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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:31 pm 
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SV, I should probably just look at the blogs that you've linked to, but it's quicker just to ask you. What about the claim that the reason there aren't many (any?) studies showing negative health effects from GM crops is because Monsanto et al somehow prevent the research? I feel like either IJDI or Mollyjade wrote something about that a year or two back. Do you know anything about this?

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:47 pm 
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SkepticalVegan wrote:
Where do rights come from? Do they exists objectively, are they constructions?


With regard to GM food the United Nations has stated that it is a human right to have access to non GM food. To be fair this was in the context of food aid and not for protecting my personal stance, but I'm happy to adopt it

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:37 pm 
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So you're saying rights come from the UN?

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:24 pm 
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vegimator wrote:
So you're saying rights come from the UN?

Maybe then The UN can declare animal to have the right to have their interest respected

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:54 pm 
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SkepticalVegan wrote:
Maybe then The UN can declare animal to have the right to have their interest respected


Even though developing GMO 'products' that contain animal genes may or may not involve the animal in any harmful way, it still puts across the message to the general populous that animals equate to food on the plate, is there really a need to use the animal in this way? It continues a certain degree of disrespect which is surely not desirable

I believe that the fluorescent gene that you mentioned was used to make aquarium fish glow, which even if you believe that this science is 'good' (being simplistic here) is surely not the way to go - creating cute pets?

I'm not anti science, a tag often levelled along with the hippy badge towards someone who is anti GM, but I'm far from comfortable with GM. I too am skeptical, especially when it comes to large companies and multinational corporations and that's by and large who's running the GMO show

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:15 pm 
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I believe that the fluorescent gene that you mentioned was used to make aquarium fish glow

yes it was, im not the biggest fan of that application, though folks should recognize that the utilization of zebrafish (the species that were made to glow) has reduced the use of mice and the invasiveness of fetal research, instead of killing and dissecting a pregnant mouse scientists can use optics to image the growing fetus inside a living fish. I don't like animal research out of principle but this sounds like a positive step. Making them a commercial pet was an after thought to the research.
GFP has also been used in many other projects as well, its a tool, all in how you use it.
But Im not advocating for creating transgenic animals , Im advocating for transgenic plants and microorganisms.

Quote:
it still puts across the message to the general populous that animals equate to food on the plate

I dont think it does anymore than using human genes (which Im fine w/) puts across the message that cannabalism is ok.
In fact we use human derived L-Cysteine in some products (other source is bird feathers), its not promoting cannibalism or exploiting humans I don't think.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:24 pm 
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SkepticalVegan wrote:
Quote:
Im advocating for transgenic plants and microorganisms


Oh good, glowing food - should be a big seller at Halloween and for emergency tins of beans for power outages :)

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:39 pm 
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chools wrote:
SkepticalVegan wrote:
Quote:
Im advocating for transgenic plants and microorganisms


Oh good, glowing food - should be a big seller at Halloween and for emergency tins of beans for power outages :)


I actually would be fine with novelty use of GFP in plant-based foods (though this is unlikely anytime soon), but that's not really what I'm talking about. Rather I'm talking about the use of useful traits to increase ag production/reduce impact/& nutritionally fortify.
But in the end the issue of animal genes in plants is pretty small in the field of GMO's. No food products exist on the market, and the few items in the lab will likely not be commercialized. The US govt has stepped back from such research and focused on non-animal derived gene seeing the potential political push back as not worth it. It an interesting philosophical discussion but it doesn't tell us much about the over all technology.
Maybe we can get back to a more general discussion of genetic engineering or focus on the more important aspects of the debate.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:47 pm 
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I dont trust it and buy GMO free and organic as much as is possible. The fact that the companies involved continue to fight the attemtp to label such should be enough to keep anyone wary, while they hide behind their moniker of "feeding the world"...blaughh

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:56 pm 
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Adam Crisis wrote:
I dont trust it and buy GMO free and organic as much as is possible. The fact that the companies involved continue to fight the attemtp to label such should be enough to keep anyone wary, while they hide behind their moniker of "feeding the world"...blaughh


