So What If Unregulated Genetically Engineered Wheat Is Found Growing on a Farm in Oregon?

GMOwheatCredit: Mitarart: DreamstimeIt's no big deal because the answer is that it is as at least as safe to people and the environment as conventional or organic wheat. So why the question? Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced...

...test results of plant samples from an Oregon farm indicate the presence of genetically engineered (GE) glyphosate-resistant wheat plants. Further testing by USDA laboratories indicates the presence of the same GE glyphosate-resistant wheat variety that Monsanto was authorized to field test in 16 states from 1998 to 2005.

Naturally, the discovery is being denounced by anti-biotech activist groups. For example, Food Democracy Now! executive director Dave Murphy in an emailed press release declared:

The USDA's announcement of unapproved GMO wheat in U.S. fields is a major threat to the $8 billion wheat export market and undermines the faith of America's crops globally and the economic livelihoods of U.S. wheat farmers.

The continued genetic contamination of organic and non-GMO farmers fields is another sign of how Monsanto's flawed technology continues to negatively impact family farmers and our food supply. Monsanto's GMO wheat has never been approved for use in the United States and has not be approved for planting in the U.S. since 2004.  As long as genetically engineered crops remain unregulated and unlabeled the American people and citizens around the world will continue to protest Monsanto and their rogue business practices.

Murphy and his fellow-travelers in the environmentalist movement will be chiefly to blame if some countries ban American wheat imports. After all, it is the activists who have ginned up a massive unscientific disinformation campaign against the safety and utility of modern biotech crops. Thanks to tireless activism, several countries banned the import of American rice over a similar fake furor back in 2006. In that case, tests found that a herbicide resistant rice variety had been commingled at at rate of 6 grains of biotech rice to 10,000 grains of conventional rice. 

With regard to the current imbroglio the USDA's statement added:

The detection of this wheat variety does not pose a food safety concern.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completed a voluntary consultation on the safety of food and feed derived from this GE glyphosate-resistant wheat variety in 2004.  For the consultation, the developer provided information to FDA to support the safety of this wheat variety.  FDA completed the voluntary consultation with no further questions concerning the safety of grain and forage derived from this wheat, meaning that this variety is as safe as non-GE wheat currently on the market (emphasis added).

The notion that conventional wheat or organic wheat could be somehow dangerously contaminated by any amount - much less the tiny amount possibly at issue here - of this variety of herbicide resistant wheat is scientific nonsense. This herbicide resistance trait has been incorporated in hundreds of varieties of biotech crops for nearly twenty years with no adverse effects on anybody. Nobody knows yet how the herbicide resistant wheat got into the farmer's fields in Oregon but, I, for one, am very curious about who the farmer will turn out to be.

For more background, see my "The Top 5 Lies About Biotech Crops." See also, ReasonTV's excellent video of the silly "March Against Monsanto" protest in Los Angeles over this past weekend below:

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  • ||

    I require that my waffles cause me to grow a third arm. Any hope?

  • Ted S.||

    Right after they make waffles that cause me to glow in the dark.

  • waffles||

    On the other hand, yes.

  • Alyna_Cleo||

    just as Ashley responded I am impressed that any one able to get paid $8766 in one month on the internet. did you see this web page Click Here

  • AlexInCT||

    Ashley responded to me too, but what that dirty girl said to me only involved loose change to get.

  • ||

    $8766 for just a slap to the vagina seems a bit excessive.

  • An0nB0t||

    Give Bernanke another decade.

  • waffles||

    I can arrange that. Wait, no. You're full oh shit.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Murphy and his fellow-travelers in the environmentalist movement will be chiefly to blame if some countries ban American wheat imports

    They'll be chiefly to blame for starvation, too.

  • RBS||

    This.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    They'll be chiefly to blame for starvation, too.

    In a sane world, yes. But in the world we live in, mass starvation will be blamed on capitalism and the free market.

  • Redmanfms||

    Much like the millions of deaths from malaria every year aren't blamed on the shitheels who got DDT banned.

  • entropy||

    So what? That's what I was thinking. The story about Japan cancelling all their wheat over the GM wheat never mentioned there being anything unsafe or wrong with the wheat, apart from "Oh we were surprised".

    Unregulated wheat = unsafe wheat? Seems to be the assumption.

  • Invisible Finger||

    They're like food racists.

