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New Study Confirms Safety of GM Crops

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-it's-weeeeird dept.

Biotech 571

New submitter ChromeAeonium writes "Much like vaccines and evolution, there exists a great disparity between the scientific consensus and the public perceptions of the safety of genetically engineered crops. A previous study from France, which was later dismissed by the EFSA, FSANZ, and the French High Council of Biotechnologies, claiming to have found abnormalities in the organs of animals fed GM diets by analyzing three previous studies was discussed on Slashdot. However, a new study, also out of France, claims the opposite is true, that GM crops are unlikely to pose health risks (translation of original in French). Looking at 24 long-term and multi-generational studies on insect resistant and herbicide tolerant plants, the study states, 'The studies reviewed present evidence to show that GM plants are nutritionally equivalent to their non-GM counterparts and can be safely used in food and feed.' Although it is impossible to prove a negative, and while every GM crop must be individually evaluated as genetic engineering is a process not a product, perhaps this study will help to ease the fears of genetically engineered food and foster a more scientific discussion on the role of agricultural biotechnology."

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GMO Crops are OK? Whatever (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38470946)

Now I have zero trust and respect for the slashdot community.

Sit in your level-locked programming cubes.

Re:GMO Crops are OK? Whatever (4, Funny)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38470970)

Personally I would never eat peas after Mendel had his hands on them.

<sarcasm/>

GM Makes Crops Now!?! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471038)

Way to go Obongo! You bail out GM and now they're MAKING CROPS because they can't MAKE CARS. POINTLESS.
 
Now I'm going to go back to drinking my rumpelmintz and hydrocodone, you insensitive spawn!

Re:GMO Crops are OK? Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471148)

Personally I would never eat peas after Mendel had his hands on them.

<sarcasm/>

But Mendel never cross bred a pea with a firefly.

It's one thing to breed plants and mess with pollen and steer nature in a direction; it's another to start messing with genes and DNA and putting things in them that is impossible to happen in nature.

Re:GMO Crops are OK? Whatever (4, Informative)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471176)

But Mendel never cross bred a pea with a firefly.

Genetic engineering doesn't splice food with animals either. Try and find a reliable source for your idiotic hysteria.

Re:GMO Crops are OK? Whatever (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471306)

To be fair to the grandparent, glowing peas would be pretty awesome and if someone is not trying to splice firefly and pea DNA to achieve this then I think we should be looking hard at the genetics community and asking 'why not?'

Re:GMO Crops are OK? Whatever (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471412)

Fruit that starts glowing when perfectly ripe (or when it's time to be picked before it becomes ripe during shipping) would be awesome. Just like the Firefly Fruit of Macaroon in Duck Tales.

Re:GMO Crops are OK? Whatever (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471348)

Not successfully, as yet... [pbs.org] . The theory was that the antifreeze proteins used by the arctic flounder to resist cold damage in its rather hostile environment would produce a tomato resistant to frosts and cold storage.

Splicing the gene in worked just fine. However, the product wasn't significantly better, as a tomato, and the PR was bad.

Good old Green Fluorescent Protein, a jellyfish derivative, has been spliced into just about anything and everything somebody in a lab coat has cared to hold still for 10 minutes; but largely as a proof-of-technique or imaging agent, it has no obvious value for food crops.

Our experience to the present suggests that attempting to grab useful animal traits and shove them into plants(I, for one, welcome the tomeato with enthusiasm!) is harder than naive speculation would suggest; but that there is no magic barrier to splicing animal genes into plants, other animals, bacterial, etc.

Re:GMO Crops are OK? Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471364)

Re:GMO Crops are OK? Whatever (2)

dmatos (232892) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471422)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacillus_thuringiensis [wikipedia.org]

Bacterium genes are spliced into vegetables as one of the most common forms of GMO crops. In general, it's not unusual for genes to be lifted from one genome and inserted into another that would be vanishingly improbable to happen in the wild.

I won't say "impossible" because some genes are thought to have been transferred between species through viruses, but it's a very very rare occurrence.

I'll also head this off and say that I'm not philosophically opposed to genetic manipulation of foodstuffs.

Re:GMO Crops are OK? Whatever (4, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471480)

Horizontal gene transfer actually is a fairly significant evolutionary force in nature.

Re:GMO Crops are OK? Whatever (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38470986)

Your science does not confirm my preconceived notions! I will reject it out of hand and dismiss you as sheep. SHEEEEP!