There is good reason to oppose mandatory labeling and few good reasons to mandate it.
Proposed GE labeling laws are entirely inconsistent with and unjustified by US labeling law. The proposed labeling is ridiculously vague and uninformative as well and at best unduly creates fear, uncertainty and doubt, but it doesn't actually tell use anything useful about the food, no more so than labeling hybrid produce. I really is just like the labels creationist had put in some biology books years back.
more on that
Spoiler: show
Quote:
The issue of mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods is currently under debate here in California. Unlike many of my vegan peers I'm opposed to this campaign to force labeling of GE foods. I have various problems with the idea both in theory and as it has been presented to the public but my primary objection is that passing such a law would be acquiescing to a scientifically unjustified demand by a political pressure group in addition to subverting the purpose and reasoning behind current food labeling law. It may also be a stepping stone to an outright ban, enough advocates have made their desires more than clear on the subject for it to be just a hidden possibility. For many activists it seems this is not an issue so much of giving consumers a choice but rather a way of forcing GMOs off the market. All this reminds me of another time a pseudoscientific pressure group pushed their own scientifically unjustified demand on the public in the form of an "innocuous" label.

When I went to high school in Georgia my biology textbook came with a warning label (pictured below). The label was the result of the efforts of a vocal group of Intelligent Design(ID) proponents who wished to use the label to instill false doubts in the minds of school children regarding the strength of the scientific case for evolution.

Image

Proponents of Intelligent Design want "equal time" for their own idea of what passes for a scientific theory, in a similar way GMO labeling activists want their own food concerns to be given the same credence in labeling as other food concerns with scientifically established health implications, such as presence of allergens and nutritional content. While GMO labeling advocates campaign for their "right2know", ID proponents like The Discovery Institute say "Students have a right to know" about intelligent design as well. The focus on genetical engineering, in exclusion to other forms of genetic modification such as hybridization, marker assisted selection, embryo rescue, and mutagenesis, is also scientifically unjustified and reminiscent of the focus of ID proponents on the perceived problems of evolution but not other scientific theories. Those who fought to have the sticker included in my biology book didn't think it important to include phrasing skeptical of germ theory as well, yet it certainly has its many deniers in alt med circles, or a sticker in the Earth Science textbook stating, "Plate tectonics is a theory, not a fact, concerning the origin of continental drift and earthquakes." We could go on and on creating parody stickers for many other "scientific controversies" out there such as heliocentrism or the age, shape, and solidity of the earth.

A tactic common to both creationism/ID proponents and GMO labeling activists is the use of sensational and misleading imagery that does not in anyway honestly represent evolution or genetic engineering. The most notorious example of this from the anti-evolution side is when Kirk Cameron presented the now famous "crocoduck" argument. That Cameron would even present such a photo as an argument seems to indicate he has no real grasp on evolutionary theory or that he is being intentionally hyperbolic and misleading. GMO labeling advocates similarly make constant use of pictures of animal-vegetable chimeras, non-GE produce falsely presented as being GMOs, and hypodermic needle imagery betraying their ignorance of the methodology behind genetic engineering and misleading about the nature and current state of genetically engineered food. Another common tactic is the use of polls and appeals to popularity to lend them an air of public support. Additionally the insistence of GMO labeling advocates that we should only eat "foods from nature" also seems to display about as much awareness of how modern foods were shaped as the Banana Man Ray Comfort.

ImageImage

Aside from the lack of any significant nutritional difference between current GE and non-GE crops, industry and some consumer advocates often argue that mandatory GMO labeling is undesirable because it may increase food costs. Requiring a label that reads "contains genetically engineered ingredients" for the benefit of those that wish to avoid GMOs may be unfair both to food producers and consumers without a concern about genetically engineered food if the added cost is borne by the producer and consumers of such GE foods. It should also be noted that there are conflicting studies on the question of how much mandatory labeling would increase costs and whether such labels would have a significant impact on consumer habits, so it is by no means a slam dunk argument nor I think the appropriate one to be making. On the other hand simply allowing a product to be labeled as "not produced using biotechnology" or "not made with genetically engineered ingredients", within certain guidelines, puts any added burden on those that choose to seek out such foods or companies wishing to cash in on unfounded fears surround genetically engineered food. Consider Kosher or Halal labeling, should those who have no concern for Kosher or Halal guidelines be forced to pay any added cost of a nationally imposed labeling system?

