GMO Food

New York Organic Farmers Oppose Release of Genetically Modified Moths

On the other hand, Google's Verily is debugging Fresno.

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DMBDamageCornellSheltonLab
Shelton Lab

All too predictably, organic farmers in the and their anti-science allies are asking the state of New York to halt the release of genetically modified diamondback moths that pass on a gene that is lethal to female moths of that species.

Researchers at Cornell University who created the moths intend to release the moths created by the biotech company Oxitec into a 10-acre test field where brassica crops including cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli are being grown. Diamondback moths are a major pest for brassica crops.

The idea is that male moths that carry a trait lethal to female moths will breed with unengineered females infesting the fields. Their female progeny will never develop and so over time the number of moth larva in the fields should decline considerably.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has issued an environmental assessment that finds that any signficant impacts from field release of the genetically engineered moths on the physical, biological, and human health environment are unlikely.

Organic farmers are allied with such groups as the Consumers Union, Food and Water Watch, Center for Food Safety, and Friends of the Earth who have sent a letter to New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) urging that the agency hold up the field trial on the grounds that the genetically engineered moths might have some effect on their crops.

Diamondback moths breed only with other members of their species. Assuming that some of the moths did escape, the chief effect would be to reduce the pests in their fields. Basically, engineered female lethality in moths is a way to achieve one of the chief goals of organic agriculture—the reduction of pesticide use.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country Google's Verily division, Kentucky-based MosquitoMate and Fresno County's Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District have teamed up to Debug Fresno of invasive Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

That species of mosquito transmits nasty human diseases like Zika, chikungunya, and dengue fever. The debugging is achieved by releasing male mosquitos infected with Wolbachia bacteria to breed with wild female mosquitoes. Wolbachia inhibits reproduction and the transmission of viruses.

Verily has devised an automated mosquito rearing and sexing system that produces 25 times more male mosquitoes than earlier systems. This is a work-around that does not seem to have aroused the ire of anti-GMO activists.

On the other hand, why not just release genetically engineered mosquitoes that are already proven to reduce disease carrying mosquito species by 90 percent in Brazil, Panama, Grand Cayman, and India?

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  1. Lab
    All too predictably, organic farmers in the _______ and their anti-science allies

    Fill in the blank time…

    Arctic?

  2. The Precautionary Principle is the only principle too many folk have.

    1. What principle does this illustrate?

      3^x mod 19

      Here’s a hint, moran. Sometimes it’s well nigh impossible to undo something that is relatively easy to do.

      1. Almost always, in fact.

        So we’re back to where we started.

      2. What’s your point? Besides that you’d be the Homo erectus standing in the back of the cave, yelling about how nobody should be trying to use fire.

        1. “What’s your point? ”

          That expression will easily give an answer for any value of x. It’s fairly trivial. But given the answer and asked to solve for x is hellishly difficult, especially for larger moduli. As for what you get up to in your cave, I’m not interested.

          1. I’m not interesteding

            Fixed that for you.

            1. “Fixed that for you.”

              Thanks for that. Please tell us more of your cave dwelling experiences.

              1. There’s nothing i can do about you not understanding how analogies work.

                1. It’s not an analogy. It’s a fairly straightforward mathematical expression. Ask your parent or guardian about discrete logarithms, if you feel you need assistance.

                  1. I can’t help you understand how online conversations work either. Best of luck with your crippling autism, and may the Chairman have mercy on your soul.

                    1. “I can’t help you understand how online conversations work either.”

                      I think of this as more of a monologue. My readers are treated to interesting concepts like discete logarithms and nifty things like that. You’re at best a second banana, a stooge or straightman. Our friend Sevo hasn’t made an appearance here and you are a perfectly adequate substitute. Just keep the bluster and insults acoming and make Sevo proud!

                  2. Yes, I’m sure most people here understand what you are saying. It’s just not interesting and it doesn’t address the arguments against the precautionary principle.

