Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Publicly Funded GMO Research Facing Destruction In Italy

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the for-great-justice dept.

Biotech 245

ChromeAeonium writes "Shortly after the events in Rothamsted Research in the UK, where a publicly funded trial of wheat genetically engineered to repel aphids was threatened by activists with destruction and required police protection, another publicly funded experiment involving genetically engineered crops faces possible destruction (original in Italian). The trial, which is being conducted by researchers at the University of Tuscia in Italy on cherries, olives, and kiwis genetically engineered to have traits such as fungal disease resistance, started three decades ago. When field research of GE plants was banned in Italy in 2002, the trial received an extension to avoid being declared illegal, but was denied another in 2008, and following a complaint from the Genetic Rights Foundation, now faces destruction on June 12th, despite appeals from scientists. The researchers claim that the destruction is scientifically unjustifiable (only the male kiwis produce transgenic pollen and their flowers are removed) and wish to gather more information from the long running experiment."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


GE/GMO crops (4, Insightful)

andydread (758754) | about 2 years ago | (#40279471)

If you are genitically modifying crops they MUST be kept isoated from nature and ensure that they cannot contaminate conventional or organic farms with patented gene. Sealed greenhouse whatever. IF you can accomplish that then carry on and label your product as such.

Re:GE/GMO crops (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279493)

Or just don't patent it. As our population continues to surge we *need* to be able to produce food in greater quantities, and of consistent quality. People get scared of it because it is unnatural...but....if we do it right it can be healthier for us than the non-gm food. And there will be enough of it.

Re:GE/GMO crops (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#40279541)

Or just don't patent it. As our population continues to surge we *need* to be able to produce food in greater quantities, and of consistent quality.

Or cut down on population. Which is doable without resorting to war or murder (but, I repeat myself). Put the money into sex ed uncontaminated by religion, free prophylactics, and rewards for not having children. Positive reinforcements, not negative like China did.

Re:GE/GMO crops (5, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40279761)

Population is not a concern. The only reason why we have hunger is due to corrupt governments not because we can't produce enough food. We throw warehouses of bread out daily in the west. Western "food pantries" and the like are picker with what they will accept and won't accept than I am at the grocery store. Seriously, I volunteered at one and things that I'd have no problem buying at the grocery store they told me to throw away! Things such as pop tarts that had a hole in the box (not the individually wrapped pastries mind you), a gatorade bottle where the label had fallen off (despite the fact the top of the sealed container clearly said gatorade), etc.

The population will naturally decrease over time in the developing world like it has in the developed world, no need to be concerned. The world is a big place.

Re:GE/GMO crops (3, Informative)

Artifakt (700173) | about 2 years ago | (#40279971)

Sorry, but that's proof that the plural of anecdote is not data. I'm a regular volunteer at my church's outreach food distributions, and when we get more food than is needed we pass the rest on selectively to several different area food pantries, and usually stick around after delivery, help out, and sometimes even call their needs list for them and such to help them deal with a sudden spike in resources like that. What they will accept is very variable (Which is as it should be - private charities don't all need to be in lockstep.), and while I know places that would wory about a label coming off, I know more that wouldn't. For the hole in the outer package, it may make a difference if it was clearly a puncture or tear or if it looked like it might, even just possibly, be gnawed, but again, some places would take the foil packets out and pass them on, and some would give it out as is.
            I'm not disagreeing with what you wrote about the effects of corrupt governments either, but I suspect you are extrapolating too far, and maybe treating it like the whole story. Right now, giving to some nations mans propping up the parasites they have for "leaders", and .knowing a lot of materials won't get through. But, people have the choice to give to organizations that largely work around those governments, and there are ways, so long as your standard is not 100% honest government selflessly concerned about every starving person in that nation, and blind to any ethnic differences, or you're not going to give at all. There are still places where people are just plain going hungry.

Re:GE/GMO crops (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280303)

Likewise, using genetech to produce insuline should be stopped immediately. The only way to cut down on diabetes is to improve your diet. Hell, I throw healthy veggies away daily because everybody wants to eat hamburgers and drink coke all the time. Diabetes prone people will die off naturally over time and than we have solved the problem.