This brings to mind the issue of labeling in regards to animal products. I'm well acquainted with the frustrations of trying to avoid animal products in a society in which consumption of animals is taken for granted. I've read countless food packages, Ive called and emailed many companies, I used to walk around with a copy of Animal Ingredients A to Z in my bag, Ive abstained when I just wasn't sure, but among all this what Ive never done is demand that the government require a label clearly denoting the presence of animal products. Does it make sense in the context of food labeling law? Not really. Would such label even be desirable? Perhaps, though perhaps not. No doubt numerous vegetarians and vegans have expressed their desire for such labels and I would find them convenient but I foresee issues as well. Would it be a pragmatic use of energy and resources? I doubt it. Perhaps in the future I shall explore this tangent in more depth.

When GMO labeling advocates make claims that they are having "GMOs shoved down" their throat and that they are being "forced" and "lied to" they are just playing the (lazy) victim. Failing to make an effort to inform oneself about the foods they are buying is neither an outside imposition of force nor deception. As noted by Steve Savage "GMO food is actually already labeled if you know a few rules". Vegans can read ingredient labels and call the company to ask about questionable ingredients that may come from multiple sources such as lecithin or monoglycerides, Non-GMO eaters can read ingredient labels and call the company to ask about sourcing of questionable ingredients such as soy or maltodextrin. Non-GMO folks have also learned a few quick tricks for avoiding GMOs such as looking for an organic label, similarly vegans have their own quick tricks to help avoid animal products such as checking for cholesterol or looking for a Parve label. There are many food companies which label their food as "vegan" themselves or who use third party vegan certification labels which can help in making quick choices in the store. Similarly there are many companies which are choosing to proudly label their food as "Non-GMO" and many who are getting third party certification through organizations such as the Non-GMO Project. In the end vegans tend to get by just fine avoiding animal products, I see no reason why those with fears of GMOs can not do the same.

Further reading:
Science: What’s it up to? by Karl Haro von MogelWhat’s in a label? by Anastasia Bodnarhttp://www.biofortified.org/2011/10/science-whats-it-up-to/
To Label or Not to Label by Pamela Ronald
Obama will (probably) not label GE foods by Karl Haro von Mogel
GMO Food Is Actually Already Labeled If You Know A Few Rules by Steve Savage
The Right to Know: Why GMO Labeling Law Isn’t So Black and White by Rob Hebert


IF you want to avoid GE foods you have the tools as a vegan already. You already know that many animal products are not clearly labeled and that you have to do a bit of personal research. You also know about voluntary third party "vegan" labeling that you can support. In the same way you can support third party non-gmo labeling (like the non-gmo project) and research the source of your food.
I find it strange that there is a bigger push among vegans to get GMO labeling that to get mandatory animal product labeling.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:07 pm 
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vegimator wrote:
SV, I should probably just look at the blogs that you've linked to, but it's quicker just to ask you. What about the claim that the reason there aren't many (any?) studies showing negative health effects from GM crops is because Monsanto et al somehow prevent the research? I feel like either IJDI or Mollyjade wrote something about that a year or two back. Do you know anything about this?


Um anti-GMo activists do have negative studies they point to, they are just often flawed. There is also plenty of indy research out there as well. Also remember GMOs arnt just a corporate game, the GE papaya that saved the industry in Hawaii was publicly funded for example as are many other projects. Monsanto might be able to prevent all research into their product (though in reality this isnt the case) but they cant stop GE research itself
You can read about it here
independent GM food safety testing

To be clear there actually are issues with some research being affected by contracts, but that cant be used to dismiss the entire body of evidence including indy research. I feel you are probably referign mainly to an article published in Scientific American which did raise legitimate issues...which have been addressed and policy changes made since the articles publication

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:15 pm 
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vegimator , I recommend reading this explanation of the situation you mention
Academic Research Agreements

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:22 pm 
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Thanks. For future reference, it makes people look condescending when they use 'Um" as an opener.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:30 am 
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SkepticalVegan wrote:
Adam Crisis wrote:
I dont trust it and buy GMO free and organic as much as is possible. The fact that the companies involved continue to fight the attemtp to label such should be enough to keep anyone wary, while they hide behind their moniker of "feeding the world"...blaughh


