Biotechnology

Adding Human Gene Boosts Crop Yields by 50 Percent

The technique "could potentially help address problems of poverty and food insecurity at a global scale."

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Adding the human gene that produces the FTO enzyme to rice and potatoes boosts yields of those crops by 50 percent in field tests, report a team of researchers associated with the University of Chicago, Peking University, and Guizhou University. Their report in the journal Nature Biotechnology says the modified plants grew significantly larger, produced longer root systems, and were better able to tolerate drought stress. In humans, the FTO enzyme erases certain markers that regulate the production of proteins associated with cellular growth. In plants, the FTO enzyme similarly erases markers that inhibit their growth.

"The rice plants grew three times more rice under laboratory conditions," reports the accompanying press release. "When [the researchers] tried it out in real field tests, the plants grew 50% more mass and yielded 50% more rice. They grew longer roots, photosynthesized more efficiently, and could better withstand stress from drought." The researchers also inserted the FTO gene into potatoes and the results were the same—yields in the field increased by 50 percent. Modified rice produced more grains per stalk; the number of potatoes didn't increase, but their weights did. The researchers reported that neither rice nor potatoes showed significant changes in their starch, protein, total carbohydrate, or vitamin C content. They believe that the technique is universal and would boost the productivity and drought tolerance of not only most crops, but also trees, grasses, and more.

The researchers also think that this discovery will lead to finding out how to boost yields by modifying the plants' own genes that inhibit growth.

"This is a very exciting technology and could potentially help address problems of poverty and food insecurity at a global scale—and could also potentially be useful in responding to climate change," said University of Chicago Economics Nobelist Michael Kremer in the press release.

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  1. Unless they can somehow ‘prove’ this also reduces global climate warming change, it ain’t going nowhere.
    The same people who decided kids should die from malaria rather then allow DDT will jump all over this.

    1. Which countries decided kids should die rather than allow DDT? DDT is widely in use in Africa and Asia. North Korea, China and India are the major producers.

      1. DDT is only produced in India and banned from agricultural use. It can only be used for “vector control”.

        Whether this is good or bad is unclear. Restrictions have made DDT harder to obtain and use, but on the other hand, it also may have reduced resistance.

        1. Using DDT as a vector control is not quite the same as letting children die from malaria. Longtobefree’s claim is total bullshit as you surely must know.

          1. *has no idea what vector means

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          2. Longtobefree’s claim is total bullshit as you surely must know.

            Here are some facts for you:

            – Longtobefree’s statement was hyperbole: obviously nobody deliberately decided to let kids die from malaria.
            – Rachel Carson’s book was largely fabricated.
            – Your statements about DDT use and production were factually wrong.

            Finally, nobody can make a definitive cost-benefit analysis for DDT or the DDT ban; anybody who claims otherwise is either lying or uninformed.

            1. “– Longtobefree’s statement was hyperbole: obviously nobody deliberately decided to let kids die from malaria.”

              The fact is ddt is both produced and used. Why pretend otherwise? Who are you trying to impress by stating the opposite?

              “– Rachel Carson’s book was largely fabricated.”

              All books are fabricated. Why do you think they are called books?

              “– Your statements about DDT use and production were factually wrong.”

              ddt is both produced and used. And that’s the facts. Longtobefree’s self loathing notions that people are trying to kill children is the fantasy.

      2. John Stossel of all people did a great series on DDT back in his early days. DDT was made progressively harder and harder to access in the developing world starting in the early 70s. This was largely done through countries pressuring International Aid Organizations to stop paying for its use. It was also banned in the US in 72, essentially ending one of the largest manufacturers of the chemical.

        1. People clammoered about the fictional best seller “silent spring” I know it was suppose to be non fiction, but every thing in that book is made up. The best is ddt in ocean water where the cunt claims that ddt will cause the death of marine life at some concentration. The study she cited had trouble getting the concentration that high due to solubility issues, so they switched to 50% sea water and 50% ethonal, and then claimed the ddt kill the marine life

    2. It will never go anywhere because it would mean the plebes can continue their gross consumption of ample food. Unless the remedy is mass sterilization or austerity (for the plebes- don’t look at my Tesla), these innovations are always vilified.

    3. The piledriver was banned in some territories but never heard of that happening to the DDT.

  2. So, same stuff as Soylent Green, but we’re not all made into cannibals?

    1. You beat me to it.

      1. Yeah, Soylent White Rice.

  3. It is golden rice fiasco all over agian. People suffer and science finds a way to reduce that suffering but stupidity won’t let people advance.
    http://goldenrice.org/

    1. There is some crazy environmentalist lady in India- Vandana Shiva- who considers Golden Rice to be a form of food imperialism. There was never a crackpot theory of GMOs that she hasn’t supported, and no cost of using GMOs too small.

