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Genetic engineers restore natural resistance mechanism

Here is an excellent example of the benfits of GMOs scientists restoring a trait that existed at one time but was lost, what possible objection could anyone have to this other than someone stands to make some money on it.

Neuchâtel/Halle - Swiss and German plant researchers have restored a lost natural resistance mechanism in maize plants by means of genetic engineering. Their findings, which have been filed for patent, could eventually help prevent use of insecticides like chlothianidine that kill maize pests but also bees (PNAS USA 106(32), 13213-13218).

There has been a lot of misinformation and outright lies about the evil Monsanto's gift of seeds to Haiti, this article covers them point by point, and no the author doesn't work for Monsanto.



So if the resistance mechanism was transgenically inserted into the maize from Oregano, how is it that we call it "restoration" of a "lost natural resistance mechanism in Maize?"

Im not aware that either Maize or Teosinte ( Maize Precursor) are in the Oregano family. When did Maize have this gene, and where did those careless Maize plants leave it?

Calling it "restoration" doesn't make it non-transgenic.

Seems to me this is another argument based on the "process is irrelevant" theme. Using the word "restoration" doesn't make it acceptable without labeling.

We are still waiting for the label. If a plant is trans-genically produced, then the label must say "this produce produced from transgenic processes." These words don't have to be big, they can put it right down with the other fine print on the food label.

Give consumers the right to choose by labeling every food product for which either the product or the process is so substantially different that it warrants a patent. It's real simple.

I can see that I need to read more carefully, it is certainly not a restoration. That said there are many examples of naturally occurring transgenic mutations. Do you consider them unnatural?

I don't have any problem with labeling in principle, but the call for labeling is in my opinion more about reducing choice than informing the public. They label GM products in England and as a result you can no longer buy them at your local grocery. Why, because of the scare-mongering of ill informed zealots in the organic movement who make unsubstantiated claims to dangers that they have failed to prove exist.

Give consumers the right to choose by labeling every food product for which either the product or the process is so substantially different that it warrants a patent. It's real simple.

Is it that simple, that would mean that plants grown with hybrid seeds using traditional breeding methods and patented would also need to be labeled as such. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's not just transgenic modified GMO's you're opposed to but all GMOs. I think the patented standard is a red herring.

"what possible objection could anyone have to this other than someone stands to make some money on it."

Isn't that enough?

You're not going to tell me that you've never purchased anything with a patent before?

Oh, I forgot to mention the killing of bees who are necessary for most of our fruits and vegetables and have been strangely dying of other causes that haven't been identified.

Nothing to do with agri-businss of course.

Present your evidence, a peer reviewed study is preferred.

"...zealots in the organic movement who make unsubstantiated claims to dangers that they have failed to prove exist."

First of all, it is not the responsibility of "ill informed zealots" or anyone else to prove the existence of dangers in food; it is the responsibility of food manufacturers to prove such dangers don't exist. And if history is a guide, food manufacturers will continue to go to great lengths to conceal the dangers of their products.

Second of all, new research finds some GM corn can cause organ failure, strengthening the legitimacy of calls for labelling.

it is the responsibility of food manufacturers to prove such dangers don't exist.

*And how is it exactly that you prove a negative? *

As to your zealous claim of organ damage, we've covered this ground before, but there are some that insist on repeating the same tripe over and over again.

Organ Failure? Organ Damage? Cancer?!?

I didn't realize this was the same study we discussed earlier. I didn't look at the date, just the headline that said, "new research." I mistakenly thought that this was a new study corroborating the previous study.

No problem, if you see anything new be sure and let me know.

Have you figured out how we prove a negative yet.

I don't know what you mean by "prove a negative." Proving products are safe is the basis for FDA & USDA regulation.

If meeting the standards of the FDA , USDA, and EPA is what you mean by proving them safe then I agree they should be proved safe.

But I seem to recall you making the point that we can't really know they're safe, that 20 or 30 years down the road we may find problems and so we can't really say they're safe. It's an interpretation of the so called precautionary principle that argues we can never really know with 100% certainty that something is safe and therefore we shouldn't use it. It is the argument that Greenpeace and other anti-GMO groups apply when they make their blanket condemnation of GMOs . And so the question is how do you prove a negative. How do you prove something won't do any harm 30 years in the future. You can have a high degree of confidence but you can't prove it in that sense.

You're right, CCD is a very very big problem. Given past posts here, I believe Norm is quite familiar with the disappearance of honey bees.

However, at this juncture, there's no determination that agribusiness is the driving force, only speculation. I'm not saying that pesticides and monoculture don't contribute to colony collapse, just that we have no pat answer(s). There probably are a myriad of answers. Based on the 60 minutes segments you offered, cell phone use could be as much of a problem as anything else, and there's no proof there either.

Between the bee population die-off and the white nose syndrome killing bats, our ecological system is in a world of hurt and needs our attention. If you've been reading 1gm for a while, you'll know that I'm no fan of corporate agriculture or chemicals used on plants. It's no bid stretch to say these things have contributed to problems with bees. However, at this point, you haven't found information to support your original point.