There is good reason to oppose mandatory labeling and few good reasons to mandate it.
Proposed GE labeling laws are entirely inconsistent with and unjustified by US labeling law. The proposed labeling is ridiculously vague and uninformative as well and at best unduly creates fear, uncertainty and doubt, but it doesn't actually tell use anything useful about the food, no more so than labeling hybrid produce. I really is just like the labels creationist had put in some biology books years back.
more on that
Spoiler: show
Quote:
The issue of mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods is currently under debate here in California. Unlike many of my vegan peers I'm opposed to this campaign to force labeling of GE foods. I have various problems with the idea both in theory and as it has been presented to the public but my primary objection is that passing such a law would be acquiescing to a scientifically unjustified demand by a political pressure group in addition to subverting the purpose and reasoning behind current food labeling law. It may also be a stepping stone to an outright ban, enough advocates have made their desires more than clear on the subject for it to be just a hidden possibility. For many activists it seems this is not an issue so much of giving consumers a choice but rather a way of forcing GMOs off the market. All this reminds me of another time a pseudoscientific pressure group pushed their own scientifically unjustified demand on the public in the form of an "innocuous" label.

When I went to high school in Georgia my biology textbook came with a warning label (pictured below). The label was the result of the efforts of a vocal group of Intelligent Design(ID) proponents who wished to use the label to instill false doubts in the minds of school children regarding the strength of the scientific case for evolution.

Image

Proponents of Intelligent Design want "equal time" for their own idea of what passes for a scientific theory, in a similar way GMO labeling activists want their own food concerns to be given the same credence in labeling as other food concerns with scientifically established health implications, such as presence of allergens and nutritional content. While GMO labeling advocates campaign for their "right2know", ID proponents like The Discovery Institute say "Students have a right to know" about intelligent design as well. The focus on genetical engineering, in exclusion to other forms of genetic modification such as hybridization, marker assisted selection, embryo rescue, and mutagenesis, is also scientifically unjustified and reminiscent of the focus of ID proponents on the perceived problems of evolution but not other scientific theories. Those who fought to have the sticker included in my biology book didn't think it important to include phrasing skeptical of germ theory as well, yet it certainly has its many deniers in alt med circles, or a sticker in the Earth Science textbook stating, "Plate tectonics is a theory, not a fact, concerning the origin of continental drift and earthquakes." We could go on and on creating parody stickers for many other "scientific controversies" out there such as heliocentrism or the age, shape, and solidity of the earth.

A tactic common to both creationism/ID proponents and GMO labeling activists is the use of sensational and misleading imagery that does not in anyway honestly represent evolution or genetic engineering. The most notorious example of this from the anti-evolution side is when Kirk Cameron presented the now famous "crocoduck" argument. That Cameron would even present such a photo as an argument seems to indicate he has no real grasp on evolutionary theory or that he is being intentionally hyperbolic and misleading. GMO labeling advocates similarly make constant use of pictures of animal-vegetable chimeras, non-GE produce falsely presented as being GMOs, and hypodermic needle imagery betraying their ignorance of the methodology behind genetic engineering and misleading about the nature and current state of genetically engineered food. Another common tactic is the use of polls and appeals to popularity to lend them an air of public support. Additionally the insistence of GMO labeling advocates that we should only eat "foods from nature" also seems to display about as much awareness of how modern foods were shaped as the Banana Man Ray Comfort.

ImageImage

Aside from the lack of any significant nutritional difference between current GE and non-GE crops, industry and some consumer advocates often argue that mandatory GMO labeling is undesirable because it may increase food costs. Requiring a label that reads "contains genetically engineered ingredients" for the benefit of those that wish to avoid GMOs may be unfair both to food producers and consumers without a concern about genetically engineered food if the added cost is borne by the producer and consumers of such GE foods. It should also be noted that there are conflicting studies on the question of how much mandatory labeling would increase costs and whether such labels would have a significant impact on consumer habits, so it is by no means a slam dunk argument nor I think the appropriate one to be making. On the other hand simply allowing a product to be labeled as "not produced using biotechnology" or "not made with genetically engineered ingredients", within certain guidelines, puts any added burden on those that choose to seek out such foods or companies wishing to cash in on unfounded fears surround genetically engineered food. Consider Kosher or Halal labeling, should those who have no concern for Kosher or Halal guidelines be forced to pay any added cost of a nationally imposed labeling system?