      It wouldn’t be so bad, but she positions herself as an “expert” rather than an “activist” and I often see documentaries on Disco channel et al that present her crackpot activism as settled science. This is because she plays to all of the conceits and bias of these film makers- telling them what they expect to hear. It is a miserable shame how many people she is starving with this act.

      1. So, Golden Rice is “Food Imperialism,” but letting people starve to death because of the home-grown Hindu practice of giving first dibs to cows because Old Bossy may have been Great-Grandma in a previous life is all right?

        Yeah, fuck that Swami bitch!

  4. “The rice plants grew three times more rice under laboratory conditions,” reports the accompanying press release.

    If they start watching reality TV and policing each other on Twitter, we’ll know we’ve gone too far with the gene splicing.

    1. Brown Rice Matters!

      1. No it doesn’t, uncle Ben got cancled

        1. Uncle Ben is still out there. He just wears an open collar instead of the antique tie. He’s made his fortune, he’s retired, and he’s just got it like that!

          He’s certainly no victim and he’d probably be shocked to see all the SJWs wanting to erase him in the name of loving him.

  5. You can eat whatever you want.

    1. This is true, so long as you can get your hands on it, AND sink your teeth into it!

      Then after that, Government Almighty (as prompted by the FDA and the USDA, and various and assorted others who are Morally, Medically, and Nutritionally Superior to us peons) can beat you and jail you (and your food providers) whenever and however they want!

      I hate to be a Downer Debbie, but I have to be truthful… Let’s end this on a hopeful note: By 153 years or more from now, the FDA just MIGHT relent, and allow us to eat these new foods!

  6. Adding Human Gene Boosts Crop Yields by 50 Percent

    And makes a Nebraska cornfield smarter than Tony.

    1. Hell, Alaska cornfields already have more smarts than Tony!

    2. There us a kernel of truth to that.

  7. “The rice plants grew three times more rice under laboratory conditions”

    But will it scale? Pilot projects and results from them are disproportionately rosey, as well as having very little data for negative consequences.

    Also, have we learned nothing from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes?

    1. came here to say the same thing. the second i saw the title I started singing the theme song to that movie. now i have to find it

      1. Great minds think alike. And then there’s you guys.

    2. But will it scale? Pilot projects and results from them are disproportionately rosey, as well as having very little data for negative consequences.

      Came here to say the same. If I had a nickel for every time I read that a genetic modification increased crop yields 50%, I’d probably have close to $100. Hell, even just articles at Reason claiming such probably gets me somewhere between a buck and a buck fifty.

      To say nothing about agricultural research and scientific integrity powerhouses like UC, Peking and Guizhou U. Almost sounds like the real money in the deal is the money Ron got handed to be a hype man.

      1. Just a reminder that Ronald Bailey spent a year writing articles about how HCQ shouldn’t be used as treatment in the early stages of covid illness.
        People died because Bailey and his ilk vilified the treatment to push political points and seize power.

    3. I’m skeptical too. If a single gene change makes this big a difference without serious disadvantages, why didn’t evolution find it millions of years ago? I expect that at best it will turn out that it only gives a few percent increase when deployed on a farm, or at worst that the plants with it can _only_ survive in the lab. And that’s assuming – against all experience – that the reporters didn’t completely misunderstand or grossly exaggerate a scientific paper, and that the lab results weren’t faked in the first place.

      1. Ah, but if there is a natural selectionproblem with genetic engineering human genes into crops, why did humans evolve the rational faculty to engage in genetic engineering?

      2. Natural selection did not ‘find’ this variant because it is not advantageous to the plant for reproduction.
        But now that humans decide which plants perish or survive, then our un-natural selection determines the outcomes of species. Cows have done very well by our interventions too, as cow genes have thrived greatly having accidentally having been deemed tasty by the descendants of monkeys.

  8. “This is a very exciting technology and could potentially help address problems of poverty and food insecurity at a global scale”

    It’s interesting that an economist says this, and not the scientists behind the research. An economist should know better. The world currently produces more food than any other time in history, or pre-history. Poverty and malnutrition is not caused by a lack of food, as there is more than enough. It’s caused by maldistribution, the inability of markets to get food to the right people at the right time at the right price.

    1. It’s caused by maldistribution, the inability of markets to get food to the right people at the right time at the right price.

      I assume that by that you mean corrupt governments that don’t allow markets to function, resulting in their people starving.

      1. How could there be any other interpretation?

        1. Go with the Nobel prize winner.

      2. Which corrupt governments? India for example has a very healthy share of the billion or so suffering from malnutrition, and their government has been a poster child for neo-liberal policies for decades now. Nobel prize winning University of Chicago economist indeed.

        1. I’m not sure what your point is.

          1. Increasing yields won’t address poverty or malnutrition. That is the point. Failure of markets to distribute food adequately is yet another point. Take the pronouncements of Nobel prize winning University of Chicago economists with skepticism is a third and final point.