Re:GMO Crops are OK? Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471088)

"I reject your reality and substitute my own."

As in medical advice from Dr. Bob? (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471058)

So...

You're saying you used to have trust and respect for the slashdot community?

Re:As in medical advice from Dr. Bob? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471158)

I'm also a big fan of the apparent claim that somehow the slashdot community writes and agrees with every article posted.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38470948)

New study confirms the safety of FIRST POST

Re:First Post (4, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471312)

The study goes on to say that failed attempts at a first post can harm your karma.

Re:First Post (1, Interesting)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471350)

How do you go from generally positive comments to FIRST POSTing like a typical troll? I wonder how many other FIRST POSTers generally provide insightful commentary in other conversations... I guess we'll never know except in rare cases of forgetting to tick the "Post Anonymously" box as demonstrated here.

Crazy vs. Evil (5, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38470962)

You cannot ease the fears of the crazy. If you could, they wouldn't be crazy.

But label the damn things so people can choose. Trying to sneak it under the radar - that's the true evil.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (4, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471002)

Can't do that. It'll never sell, and the issue isn't the genetic modifications themselves and their positives or negatives. It's the perceived un-naturalness of the GM process. People buy "organic" stuff - paying significant premiums - as if that means anything in practice. The perception is that it's more natural.

It's a measure of the idiocy of the sheeple. Regardless, it must be considered a fact of life.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (0)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471326)

People buy "organic" stuff - paying significant premiums - as if that means anything in practice.

Some people taste the difference, some don't.
The farmes earn more and have in many cases less work, so why not?

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (2, Insightful)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471484)

If people taste the difference, it's psychological. It's because they expect to taste the difference.

As for "Why not?", there's a simple answer: Because it promotes scientific ignorance and actually hurts the effort to feed people if they refuse to accept food that we can make more plentiful or more hardy by genetic engineering.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (3, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471016)

"But label the damn things so people can choose."

To what purpose? Making sure people see that GM food is "different" and perpetuating the hysteria?

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (4, Insightful)

Binestar (28861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471044)

I'm not sure I would force the "GM" label on something, but don't slap down companies that choose to say "Not GM" on their label (This happens already)

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471100)

If you don't force it it's unlikely that consumers will have any meaningful ability to avoid GMO products. It's not the apples and the carrots that people ought to be concerned with, those are easy enough to get organic versions of, it's the processed foods where all but the soy might not be GMO and that's not necessarily going to be listed.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471250)

What makes you think that "organic" foods aren't GM? If they avoid the use of chemical pesticides then it is quite beneficial to use plants which are disease and pest resistant. I would not be surprised if a higher % of organic vegetables were GM than non-organic. I'm not saying this is bad either. Death cap mushrooms are "organic" but not exactly good for you. I would certainly prefer a GM shitake grown on a clean artificial substrate any day.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (3, Funny)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471398)

I'm not sure I would force the "GM" label on something

But then how will I know which carrots will have their transmission blow after five years?

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (0, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471078)

It's not perpetuating hysteria, people have the right to avoid GMO products. Just because those particular batches are safe doesn't lessen the possibility of random genes collecting in other organisms and working together in completely unforeseen ways. What's worse they do the research in the open and it's hardly without precedence for the genes to end up cross contaminating other fields.

If anything the view people have of GMO products is way too relaxed.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (4, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471202)

What you state about GM crops is perfectly possible with non-GM crops. Stop the hysteria.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (5, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471290)

I'm not aware of any plants that have naturally built man-made pesticides into their DNA sequences, nor "intelligently designed" themselves to be harmed by pesticides of Monsanto's competitors while being ok with Monsanto pesticides. Stop your pro-GM hysteria. Stop your mega-corporate worshiping hysteria. Let me guess, you own Monsanto stock.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (4, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471430)

"I'm not aware of any plants that have naturally built man-made pesticides into their DNA sequences..."

Perhaps because that's not what's happening in the lab either.

People speaking from an assumed position of authority without sufficient knowledge to do so are a big part of the problem.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471242)

Just because those particular batches are safe doesn't lessen the possibility of random genes collecting in other organisms and working together in completely unforeseen ways.