This brings to mind the issue of labeling in regards to animal products. I'm well acquainted with the frustrations of trying to avoid animal products in a society in which consumption of animals is taken for granted. I've read countless food packages, Ive called and emailed many companies, I used to walk around with a copy of Animal Ingredients A to Z in my bag, Ive abstained when I just wasn't sure, but among all this what Ive never done is demand that the government require a label clearly denoting the presence of animal products. Does it make sense in the context of food labeling law? Not really. Would such label even be desirable? Perhaps, though perhaps not. No doubt numerous vegetarians and vegans have expressed their desire for such labels and I would find them convenient but I foresee issues as well. Would it be a pragmatic use of energy and resources? I doubt it. Perhaps in the future I shall explore this tangent in more depth.

When GMO labeling advocates make claims that they are having "GMOs shoved down" their throat and that they are being "forced" and "lied to" they are just playing the (lazy) victim. Failing to make an effort to inform oneself about the foods they are buying is neither an outside imposition of force nor deception. As noted by Steve Savage "GMO food is actually already labeled if you know a few rules". Vegans can read ingredient labels and call the company to ask about questionable ingredients that may come from multiple sources such as lecithin or monoglycerides, Non-GMO eaters can read ingredient labels and call the company to ask about sourcing of questionable ingredients such as soy or maltodextrin. Non-GMO folks have also learned a few quick tricks for avoiding GMOs such as looking for an organic label, similarly vegans have their own quick tricks to help avoid animal products such as checking for cholesterol or looking for a Parve label. There are many food companies which label their food as "vegan" themselves or who use third party vegan certification labels which can help in making quick choices in the store. Similarly there are many companies which are choosing to proudly label their food as "Non-GMO" and many who are getting third party certification through organizations such as the Non-GMO Project. In the end vegans tend to get by just fine avoiding animal products, I see no reason why those with fears of GMOs can not do the same.

Further reading:
Science: What’s it up to? by Karl Haro von MogelWhat’s in a label? by Anastasia Bodnarhttp://www.biofortified.org/2011/10/science-whats-it-up-to/
To Label or Not to Label by Pamela Ronald
Obama will (probably) not label GE foods by Karl Haro von Mogel
GMO Food Is Actually Already Labeled If You Know A Few Rules by Steve Savage
The Right to Know: Why GMO Labeling Law Isn’t So Black and White by Rob Hebert


IF you want to avoid GE foods you have the tools as a vegan already. You already know that many animal products are not clearly labeled and that you have to do a bit of personal research. You also know about voluntary third party "vegan" labeling that you can support. In the same way you can support third party non-gmo labeling (like the non-gmo project) and research the source of your food.
I find it strange that there is a bigger push among vegans to get GMO labeling that to get mandatory animal product labeling.


Interesting blog post about labelling, SV. It should be noted, though, that both eggs and fish are considered Parve, so a Parve label alone does not guarantee something is animal free.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:13 pm 
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Quote:
Interesting blog post about labelling, SV. It should be noted, though, that both eggs and fish are considered Parve, so a Parve label alone does not guarantee something is animal free.

I know Parve does not mean something is vegan (though it is my understanding that it generally means dairy-free), I wasn't saying that it meant it was vegan, rather as I said it was one quick trick "to help avoid animal products", like looking for cholesterol, that can help you spot things with or without animal products easier. The ingredient label is still the best way, but if you quickly spot something like cholesterol on the label you can save the time of reading the ingredients and move on.
Its not really something I use though, I just read label as I'm pretty familiar with many of the more obscure ingredients, and if Im really confused I email em.

sorry if that came off as saying that parve is vegan

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:06 pm 
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This AMA thread from Reddit may be of some interest- http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/q ... nic_plant/

Personally I don't go out of my way to avoid them, but a lot of the products I prefer happen to be non-gmo.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:39 pm 
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chools wrote:
From a vegan perspective one of the disturbing aspects within GMO technology is that genes can cross the species barrier

As far as I know it has only been experimental and never placed on the market, but one GM tomato contained a gene from a winter flounder (fish).

