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Criticism of GMOs stems from flawed sources

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While people around the world starve, other people who are arguably better off and live in developed countries campaign to stop the one scientific advancement that could potentially save the hungry: genetically modified organisms.

Genetically modified organisms contain manually altered genes that can create plants that sprout quicker, use less water, taste better, yield more product and last longer, so where is all the opposition to GMOs coming from?

The science of plant modification dates back to ancient times, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that science advanced to a point where someone could manually edit and improve a plant’s genetics in a specific and targeted way.

This achievement sparked a transgenic plant revolution, which led to a large percentage of the food people eat daily containing some form of genetic modification.

Plant modification not only leads to better food but also to a greater abundance of food. The gains in crop yield due to plant breeding are significant, said Matin Qaim, a professor of international food economics and rural development at the University of Goettingen in Germany.

Genetic modification also helps plants survive: when plants are modified for a certain environment, they have a greater chance of making it to harvest season.

GMOs face more academic scrutiny than naturally produced foods because of their unnatural origin, and studies published about the negative consequences of GMO crops remain in circulation. Two such studies by Stanley Ewen and Arpad Pusztai in 1999 and Giles-Eric Seralini in 2012 are still controversial today.

The Ewen-Pusztai study looked at the health consequences of genetically modified potatoes. The potatoes used in the study were not meant for human consumption, but the researchers released information before the study’s conclusion. They said the genetically modified potatoes compromised, in some way, the immune systems of rats used in the experiment.

The comment caused a lot of controversy even though the published study did not mention the rats’ immune systems. The study attributed a difference in gut epithelium to the genetically modified potatoes. However, the scientific community as a whole lambasted the paper.

The Seralini study included a small sample of rats eating herbicide-resistant corn over a two-year period. The study also consisted of a control group to verify the results.

The rats who consumed the herbicide-resistant corn lived shorter lives and developed more tumors than the rats who ate naturally grown food. However, the strain type of rats chosen for the study were more susceptible to tumor growth in early development and were not meant to be used for long-term health studies.

The bulk of anti-GMO studies published remain structurally flawed. The average member of the scientific community remains much more knowledgeable on the topic of genetic modification than the average consumer. The proliferation of objectively illegitimate studies and sensationalism in the publishing community leads to erosion of faith in the safety of GM technology, which in turn encourages people to question scientific legitimacy.

The associated risks of genetically modified organisms are exactly that: associated.

Plainly, the argument against genetically modified organisms is tainted by flawed perception. GMOs could potentially end world hunger if the general public can abandon their tenuously-formed disdain in favor of scientifically verified evidence.

Columnist Cameron Barrett is an economics senior and can be reached at [email protected].


    • The Genetic Literacy Project is a wholly controlled GMO pesticide industry disinformation astro-turf site. The GLP has a reputation for bad writing, GMO pesticide industry enemy hit pieces, and controlled tightly managed and censored public participation, and lack of ethics. All you will find there is GMO pesticide industry PR based talking points and cherry picked agenda driven GMO pesticide industry junk pseudo-science. Any real science that doesn’t support the GMO pesticide industry agenda will be attacked or ignored. The GLP can not be considered in the same universe with any credible ethical scientific publication.

      • They banned me from commenting …. they are afraid of the truth ..and don’t want people who read their pages to see anything contrary to their biased views ….

        • They are afraid of the truth because it screws up their false narrative. Getting banned by that corrupt site is a badge of honor.

            • Says the scripted mind controlled agenda driven industry PR bot from Australia. Nobody believes a word you say.

                • Are you ashamed to be an Australian? There are all kinds of Austrailians. You area mind controlled agenda driven industry PR bot from Australia. Nobody believes a word you say.

                    • The only thing that concerns me is the fact that you’re area mind controlled agenda driven industry PR bot from Australia. Nobody believes a word you say.

                    • Me living in Australia really bothers you doesn’t it? why else would you mention it all the time?

                      Anyway, at least I am not banned from the GLP.

                    • The GLP is an industry AstroTurf site and they don’t ban the little industry AstroTurfer PR bots who buzz around there like the bees around the mother-ship hive.

                    • GLP Financial Transparency and Governance Statement
                      The GLP is part of the Science Literacy Project (SLP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit funded by grants from independent foundations and charities. The GLP accepts tax-deductible donations from individuals, but not from corporations. To the SLP’s knowledge, none of the foundations which has donated money to the GLP has financial ties to companies linked to human or agricultural genetics.