            1. If you can’t get the food to people, for whatever reason, then they’ve got to come up with their own food. Crops with better yields will mean more food for them. I think that’s the author’s point. Not sure which economist you’re referring to.

              1. Getting food and growing food are two different things. Growing enough food is not the problem. We already have more than enough. The problem lies in markets getting the food produced to people who need it. This is a political problem, as Jefferson’s Ghost pointed out.

                1. “Getting food and growing food are two different things. Growing enough food is not the problem. We already have more than enough. The problem lies in markets getting the food produced to people who need it. ”

                  This is over simplifying the problem, just as people often over-simplify water shortages.

                  The simple fact is that in some parts of the world, it is more expensive to grow, preserve, and transport food to the people at a cost that can make the process sustainable. So yes, in the US we throw away shit tons of food that we don’t use. But that is because getting it to the middle of Africa is untenable.

                  It is a very simple equation. Is the cost to grow, preserve and transport the food to a person at a price they can afford? If not, then they go hungry.

                  There are many ways to reduce the costs. I agree that in many cases, politics makes food more expensive. But local conditions can also make food production and transport more expensive. Anything that reduces costs in that equation will make the food more affordable to the starving person. So while it would be great if his government would build the infrastructure and reduce the corruption that improves food prices, increasing the yield on the food will ALSO improve prices.

                  1. I should add that another way to balance the equation is to make the person buying the food richer. Which is perfectly valid.

                    Again, I agree that free-er markets are generally a necessity for making food more available. But one of the reasons they make food available is by driving EXACTLY these kinds of innovations that reduce the cost of inputs and increase the efficiency of their use.

                  2. You forget the govt imposed restrictions and costs. In some cases the charges make it untenable, in others it’s protection and then there are the restrictions at any price like GMO restrictions out of concerns over cross-pollination impacting domestic production and exports.

                    None of these are required but leave tons of food to rot rather than alleviate the suffering.

                2. Growing enough food is not the problem. We already have more than enough. The problem lies in markets getting the food produced to people who need it.

                  It is true that the world is producing slightly more food than the world population needs and that more efficient distribution would reduce hunger.

                  It is a logical fallacy to conclude from that that more efficient distribution is the only way to reduce hunger.

                  In fact, substantial increases in yields and productions might also reduce or eliminate world hunger, even in the absence of improved distribution.

            2. Increasing yields won’t address poverty or malnutrition.

              That’s bullshit. World hunger has substantially decreased over the last couple of centuries, in large part due to higher yields. Not only do high yields lower the cost of food, they also reduce distribution costs and allow more people to be self-sufficient.

              Of course, higher yields can’t completely fix hunger from social or economic breakdown, but even there, lower food costs and higher yields can help.

            3. “Increasing yields won’t address poverty or malnutrition.”
              Of course it will. If you look at history, you will see that a massive increase in yields brought upon by a coordinated scientific effort in the decades after WW2 significantly reduced poverty and malnutrition throughout the world.

              “Failure of markets to distribute food adequately is yet another point.” There simply isn’t evidence to support the assertion that the malnutrition that exists in developing countries is caused by market failure. In fact, the evidence suggests the opposite. For example, when Vietnam and China abandoned Maoism in the late 70’s and early 80’s and dramatically expanded their market economies, literally hundreds of millions of people were lifted out of poverty.

              I suggest you educate yourself with an eye towards truth, not ideology.

          2. His point is that he’s an idiot who can’t tell the difference between A) hunger and malnutrition, or B) India’s food policy (with its massive protectionism, subsidies, and government distribution) and neoliberalism.

            The so-called “South Asian Enigma”, where India has much higher malnutrition than countries that are substantially poorer than it (like modern Ethiopia), is fully explained once you look at India’s massively government-interventionist agricultural policy. It distorts the diets of the poor in favor of the government-subsidized and -distributed wheat and rice, with the result that you have plenty of people, particularly children, who suffer the effects of malnutrition without feeling hungry.

            However, he does have a bit of a point. It is absolutely true that innovations like this, which make it easier to produce food, won’t solve malnutrition caused by the policies of people sharing his ideology. They’ll make absolutely certain of it.

        2. and their government has been a poster child for neo-liberal policies for decades now.

          Wait, this is reality D-32s, not wherever you’re from.

          1. Make the argument if you want to attribute India’s enormous economic growth to their clinging to socialism. Go ahead and make our day.

            1. Anyone can make enormous growth when they’re waaaaaaay behind the curve.

              And India is the place where one bureaucrat sent a letter of censure to another bureaucrat – except the same guy (letter writer and letter recipient) held both offices.

              He sent a letter of censure to himself because he wasn’t satisfied with his performance.

              So not only is India not really making great improvements in economic growth, the improvements they are making would be even greater without the smothering of the parasitic bureaucratic state.

              1. “So not only is India not really making great improvements in economic growth, the improvements they are making would be even greater without the smothering of the parasitic bureaucratic state.”