Fruit and vegetables are the mainstay of a vegan lifestyle but how would we feel if we could no longer trust that the tomato you picked up in the store contained nothing but tomato genes, not too good. And with increased pressure upon governments from GM companies will we ever know what is truly in our food, or indeed what is growing in the field next door to you

'What it really is' - who knows if it really is what it looks like. One thing is certain, GMO technology is likely to make us less unsure of what the origin is of the food we are eating. 'Might contain fish genes' no thank you


That's a very essentialist view of what constitutes a species or a "plant gene" or "animal gene". For most DNA sequences, you'd have some difficulty finding out which species it came from without checking it against known genes. There are a couple of things that might give you a clue because they tell you what sort of context it happens to have been evolving in, a lot of them unrelated to function (population size, chromosome size, metabolic rate...). Antifreeze proteins do exist in plants. They work a little differently, but having such a protein isn't an essential characteristic of being a flounder. Would it be "more vegan" if someone constructed a new sequence modeled after the fish one and stuck it in a tomato? As has been pointed out in this thread, horizontal gene transfer, i.e. between species, isn't that unusual. Your genome contains genes of viral origin, which are required for placenta formation (same thing in sheep and mice). If the tomato isn't doing any harm, I wouldn't have a problem if it contained invisible pink unicorn genes. I don't know where exactly the genes naturally found in tomatoes came from either - not without checking, but there's going to be plenty of stuff from microorganisms in there. Obviously, I don't belong to the "we" you speak of.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:17 pm 
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jonwell wrote:
This AMA thread from Reddit may be of some interest- http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/q ... nic_plant/

Personally I don't go out of my way to avoid them, but a lot of the products I prefer happen to be non-gmo.


Yeah Ive talked with him a little, he is nice and gave a presentation to a joint meetup of Vegan Chicago and Chicago Skeptics
its a good talk, download it here
Vegan Chicago Podcast #001 Dr. Kevin Folta - Frankenfoods: Cornerstones of the Next Green Revolution

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Quote:
Would it be "more vegan" if someone constructed a new sequence modeled after the fish one and stuck it in a tomato?

funny you should mention that, because there is such a controversy going on on http://taketheflourback.org/

Quote:
Cow genes on toast anyone? No thanks!...

This trial is testing a brand-new synthetically-constructed 'fake' gene that is 'most similar to one found in a cow'. This is the first use of synthetic genes in the UK, and a concerning use of animal genes in plants.

lol, wut? seriously that takes the cake right there. (The yummy cake made of genetically modified flour, mmmm)
Image

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:55 pm 
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That's a tasty looking cow!

SkepticalVegan, I was just wondering what your feelings were about the cross contamination concerns? I'm not at all anti-GM but that's one of the few things that I would worry about. The possibility of GM and non-GM crops cross breeding is real isn't it? And that would remove people's choice of whether they ate GM food.

Actually, thinking about it, if farmers don't keep their seeds from one year for the next (as I believe was said further back in the thread) then cross breeding wouldn't matter at all would it? (Forgive me if I'm missing something terribly obvious here!) But if non-GM wheat flowers and then is pollinated by GM wheat surely that would just result in hybrid seeds which then get discarded and the farmer buys new seeds to grow the next year. I suppose it would still be an issue if the seed companies created their seeds in fields which were open to contamination, but I don't really have a clue how seed companies produce their seed.

(Also I'm reading your blog SkepticalVegan, really enjoying it!)


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:11 pm 
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I want a bread cow!


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:09 pm 
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eryn wrote:
SkepticalVegan, I was just wondering what your feelings were about the cross contamination concerns? I'm not at all anti-GM but that's one of the few things that I would worry about. The possibility of GM and non-GM crops cross breeding is real isn't it? And that would remove people's choice of whether they ate GM food.

Actually, thinking about it, if farmers don't keep their seeds from one year for the next (as I believe was said further back in the thread) then cross breeding wouldn't matter at all would it? (Forgive me if I'm missing something terribly obvious here!) But if non-GM wheat flowers and then is pollinated by GM wheat surely that would just result in hybrid seeds which then get discarded and the farmer buys new seeds to grow the next year. I suppose it would still be an issue if the seed companies created their seeds in fields which were open to contamination, but I don't really have a clue how seed companies produce their seed.