Metal Gear Solid has a lot to answer for in it's portrayal of genetics.
Unless the 'other organisms' you're talking about are the same species as the ones that have been modified (because genes are transmitted sexually, they're not a disease that can be caught like Salmonella or a chemical that can accumulate like DDT), and that whatever genes modified and working fine in one organism of the species will somehow act totally and wildly differently in another organism of the same species, I'd say your worries are unfounded.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471390)

  (because genes are transmitted sexually, they're not a disease that can be caught like Salmonella or a chemical that can accumulate like DDT),

This is not correct.
Plants exchange genes across species. Mainly via plant viruses but also via bacteria and other means.
This is well known since the 1960s.

and that whatever genes modified and working fine in one organism of the species will somehow act totally and wildly differently in another organism of the same species, I'd say your worries are unfounded.

And this is complete nonsense. A gene is a blueprint for the construction of an amino acid. That is happening the same way in EVERY species if the gen is "active". That amino acid might have a slightly different effect in another species ... nevertheless the gene itself has the same effect.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (1)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471316)

Mutations of various sorts have been happening since the dawn of time. We're just as likely to have "random genes" collect in other organisms before GM as we are now.

The only reason I distrust GM crops is because we as a culture care only about profit; all the various risks are looked at through that lens. So:

"I could improve these crops, but the risk is that I'll kill off these bugs that happen to be the cornerstone of the ecosystem causing untold damage"
becomes
"I could improve these crops, but the risk is that I'll get sued and go bankrupt."

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471132)

Because I don't want to support companies like Monsanto. If you do that is fine with me but I do not support greed.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (5, Insightful)

fredrated (639554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471154)

To what purpose? How about so people can know what they are buying? People have a right to make their own choices however irrational you preceive those choices to be.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471234)

"But label the damn things so people can choose."

To what purpose? Making sure people see that GM food is "different" and perpetuating the hysteria?

No. I prefer heirloom stuff when I can get it. And no matter what they say, GM food is bad for you, because we weren't designed to eat GM food.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (5, Informative)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471314)

No. I prefer heirloom stuff when I can get it. And no matter what they say, GM food is bad for you, because we weren't designed to eat GM food.

We weren't designed at all, mind you.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (3, Informative)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471022)

This is originating in France for a reason. GMO crops have prompted riots in that country. These people are serious about food. America has been a push-over when it comes to GMO and most other food adulteration.

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471030)

I also approve of showing 'Genetically Modified' on the labels. Instead of the classic brand wars, we can have 'Organic', 'GM', 'Classic', 'Hydroponic', 'Reconstituded Soy Food Alternative', and 'Other' on our packages. I'd still buy for taste, nutrition, and cost, but just having all the options in large print would make it easier to play with the luddite vegans.

Someone already made the General Motors joke :-( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471116)

having all the options in large print would make it easier to play with the luddite vegans

Luddite Vegans

Touched for the very first time

Luddite Ve-e-e-e-gans

With their non-GM crops, next to mine

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (2)

Knightman (142928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471200)

You forgot 'Soylent green'... :)

Re:Crazy vs. Evil (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471108)

Indepenent of the safety, if their crop cross polinates with mine and I use the seed from my crop they take me to court for infringing their patents.

That's nice.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38470998)

That's a nice result and all, but it doesn't address the real concerns with GE crops:

1. patent wars on farmers
2. cross-contamination to non-GM crops / organic farms
3. against license agreements to save seed
4. crop monoculture

Re:That's nice.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471124)

Shhhh! You'll get in their way of attacking the weakest link, while ignoring the numerous other valid complaints.

Re:That's nice.. (5, Insightful)

jcupitt65 (68879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471170)

There's also environmental damage. Herbicide-tolerant crops mean the farmer can spray more and push yields higher, but greater use of herbicides damages diversity in the surrounding countryside. I suppose this is related to your point 4.

Re:That's nice.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471192)

Very good points! and all very true. The nutritional is just one very small part of the equation. The way natural mutations work is successful changes produce a healthy species. A mutation that is too successful ends up getting killed off because it deletes it's food supply. Over the long run we end up with a balanced Eco-system.

When anti-biotics first came out, they were over-used and now we have super germs. GM crops are already producing super weeds. No mater how toxic you make an environment, if it can support life, life will figure out a way.

As a last though I think it's funny that one study supporting the corporate view should convince us unwashed doubter, however years of studies are considered flawed if they go against the corporate views (i.e. climate change).