                India is hardly alone in harboring a parasitic state. You’ll find one much closer to home. India’s problem is that it’s home to about a third of the world’s malnourished. A phenomenon that is quite recent and coincides with the growing wealth gap which India’s adoption of neo-liberal policies ushered in.

                1. A phenomenon that is quite recent and coincides with the growing wealth gap which India’s adoption of neo-liberal policies ushered in.

                  Yes. Before the adoption of neoliberal policies across the world, India’s percentage of the world’s malnourished was much smaller – because most of the world lived in food insecurity.

                  Now its mostly in a handful of countries with shitty governments. Like India.

                  1. Are you arguing that India has got worse since adopting neo-liberal pro-market policies? This is more or less my point. Worse in the sense that a lot more people are suffering from malnutrition, up to 300 million according to my estimate. On the other hand India is only behind US and China now in the number of billionaires. Two sides of the same coin.

        3. India for example has a very healthy share of the billion or so suffering from malnutrition, and their government has been a poster child for neo-liberal policies for decades now.

          Well, that settles it! @mtrueman single-handedly declares the Indian government to be neo-liberal, single-handedly declares India to have a “healthy share of people suffering from malnutrition”, and from this correlation, implies that neo-liberalism is responsible for malnutrition!

          With intellectual giants like @mtrueman, who needs Nobel Prize winners?

          1. “Well, that settles it! @mtrueman single-handedly declares the Indian government to be neo-liberal”

            Maybe use an internet search engine with the phrase ‘india neo-liberal’ and you’ll find others who will make much the same claim. Don’t think I’m the only one to make this claim. If you think India’s socialist policies remain unchanged from the time of Nehru (prime minister of India 1948 to 1964) you are incorrect.

        4. There are plenty of foreign governments that have malfeazed foreign aid and utilized food as a weapon. Mobutu Sese Seko of Congo used foreign aid from both the U.S. and China and did things like shopping sprees overseas with flights on the Concord and building the arena for the Ali-Foreman Fight. Ethiopia’s Mengistu Haile Mariam used all the food aid from U.S.A. for Africa and other sources and held it up against rebel opponents in Eritrea and elsewhere. Idi Amin Dada of Uganda took foreign aid from Israel and used it to build a statue of Adolf Hitler.

          Not one bit of this is “market failure.” This is entirely a creation of tyrannical, kleptocratic governments.

    2. “Poverty and malnutrition is not caused by a lack of food, as there is more than enough. It’s caused by maldistribution, the inability of markets to get food to the right people at the right time at the right price.”

      True, the world DOES produce enough food, and then some, to end hunger. However, particularly in the developing world, where free markets are often feared, there are political barriers. And sometimes there are cultural barriers, too. And do we have to be reminded about all that aid money going to these nations which end up in the pockets of their government officials, and their cronies, who build fancy houses or buy lots of guns with the money?

      I have maintained for forty years that hunger is a political problem, not an agricultural problem. Nevertheless, we can still benefit by being able to take more land out of food production (at least in the US) and returning it to “nature,” or whatever.

      And, eventually, subsistence farmers will get more food out of their plots, and be able to feed more people. So it’s still a possible major breakthrough.

      1. And do we have to be reminded about all that aid money going to these nations which end up in the pockets of their government officials, and their cronies, who build fancy houses or buy lots of guns with the money?

        Foreign aid: Taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries.

        1. “Foreign aid: Taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries.”

          All too often.

      2. “However, particularly in the developing world, where free markets are often feared, there are political barriers. ”

        GDP in India has grown tremendously over the past few decades. Blaming the malnutrition of hundreds of millions on a few unnamed government officials misappropriating foreign aid doesn’t cut the mustard.

        “I have maintained for forty years that hunger is a political problem, not an agricultural problem.”

        I agree. Politics comes down to how we decide to divvy up wealth. There is more than enough food to feed everyone if it is divided adequately.

        1. Politics comes down to how we decide to divvy up wealth.

          Politics is about divvying up stolen money. And money is not wealth.

          There’s plenty of food for everyone if the people who divvy stuff out would just get out of the way and let markets function!

          1. “if the people who divvy stuff out would just get out of the way and let markets function!”

            Keep it up and there just may be a Nobel Prize for economics in your future.

            1. Your appeal to authority is not appealing. Why don’t you try answering arguments instead of yelling “Nobel Prize”? People might think you are referring to Krugman. And maybe you are.

              1. It was reason magazine’s Ron Bailey who dragged the Nobel laureate in on the last sentence to hammer home his foolish notion that malnutrition can be dealt with by producing more food.

        2. “GDP in India has grown tremendously over the past few decades. Blaming the malnutrition of hundreds of millions on a few unnamed government officials misappropriating foreign aid doesn’t cut the mustard. ”

          India has been a net exporter of food for decades. In 2013, they became the seventh largest EXPORTER of food in the world. You can thank people like Norman Borlaug for that. If people are starving in India, it’s not because the farmers aren’t growing enough food.