Cross pollination can be an issue for different crops to different degrees, for some its an issue to be managed and for others its not an issue at all, though when it is an issue it is not a new one or a problem unique to GMOs.
This might be helpful...(also speaks to your question about how “certified seed” is produced) I recommend reading the whole post if you have the time
quoting from Genetic Contamination May Not Mean What You Think It Means by Steve Savage
Quote:
Long before the advent of GMO crops, farmers of certain crops have had to manage “genetic contamination” issues involving normal cross pollination. Wheat is wind pollinated and farmers commonly save part of their crop each year to serve as seed for the next (“saved seed”). Wheat is also a crop with very specific quality characteristics for its various uses (raised breads, flat breads, crackers, pastries, noodles…). New wheat varieties are bred for those specific uses. There is a network of dedicated wheat seed growers who produce “certified seed” with enough isolation from other wheat so that the seed they produce is >95% the desired variety. If a farmer plants that certified seed (usually at a small cost above current grain price), the crop he/she produces will be what is desired for the end use. If the farmer saves some of that crop and plants it a second year, it will be less pure because of cross pollination from neighboring fields. After a few years, it is necessary for the farmer to buy new certified seed because his/her own supply is “contaminated.” There are many more examples like this for “saved seed” crops.

Hybrid seeds are grown by dedicated seed growers and purchased by the farmers every year. This system insures both genetic purity for specific needs and the extra vigor and yield potential that hybridization enables.

Whether it is a “saved seed” crop or a hybrid crop, GE versions create no new issues beyond what farmers have always been managing. It only becomes an issue when someone wants to set a zero tolerance unlike the rational tolerances that have made all of these crops work for a very long time.


If people have a right to not eat even stray GE substances, does not the same right must stand for hybrids and product of mutagenesis? After all there is also a subset of environmental and health activists who make many poorly supported claims about these forms of breeding similar to ones made about GE foods. French activists recently destroyed some crops made through mutation breeding
Quote:
What the anti-GMO activists are targeting now is mutagenesis use in plant breeding and, in particular, to produce herbicide resistance, such as those of Clearfield or Express Sun sunflower varieties (the former having actually been originally obtained by a spontaneous mutation).

Actually, the destruction at Sorigny concerned a high-oleic variety of sunflower. Oleic varieties do result from mutagenesis, and some are also used in organic farming. Therefore, if one follows the anti-GMO opponents’ rhetoric, it is ironic that organic farmers are using « hidden-GMOs »!


I just really find the focus on GE crops as arbitrary.

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(Also I'm reading your blog SkepticalVegan, really enjoying it!)

thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:42 am 
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SkepticalVegan wrote:
Quote:
Would it be "more vegan" if someone constructed a new sequence modeled after the fish one and stuck it in a tomato?

funny you should mention that, because there is such a controversy going on on http://taketheflourback.org/

Quote:
Cow genes on toast anyone? No thanks!...

This trial is testing a brand-new synthetically-constructed 'fake' gene that is 'most similar to one found in a cow'. This is the first use of synthetic genes in the UK, and a concerning use of animal genes in plants.

That's hilarious! If I was going to insert a transgene, I'd probably want to optimize codon usage to get the host organism to make the protein more accurately and efficiently. Which is what they're doing. I like how they gave such... nuanced information. From the defra application:

Quote:
The nucleotide sequences of these genes are synthetic and chimaeric and
not found naturally. However, the enzyme encoded by the EBFS cassette is similar to that found in
peppermint (Mentha × piperita) and the enzyme encoded by the FPPS cassette has most similarity
to that from cow (Bos taurus) but is generally ubiquitous and occurs in most organisms.


So the amino acid sequence is similar to cow, but the gene is going to differ quite a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:06 am 
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I think I would be more open to GM foods if it wasn't that the first major agriculture use was to add pesticide to them.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:31 am 
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But you eat pesticides all the time, they are naturally produced by many plants. But what is harmful to bugs is not necessarily harmful to humans, especially at similar doses. No one has really demonstrated harm though from Bt crops which have been the subject of various experiments and eaten by millions of people and generations of domestic animals worldwide.

Natural Pesticides by Bruce N. Ames, Chairman of the Dpt. of Biochemistry, Univ. of Calif. at Berkeley.

also its good to realize the positive environmental impact BT crops, they r meant to reduce use of non-specific, non-targeted pesticide sprays, helping top save non-target organisms

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