Re:That's nice.. (2)

jimmetry (1801872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471218)

And if they add effective killswitch genes.... wouldn't that make it a little too easy for terrorists to target the food supply?

Re:That's nice.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471240)

The GM issue is sort of like the nuclear power issue. Sure, most GM food is fine, but what's the potential downside? Even when we get the desired result, it's not like we really understand the consequences of modifying a system that finely tuned and complex. No one can say if we'll have an event that makes us wish we'd handled this differently. No one can say if we're one mutation away from an accidental mass poisoning or the eradication of native plant species. One thing's for sure, when you plant hundreds of thousands of genetically modified plants, you end up with one or two that don't behave as expected.

People fear change and the unknown (1, Insightful)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471000)

This debate will be a non-issue in a few years once it's realized that it's just an advancement in agriculture and not a plot to destroy the world. People are so silly when they start picking sides. It's a curious behavior we have that leads us astray on many issues.

Re:People fear change and the unknown (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471296)

True, but the last thing anyone wants is an *informed* debate.

Re:People fear change and the unknown (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471336)

This is becoming a huge issue as people realize their governments are in the pockets of mega-corporations that do not have the good of the people in mind. GM crops by Monsanto are designed to be harmed by competitors pesticides while being compatible with Monsanto's. GM crops introduce the dangers of monocultures. GM crops bring patent infringement suits against farmers, bring licensing agreements to control farmer's behaviours. The bad far outweighs any good.

Re:People fear change and the unknown (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471456)

Read up on Genetic use restriction technology (GURT) i.e. the single use/suicide seeds - terminator technology.

Let me guess... (-1, Troll)

Mantis8 (876944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471010)

This new study was paid by Monsanto?

Here are all the studies proving otherwise: http://search.mercola.com/search/Pages/results.aspx?k=safety%20of%20gm%20foods [mercola.com]

Counterfeit foods, like anything counterfeit, is, by definition, inferior to the original.

Re:Let me guess... (1)

pinkj (521155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471082)

I don't think Mercola is a valid source.


SMB on Mercola [sciencebasedmedicine.org]

Not true (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471208)

If you've ever had Mr. Brown Iced Coffee, and Hello Boss Iced Coffee, if would be clear that Hello Boss is, or at least was a knockoff, but Hello Boss and Boss Coffee is much better.

I have heard the opposite claims as well, but I know which one I like.

Confirms? (1)

barryvoeten (5508) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471028)

How do you mean, confirms? As if they already knew this would be the outcome....

As a Frenchman, allow me to add... (5, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471032)

Like a previous poster mentioned, the study ''proving'' the safety of GM crops was financed, at least in part, by a consortium of large French companies with an interest (a large interest) in GM crops.

Make of that what you will, but it reminds me of these studies, sponsored by Microsoft, ''proving'' that Windows was more secure than Linux.

Re:As a Frenchman, allow me to add... (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471206)

It's ok, you can say "Monsanto".

What about Ecological Dangers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471042)

I was never really worried about my health, but more of possible ecological impacts of GM crops. I am not convinced it is easy to estimate what these are.

Then again I guess this is the case for many other human activities. Ah the joys of Complex Systems...

Well, surprise (1)

rbrander (73222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471048)

You find human beings on every corner of this globe, subsisting for millenia on every possible local bit of biology from arctic seals to desert scorpions, and it turns out this doesn't kill us, either. Well, the food at certain southern restaurants does lead to a lot of heartburn, but other than that, we're good to go.

Re:Well, surprise (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471352)

plenty of humans in history have died or been maimed trying poisonous foods. How do we know what plants and animals and preparation processes are poisonous?

Why all the fuss about GM crops? (2)

Froggels (1724218) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471050)

Why would anyone consider a crop "dangerous" simply because it may have had some gene spliced or DNA sequence slightly altered? After ingesting food doesn't the body break the food down anyway then build its own proteins as it sees fit?

Re:Why all the fuss about GM crops? (2)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471210)

"After ingesting food doesn't the body break the food down anyway then build its own proteins as it sees fit?"

Not completely. Some gets into the body more or less intact. Else you couldn't have allergic reactions to proteins in foods you eat.

It's also one reason why tracking down food allergies with skin tests can be difficult. It may not be the full protein you're so allergic to, but one of the fragments it gets cleaved into in the gut.