          1. Yeah, the trick is that they aren’t starving, but they are malnourished. Because the government-run food system in India gives them plenty of nutritionally inadequate food, and no amount of agricultural production can overcome left-wing food policies.

            1. You mean free-markets aren’t responsible? How dare you imply that the government is less-than-efficient!

            2. Nietzsche was talking about that 150 years ago, tracing the problem back 2000 years and leading to Buddhism

          2. Additionally, India’s government is renouned for being, top to bottom, corrupt. Unless one or two regional governors is somehow responsible for widespread under education, adherence to and enforcement of obsolete social norms, widespread lack of infrastructure despite relatively unfettered access to infrastructure technology… then the idea that it’s just one or two inept bureaucrats doesn’t cut the mustard.

            1. “Additionally, India’s government is renouned for being, top to bottom, corrupt.”

              You mean the government that introduced neo-liberal market practices and reforms that benefit the rich over the poor is corrupt? Tell me something I don’t know.

              1. You mean the government that introduced neo-liberal market practices and reforms that benefit the rich over the poor is corrupt?

                No, I mean the government and the people who’ve staffed it since before the colonization of The West.

                1. ” I mean the government and the people who’ve staffed it since before the colonization of The West.”

                  That’s a long time ago. This phenomenon, out of a billion suffering worldwide from malnutrition, a third being Indian, dates back only a few decades with the adoption of neo-liberal policies. That’s the point I’ve been trying to make over and over again.

                  1. Right. We get it – free markets are evil.

                    The only problem you have is India is NOT a free market no matter how many times you say “neo-liberal policies”. If food were a mostly open free market (notice I didn’t say completely open free market) they wouldn’t be having these issues.

                    How do I know? Because every country which has a mostly open market for food doesn’t have these problems.

                    No matter how much you want to inject India into other nations with mostly free markets for food, it’s just not true.

      3. IF this really works, chances are that subsistence farmers won’t be growing it. It will most likely be patented with high license fees. AND they’ll sue for patent infringement when pollen from the patented plants blows into the subsistence farmers’ field and fertilizes the plants that produce the seeds he will be saving for next year.

    3. As a proggie, even as a human, you ought to appreciate turning unnecessary farm land back to nature.

      1. Heck, you really ought to appreciate needing 1/3 less fertilizer, pesticides, tractor run time, and everything else that goes into a 50% increase in yield.

        But hell no, you’d rather just whine about capitalism doing what it does best — innovate — which governments and proggies are so jealous of that they’d rather stop it to show who’s the boss.

        1. “Heck, you really ought to appreciate needing 1/3 less fertilizer, pesticides, tractor run time, and everything else that goes into a 50% increase in yield.”

          Yep.

      2. We’re all part of nature, whether we like it or not. No escaping that.

        1. Yep, and our consciously-grown crops are as much a part of nature as any other animal’s scavengings.

      3. As a proggie, even as a human, you ought to appreciate turning unnecessary farm land back to nature.

        I don’t think you understand the word progressive or can conceptualize a human other than a misanthrope. Otherwise, every acre of wild grass is an acre that could feed and house more people or support the technology required for human progress.

        I’m, of course, not advocating every acre of grassland be paved over. I’m advocating, as any real libertarian should, that the property owners do as they please rather than insisting that the rightful end is that the property be forfeited to the public, er, I mean ‘nature’.

        1. I’m, of course, not advocating every acre of grassland be paved over.

          And I guess I should add that I’m not advocating mtrueman’s position that markets are to blame either.

        2. I, too, am not promoting that private landowners “turn their land” over to nature. They are free to do with it what they want. They can build an amusement park, a campground, some kind of private nature reserve, or a hundred other things, including keep farming.

    4. It’s caused by maldistribution, the inability of markets to get food to the right people at the right time at the right price.

      You’re allllmost there. One more step. Just start thinking about what is preventing markets from doing that.

      1. ” Just start thinking about what is preventing markets from doing that.”

        Lack of money in the pockets of India’s poorest. Markets won’t work if you haven’t the dough.

        1. Markets are what allow people to use price signals to most efficiently allocate the scarce resources at their disposal. Markets allow people to EARN the dough.

        2. God you’re stupid. How much money do you have to have if you’re 1000 miles inland and govt policy refuses to allow food through customs until it’s rotted?

          1. What government do you have in mind? Where I live, Mexico, there are no policies like that and there is still malnutrition, especially among children. The market here is up to the task of seeing to it that even the most remote and isolated villages are amply supplied with coca cola, but not running drinking water

            1. At least they get the sugar Coke and not the garbage HFCS variety.

        3. Markets working is how you get the dough.

          India is a net exporter of food. The issue isn’t that the food is too expensive. The issue is that the government strangles innovation and entrepreneurship there. Which is why the markets can’t get the food to these people.