  • Raston Bot||

    "That wheat is lazy."

  • entropy||

    but, I, for one, am very curious about who the farmer will turn out to be.

    So are Monsanto's lawyers.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That wheat offered the world ORDER!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    It never thought to grow sideways. It's stuck in that silly one dimensional thinking.

  • rts||

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    THEY'RE USING THOSE CUCUMBERS OFF LABEL!

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    But if it were true, I would totally be eating them. You know how much of a hassle it is to keep your junk shaved?

    Much rather just have a fresh salad, and throw away the razors.

  • rts||

    You know how much of a hassle it is to keep your junk shaved?

    Yes. Yes I do.

  • Robert||

    "Junk"?! That post is offensive to scrota.

  • rts||

    Yes, I know it's satire.

    Several of my Facebook, uh, "friends", however, swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

  • RBS||

    Not surprising considering how moronic the anti-science campaign is.

  • Adam.||

    If only! I hear brazillians can be quite painful

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I find this to be especially true when being beaten by my wife.

  • Tman||

    Lately a bunch of my friends have joined the "MONSANTO/GMO's ARE THE DEVILLLL!!!!" bandwagon and it's been a freaking nightmare trying to explain to people the facts about GMOs and Monsanto in particular.

    One friend posted this screed from a TED talk (which, good lord do I hate these things) where this lady Robyn O'Brien talks about GMO's causing her kids to have food allergies. You can watch it here if you want - hhttp://tinyurl.com/mc37zq8 . I tried to explain to people that food allergies started well before GMO's hit the market so that can't be a cause but I got shouted down as an uninformed tool of the KORPORASHUNZ MANNNN.

    I tried appealing to the Norman Borlaug reality that GMO's are needed to fend off mass starvation, as was done in India, Pakistan and China in 70's, but still to no avail.

    Anti-GMO folks are worse than the anti-evolution folks, the bible thumpers and moon hoaxers COMBINED because their ignorance is preventing people FROM GETTING FUCKING FOOD.

    It's driving me crazy.

  • rts||

    Well said.

    (Although there are many good TED talks out there, but of course they aren't immune to Sturgeon's Law)

  • Tman||

    There may indeed be "many" Ted talks out there that are decent, but there are plenty enough that are absolute fart-sniffing rubbish that exist solely to reinforce certain people feelings of intellectual superiority.

    The Mike Rowe one was awesome though.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRVdiHu1VCc

  • RBS||

    I'm glad I'm not the only who rolls his eyes whenever someone posts a TED talk.

  • Raston Bot||

    I never saw Mike work in the "bad milk" room of a dairy processor so let me give you a quick rundown...

    environment:
    40' x 40' concrete cold room
    2 large tanks
    1 barrel with tubing connecting it to a large tank

    task:
    break open containers of spoiled ice cream, milk, yogurt, etc and dump contents into barrel

    upside:
    the non-english speaking migrant on day #2 was friendly

    downside:
    gloves soaked through in first 15 minutes
    large tank failed on day #1 (think hot water heater fail)
    no one else thought that was funny

    lasted:
    two days

  • Corneliusm||

    "Anti-GMO folks are worse than the anti-evolution folks, the bible thumpers and moon hoaxers COMBINED because their ignorance is preventing people FROM GETTING FUCKING FOOD."

    But we might accidentally buy food that has some genetically-modified ingredients (and not realize it)! If poor people need to starve so that I can continue my guilt-free existence, so be it.

  • Tman||

    The amount of health problems erroneously tied to GMO's is simply mind-boggling.

    People don't understand what GMO's are to begin with (wheat itself is technically a genetically modified organism), yet are perfectly fine with blaming them for health issues where they have even LESS understanding of what causes the helth problem in the first place.

  • AuH20||

    I just always bring out that Norman Borlaug and his Nobel Peace Prize (and other accolades including India's 2nd highest civilian award, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and a Congressional Medal) say that they are retarded.

    Because I have found that the best way to deal with these people is to tell them, loudly and often, how stupid they are. Because they try to dress themselves up as intellectuals, and pointing out their stupidity makes them feel bad and shames them. They react badly, but just keep it up. They need to hear it.

  • Tman||

    Yeah, I do that but it doesn't matter.

    Their precious little snowflakes are getting sick because of KORPORASHUNZ MAN, AND WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT'S IN OUR FOOD!!!