Same argument can be made about most avenues of progress. You sir, are anti-progressive. Look into a mirror, you do not deserve a /. id (so says the AC).

Re:GE/GMO crops (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#40279807)

Um, there happens to be a fairly large group of people that have large families so that hopeful several of them will live long enough to help support the parents in their old age. There is also the popular "keep popping out kids until we get a male, and possibly a backup male".

Re:GE/GMO crops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279555)

How about, stop surging in population? Yeah, novel idea. But maybe having 12 kids per woman is a little high and unsustainable.

Re:GE/GMO crops (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280239)

So you don't believe in Darwinism then ?

Here's why I'm asking this question btw : the economics of evolution mean that if some subgroup of people decided to limit their children, they'll simply be outcompeted (much quicker than you'd expect btw) by a group that doesn't. Therefore the correct course of action, evolutionary speaking, if there is a food shortage, is to do your very best to have as many kids as possible, and worsen the food problem as much and as quickly as possible.

And just so you don't pull the "enforcement" card "a group that doesn't" can of course be the group that's better at evading laws.

And if your answer is that humans are somehow "above" that, I would say that you don't really believe in darwinism at all. After all claiming you believe in something, then completely disregarding it's predictions is about as believable as the US government's (or China's, or Saudi Arabia's, or ...) "belief" in global warming. It's deception at best, fraud at worst.

There's the card of "but western states have declining birthrates". That's true, but that's only because you somehow feel the need to make "a nation" the deciding divider line. If you include levels of religiosity you see an entirely different picture unfold, where instead of a stabilizing population, you see a replacement of non-religious population with religious population that's proceeding at a pace that will make most nations majority-extremists (of whatever religion) usually in less than 100 years. Or if you split by ethnic group, again a different picture will unfold (then again, maybe that's really the same picture). That a bunch of spoilt, extremely rich, never been forced to deal with the real world kids do not see the need to procreate is not very strange (and exactly what happens in nature. If you just overpopulate a region, the animals will fiercely compete to have as many kids as possible, while the food source dwindles. If you overpopulate a region, and make sure the food source more than keeps up with population, large groups of animals lose interest in procreation, and die off. This can stabilize a population number, IF AND ONLY IF there is no food shortage (anywhere), and at the cost of extreme instability in ethnic groups (which leads of course, to most ethnic groups disappearing).

We *think* that we are somehow "rational" (the fact that different people don't agree on what rational is, and that there is no obvious flaw in any of their reasoning, of course mathematically means that there is in fact no rational course of action. If you define a rational the way economists define it, of course), but we're not. Every subgroup, and this is equally true for militant atheists as for extremist christians, is simply wrong. As illustrated above, if atheists truly believed in science, they would do what science predicts to be optimal for themselves and for their group, and have as many kids as possible. Extremist christians, despite being opposed to science, are in fact much more rational in the way they live their lives.

I guess my point here is that atheists run afoul of the basic principle that there is no amount of knowledge about gun mechanics that will protect you if you shoot yourself in the head.

Re:GE/GMO crops (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280209)

Or just don't patent it. As our population continues to surge we *need* to be able to produce food in greater quantities, and of consistent quality. People get scared of it because it is unnatural...but....if we do it right it can be healthier for us than the non-gm food. And there will be enough of it.

Bollocks. There is already plenty of natural food to go around. Not only in first world countries but second and third world countries as well. The problem is one of distribution and kick backs. For many years surplus european crops were destroyed under the PAC simply because it was more economic than selling (or donating) them to non european countries.
Even in the US farmers are paid to not produce surplus crops. Nice eh ?
We don't need GM foods. We need a better policy on agriculture not based on fucked up "incentives".

Re:GE/GMO crops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279529)

Yea, and that's already been covered:

The researchers claim that the destruction is scientifically unjustifiable (only the male kiwis produce transgenic pollen and their flowers are removed)

Re:GE/GMO crops (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40279727)

If you are genitically modifying crops they MUST be kept isoated from nature.

People have been genetically modifying crops for ten thousand years. Banning genetic research makes about as much sense as banning motorcycle repair, because the motorcycles might escape and survive in the wild.