Re:Why all the fuss about GM crops? (2)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471428)

True, but this can occur with any kind of food. But the application of the words "genetic modification" seem to elicit a response of "OMGOMGWe'reAllGoingToDie,WhatAboutTheFuckingChildren" amongst the uninformed.

For the most part, nucleic acids and proteins are stripped apart by our cunning biochemical metabolism into simple component parts that are completely harmless, and any kind of reaction is usually hysterical.

Problem with GM crops is IP control, not health (5, Insightful)

ZmeiGorynych (1229722) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471052)

The major problem with GM crops is their intellectual property implications, and another one is accidental cross-breeding with wild plants. If people are able and allowed to use the seeds of last year's GM crop to seed this year's crop, without paying a yearly fee to Monsanto or some such, and if there is a way to guarantee that the modified genes won't spill over into the wild plant gene pool (causing who knows what damage as wild plants become poisonous to bugs that feed off them), I wouldn't have a problem with GM - but what are the chances of either? Not very high.

Re:Problem with GM crops is IP control, not health (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471384)

You could, in principle, solve the second problem by making the plants unable to reproduce. I'm not sure how that would be accomplished though - my plant biology is a bit rusty. There are plenty of crops that don't produce seeds (mostly fruit, as far as I remember), and some that can only propagate through cloning (like bananas).

Of course, that only makes the intellectual property issue worse - you still can't use seeds from last year's crop, because there wouldn't be any.

That's not the damn point (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471064)

Health issues are not the damn point of this subject. Who really cares what your next carbohidrates source will be? The issues are about poluting the organic crops and then making people pay a seed license. Patents and ownership are yet again the real issues here

The issue isn't with GMO safety (5, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471066)

It is with the fact that companies like Monsanto now *own* the genetic code to the crop and can destroy anyone they think is "using" it without paying them a fee.

That is the real danger and threat to society. Add in the few strains of the crop being produced now and it becomes an even bigger threat to being totally wiped out with a single disease.

Monsanto and their unholy alliance with the US Government is the danger, people.

Re:The issue isn't with GMO safety (1)

apcullen (2504324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471196)

Here's what I don't understand: why can't some other company make essentially the same organism and just "code around" the patent? In software, there are a hundred different ways to achieve a similar effect and so most patents are easy enough to get around.
Genetic sequences, with their billions of possible combinations, and thousands of genes that are dormant and do nothing, should be incredibly easy to do this with. So why doesn't someone start selling a cheap knock-off of Monsanto's crop?

Re:The issue isn't with GMO safety (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471478)

Because the term genetic "code" is a metaphor, not a reality. You don't just enter in a value and let it run. It takes significantly more resources to modify genes- the kind of resources a company like Monsanto- which coincidentally also owns numerous university research programs- have. Furthermore, it is relatively easy to get genes to do one thing in a plant, and relatively difficult to get them to do one thing without interfering with anything else the plant does, like breeding. This means that the processes have to be done more times, multiplying the resource cost and making it more difficult for anyone without the resources Monsanto has to attempt.

Re:The issue isn't with GMO safety (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471496)

In software, there are a hundred different ways to achieve a similar effect and so most patents are easy enough to get around.

That is not really true. For most things is "one way" of "doing it right". Doing it in a different way to be not in conflict with a patent usually makes your thing different. Example: mp3 verus ogg. An ogg player cant decode mp3s an mp3 player cant decode ogg. As simple as that.
Donald Knuth once asked regarding software patents once awnsered: if I hand out a test to my students with a programming (algorithm) question, I expect them to come all to more or less the same answer.

So why doesn't someone start selling a cheap knock-off of Monsanto's crop?

Because most of the world does not want to have Monsanto's crops at all!

Re:The issue isn't with GMO safety (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471220)

I want to see the lawsuit of the organic farmer whose crops are contaminated by the GMO crops (which aren't planted in accordance w/ the corporate guidelines of a sacrificial buffer strip of non-GMO crops around the edge of the field) as opposed to the set-piece lawsuit of the farmer who altered his crop rotation so as to capture pollen from a neighboring field to gain the advantages of the GMO crops w/o paying the license.

William

2 years...really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471074)

Because (up to) two-year studies are enough to determine the long-term affects of food. Many of our biggest health issues arise from a decade or more of poor eating habits.

