GMOs -- frightening and full of possibility

  • Article by: Greg Breining
  • Updated: April 20, 2013 - 4:47 PM

Genetic modification is the left’s anti-science bugbear. But if you look closely, it’s a brave new world.

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bikiesterApr. 21, 13 6:58 AM

The caption on the "GloFish" suggest these fish actually "glow", but they do not. They fluoresce. The fish have been engineered to express green fluorescent protein (GFP) or variants of it that fluoresce at different wavelengths (colors). These fish were being developed by a group in Singapore to be used in detecting heavy metals in water, but they do not in fact do that--the scientist didn't get that far. Instead, the company that was trying to develop that technology got the fish to express the fluorescence proteins and then sold them to a US company which now simply markets them at Walmart and Petco for the "ooooooh, ahhhhhh" aspect.

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Willy53Apr. 21, 13 7:06 AM

There's no question that GMO has and will provide organisms that serve mankind. However, little is known and there is mounting evidence that GMO food is proving difficult for longterm human digestion and has been implicated in the sudden decline of bees. I don't want to eat plants that have a pesticide spliced into their genes. I deserve the right to know what foods have been genetically modified. The author carelessly glosses over the fact that we are now all subjects of a vast experiment that is being pushed by corporate Ag giants. The impact on humans plants and animals of wide spread gmo in the environment will just have to run its course, for good or bad. There is a difference in genetic modification that is controled in the medical field and the one that is uncontroled and unleashed in the environment to play out unforseen consequences.

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toddsenApr. 21, 13 9:49 AM

I have to say I am a little disappointed at the author for approaching this article with less of an opinion and more of an agenda. I looked up Greg, who he was and what he was about and I was surprised. I was expecting a President or CEO of a large company such a Monsanto, but instead I found that Greg is a journalist and somewhat of a nature lover. So I read the article again to see if maybe I was being judgmental or just plain blind to what he was trying to say, I was not. Greg, I could go on and on about this article and give you links and pages where you can see that there is research that has been done to prove the issues with GMO's and you could send me back pages the refute the evidence and we could go on with our lives not ever understanding one another or our opposing views. I would rather just propose this. Why? Why should I not know whether my food is gmo or not? Just because the FDA says so? Just because in your opinion they are fine? Because every time that scientist's create or manipulate nature there is never any problems?(that was sarcastic in case you didn't notice). So tell me why? Why should I have to know how many calories are in my meals at restaurant but not where the food came from? I think science is amazing and there are so many more creations and discoveries that are yet to be made, but when it comes to my life and the lives of others why should I or them not have the choice? Why?

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cman22Apr. 21, 1312:14 PM

Willy53. You are not going to win a science argument on this. Most science is proGMO. Get over it. Yes..the Democratic party is very antiScience on this issue. GMO foods have been tested over and over. Over three million GMO meals have been eaten and antiGMO people can't document one problem. Your arguments are the usual urban myths of urbanites. There are over 600 scientific GMO studies. Here is the list: http://www.biofortified.org/genera/studies-for-genera/ . They are not all funded by Monsanto. You say you don't want a pesticide spliced into a plant. This is called Bt corn. Bt Corn has been tested as safe over and over. In fact, a pesticide spray called Bt spray uses exactly the same gene. Are you against BT pesticide spray as well? Here is why antiGMO/antiScience people look ridiculous: Bt pesticide spray is commonly used on ORGANIC farms. Apparently the Bt gene is ok for organic farms, but no the rest of farmers. Is that your argument? Do you want Pesticide use only for organic farms?

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cman22Apr. 21, 13 1:59 PM

I wonder how the antiGMO people and Greenpeace feel about the fact 500,000 children go blind each year from vitamin A deficiency? Golden rice can help prevent this. Golden Rice just happens to be GMO. Greenpeace and others on the left have stopped GMO rice and let millions go blind. And yes..science is proGMO on this issue and is on the opposite side of the left: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21528783.000-nutrientboosted-golden-rice-should-be-embraced.html Dems need science education.

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cman22Apr. 21, 13 3:52 PM

...my post should say 3 TRILLION GMO meals have been eaten with no problems found. That's Trillion with a T. And by the way..I am actually on the left and am a crusty DFL farmer. Probably would have been a Farmer-Labor party member if I was around in 1930. When talking GMO, urban Dems make me ashamed. All DFL farmers I know are proGMO. 100%.

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dgludden1Apr. 21, 1311:57 PM

I wonder why people try to make this a libral verses conservative or democrat verses republican issue. This is an issue of my right to know what i am eating. It is also our best chance to actually prove the efficacy, or lack thereof of genetically engineered organisms in our foods!

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perryhackettApr. 22, 1310:23 AM

Its of course important that folks know what they are eating, even when they don't want to. So, frankly, everyone that eats a variety foods eats either GM foods directly or products there from. Its estimated that more than 80% of the items on supermarket shelves come from GM sources (mainly sugar from sugar beets). Additionally, GM plants get mixed with non-GM plants at grain elevators (there is a pending Supreme Court case about a farmer who bet that he could circumvent high prices for GM soybean seeds by planting leftovers from his local grain elevator). Not much is made from this because every study shows the GM products are as safe as the non-GM products. If they weren't they would not be fed to cattle; farmers and ranchers could not afford animals compromised by bad diet. One correction to a previous comment. The initial broodstock for the red, yellow and green fluorescent GloFish (that are sold locally in pet stores and elsewhere) were made in the Twin Cities, not Singapore. The technology was widespread by the time it got to Singapore. This is important, because, as lamented in a column on Oct. 6, 2010, its difficult to take the products of "Driven to Discover" at the University of Minnesota to the public, largely due to historic misinformation and pandering to the public concerns by Strib writers (e.g., allusions to butterflies dying from GM corn).

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Willy53Apr. 23, 13 5:42 AM

cmann 22, I simply have the right to know what I am eating. My daughter, a molecular pharmacologist, agrees with you regarding the science but I disagree with her as well. Are there characteristics of native plants that are being destroyed by cross breeding? The questions are numerous and I simply want to know if I'm eating GMO. My right. It's not a corporate right to hide it from me just because you and others say it's harmless.

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cshammApr. 23, 13 4:20 PM

We don't disclose whether a food is GMO for the same reason we don't disclose whether the tractor that plowed the soil was a John Deer: it has no impact on health.

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