    WHAT KIND OF MONSTER ARE YOU THAT WANTS TO ALLOW FOOD COMPANIES TO LIE TO US ABOUT WHAT'S IN THE FOOD????

  • Invisible Finger||

    I tried appealing to the Norman Borlaug reality that GMO's are needed to fend off mass starvation, as was done in India, Pakistan and China in 70's, but still to no avail.

    GMO took our jerbs!!

  • Rrabbit||

    There were no GMOs in the 1970s, much less in India, Pakistan, and China

  • Fluffy||

    The situation really calls for direct action.

    Buy up a lot of GM seed, smuggle it into DENIALIST nations, and plant it.

    Mother Nature will do the rest.

    This wheat has already demonstrated it will volunteer.

    So fuck 'em.

    Shove some wheat cock in their faces until they get used to it.

    Once there's nowhere "pure" left, their obsession with "purity" will disappear, or they'll starve.

    It will be like gay pride parades, but for GM wheat.

  • Corneliusm||

    B-b-b-but you're taking away my choice [to limit what other people eat]!

  • ||

    This would be hilarious. Especially because France would start-and-surrender a war over it.

  • Sevo||

    "Especially because France would start-and-surrender a war over it."

    Naaah. They'd have to leave the cafe to surrender.
    They'd write a strongly-worded letter.

  • Xenocles||

    The danger of GMO crops is not the question here. The farmer doesn't want this wheat as part of his crop. It can't even be sold for human consumption since Monsanto never got it cleared with the USDA. If it mixes with his desired crops it will severely limit his ability to export his crops, and potentially to sell them domestically. If this happens to an organic farmer he loses his ability to sell under the organic label, costing him a significant portion of his planned revenue.

    Monsanto fought to retain the patent rights for their creations and won, which is fair enough since they created them. Their license agreements with farmers are structured so that the farmers who use their creations have to come back and buy Monsanto seeds every season rather than use some of their growth for seed like farmers have done since the beginning of farming. The way I see it, if a company is going to benefit from its intellectual property it ought to be held responsible for damages directly resulting from it. Ownership is a two-edged sword.

  • ||

    If only that was the issue we were talking about.

    Unfortunately, the tin-foil fork crew is blathering on about the supposed "dangers" of GM crops.

  • RBS||

    True, that's the issue you and I see. That is not the issue for most of the anti-GMO people.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    There is a property rights issue here which isn't being addressed, namely that damages to existing crops can result from simply farming in proximity to these seeds, like Xenocles said.

    Imagine: There's a Pepsi factory sitting on a lot, and Coke builds a factory right next to it, making a new kind of coke, which tastes better, and is much cheaper to manufacture, but which has the unfortunate side effect of escaped Coke gases rendering any Pepsi instantly into a 50/50 mixture of Coke/Pepsi. Should the Pepsi factory be able to sue for damages to its product?

    It's a legitimate concern which seems to mirror nicely the conflict between existing growers and those choosing to switch to the Monsanto seeds.

  • Fluffy||

    If your product ceases to be your product when it interacts with air, then either produce your product in a hermetically sealed environment or shut the fuck up.

    If I start selling a product tomorrow called "Ugly People Never Saw This Wheat" and can get a price premium for it, can I sue an ugly person for looking at my wheat from the roadside?

    No, because that's my problem for not growing my wheat in a bunker underground.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Not air. Actually the Pepsi, in this instance is interacting with gases from the Coke factory, in much the same way that traditional crops are being infused with genes from the GMO crops.

    So your point about products interacting with air doesn't apply.

    Given the above correction, do you now recognize this as a valid property rights issue?

  • Libertymike||

    you don't really think that the poor peeps will starve if they do not have access to GMO food, do you?

    That dog won't hunt.

  • ||

    You do realize that GM crops are one of the reasons that famine is so rare in this day and age, right?

    Or do you think that cross-breeding and hybrization are not genetically modifying?

    Tell me you aren't ignorant as to the source of high crop yields.

  • Tonio||

    It's not about whether any specific person has "access" to GE food vs. heirloom food. It's about the ability to feed the world's population. For example, corn yields are much higher per acre for roundup-ready strains than for conventional strains. There just isn't enough land to feed everyone with conventional crops.

  • ||

    Basically GM crops are what proved Paul Ehrlich wrong.