          1. “The issue isn’t that the food is too expensive. ”

            If the food is not too expensive and correctly priced, then aren’t markets doing what they are supposed to do? It appears you haven’t thought this through in your haste to parrot the government strangulation line.

            1. then aren’t markets doing what they are supposed to do?

              Yes, they are. They are doing the best they can do in face of government interference.

      2. Just start thinking about what is preventing markets from doing that.

        I would add that Á àß äẞç ãþÇđ âÞ¢Đæ ǎB€Ðëf ảhf’s misconceptualization of markets is at play as well. They aren’t a form of wish fulfillment. Sometimes markets say “You get an iPhone!” and sometimes markets say “Don’t live in the fucking desert with no marketable skills, miles away from any source of water.”

        Corruption, government intervention, and markets aside, there’s a very real possibility that these people live in the middle of nowhere eating bugs because that’s what their ancestors did and they genuinely don’t want to forsake them or their principles any more than Tibetan monks or Native Americans.

    5. there is no lack of inability, most countries use food to control their people and to enrich their leaders

      1. “most countries use food to control their people and to enrich their leaders”

        They use money to control people and enrich themselves. There’s no shortage of money in India, either. It tends to accumulate in the pockets of the wealthy.

        1. But that’s due to markets, right? Absolutely not due to their government.

          1. Markets don’t exist in absence of government. Governments regulate markets and make them possible.

            1. Markets existed before government.

              Property rights existed before government.

              FFS, some places had criminal justice systems before government.

              1. “Markets existed before government.”

                Which market are you referring to?

                “Property rights existed before government.”

                I’m not sure how you can establish that. Rights are a legal concept. A legal system is a government function.

                “FFS, some places had criminal justice systems before government.”

                What places and what has any of this to do with the massive suffering in India today?

                1. Look up natural rights idiot.

    6. Poverty and malnutrition is not caused by a lack of food, as there is more than enough. It’s caused by maldistribution, the inability of markets to get food to the right people at the right time at the right price.

      Better crops can address “maldistribution” by allowing people to become self-sufficient on smaller plots of land.

      1. There’s nothing wrong with the crops we’ve been growing over the millennia. There’s more than enough food to feed the world with some leftovers.

        1. None of the major crops we are growing today look anything like what they looked like millennia ago. The reason we have so greatly reduced hunger in the world is precisely because we have massively increased yields and made other changes to crops.

          Distribution will always be inefficient, so we need overproduction to ensure nobody goes hungry. That alone justifies higher yields. Higher yielding crops also reduce water usage, pesticide usage, land usage, erosion, etc.

          1. “The reason we have so greatly reduced hunger in the world is precisely because we have massively increased yields and made other changes to crops.”

            I’m not sure we’ve reduced hunger. There are about a billion people who suffer from malnutrition, a number I reckon which is close to as high as it’s even been since we climbed down from the trees and started walking upright. Rather than reducing hunger we’ve increased yields, thanks essentially to the switch from the reliance of the sun to fossil fuels.

            “Higher yielding crops also reduce water usage, pesticide usage, land usage, erosion, etc.”

            There are many ways of achieving these worthy goals without increasing crop yields. I’ve read in many places over many times that some 30% of the food produced is wasted. The conservative in me tells me reducing this wastage is the practical and moral way to go. Producing human gene crops, 30% of which will only go to waste, is not addressing the problem of hunger and poverty.

            1. When the world had 3 billion people in it, a billion suffered from poor-nutrition.

              Now we have over 8 billion and only a billion suffer.

              From 1in3 to 1in8 – all due to the adoption of neoliberal policies.

              You’ll notice the only places suffering from food shortages are places with shitty governments – like India and Mexico.

              1. “When the world had 3 billion people in it, a billion suffered from poor-nutrition.”

                I’d like to see where you got this from.

                “You’ll notice the only places suffering from food shortages”

                We’re talking about malnutrition. And all governments are shitty if you want to be honest. Malnutrition in the US takes the shape of obesity, where it leads the world. Thanks in large part to the shitty US government’s food policies, which favor the rich over the poor, as in every other country of the world.

                1. Did it ever occur to you that when, in spite of crappy governments, the mostly free market governments of the world started making enough food to ensure no one went hungry, the governments shifted the goal posts from hunger to nutrition.

                  A lofty goal mind you, but it’s only being used by governments to be able to make new laws and regulations under which their corrupt asses can keep playing, because they lost the last game they played, worldwide hunger.

                  So the corrupt government lost power over here and is planning to pick up more over there.

                  Color me surprised….but not you. You’re still working on the difference between natural/negative rights (which does NOT require a government to create) and positive rights (another place ripe for corruption, but morally evil to begin with).

  9. Does it make harvesting murder?

    1. It’s just a clump of cells – – – – – – – – – – –

    2. You say Toe-may-toe I say Tommy.

    3. No but if a plant with human DNA manages to spring up in the lawn at the capitol building, it is an insurrection.

  10. “a team of researchers associated with the University of Chicago, Peking University, and Guizhou University”

    Uh oh.