                    • Here’s are some of the GLP documented funders and who they receive funding by:

                      Searle Freedom Trust Right Wing Think tank Donors (many who are well known to get Monsanto & Biotech Industry funding also Ties has to “DonorsTrust”, a Koch Brothers Conduit and Associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council:
                      Acton Institute – $100,000
                      American Enterprise Institute – $1,500,000
                      American Legislative Exchange Council – $135,000 (for Rich States, Poor States)
                      Beacon Hill Institute – $61,875
                      Cato Institute – $300,000
                      Competitive Enterprise Institute – $275,000 (Koch Brothers and Fossil Fuel Industry Recipient Global warming denier)
                      Donors Trust – $1,626,500 (Koch Brothers Conduit)
                      Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity – $150,000
                      Freedom Foundation – $60,000 (Aggressively Campaigned to Undermine Unions
                      Galen Institute – $100,000
                      Goldwater Institute – $100,000
                      Heartland Institute – $50,000 (Climate Change Research and Denial)
                      Heritage Foundation – $50,000 (Climate Change Research and Denial and Tobacco industry money funding recipient)
                      Hudson Institute – $225,000 (Climate Change Denial and activist against Organic )
                      Manhattan Institute – $550,000 (Received Koch Brothers, Tobacco Industry funding with ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council)
                      Philanthropy Roundtable – $100,000 (Known for it’s lack of transparency and ties to the Koch Brothers)
                      State Policy Network – $632,000 (Publicy Policy RFPS) (Another Koch Brothers associated Right Wing Think tank)
                      Texas Public Policy Foundation – $100,000

                      John Templeton Foundation
                      Another Right Wing think tank for the purpose to encourage the integration of religious beliefs and free-market principles into the classroom. Incidentally, it’s funding sources are undisclosed

                      Yes, the GLP receives a ton of corporate funding, it just does it through different channels to hide it.

                    • Maybe Australians don’t understand how foundations and non-profits are used to launder funds to 401c corporations in the U.S.

                      Often a person or corporation will make a gift to a foundation or non-profit with the understanding that the funds will be used for earmarked grants to 401c corps.

                    • So do you have any proof that corporations gave gifts to a foundation so that the foundation would give money to the GLP in exchange for promoting GMO’s?

                    • Nobody needs proof when the stench of corruption and the content on the web site all come together and provide the truth.

                    • Sorry Sparkle, I have to disagree, proof is necessary, otherwise you got nothing, just more conspiracy’s. Smear articles about Jon Entine are not proof either, just makes you look desperate posting them.

                      Why don’t you debate the science the GLP presents with science?

                    • Who are you, aussie boy? What gives you the authority to question the facts related to the GLP?

                      The GLP is a well known node in the GMO pesticide industry disinformation echo chamber and it is infested by industry sponsored trolls, maybe you are one of them.

                    • You don’t need to know who I am Sparkle, this is an open forum so everyone has the right to question the facts you presented. Although you don’t actually have any facts just conspiracy theories.

                    • Its not a big issue for me Sparkle, is it a big issue for you?

                      I do find it funny that you and Samsel were banned by the GLP.

                    • You are a joke.

                      I have never posted on the GLP and only go there if someone shows me a link that needs investigation. It is an industry astroturf site with a very bad reputation.

                      You present like a troll. I’m done with you.

                    • Peaceful warrior was my favorite sock puppet, Oh, the Good times we had, getting called a Goon, troll, industry shill, those were the days.

                    • Razorjack is my favorite. the way he followed me from thread to thread. The way he would sing lullabies about trolls to me. The way he was always worried about my safety, telling me not to slip on any drool. You could tell he really cared.

      • That is funny. You used ecowatch as a source to say another source is biased.

        Why not call on vanilla fans to explain why chocolate is the devil’s food?

        • EcoWatch is a great source for information that is not censored to fit your industry agenda, headcase.

          Get some help for your serious issues.

          • I worked next door to an environmental activist group. Their focus was entirely on fundraising. They did not give a rat’s derriere about the environment and the office manager was not the least bit ashamed to let me know their priorities.

              • Gossip? It’s a complement!

                Environmental groups take a back seat to no-one when it comes to ruthless business practice.

                  • You’re interest is promoting professional fundraising organizations that claim to be “environmentalist.”

                    We are interested in studies based on science, not on paying salaries for otherwise unemployable sociologists that staff these organizations.