Re:GE/GMO crops (4, Informative)

istartedi (132515) | about 2 years ago | (#40279773)

Selective breeding and GMO are too entirely different things. Allowing GMO makes about as much sense as letting self-driving, self-replicating motorcycle drones on the road because "we're pretty sure" they won't go Terminator on us.

Re:GE/GMO crops (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#40279801)

And we already know their pesticides kill pollinators so there. Done.

Also earlier if you got enough pests you sprayed with a suitable poison.

Now you've got crops filled with various poisons all the time whatever it's really needed or not.

Anyone see the difference?

Plus it spreads and contaminate previously non-GMO crop and then Monsanto or whomever want money for that because you're benefiting rather than pay someone because their shit has spread.

Re:GE/GMO crops (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280267)

I see what you're saying. The argument against allowing the spread of GMO plants is that it will somehow protect us (humans) against the effects of natural selection. Now here's reality : NOTHING will protect us against the effects of natural selection, except (perhaps) becoming better DNA programmers than nature is.

In other words, GMO plants are the way forward. In practice, GMO plants are actually less poisoned than their non-GMO counterparts, due to the fact that they can essentially pick which poison to use, which allows them to use minimal amounts of any poison they'd like to use, which is much cheaper. And they can easily pick poisons that are perfectly harmless to any animal lifeform (not always true of traditional pesticides). That's half the point of GMO plants. They are also more resistant to "environmental" poisons, like draughts or previously unsuitable soil.

And, frankly, you haven't seen nothing yet, GMO humans are the long-term way forward.

As for the legal argument, well, plants ignore laws ... does that really surprise anyone ? Let's just find a way to resolve that in congress and call it a day. GM genes will spread whether or not congress, or anyone else, agrees with it.

Re:GE/GMO crops (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279997)

No, they're not.

Plus, nature has been doing this on its own as well. Bacteria swap DNA all the time. Look up 'rafflesia', it's a plant that exchanges DNA with the organism it's a parasite on.

Just because humans are involved, that doesn't suddenly make it new territory. We're just mimicking nature, yet again.

Re:GE/GMO crops (0)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40279897)

In the era of gene patents, that has changed because.
  • Now GMO pollen can contaminate traditionally-grown stocks and cause the resulting crops to be patent-infringing.
  • The genes introduced can be genetically engineered and produce plants that are toxic to people or animals. In fact, the latter is often the intent of the engineering. There is now evidence that such engineering has caused collapse of bee colonies.
  • The genes introduced are not native to the crop into which they are introduced and have an increased risk of causing allergic reactions in people who were not formerly allergic to the crop. Imagine that next year, thanks to your allergy to some weed and the wonders of genetic engineering, you are now also allergic to wheat, corn, soybeans and carrots that contain the popular new plant-pesticide.

Re:GE/GMO crops (5, Interesting)

Jesus_666 (702802) | about 2 years ago | (#40279939)

One reason why isolation is neccessary is because GMO plants tend to contain patented genes. If the pollen spreads then random farmers can now be sued by large corporatons even though they did nothing wrong. The only reasonable options I can think of are:

- GMO plants must be cultivated in sealed greenhouses or the farmer needs to take other effective measures to prohibit the spread of pollen to unlicensed farms. Can be combined with the second option.
- If pollen spreads it's clearly the fault of the farmer who grew the plants and thus THAT farmer is liable for patent violation, not the receiving farmer. The courts should find as such. Unfortunately, most farmers are going to settle without going to court so this is not a satisfactory solution. Also, the corporations are going to fight this tooth and nail as it doesn't allow them to pressure people into buying licenses.
- GMO licenses are required to cover the farm and any area likely to be pollinated around it. The lobby won't allow it.
- GMO plants are required to be sterile and pollen-free. This would probably lead to those plants being clones, which is not a good solution.
- Gene patents are declared invalid or unenforcable. Unlikely.
- GMO plants are banned entirely. Baby-and-bathwater scenario.

Do we have any better feasible option than to require the use of greenhouses to reduce unlicensed pollination? I don't think that "you can be sued by a big corporation because of something perfectly legal your neighbor did" is a state we should put farmers in.