  • Tonio||

    Clumsily stated, but yes.

    Ehrlich might have been right absent the biotech revolution, but he didn't foresee that and his predictions came to nothing. For this reason alone, he hates biotech. And of course the control freaks who latched on to Ehrlich's predicted disaster also came off looking like control freaky fools.

  • SKR||

    well the poor who are starving in 3rd world countries and living on marginal land due to the oppressive policies of whatever dickhead regime under which they live would probably be more well fed if they had GM crops engineered to produce well on marginal land.

  • Sevo||

    Libertymike| 5.30.13 @ 3:50PM |#
    "you don't really think that the poor peeps will starve if they do not have access to GMO food, do you?"

    You really don't think you should sit at the adult table, do you?
    Yes, you ignoramus; raise the price by $0.10/bbl and someone will starve.
    Fuck you.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Apparently a million or so children face blindness for lack of Vitamin A. "Golden Rice", a rice genetically modified with beta carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A, would prevent this.

    But noooooo. Let the kids go blind because we "know" GMOs cause cancer and allergies and obesity and everything bad. Lemon juice in water every day will cure anything, right?

  • ||

    Also, given that Monsanto licenses their grain out on a yearly basis, it would really be in their best interest to contain the unapproved spread of their seed as much as possible.

  • Xenocles||

    Not if you want to play patent troll. You can let the seeds drift on the wind, as they often do, and nail farmers who wanted no part of them when they show up next year.

  • Tonio||

    It's the pollen which drifts on the winds, not the seeds.

  • Xenocles||

    Sometimes it's both, but I accept your correction. This changes my point in no way.

  • Tonio||

    I accept your correction to my correction, and agree that your original point was valid. You know we love precision and accuracy here; this isn't HuffPo.

  • SKR||

    what food crop has windborn seeds?

  • Xenocles||

    "Sometimes" was not limited to food crops, though I wouldn't be surprised if there was at least one.

  • Fluffy||

    This is a different issue.

    Monsanto definitely deserves to lose those claims, for the same reason they deserve to win in this case:

    Because plant interactions with the atmosphere are ALL "acts of God".

  • Invisible Finger||

    That depends on how much the US argues for or against them. If the US will defend Monstanto's patent rights to the nth degree, it might be in Monstanto's interests for as much unapproved spread as possible.

  • Tonio||

    ^This. And this is where the greenies have a point. Unfortunately they lard up their case with unrelated hysteria about "frankenfood".

  • Invisible Finger||

    I shudder to think of what might happen in a discussion with a greenie about reasonable IP length.

  • Tonio||

    Some of the An-Caps here are pretty down on IP, too.

  • ||

    They tend to devolve into weird emotional argument about what "feels right." For me this once ended with someone saying "well, copyright should extend until the author of the work dies, cause it's not right for them to have to see someone else change their work or make money off of it."

  • SKR||

    except that once the genes go feral they won't be ableto defend their patent and they will lose protection.

  • AuH20||

    This is all very fair, and yeah, I wouldn't mind seeing Monsanto get fucked a bit.

    Still, the fact that organic can't be GMO is retarded.

  • RBS||

    The whole "organic" labeling thing is retarded. It retards all the way down.

  • sarcasmic||

    Organic means molecules that contain carbon, yet carbon is sin! Will they make up their fucking minds!

  • entropy||

    Inorganic vegetables are the only ones I will eat. If it's not made out of glass, plastic or wax, fuck it. Why take chances?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Plastic and wax are organic...

    /pedant

  • Invisible Finger||

    I want to know if the labels on the food, the packaging they are contained in, and the transport chain are organic or not. For that matter, I want to know if the farmer's house has indoor plumbing.

  • Tonio||

    "Organic" in that sense is a religious term.

  • ||

    The farmer doesn't want this wheat as part of his crop.

    That is not clear, at least from the linked article. Is the farmer an anti-GMO activist (i.e., only favors GMOs created through slow, imprecise, blunt-force methods from the last century)?

  • Xenocles||

    Yes, I'm pretty sure a farmer doesn't want unsalable crops on his property. He also found out they were GMO by trying to kill them with Roundup.

  • ||

    Depends. Is he an anti-GMO activist? Is there a buck to be made from lawsuits?