Re:2 years...really? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471262)

The only thing that matters to this study is if the food does any damage before it passes out of the system. Two years should be plenty of time to study a statistically significant sample size.

Eat up! (0)

jugs (1300439) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471090)

Please do eat as much GMO food as you can, because I sure as fuck won't. You guys are clows.

The Whole Picture... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471096)

They are ok to eat, but the envirement?

Wishful Thinking (2, Insightful)

TooManyNames (711346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471122)

perhaps this study will help to ease the fears of genetically engineered food and foster a more scientific discussion on the role of agricultural biotechnology

Yeah, because people who reject vaccines and evolution despite overwhelming scientific evidence are going to suddenly embrace reason concerning genetically modified crops. If anything, this study will somehow reinforce their views. Already, I see others on /. -- people who really should know better -- cooking up conspiracy theories.

Just like the 100 studies saying smoking was safe (2)

llZENll (545605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471130)

I'm sure its sponsored by GM companies. The point is why even mess with it, we have food that we can grow now that isn't GM, in fact if anything we need to diversify our food supply and go the opposite direction, different breeds of corn, wheat, soybeans instead of the same 3 that are grown in every field. The other massive problem with GM is a company can control and patent a seed, once it dominates and is entrenched they slowly squeeze the profits and life out of small farms and into larger companies.

Re:Just like the 100 studies saying smoking was sa (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471274)

we have food that we can grow now that isn't GM

Except for extremely drought-common countries, or areas where pests destroy crops before they can be harvested, etc. Those famine-stricken regions would probably be rather happy to have GM food rather than no food at all.

Fuck greens and fuck market fundamentalists (5, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471150)

Claiming that GM is safe is about as stupid is claiming that GM is dangerous. Every individual alteration should be examined and go through safety trials.

Compare with drugs (5, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471222)

  • * The IP of drugs are owned and vehemently defended by their owners - GM crops? check!
  • * Drugs are extensively tested on a variety of subjects from cute fluffy animals, up to controlled trials of volunteers - GM crops? Hmm .. not so sure of that
  • * Drugs can't propogate by themselves - GM crops? Oh yeah baby they can!
  • * Drugs can be recalled if a problem is later discovered (potentially years after their release) - GM Crops? Umm ... hmmm .. ahhh .. no
  • * Drugs can't jump from the pill bottle in your cabinet to a pill bottle in your neighbours cabinet, and infect their drugs - GM crops? (fingers in ears) la la la - I can't hear you!

More issues than just safety (5, Informative)

cthlptlk (210435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471246)

I agree that the fear of *eating* GMO foods is science-phobia. But even if GMO foods are safe, GMO agriculture is bad for everybody.

  Everything that you read on /. about intellectual property applies to the IP that Monsanto et al apply to their products and research. In fact, it's worse, because the wind doesn't blow proprietary software from nearby windows and OS X boxes onto your linux systems, causing you to owe the IP owners money and disabling your ability to build your own software.

  GMO seeds are also highly optimized to solve certain problems, and can fail miserably in other climates where local strains have been bred to adapt to local conditions. The farmers in India who are committing suicide en masse because their crops have failed are not just phobic about science. They got fucked in the ass.

  The GMO salmon that are safe to eat are so big because they never stop growing, so they never stop eating. Is that a species that you think would have no ecological impact if accidentally released into the wild?

OOOookay. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471254)

And we just rationalized totally ransacking natural evolution for profit. Evolution, mind that. a process that takes millions of years on average for mid-to higher species, has just been made a lego toy. A careful balance that has materialized after billions of years, is now at the mercy of whatever results the unbridled genetic modification for profit, will bring. Especially since the modified are breeding with the unmodified in fields, totally exterminating the natural species by mutating them. (this is probably one of the reasons why norwegians set up a vault to preserve seeds in norway some time ago)

Ah, did i tell you it was recently discovered that modification in crops was causing their pests to evolve and develop equally rapidly ? (was on slashdot)

Re:OOOookay. (3, Informative)

thrich81 (1357561) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471440)

Compare most dog breeds today to their wolf ancestors from only a few thousand or tens of thousands of years ago and you can see that humans have been ransacking natural evolution since before historical times. These deformed creatures would never have arisen from natural evolution. Same argument applies to the (pre-GMO) corn raised as a crop compared to its grassy ancestor.