Re:GE/GMO crops (-1, Troll)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40279995)

Nooo..and BTW mods that is NOT insightful, because its as ridiculous as saying "People have been having babies forever, so clones aren't a big deal". Wrong it IS a big deal, because you can cross breed until the cows come home but there is NO WAY you are gonna get a fricking starfish and a strawberry to cross breed but that is EXACTLY the kind of shit they've been pulling with GMOs!

They have plants mixed with fish, insects, all the breeding in the world would never allow that to happen! And what is worse is they use what is known as the "shotgun method" where strands of DNA are shot into cultures of what you want to mix it with. that means that even with a "successful" GMO there is dozens to hundreds of foreign genes inside the plant that are simply not turned on. While this sounds fine in theory, frankly we have ZERO idea what those extra strands of alien DNA are gonna do long term. They can cause mutations in the plant, they could turn into something that causes problems with those that eat it, frankly they have NO CLUE what this shit is gonna do long term.

So either you are being obtuse on purpose or you haven't actually looked into GMOs, because we aren't talking mixing different breeds here, or even different kinds of plants. We are talking fish, insect, mammal, you name it they're mixing it. This isn't even covering the social implications, like how are Muslims and Jews gonna even eat when they can't tell if a plant is Kosher or Haram because who the hell knows what all has been mixed in. Could be bug, could be cow, could be fish, who the fuck knows. hell i doubt one could even be a vegetarian as your plants will have meat in it!

Re:GE/GMO crops (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#40280043)

People have been genetically modifying crops for ten thousand years.

That line of reasoning is self-contradictory - thousands of years for problems to shake out. Gene splicing gives us, at best, only years of testing on tiny populations - and often less than that under the flawed theory that genes which are benign in one organism will remain benign when spliced into a new organism.

Even with tens of thousands of years of experience, sometimes we still eat dangerous food, for example - fiddlehead fern is commonly eaten in Korea, even considered medicinal when eaten, but it is starting to look like consumption is related to the higher than normal rates of stomach cancer there.

Re:GE/GMO crops (3, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40280073)

He did not say ban, he said isolate.

Why is that so unreasonable?

Your hyperbole aside, it makes no sense at all for you to claim that people have been genetically modifying anything for ten thousand years. That's hybridization, which is not remotely the same as GMO.

GMO can be fine. Just keep the shit separate and labeled until the science has progressed to the point where it can be said with real confidence that current ecosystems will be protected for generations. Don't tell me that you know what will happen in the wild, because even the best scientists cannot state with any reasonable certainty that they know either. They hope. Gutcheck says yes. No hard data to back that up, and that will take time. Not 5 years, not 10 years, but more than likely 50,100, or more years.

Everything does not have to be so fast. Take your time. Not such a bad idea either, because contrary to popular belief, the Earth is not that big of a place. We have ONE Earth right now. That's it. Fuck it up and we are a toast. We are doing a good enough job of that already with the ecosystems that we have. Hmmmm.... Let's add some GMO to it as well.

Re:GE/GMO crops (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 2 years ago | (#40280085)

"People have been genetically modifying crops for ten thousand years."

Yeah. And people have also been "modifying the lifespan of money grubbers and the status of their property" for longer than that. Your point? Oother than not being aware in how many ways word games can be played?

Banning genetic research makes about as much sense as banning motorcycle repair, because the motorcycles might escape and survive in the wild.

And that analogy isn't even one. WTF did my eyes just see? It's not an argument, so what is it?

Re:GE/GMO crops (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279795)

You sir, are an idiot on so many levels that it defies belief.

Do you eat Nectarines? Tomatoes? Potatoes? ( The list goes on, but I doubt you care.)

All of these items have been "Genetically Modified". What is the real difference between selective breeding for traits, and simply inserting those traits?

