetic engineering as u r selecting the genetic traits and therefore genes u want in an animal. Teh fact that pigs and tomatoes can't interbreed is trivial, viruses can carry genes between different species and any of the genes that u successfullly splice could occur naturally. IMO the danger at the current level of use is greatly outweighed by the knowledge gleaned from it.
    Exactly, you are selecting traits, NOT genes.
    In doing so you also sometimes get undesirable qualities, in which case the selection is considered to have failed, but because of the time involved these are spotted long before any harmful variations are 'let loose'.

    Direct genetic modification on the other hand is a relatively rapid process so the undesirable qualities may not be spotted until it is way too late.

    Genes carried by viruses from species to species generally result in unsustainable cells, so the corrupted gene pool is rarely propogated.

    I am not against GM experimentation, I simply feel that there is too much of a rush.

    Look at thalidomide - their are two varieties of this chemical, but they are mirror images of each other. Small scale production produced only one of these variants, and it is safe. Larger scale production produced significant quantities of the other variant and that variant as we know is most definitely unsafe (for it's then intended purpose).
    But the manufacturers were unaware of these variations, and we know of the results. Let's not get into the same situation with GM foods by rushing into their use before we know all the facts.
    .
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    Rat Faced's Avatar Broken
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    We have the nonsense from the US about not being able to identify GM soya separately from the non-GM variety, which is one of the current beefs they have with the EU, who say they must.

    If they cant tell the difference, why muck about with something safe and potentialy introduce dangerous side effects.

    I think they recently done some experiments on Canadian GE crops in the UK, and the scientists concluded that there was no advatage to this Crop that had cost millions to develope....I can think of a lot of placs that money would be better spent.


    I can agree with some GE; for example producing crops that will grow in places that it cant currently (parts of Africa for example)...but to GE a crop that is already thriving in an environment?

    .....why?

    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Originally posted by Rat Faced@16 July 2003 - 15:22
    We have the nonsense from the US about not being able to identify GM soya separately from the non-GM variety, which is one of the current beefs they have with the EU, who say they must.

    If they cant tell the difference, why muck about with something safe and potentialy introduce dangerous side effects.

    I think they recently done some experiments on Canadian GE crops in the UK, and the scientists concluded that there was no advatage to this Crop that had cost millions to develope....I can think of a lot of placs that money would be better spent.


    I can agree with some GE; for example producing crops that will grow in places that it cant currently (parts of Africa for example)...but to GE a crop that is already thriving in an environment?

    .....why?
    Bad wording from me, before someone else replies.

    I should have said that the US claim there is no way to prevent them being mixed, so we should accept all US soya, but the EU says if you (the US) can't keep them separate then we (the EU) will have none at all. I don't think it is that they can't identify the difference, just that they choose not to.

    A very nasty marketing trick
    I think someone has said it before, but the plants produced from GM grain are supposedly sterile. This is not quite accurate, since it is that very produce which is what is desired to be harvested. However, the second generation seed is not capable of producing another viable plant, so you have to go back and get new first generation seed. This means that once you have replaced all the old non-GM seed with GM seed, you have a captive market who must repeatedly come back to you for more seedstock.

    The marketing trick gets nastier
    Even more worrying, the GM plant still produces pollen, and if this is allowed to contaminate non-GM plants, they too may produce seed which cannot propogate a viable plant, so even those who try to resist GM crops may eventually be forced to look elsewhere for seedstock.

    If at this stage we find that there is a problem with the GM product, it is too late, we have lost the original non-GM produce, and millions (billions ?) face the prospect of eating a faulty product or starvation.

    Edit: typo
    .
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  10. The Drawing Room   -   #10
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    On this subject I have not yet run to ground a coherent viewpoint.

    I am cautious, as G.E. is a life-altering science, much as the study of the atom was, and with an even greater potential upside, BUT-

    I am reminded of a line from the movie "Jurassic Park", relative to G.E., and uttered by Jeff Goldblum, something to the effect of, "They (the genetic engineers) became so enamored of the fact they could, they never stopped to consider whether or not they should."
    Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that. -George Carlin

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