  • Tonio||

    And if it's an otherwise sellable crop (ie heirloom corn wind-pollinated by GE corn), the farmer is then on the hook for licensing the GE strain from Monsanto. This is a real problem, and one for which agribusiness hasn't offered any good solutions.

  • SKR||

    except you know the pesticide drift damage model that has been worked up to apply to genetic drift.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Sounds to me like government regulation is the problem.

  • Tonio||

    If by regulation, you mean using the government's police power to enforce IP claims, yes.

  • Invisible Finger||

    The IP claims, the USDA approval shakedown, etc.

  • Xenocles||

    I wouldn't be so quick to supplant the traditional cultivars with GMO ones. It seems that while Borlaug certainly saved billions from starvation he may have brought millions diabetes and heart disease with his hybrids (see "Wheat Belly"). A global improvement, to be sure, but there really is no rigorous way to demonstrate harm or safety of such a complex change within a generation - and most of the negative effects you might hypothetically expect are long-term ones. It's probably worthwhile to keep the cultivars that we've had for centuries around, and I'm glad there's an effort to do so even if many of them are prone to hysterics about it. That doesn't mean banning anything. I'm just saying that time is the only way to tell with any complex endeavor, and traditional crops have withstood a lot of time while the new stuff hasn't. Let's wait and see.

  • Tman||

    And there you have it.

    GMOs-

    Upside, over a billion people saved from starving to death during the 70's, which has allowed us to grow more food on less land, using less resources and less pesticides, and ultimately feeding more people at less cost.

    Downside:
    Fat people who eat too much.

  • ||

    This assumes that "wheat belly" is a real thing.

  • Xenocles||

    Read the book for yourself.

  • ||

    tempting, but I think I'll pass.

  • Xenocles||

    Suit yourself, but it often helps to have seen the evidence if you intend to critique it.

  • Tonio||

    Well done, Sir.

  • ||

    My critique is based on skepticism that one person's claims are The Truth.

    I will say this: If the book includes an extensive longitudinal study of the effects of wheat on human health, I will consider it.

  • Tonio||

    You have to read it to find out what's in it. [ducks]

  • Xenocles||

    So you critiqued a strawman. By the way, "Wheat Belly" is a book title, not a phenomenon - I assure you it's a real thing, since it's on my Kindle.

  • ||

    No I know it is a book, cause I googled it. I'm just suspicious of anything that tries to explain our rising levels of obesity, heart disease on a boogie man like wheat.

    Especially because we have an Occam's Raisin answer with "expansion of sedentary lifestyles."

  • Kuze||

    Read it. Davis is essentially an alarmist quack.

    Here's a good rule: if someone is saying that one particular thing is the cause of or cure for all modern ailments and that you should buy their book; they're probably full of shit.

    http://www.aaccnet.org/publica.....4-0177.pdf

  • ||

    Heh. I was just about to post that when I saw your link, Kuze.

  • Sevo||

    "Founder of the international online program for heart health, Track Your Plaque, his experience in thousands of participants uncovered how foods made of wheat actually CAUSED heart disease and heart attack."

    Now, *there's* a controlled study!
    Sorry, Xeno, you got a whack job there.

  • Sevo||

    There's more:
    "Davis doesn’t present a shred of evidence that modern wheat has a worse (or even different) impact on human health than pre-industrial wheat. The only anecdotal case he makes is that he personally found a farmer who grows traditional wheat, made a loaf of bread, ate it himself and seemed to be fine. This is not science."

  • Sevo||

  • ||

    Shit, that's not even anecdotal evidence, it's just HILARITY.

  • Sevo||

    "A global improvement, to be sure, but there really is no rigorous way to demonstrate harm or safety of such a complex change within a generation"

    Baby, bathwater. Or bullshit.

  • Fluffy||

    The way I see it, if a company is going to benefit from its intellectual property it ought to be held responsible for damages directly resulting from it.

    Not if the damages you're claiming are:

    1. "The entire biosphere should be the way I want it, so that my property, open to the biosphere in every way, never interacts with anything I don't like."

    In which case, I demand eleventy billion dollars from the government for reintroducing wild turkeys to the northeast. Had they not done this, turkeys would never walk across my yard. I've been turkey-yard-raped and demand eleventy billion dollars in compensation.

    2. In any way based on the fact that an irrational government regulation prevents wheat from being sold when that wheat can't even be identified as any different from any other wheat without a DNA test.