Oh, yeah, YEARS of time possibly saved. The article doesn't say where or how the GMs came from, so your comment is uneducated at best. (Reference for natural trading of genes via bacteria inserted here. Do your own research. )

This is fungus resistance. Additionally, the "Evil Genes" in this project have already been in THE WILD for 30 years. Any damage to the surrounding area, if any, is pretty much already done.
The article doesn't say where the resistance is coming from, but I seriously doubt they inserted a gene to produce Captan into the trees genetic code.
WTF are you worried about? Cherries that don't freakin rot in a wet spring?

Someone please genetically engineer a flu virus that will give idiots like this at least an average IQ, and possibly a smidgen of common sense. Release it ASAP. Still, it'll be too late to save all these trees and research. (BTW, the Cherries and Olives appear to be sterile, from the translated article, so it's not like they'e spreading pollen. The Kiwi flowers appear to be removed every year, so they don't look to be going too far either. )


(Posted anon as I'm currently looking for a job, and the idiots of the world mostly rule. Their money is just as good as the non-idiots.)
( Grammar Nazis, feel free. I'm so god damn pissed off by this idiot that my skills are questionable at this time. )

Re:GE/GMO crops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279829)

I wish I had some moderator points - because you make the obvious argument that we've been doing Genetic Manipulation since Medelson started playing with Peas!

Re:GE/GMO crops (1)

Artifakt (700173) | about 2 years ago | (#40279993)

Medelson? What's he got to do with GMO plants? (Scott Medelson, shown on you-Tube as bench pressing 1080 lbs., is the first hit most of the time once you get Google to actually show you Medelsons instead of Mendelssohns). Sirrah, I suspect you mean the Physics teacher and friar, Gregor Mendel.

Re:GE/GMO crops (3, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40280017)

The argument is neither obvious, nor correct.

While he has some points about damage already being done, and preventative measures being put into place to prevent cross contamination, it is disingenuous at worst, and at best ignorance to claim the GMO is the same thing Mendelson was doing playing with peas.

What Mendelson did, and what others have done for thousands of years is hybridization. Not just plants, but animals too.

To understand the difference, think of like Tetris. Hybridization is arranging the blocks to form patterns. Some patterns can be advantageous and desirable, while others are not. GMO, is altering the blocks themselves to form the patterns.

At least with hybridization you are taking two species and breeding them together. This could have happened naturally, and is much less prone to danger. There is still danger. Non indigenous species have already damaged and changed ecosystems countless times since Man started carrying so much crap with him from one place to another.

GMO, involves methods much more dangerous. Death codes anyone? It is beyond hubris to think that we know enough to mess with the fundamental codes of life itself, and downright insane to proceed like you know with certainty the complete consequences of your actions over any meaningful period of time.

Now I am not arguing that the very field itself should be banned and not pursued. Just use some fucking prudence and make absolutely sure to protect the current ecosystems that we have right now.

Biological warfare is conducted in protected laboratories for this reason, and GMO is biological warfare in that you cannot possibly state with credulity and assurance that the consequences of your actions will not bring great harm to our current ecosystems.

Just have some god damned patience. Science is not done over night, and the field of genetics does not have to progress so dangerously fast out in the open.

Most of our food production problems ARE POLITICAL, and not about resources. There is enough food thrown away every day in the US to feed Africa (or at least really damn close), and Ethiopia, the poster child of starvation is starving mostly due to political and economic reasons (agricultural policies).

It's funny that people against GMO get accused of having their heads in the sand, being anti-science, etc. when most people who are for GMO, purportedly based on science and reason, want to completely ignore even the mere possibility that things can go wrong.


Re:GE/GMO crops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280071)

Nice uninformed Luddite rant, as usual. Who the hell is Mendelson?

Re:GE/GMO crops (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40280159)

Uninformed my ass.

It's Mendel. I added the 'n', but forgot to take of the rest while editing.

I'm not a Luddite either. I said let's do the science, but take better precautions since we only have one Earth. If this was 500 fucking years from now and the Weyland corporation wanted to do a fuck ton of risky genetic research on an Earth-like planet go for it.

If am a Luddite afraid of the future, then you and the pro-GMO people are Nazi scientists willing to cause great immediate harm just to further your own scientific agendas, which, are not even scientific agendas since they were mostly political and ideological.