                    1. I’m not so sure. We’re talking about people who believe that global warming is due to solar flares.


                    2. I’m not so sure. We’re talking about people who believe that global warming is due to solar flares.

                      Question for you; do you, or do you not, understand that a solar flare is energy.

                      Bonus question; do you, or do you not, understand that this was never the actual argument?

                      Not that I care, it’s just odd how you keep mentioning it without doing any reading on the subject or making a cogent argument. It’s almost like you’re rocking back and forth in your chair, clutching your knees, repeating some comforting lie to quell your growing madness.

                    3. Here’s our solar flare (energy!) = global warming maven, as if on cue. If we’re lucky he’ll tell us all just how small a CO2 molecule is. (damn small)

          2. We probably should never have invented vaccination. Once you have acquired immunity it’s hellishly difficult to get rid of it. And don’t get me started on the evils of crop cultivation.

            What principle does this illustrate, ‘moran?’

            1. “What principle does this illustrate, ‘moran?'”

              You’ve misunderstood. 3^x mod 19 is an expression which is pro vaccination. 3^x mod 18, on the other hand, is notoriously anti-vaxxer.

              1. You clearly belong to the irrational set.

                1. Where would you be without us? Endlessly arguing over who hates Al Gore the most, that’s where.

      3. EDIT BUTTON!!!

        (drink)

      4. Sometimes it’s well nigh impossible to undo something that is relatively easy to do.

        This seems like an argument against implementing Obamacare in the first place. Hell, or even a broader condemnation of progressive policy in general, which might, in it’s crusade to change social norms, cause unforeseen harms that cannot be easily undone.

        However, I doubt that you possess the ideological coherence to actually recognize the argument that you are making.

        1. It’s actually an argument against ever doing anything new or making any kind of progress whatsoever.

          1. “It’s actually an argument against ever doing anything new or making any kind of progress whatsoever.”

            It’s nothing of the kind. The principle I wish to illustrate is that things are often easy to do, but difficult to undo. It is not ‘against progress’ or any of your other idols.

            1. So, in other words, you have absolutely no idea what the precautionary principle is or what it actually means.

              Par for the course. Maybe a little over, actually, since you’re making math jokes which does actually explain your raging Asperger’s.

          2. Exactly. All mtrueman knows is that discussion of certain types of progress make him have hurtsies in his tumtums, but other progress gives him fuzzy-wuzzies.

            I don’t think he can articulate a coherent reason why some progress might be good and other progress might be bad, or why people can disagree about these effects.

            1. “I don’t think he can articulate a coherent reason why some progress might be good and other progress might be bad”

              So? I don’t owe your anything. You see, it’s not necessary for me to convince you of anything. In a democracy, 50% + 1 is all you need.

              1. I am not asking for you to convince me of your viewpoint through reasoned argumentation.

                I’m asking for you to actually think through the implications of your closely held principles before you shit liquid ignorance all over yourself on the internet or in the voting booth.

                1. I’ll do that. Is there anything else I can do you for?

              2. Then go find a democracy.

                We have a republic, and wish to keep it.

  3. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

    They couldn’t have called it Animal Plant Health Inspection Development Service?

    1. They did, at first. Then someone noticed and they had to change all their letterhead. It cost $28 billion.

      1. You got spend money to make money.

  4. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

    Fun fact: I have been twice been pulled over for speeding by DEC cops, and one once interrupted a rare sexual liaison for a young Crusty. Point being: eff those guys.

    On the other hand, why not just release genetically engineered mosquitoes that are already proven to reduce disease carrying mosquito species by 90 percent in Brazil, Panama, Grand Cayman, and India?

    Actual data < pretensies and feels.

    1. one once interrupted a rare sexual liaison for a young Crusty.

      So you were speeding on a farm while having sex… with a cauliflower?

      I may be missing something here.