    1. Noticed that , did you?

    2. Yeah, as mtrueman correctly pointed out, an American Economist touting agricultural research that was apparently done in China smells really fucking fishy. To say nothing about lab field controls in China.

  11. So, is it still vegan?

    1. If they used dna from a clown,
      would it taste funny?

      1. That depends. Did they get it from Bozo or John Wayne Gacy?

      2. Just imagine the yields you could get using the DNA from a mime!

  12. So a kernel of corn may want to identify as a potato?

    1. “So a kernel of corn may want to identify as a potato?”

      But which KIND of potato? There are over 200 commercially-available variety in the US alone. Black ones, red ones, white ones, purple ones, etc, etc. That would-be-woke-kernel-of-corn might have bitten off more than it can chew. Just sayin…

      1. #Purple Potatoe lives matters

      2. Yukon gold is a solid 5 tool potato. Decent baked, fried or boiled. And it is a POC – potato of color.

        1. But is it the “proper” color and “shade?”

          I haven’t heard of Yukon Gold. I will try to locate some. (We have no shortage of interesting potatoes in Oregon.)

          1. They grow great in Maine. There was a crossbred variety called Yukon Gem that had better resistance to the potato beetle and the potatoes grew down from the seed potato as opposed to Yukon Gold, which grew about where the seed was located. I had better harvests but ymmv.

            1. Thanks. I will look for it!

        2. I’m not sure they do the job mashed, at least not as well as my B-sized reds. But solid as fries or in a shrimp boil, no doubt.

          1. They can mash too. They are best in potato leek stew. Don’t puree. Add some chicken broth, bacon and paprika croutons.

  13. I noticed in the pictures the strain of rice was compared to Nipp rice. And I wanted to point out that we don’t use that word anymore. That’s offensive.

  14. It’s not just forcing the plant to produce more food. You must provide more nutrients at the same time. To produce 2X more rice you need more than twice as much fertilizer in the correct ratios. It’s never as easy as “plant, make me more food!”

    1. And that’s where a lot of these “50% greater yeilds!” results fail. They actually produce 50% more product, but they require 50% more fertilizer/maintenance, 50% more feed time and/or degree days.

      That’s not to refute the results, it’s just to say that the controlled field trials in Guizhou don’t exactly translate to commrecial fields elsewhere.

      1. “50% greater yeilds!” results fail. They actually produce 50% more product, but they require 50% more fertilizer/maintenance, 50% more feed time and/or degree days.

        While they require more inputs, they require less than if you tried to get the same yield increase via growing more plants with lower yield.

        1. While they require more inputs, they require less than if you tried to get the same yield increase via growing more plants with lower yield.

          As mtrueman correctly (narrowly) points out, our issue isn’t gross yields and hasn’t been for at least several decades. Especially with potatoes and rice. They have effectively increased the efficiency in one link of the chain (once again, as many, many others before them have done, theoretically). Even if the field-to-mouth chain were optimized, “Yay! More cheap fuel for the SNAP machine!” (Which is not to fault the fuel or the fuel producers broadly or directly, of course),

    2. Not if it’s 50% more efficient with the same inputs.

  15. And thus we begin the long road to developing triffids.

    1. And I really got hot when I saw Janet Scott
      Fight a Triffid that spits poison and kills

  16. GMO foods are for Progressives what COVID vaccines are for MAGA types: a chance to disregard actual science in favor of partisan signaling and ignorant, emotional reasoning.

    1. I don’t have a problem with GMO food, but if a person doesn’t want to eat them because they’re novel and may have completely unforeseen effects on the body, the government shouldn’t force them to. The only issue I have with antiGMO types, is that opposing GMOs is somewhat oppositional to achieving some of their other goals.
      I dont see what part of republican dogma is thwarted by rejecting the unknown risks of the “vaccine” vs accepting the very well known risks of the rona.
      Also, blacks are less likely to take the vaccine than “maga” types. Blacks are more likely to be non “maga” types, hence, many non “maga” types oppose the vaccine for reasons that are obviously not partisan. But you knew that already. The shame campaign isn’t working and it isn’t going to, but keep hammering those talking points.

      1. I don’t have a problem with GMO food, but if a person doesn’t want to eat them because they’re novel and may have completely unforeseen effects on the body, the government shouldn’t force them to.

        The only ones who want to force people to eat something are the Eco-Whackos who say: “You will live in a pod, you will eat bugs, and you will be happy.” And they, of course, are typically anti-GMO.

        I dont see what part of republican dogma is thwarted by rejecting the unknown risks of the “vaccine” vs accepting the very well known risks of the rona.

        Well, there are these little things called Life and Health. If potential adherants and voters don’t have those, any political agenda is pretty mucb moot, unless you’re in Chicago where the dead evidently roam the polling places.