Look up the definition for the word Luddite. It does not describe my position. I'm perfectly fine with supporting the science. Happy to do it, and curious about what the results will be.

Not willing to even remotely accept the possibility of damaging our one freakin planet to do it, just so we can have immediate short term happy happy, look-at-our-brand-new-shiny results.

Re:GE/GMO crops (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279869)

Hybridization happens naturally and has happened for millions of years. Hybridization along with mutation are how we get novel new species. However, mankind manipulating the genome for short term goals is a completely different matter. And much of it isn't even needed. We wouldn't need golden rice if the IMF didn't encourage farmers to only grow rice depriving them of the leafy greens that would normally supplement the rice in their diet.

As for you, the GP meant GMO and you know it. I went to college and there was a pretty substantial difference made between just crossing plants like Mendel did and slicing up the genome to place foreign DNA in a new creature.

Re:GE/GMO crops (4, Insightful)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 2 years ago | (#40279949)

ensure that they cannot contaminate conventional or organic farms

In the Italian case, these are perennial asexually propagated crops, so even if cross pollination did occur, it would have zero effect on a farm. Second, I grow in my garden open pollinated plants. I save the seed because they are some oddball varieties that cannot be bought in stores. If they are cross pollinated, I lose the pure variety, and I'm out of luck. If you do the same on a farm, the same holds true, and this is for any gene. Singling out transgenes does not make sense. Sure, I get that there is a market for it, but that shouldn't put undue burdens on other growers. I mean, what if suddenly there is a market for rice without the sd-1 gene, should every rice grower out there bend over backwards to prevent cross pollination?

with patented gene

Perhaps you missed the first two words in the title. What you are saying would be like bashing Linux because you hate Microsoft because you saw a documentary about how Microsoft goes around kicking puppies.

label your product as such.

Please read this. [slashdot.org]

Re:GE/GMO crops (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40279969)

And i'd add just one thing on why that shit NEEDS to be locked up, at least here in the states...Kudzu. Do you have ANY idea how far that shit has spread across the south? That damned Kudzu is like a cancer of the land, swallowing everything in its path. I've seen huge buildings just swallowed up whole by the Kudzu and once that shit digs in its hell to get out without pesticides and burning, because it quickly becomes home to poisonous snakes and is damned dangerous to be near.

So please keep that shit locked away because the LAST thing we need is weeds like kudzu getting resistance to herbicides by being exposed to GMOs planted in nearby fields. Hell as it is now its spread all over the south and started working its way up so all we would need is resistant Kudzu spreading all over the damned place!

Re:GE/GMO crops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279989)

Trees are so easy to grow indoor, isn'it? if you have a recipe to grow olive tree indoor, please show it up.to prevent contamination, blossoms were removed manually before flowering season. But environmentalists do not use rationality....

Not so reassuring (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#40279507)

(only the male kiwis produce transgenic pollen and their flowers are removed)

Until a single seed gets away, then the cat is out of the box.

Then there's the human factor. If anthrax can get out of controlled labs, I'm quite sure that pollen or seeds can get out that way too.

Re:Not so reassuring (4, Insightful)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 2 years ago | (#40279799)

It is worth noting that kiwis are not propagated by seed (like most perennial fruits they are asexually propagated), so even if cross pollination were to occur, it isn't likely to have an effect. Also worth noting that kiwis are generally pollinated by bees (with a minor role played by wind), which dislike kiwi flowers [slashdot.org] and generally pollinate everything else first, so unless they've got bunch of hungry hives on site pollen isn't likely to go far. I don't know what kind of wind drift you see with kiwi pollen or how long it remains viable, but I'd have to assume they have some sort of distance barrier in place too to account for even that, as most trials do take pollination into consideration when selecting a site. I'm not saying there is zero risk, just that it is pretty unlikely to happen, especially if the orchard is managed as it is, and that expecting completely zero risk is not an exceptionally reasonable expectation.

General role of thumb: if though of something about a thing you just heard about something three minuted age, chances are the people who have been working on it for three decades thought of it too. Zero risk

stop this crap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279517)

GE/GMO should have never happened in the first place, i don't care about the so called good reasoning.
they're doing it on everything except for good reasons (feeding Africa? yeah kiwi's and mango's are a real important food source over there...)

and then there is all the animal testing on the safety which are pretty much 80% negative...