Gimme A Choice (2)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471292)

Can't I just stick to buying local produce from my farmers market without having to wonder if good ol' Farmer Joe is using GM seeds?

I should have a choice to purchase non-GM produce at a price just as people should have the choice to purchase GM produce for another (perhaps the same) price.

Well duh Cpt. Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471300)

Why on earth people are wasting time and studies on this is beyond me. You create/breed a new crop through selection and genemanipulation, lo and behold, a new crop. You run the crop through chemical testing and if it still contains the same substances as the original crop (preferably in the desired proportions), THEN IT'S HARMLESS.

All this bullshit-scaremongering is the result of the boneheaded public who know nothing about cellular biology, chemistry etc.; and who think GM is the same as pumping pigs full of dioxins and steroids to make the pig produce more meat. In reality it's the ironical opposite, we do GM in order to AVOID having to inject chemicals into animals that may make it all the way to consumers.

Tell that to my diarrhea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471340)

Those GM Taco Bell shells did a number on me. Once they switched back, I was fine again.

GM Foods (1)

RandomAvatar (2487198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471342)

I have recently done a university essay on the health and economy of genetically modified food and I must say that this article comes very close to being a lie. Genetically modified food, specifically milk produced by cows given hormones in order to grow faster and produce more milk, is known to cause cancer. Additionally, new GM foods may create new allergies (unproven, but the chances are there), as well as transfer allergies between plants when injecting foreign DNA. Think of them injecting peanut DNA into corn, if the right portion of the peanut DNA is accepted, there is now a form of corn that will cause an allergy attack in people allergic to peanuts, and since production of GM crops are not heavily regulated, it is very possible for those plants to breed with the original plant, and spread unbeknownst to farmers (such as what has happened to canola and flax in Canada).

If anyone wants access to the full essay, I would be glad to share it.

Vaccine safety (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471344)

Here is a story from someone we know

a) normally developing child until 2 years of age, ahead of the development curve
b) got 2 vaccines in one day (DTP + one other I forgot)
c) developed massive fever the next day that lasted for a week. The poor mother would wake up every 4 hours to give the kid Advil
d) when fever subsided a week later, kid had lost most speech and socialization
e) officially diagnosed with PDD-NOS (the milder form of autism) a few months later

The kid is now 11 years old. The parents are $300,000 in debt due to out-of-pocket expenses trying to help him since that incident.
Both on the verge of nervous breakdown and suicidal.
Kid is barely functioning at school.

Vaccine safety my ass.

Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471370)

These are statistical studies, and you know what "they" say about statistics? There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics...

GM crops are harmful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471380)

GM crops are protected by patents, and this can harm those farmers who use non-GM crops, but get the genes of the GM crops into their plants through insemination. That alone is enough to not accept them, even if otherwise they should be perfectly safe.

Science can't "confirm" squat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471382)

It can only disprove it. Scientific knowledge is, at best, tentative because it can always be disproven by the next finding. It's not stable. People need to realize that.

Although it is impossible to prove a negative... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471386)

...that doesn't stop Slashdot from claiming just that in a headline.

Would it matter if GM Crops were dangerous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471410)

They're never going to ban them as there's too much money behind them. It's like X-Ray scanners in airports in the USA.

No matter how dangerous they are or how many cancers they cause they'll never been banned. Of course the Europeans banned them at their airports, but they're more enlightened about a number of things.

My Issue (1)

kenzal (1726510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471436)

It's not the fact that the crops are GM that I take issue with, I could really care less. My issues are what are done with certain GM crops. Genetically modifying crops so we can soak them with biocides is not cool in my book, as such biocides do not wash off, and ruins the land for anything other than crops modified to to resist the same things.

Question? (3, Insightful)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471452)

Did they test these plants before or after they dumped tons of extra pesticides on them?

That's one of the issues, we'll develop a Round-up resistant corn. Then the farmer will use 3x as much Woody's Round-up.

The end result is not that the particular GMO crop necessarily poses a health risk, but the greater use of pesticide related to that crop does.

False Headline (4, Informative)

skywire (469351) | more than 2 years ago | (#38471488)

The headline is egregiously wrong. But what else is new around here? If the article's abstract of the paper is anywhere close to accurate, this was just a toxicological study of the effects on animals of being fed certain genetically modified plants. It has NO predictive value with respect to the effects of other modifications.

Nice Study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38471498)

Still not going to eat your mutant food.

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