    If Europe passes a law saying that you can't export wheat there if a black person walks by your field while it's being grown, fuck you and your losses if a black guy walks down your street. Take it up with the EU.

  • Xenocles||

    1) So I can just set poison to the wind and it's your problem because any distribution of them by the wind is an act of God?

    2) If it can't be identified without a DNA test, then why is it beneficial? I would think you would at least be able to identify it by seeing its benefits.

  • Sevo||

    Xenocles| 5.30.13 @ 4:39PM |#
    "1) So I can just set poison to the wind"

    Strawman alert!

  • BEdge||

    It doesn't have to be beneficial to YOU. It is beneficial to the farmer, who is Monsanto's and other seed companies' actual customers.

  • Ron Bailey||

    X: On the topic of liability for biotech "contamination", please see my article, "Organic Law."

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    I read it and it's well-considered, but I'd take issue with Kershen's second point, which you reiterated thusly:

    "Second, Kershen notes that U.S. law generally does not allow those with special sensitivity to an activity to declare that they have been harmed by it. It is their responsibility to protect themselves from the activities they dislike."

    Isn't that a bit of a dodge, especially the term "special sensitivity"? Organic crops don't seem to have anything beyond just the regular commonplace genetic vulnerability to intermixing with the GMO genes, which then reduces their marketable value. I'll reiterate the Pepsi/Coke analogy I made above, and I'd like to get your thoughts:

    Imagine: There's a Pepsi factory sitting on a lot, and Coke builds a factory right next to it, making a new kind of coke, which tastes better, and is much cheaper to manufacture, but which has the unfortunate side effect of escaped Coke gases rendering any Pepsi instantly into a 50/50 mixture of Coke/Pepsi. Should the Pepsi factory be able to sue for damages to its product?

  • Sevo||

    "Should the Pepsi factory be able to sue for damages to its product?"
    What "damage"?
    Show damage before you claim it.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Their Pepsi is now half Coke.

  • BEdge||

    Sounds like an improvement to me :-)

  • Xenocles||

    If your family had lived somewhere for a generation and they decided to build an airport next door, you'd have a legitimate claim to some accommodation. Not so if you moved in after they built it. This type of GMO is the new guy on the block, so it seems reasonable for its makers to provide the accommodation.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Not so according to Kershen, whom Bailey quotes. You would be deemed to have a "special sensitivity" to the airport and thus would be responsible for protecting yourself from it.

    The Pepsi/Coke analogy above I think really brings into sharp focus the issue being debated here, and I'd really like to hear Ron's response.

  • Sevo||

    "The Pepsi/Coke analogy above I think really brings into sharp focus the issue"

    Indeed it does and shows your point to be worthless.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    The point is valid. The Pepsi factory now contains not Pepsi, but a Pepsi/Coke mixture, and in fact every new batch they create will have a similar composition. They can't sell it because it's not the product that they've built their brand loyalty with, and in my opinion this would be a grievous harm to their business since they are for all practical purposes unable to manufacture their product.

    Now I know the premise is hypothetical, but it does force you to consider either:

    1) Why you don't think Pepsi was harmed in this instance, and/or
    2) If Pepsi has been harmed, why it does not deserve compensation.

    Which of those two do you believe and why?

  • ||

    It would be a better point if Coke and Pepsi weren't nearly identical in taste and 50/50 hybrid would not be noticed by anyone...oh wait, it's a perfect analogy.

    So the answer is Pepsi can suck it up and sell their indistinguishable new product.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Fair enough. Regular Pepsi drinkers, however, would be able to tell the difference, and thus the product would not be as you say indistinguishable. Therefore, in my opinion, Pepsi would have a case.

  • BEdge||

    He is hardly an organic farmer if he found out it was Roundup resistant by spraying it with Roundup.

    Farmers have never routinely saved seed of hybrid crops. Farmers can save seed of self-pollinated crops like wheat to replant for themselves. They just can't do it with patented seed. There are plenty of publicly available varieties if a farmer is interested in saving seed.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The continued genetic contamination of organic and non-GMO farmers fields

    Somebody else was deeply concerned about the purity of the breeds.

  • Tonio||

    Bzzzt. I'm sorry, P Brooks, the rules require you to state that as a question.