      1. They patrol and have arrest powers. Gosh.

        1. Isn’t it just great how every branch of the government wants to be be armed. If they quit making so many un-needed burdensom laws maybe they wouldn’t be hated so much and not have to be worried about protecting themselves

        2. They patrol and have arrest powers.

          God damn, New York sucks.

      2. “…having sex… with a cauliflower?”

        Cauliflower sucks!!! Cumquats are the best!

        (I must warn you, though… If the sex-with-veggies thing gets out of hand, THIS is where the POD PEOPLE cum from!!! )

      3. Crusty was getting road head…of cabbage.

        1. Crusty identifies as a Vegisexual.

          1. Now I know why he has that Georgia O’Keefe coffee book in that one corner of the chinchilla cage.

            1. I want to be like Georgia O’Keefe.

                1. Once again it’s no surprise that a bunch of so-called libertarians didn’t get the reference to – if read literally – a very libertarian-minded song.

                  I’m so much better than all of you.

                  1. You are but damn I do live like Georgia O’Keefe (did).

  5. I demand my right to eat bug-befestered ORGANIC produce, that has already been eaten for me, by ORGANIC bugs, dammit!!!!

  6. genetically engineered mosquitoes

    *Obligatory band name comment.*

    Basically, engineered female lethality in moths is a way to achieve one of the chief goals of organic agriculture – the reduction of pesticide use.

    Yea, but you can’t do anything that may work. Green marxians also (wrongly) want reduced co2, but will not stand for nuclear power because reasons.

  7. How can you tell it’s “organic” if it isn’t moth-eaten?

    1. Easy – it’s smaller and costs more than non-organic.

      1. And it has no flavor.

        1. I was going to argue, but it occurs to me that the only organic stuff I buy is from a local farm and the quality probably has a lot more to do with being fresh and carefully grown than what kind of pesticides they use.

          1. Yeah I’m probably being flip but… I’m thinking of an “organic” restaurant a friend dragged me to where all the food tasted like it wasn’t washed or something.

            1. Well, how are you supposed to be able to tell it’s organic if they rinse all the bugs and dirt off? Come on!

  8. Genetically modified moths? I am sure Gojira will have something to say about this.

  9. Most people who FUCKING LOVE SCIENCE actually don’t understand or like science, and only think it’s cool.

    1. That Facebook page could be more accurately called “I Fucking Love Looking at Pictures of Natural Phenomena.”

      1. The content of the page could easily just be rebranded as “I fucking love God’s creation” and sold to a completely different audience.

        1. Maybe, but they’d also have to purge a lot of the Neil DeGrasse Tyson fluffing.

          1. OK, also substitute Jesus for Tyson.

        1. F–k… my work is blocking Maddox now?! Cruel taskmasters.

          1. Lol mine is too. Glad we’re both on here at work.

  10. Do they have anything for tomato horn worms?

    1. Besides college students in need of a nickname?

    2. only by prescription…and I’d get those checked, dude. ick.

  11. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country Google’s Verily division, Kentucky-based MosquitoMate and Fresno County’s Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District have teamed up to Debug Fresno of invasive Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

    Ah, but the key word here is “invasive.” You see, apparently no species should ever leave its native habitat or land area and migrate to other areas, ever. Homeostatis is the goal.

    And of course, it goes without saying that homo sapiens is an invasive species to most of the planet in the eyes of enviro-nuts.

    1. I think that invasive species that are incapable of successfully reproducing might be kind of different.

    2. …homo sapiens is an invasive species to most of the planet in the eyes of enviro-nuts

      +1 Bering land bridge

  12. As long as the remaining moth offspring are allowed to gender identify as they please is there really any impact at all from this effort?

  13. Teacher: “We’re having a job fair, and your child said you might participate. Would you be willing to explain what you do to the class?”

    Parent: “I’d love to.”

    Teacher: “Great! What do you do?”

    Parent: “I sex mosquitos.”

    [click]

  14. Doesn’t this solution target an entire species for some fairly trivial reasons? If it’s cabbages, it can handle a few holes.

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