        And if there are widespread unknown risks of the vaccine, wouldn’t they be evident by now with all of the many people who have taken the vaccine in the months since it became available?

        Also, blacks are less likely to take the vaccine than “maga” types. Blacks are more likely to be non “maga” types, hence, many non “maga” types oppose the vaccine for reasons that are obviously not partisan. But you knew that already.

        Well, MAGA hats or not, people who are medically able to take the vaccine and don’t are all sheep and their respective self-appointed leaders are sheep-shearers for not informing them better.

        As for the Tuskeegee Syphillis Experiment scaring people away from taking vaccines, tbat “Experiment” was entirely conducted by the U.S. Government, whereas the vaccine is manufactured and distributed by private enterprise.

        Despite this, no one of any political persuasion besides libertarians has denounced the idea of govetnment involvement in health care and supported Free-Market Capitalist health care.

        The shame campaign isn’t working and it isn’t going to, but keep hammering those talking points.

        My support of vaccines is not a shame campaign, but more like: “Come on in if you can! The water is just fine! And if you can’t come in, our cannonballs in the pool will cool you off too!”

  17. Adding Human Gene Boosts Crop Yields by 50 Percent

    So Boy-Soy instead of Soy-Boy, amirite?

  18. Never heard of the FTO enzyme/gene. But apparently it is heavily tied to obesity. So we’re going to add an obesity gene – to carbs/grains. To combine with the roundup gene that enables lots of roundup which kills gut bacteria. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Hopefully Fauci will be part of the mix to keep the experimenting safe.

      1. Hopefully he’ll be one of the guinea pigs used to test product safety…

    2. To combine with the roundup gene that enables lots of roundup which kills gut bacteria. What could possibly go wrong?

      Roundup itself doesn’t kill gut bacteria any more (and frequently less) than Vitamin E, calcium carbonate, alcohol, citric acid, or a dozen other naturally-occuring chemicals and nutrients (especially the digestion-disrupting proteases found naturally in lots of legumes). If it had some exceptional power to kill bacteria but not eukaryotic tissues/cells, it would be an antibiotic and it’s not. If it were an antibiotic, detrimental to digestion, it would absolutely destroy ruminant meat production when used as a food source, and it doesn’t.

      Moreover, the majority of crops that get the vast bulk of Roundup aren’t consumed directly by humans. On top of that, the the effective agricultural concentration of Roundup and the resulting fractional component relative to the yield in nominally bad conditions is minimal. On top of that, there are regulations in place at several points along the food production chain where Roundup is specifically limited both by law and commercial practice, a system put in place to regulate pesticides that do far, far worse than just allegedly give people a case of the rumbly tummies.

      The idea that Roundup imbalances gut bacteria any worse than a stressful day at work should cause embarassment in those making the argument and, in the absence of embarassment, summary rejection if not abject mockery from the listeners.

      1. I love when reasonoids starts talking about something they’re knowledgeable about. It really highlights how full of hot air most of us usually are.

      2. Roundup itself doesn’t kill gut bacteria any more (and frequently less) than Vitamin E, calcium carbonate, alcohol, citric acid, or a dozen other naturally-occuring chemicals and nutrients (especially the digestion-disrupting proteases found naturally in lots of legumes).

        You’re wrong. Glyphosate is DESIGNED to disrupt the shikimate pathway which exists in plants – and many bacteria, fungi, etc. That is how it works. More than 50% of 100 ‘core’ species of gut bacteria are affected by glyphosate. Which means the balance of gut bacteria has already shifted in countries where glyphosate is used heavily.

        What we don’t know is what specific function those bacteria serve in our gut either individually or with other species. But gut bacteria play a major role in everything from leaky gut to fatty liver disease to insulin resistance (obesity).

  19. Just what the world needs. A means to expand the population of an already overpopulated Earth. I am by no means a depopulation advocate, but let’s also use some common sense. It takes a lot more than just food for people to exist.

    1. It will tide us over until we can make manmade Islands, little Atlantises, and move into space.

      Care for some more mega-sized Rice Crispy Treats? One puffy grain makes a whole dessert!

  20. The follow the science crowd will scream about GMO food instead of seeing this as a great leap forward in agriculture.

  21. I’m just pissed I wasn’t the first on the Soylent Green bandwagon

    1. Soylent Green is people!

  22. Well if they produce more, doesn’t that mean they take out more nutrients, water, organics from the soil? In other words, are we only going to have to water/fertilize/insect spray/fungicidal spray/etc more…yes well get more, but perhaps the gains will come at a tremendous strain on the environment to “feed” the fields?

    1. The gains could be due to increased efficiency.

  23. When are they going to put plant genes in people? Is it really a good idea to have scientist fooling around with something they don’t really understand claiming they are trying to make the world better. That is probably what the scientist in Wuhan said while they were making a virus……………

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