My understanding is that it's mainly a problem with the commercial hives, those transported from place to place to pollinate crops etc. Some say all the travel and lack care in keeping the hives clean is a source of stress for the colonies that weakens them eventually leading to CCD. I think Gypsy is right we will find it is combination of factors. It's difficult at this point to say where to place the blame and so it's easy to pick your most hated group as the culprit. If it turns out that agri-business is the primary cause I'll join your bandwagon, but until then I'll continue to follow the research and wait and see.

If two plant species which have NEVER cross bred with fertile offspring in the wild, are persuaded to cross breed only via artificially irradiated mutation, then that is a transgenic synthetically produced product. If it was produced for food, I want it labeled.

If the only justification for not labeling such products is that then the consumers might not want them, well, there is a Consumer's Bill of Rights (President John Kennedy, 1962). It says that consumers have a right to know and a right to choose.

Why should food of all things be removed from the realm of Consumer choice?

Re: "transgenic" vrs GMO on the label. I was just trying to come up with some fairly innocuous words to describe Genetically engineered synthetic food products whether they be radiation mutation or soma cell culture or gene splicing. I thought perhaps my suggested wording might be less objectionable to the GMO adherents. But if you prefer GMO on the label, I can go with that. Heck, I'm a reasonable person.

The "Hybrids in Haiti" link goes instead to an article in Scientific American on the laws of physics.

But as long as we're on the topic of Monanto's seed donation to Haiti, I thought I'd say that I've read as much as I could about it, and, try as I might, I could find nothing untoward in the donation, except, of course, that it might be part of Monsanto's effort to repair its well-deserved terrible reputation. There is nothing about the donation that compels Hatian farmers to purchase future licensing agreements or anything like that, and the seed varieties are no more "toxic" than any other traditional crops. In my judgment, Chavannes Jean-Baptiste is over-reacting, although such over-reactions are understandable, given Monsanto's history.

Thanks for the heads up on the link, I've fixed it.

I see, we call telling lies an understandable over-reaction, and I thought the goal was the truth, silly me.

That's an uncharitable interpretation of what I wrote, Norm, even for you.

In what way is it uncharitable? Do you believe Chavannes Jean-Baptiste was telling the truth. Either he didn't bother to check the facts which is despicable, or he knowingly lied.

It sounded to me like you were giving him a pass, if you'd stopped at he over-reacted I wouldn't have commented.

I'm sure I've done something similar in the past so maybe my reaction was too harsh.

I'm just getting tired of this end justifies the means mentality that has become the norm on the internet, and in public discussions in general.

From what I can tell, the misinformation comes from bloggers, not Chavannes Jean-Baptiste himself. His rhetoric on the matter was inflammatory and anti-corporate, but he said nothing about GMOs or thiram, which seems to be the gist of the lies you are referring to. So, yes, he overreacted, but I don't think he lied outright the way some bloggers have.

In any case, I was admitting that "I could find nothing untoward in the donation." Meaning, I am (albeit reluctantly) acknowledging Monsanto's good deed. That is why I thought your interpretation was uncharitable.

Fair enough, I may have conflated Chavannes Jean-Baptiste's remarks with others commenting on it. I did a quick search but was unable to find the entire text of his remarks. I'll leave it at definitely over the top for now. If in fact he didn't refer to them as GMO then he is simply foolish and I owe you an apology.

I had thought I had mentioned Haiti earlier. While the government and ngo's import Monsanto or others' produce, they don't buy any rice from local Haitian farmers, who because of the free imports cannot sell their perfectly good product.

America produces too much subsidized food(20dollars billion worth) which the government then dumps on any poor country undermining local markets.

ngo's import Monsanto or others' produce

I understand the problem of dumping food and how that can devastate a local economy, but as far as I can tell that has nothing whatsoever to do with Monsanto's donation of seeds.

What is the produce you claim Monsanto is providing to Haiti that devastates the local economy?

Yes, I agree, Bernarda. I was simply commenting on the misinformation about the Monsanto donation.

America's trade policies and the lending practices of the World Bank and IMF have long been instrumental in undermining third world economies and infrastructure. Corporate welfare for agribusiness giants is another problem. This is why I believe Monsanto's donation is simply a reputation repairing tool and nothing more.

Another look at the bees and probable cause of death.

This article raises some good points. I will add that there has been a trend toward eliminating trees that produce berries - of any kind. They're messy; my next door neighbor got rid of 2 mulberry trees in her yard due to the dark berries they produced. Once I discovered that a tree on one side was actually a white mulberry tree, I decided to keep it rather than take it down (before the leaves developed fully it resembled a trash sumac tree).

People will use Roundup and triclopyr to eliminate weeds in their yards. These products also eliminate clover, another great source of nutrition for bees.

Bio-diversity comes in many forms - not just crops.

There was an interesting discussion on "On Point" today that touched on these issues by discussing superweeds.

More on Monsanto and Haiti.

Yes I've read it and the questions they asked were answered in the post and comments to the post I linked to. Did you bother to read it? You also failed to answer the question as to what produce Monsanto was selling? Do you just make shit up? I'm starting to think that you're one of those who responds to any question with a noun, a verb, and Monsanto. You need to do better or just give it up.

For the 2nd article, Anastasia Bodnar wrote a reasonable rebuttal.


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