  • creech||

    Let's pass a law requiring all food products to be labeled:
    "This food product contains natural ingredients that have been substantially modified since 1492."

  • entropy||

    Whatever happened to Monsanto's sterile hybrid GM foods? The ones that couldn't reproduce at all so you had to buy new seeds? Did we drop that idea because people were bitching there wasn't enough to bitch about?

    I seem to recall some people worried that the sterile varieties would reproduce in the wild rendering everything sterile... which is... fucking brilliant really...

  • Tonio||

    Yeah, that's a really bad idea, entropy. Let's say a really big disaster happened, and there were no stocks of seed which would reproduce. Goodbye, agriculture.

  • ||

    Good, more room to Gamboooool!!!!111

  • Ron Bailey||

    e: Sarcasm, right?

  • ||

    I would hope he's joking about the mythical breeding sterile plants.

  • ||

    Seedless watermelon?

  • Tonio||

    True story*: A friend used to work for [university with prestigious agricultural research program] doing crop research. One day a sales rep from [large agribusiness] comes to the lab to try to sell them a GE crop. The GE crop had actually been developed in the lab, and subsequently bought by [large agribusiness], but the terms of the IP license prohibited the researcher from telling anyone about this, including the rep. Several weeks of strained conversations ensued until the rep finally gave up and went away.

    *Told to me by a friend I trust, but I have no way of objectively verifying the story.

  • ||

    Isn't that the plot for paycheck, an outstanding movie starring Uma Thurman and Aaron Eckart?

  • Sevo||

    Tonio| 5.30.13 @ 4:22PM |#
    "True story*"
    It's possible. Non-comp and non-disclosure contracts leave people in strange positions. Not sure it means anything other than that.

  • garand555||

    There are serious problems with our entire agricultural industry, and GMO crops add one more potential problem. It has nothing to do with whether or not the food is safe to eat. It has to do with the unintended and unknown consequences of gene transfer to other varieties, including potential transfers to wild varieties of whatever crop you are talking about The lack of genetic diversity from such engineered crops is also troubling, but the same holds true for many hybrid crops as well. That's why I say it's not just a "so what," but to go into depth on that also leads to a much broader discussion of how agriculture works in this country.

  • Sevo||

    garand555| 5.30.13 @ 6:15PM |#
    "There are serious problems with our entire agricultural industry, and GMO crops add one more potential problem. It has nothing to do with whether or not the food is safe to eat. It has to do with the unintended and unknown consequences of gene transfer to other varieties, including potential transfers to wild varieties of whatever crop you are talking about"

    Yeah, the precautionary principle is all the rage with lefties.
    Care to discuss how people get fed?

  • garand555||

    Not just all the lefties. Some of my biologist friends too. There are usually unintended consequences when messing with mother nature, and it might be a good idea for us to understand them well enough to know if they're benign or malignant before we just go marching forward.

    And some people won't get fed, GMO or no GMO. The crops that we grow now are water hungry and we're growing them where there is not enough rain to support them and aquifer levels are dropping. GMOs (and our agriculture system in general) are not very efficient when it comes to energy and resource use. You should look into how much oil goes into our food production and transport, then look into the depletion rates of the various types of wells and the depletion rates of those wells. GMO crops are VERY oil dependent. Then you should look into the complexity of all of the supply chain interactions in getting all of that food into the supermarkets.

    However, those that do get fed can look to what people did in Russia and Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That involves people in the US actually learning how to produce much of their own food. You would be amazed at how much you can grow on small plots of land if you know what you're doing, and you can get a lot more variety too. It's called learning how to be more self reliant.

  • Sevo||

    garand555| 5.30.13 @ 8:54PM |#
    ..."There are usually unintended consequences when messing with mother nature"...

    Uh, thanks for putting the precautionary principle in a new form.
    --------------
    "And some people won't get fed, GMO or no GMO."

    Yes, so let's not use what we have to feed most of them, right?
    --------------
    "That involves people in the US actually learning how to produce much of their own food."

    Bullshit.
    You're an ignoramus. Go away

  • ||

    The idea of sustenance farming being the answer is HILARIOUS.

    The fact that we were able to free ourselves from having 90% of our workforce spending their time growing enough food for us to eat is what gave us the prosperity we have today. Without freeing up all that human capital, who would have been able to build all that we have?