                    • You don’t know anything about me except that I don’t care to engage in your idle ignorant gossip.

                      You present like an agenda driven industry PR bot.

                    • Apparently you do “care to engage” as you keep responding in a manner consistent with the other Ted clones — Cletus, Razorjack, Peaceful Warrior et al.

        • Slate is controlled by Gates. It is an astroturf site that supports the industry Gates agenda. When will you wake up and face reality, headcase?

          • While I would agree that golden rice is a red herring, R&D just hasn’t been able to make it work, the articles you gave me to prove that Slate, a fairly politically liberal publication, is an AstroTurf site, do not implicate Slate. But rather, one journalist who wrote the article about GMO rice. It also accused him of being a Republican and being for the Gulf War, whatever that has to do with GMOs.

            Also, the article was from 2015, and GM Watch is admittedly biased. You can’t tell me because someone was wrong in one of their articles 2 years ago they are promoting GMO. Sorry, this wasn’t proof.

            But given that you already admit that you lie, I don’t really expect to see any.

            • Yes, Slate is an AstroTurf site and allows writers like William Saletan to publish their pro GMO garbage. It says, “Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right”. Blah, blah, blah is all you’ve ever got.

                • GO GET YOUR HEAD EXAMINED and quick! Hate to burst your bubble Mikey, but that is not an admission of anything. Those were your words claiming that I lie but you have no proof of my “lies” because I don’t lie, I am a truth teller. You are a sick, sick twisted person. Get yourself some much needed help!

                  • You said I haven’t debunked your lies, that means you have lies to debunk. Sorry that you hate it when people use your own words against you.

                    I have no idea who Mikey McCarthy is.

                    • Because I don’t have lies for you to debunk! I guess you enjoy twisting peoples words and making up your own brainless stories. Please seek some much needed professional help, headcase!

                    • Sure, whatever, it was a screen shot of your post, I didn’t twist anything. You, however, yell shill or liar everytime someone posts something which you can’t counter, like my insistence for proof that Slate is an AstroTurf site for the AG biotech industry. Frankly, you are toxic and I am done dealing with you. For now. I am sure I will catch you in another lie, eventually.

    • Only Wager and his cronies think it’s “real science”. Brainwashed by biotech and the industries PR campaign. What a shame.

  • Why am i wary? Because the industry is corrupt and lies. The agrochemical and biotech industry is one of the most dangerous and lying industries. Monsanto lieed about PCBs for 40 years while people died as a result, while they developed glyphosate. It’s not about GMO technology itself, but about the deception and propaganda used by the industry. Any specific trait may be safe or risky, but the industry “science” can’t be trusted as it’s been gamed badly. The agencies like EPA and EFSA have been captured. Too much evidence to that effect.

    • The industry doesn’t talk about the negative changes inherent in genetically engineered corn… like the skewed fatty acid profiles, or the changes to the isomers of vitamin E to molecules that induce inflammation instead of reducing it.. They don’t talk about the changes in elemental mineral profiles ….GE’d corn is NOT the same as conventional heirloom, nor do they discuss the gene stacks of toxins and herbicide resistant traits like the gat 4621 gene for the acetylation of Glyphosate… Glyphosate is de-acetylated in vivo but they never thought of that … and then some of the glyphosate becomes part of the tissues …creating inferior tissues ….

  • All I had to do it read the first few words and I knew what is store. An article full of lies. The GMO industry had NO desire to feed a starving world. If they were ordered to price their seeds and toxic chemicals at a price that would not allow them to keep their McMansions, the entire world would starve. They are only concerned with profit and their sociopathic desire to win, no matter what the cost. They have been caught lying time and time again. And morons like Mr. Wager below is just one of their puppets, paid to lie and lie again.

    • I’m not against genetic modification inherently. The technology is powerful and the code of life is very complex. It’s more of a problem that we really don’t know all the effects when we modify DNA — effects on the phenotype and effects on complex organisms who may eat the product. Both are complex. And then factor in that the industry cares for profit above all, and uses propaganda to distort the perception of reality for their benefit, and also has a deep and long history of crimes against humanity. It becomes akin to handing nuclear fuel to psychopaths. It’s a case of climate change denialism in another sector.

      • “t we really don’t know all the effects when we modify DNA “

        Hey I am on your side.. Lets just ban evolution, All that DNA mixing and producing copy errors, that has to go NOW. Yay for a static planet, nothing must change ever,says the Sage one..

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