  • SKR||

    conventional breeding suffers from the same problem of gene transfer to other varieties and the potential transfer to wild varieties, so how do you solve that problem if it is even a problem?

    lack of genetic diversity eh? Monsanto alone sells over 4000 different varieties of seed 300 of which are corn varieties. That's just freakin Monsanto. Add in gene banks and there is plenty of diversity. Lack of genetic diversity in hybrid crops? Do you even know how hybrid crops work? Hybrid seed increases genetic diversity by combining the genomes of two varieties. The F2 generation if allowed to grow will exhibit a shit ton of diversity which is why no one grows the F2.
    I think we definitely need a discussion about agriculture in this country because it seems like the vast majority of people, like you, have no fucking clue how agriculture or genetics work.

  • garand555||

    Yes, I know how hybrid crops work. Two inbred lines being crossed. I do have a clue. The point is that about half of the F2 generation will exhibit the inbred traits. Inbred means a lack of genetic diversity.

  • Sevo||

    garand555| 5.30.13 @ 8:57PM |#
    "Yes, I know how hybrid crops work. Two inbred lines being crossed. I do have a clue. The point is that about half of the F2 generation will exhibit the inbred traits. Inbred means a lack of genetic diversity."

    No, you don't have a clue. You have a line of luddite bullshit.
    Go away.

  • garand555||

    So, you're telling me that if you go buy some hybrid corn seeds it wasn't derived from two inbred lines and that inbreeding does not cause a lack of genetic diversity? Is that really what you're saying?

    Come on now, be truthful.

    (And clearly, I must be a Luddite, sitting here typing on my computer. And just to be clear, I'm talking about hybrid crops used in food production when I talk about the inbreeding, as obviously non-inbred varieties can be hybridized. But that's not what happens with much of what is grown for food.)

  • Sevo||

    garand555| 5.30.13 @ 9:23PM |#
    "So, you're telling me that if you go buy some hybrid corn seeds it wasn't derived from two inbred lines and that inbreeding does not cause a lack of genetic diversity? Is that really what you're saying?"

    No, not at all.
    Your misdirection concerning hybrids was evidence of your cluelessness. Hand-waving regarding irrelevancies simply shows you have no evidence to prove your point.
    You're a luddite grasping as straws.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and you're not winning friends by the dishonest arguments. Wanna piss people off? Insult them with phony arguments. Works every time!

  • garand555||

    You're some dude on the internet who is likely not within 500 miles of me. I could care less if I piss you off.

  • Sevo||

    garand555| 5.30.13 @ 9:53PM |#
    "You're some dude on the internet who is likely not within 500 miles of me. I could care less if I piss you off."

    And you're a brain-dead luddite trying to convince people you have a brain cell.
    Fuck off, asshole.

  • garand555||

    Luddite does not mean what you think it means.

  • Sevo||

    garand555| 5.30.13 @ 9:50PM |#
    "Luddite does not mean what you think it means."

    Yeah, asshole, I'm sure you find it complimentary.
    Go away.

  • garand555||

    Sounds like you got your feelings hurt. Oh well. Too bad for you.

  • Sevo||

    garand555| 5.30.13 @ 10:02PM |#
    "Sounds like you got your feelings hurt. Oh well. Too bad for you."

    Yeah, ignoramuses try to pull that sort of crap; hope you feel 'morally superior, asshole.

  • ||

    But don't you see, they are INBRED...like the SOUTH.

    MONSANTO=REDNECKS=RACISM.

  • garand555||

    LOL, you are fucking easy to troll. Go back through our conversation and see who started calling who names first. I'll give you a hint. It wasn't me. But, if you think that calling people Luddites makes you right, even when they're typing on a computer, well, go on and live in your little fantasy world.

  • Sevo||

    garand555| 5.31.13 @ 3:42AM |#
    ..."But, if you think that calling people Luddites makes you right, even when they're typing on a computer, well, go on and live in your little fantasy world."

    Nothing says hypocrite like a luddite typing on a computer.

  • BEdge||

    Inbreeding has no effect on the diversity of the genes of the population as a whole. Individual lines will become more homozygous for specific traits over time, if they continue to self, but if allowed to cross-pollinate, the recombination results in individuals with very diverse combinations of the original parents' genes. So the variation, or "diversity" of the individuals can be quite large, but there would be certain characteristics of the population that would be similar, because certain groups of genes tend to be inherited together.

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