Re:stop this crap (0)

subanark (937286) | about 2 years ago | (#40279579)

GMO just does what human controlled breeding would take longer to accomplish. Yes, there are dangers, but the vast majority of it is no more dangerous than you would expect from a new version of a cell phone. Crop growers that produce non-GMO foods will often use interesting pesticides, interesting soil, chill fruits to ensure they come to the consumer more fresh, and use grafting on trees so that the combination of 2 trees produces better yield. We are far past natural foods, pretty much every variety of an apple you buy in the store is genetically identical to all the others, they just use clonal propagation to ensure the optimal fruit tree keeps producing optimal fruit. They have stopped evolution, which is making these plants more vulnerable to diseases and pests.

Before you go off on why GMO is bad, make sure you understand what is already being done in today's world.

BTW, this has nothing to do with animal testing.

Re:stop this crap (3, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#40279659)

"GMO just does what human controlled breeding would take longer to accomplish."
Not really, the change is approached from a very different angle and creates a inherently different result.
You might get a similar effect if you used both approaches to get a specific desired effect but it would be a very different plant internally and the side effects of the change would be very different.

Also there are inherent problems with it being so fast. When you can create a new different plant and then have it on consumers plates in a handful of years their is far more risk than a crop strain which was developed over decades/centuries.

Re:stop this crap (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279779)

"GMO just does what human controlled breeding would take longer to accomplish."

I love how this argument is always wheeled out.
I've never seen or heard of human controlled breeding successfully crossing a plant with a fish, yet monsanto have genetically modified some plants with fish genes.

We rigorously test new medicines to make sure there are no side effects, but a new species of plant ?, the test is to put it out into the market and hide its origins so that people dont have a choice.
I'm not saying all GM food is bad, but some may have deleterious effects upon the human metabolism, and Monsanto will let us know ?
Yeah, right......

Re:stop this crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280249)

I'm so not scared of eating genetically modified food, the chances that corn for instance can be modified to suddenly be toxic to me is very slim. That's dumb. What's not dumb is people getting sued because they're growing genetically modified corn that's taken over their field. What's disturbing is genetically identical crops all lacking immunity to some sort of disease and a large percentage of the food supply gets knocked out.

We need to do this stuff so we can feed our massive population without destroying the planet, let's be careful but not reject it for being icky. Something to think about, It took us a very long time to figure out which things in our environment were toxic and we probably still eat some natural things that aren't so good for us but we still haven't learned they're bad for us. The idea that we're going to put our food supply through the same sort of testing as pharmaceuticals is really stupid, all that testing makes our drugs super expensive, and lots of the most popular ones are still of questionable use and safety.

If you want testing maybe we should demand Monsanto breed their genetically modified genes into a normal diverse gene pool and then conduct all trials places where folks are starving for free.

Re:stop this crap (3, Insightful)

Intropy (2009018) | about 2 years ago | (#40280273)

You obviously cannot cross a plant with a fish through selective breeding. But you're arguing the method not the result. (CS analogy, "I've never heard of a merge sort successfully sorting an array by repeatedly swapping adjacent items like bubble sort"). Just because you can't breed a fish and a plant doesn't mean you cannot get the same resultant organism through breeding. You can, but it takes a whole lot longer.

Re:stop this crap (3, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#40280307)

Best read up on ERVs. Horizontal gene transfer through viruses or directly between bacteria has been going on for billions of years.

Re:stop this crap (1)

subanark (937286) | about 2 years ago | (#40279785)

Also there are inherent problems with it being so fast. When you can create a new different plant and then have it on consumers plates in a handful of years their is far more risk than a crop strain which was developed over decades/centuries.

No. Everyone eats the same, genetically identical plant, one one of the millions of farmers finds a mutation that seems interesting they might decide to put that on the market. Maybe they don't realize its a mutation (or does anyone else) since all it did was increase crop yield. Most times with GMO, a single nuclitide base pair is altered, exactly what you would expect with evolution. At least with GMO, the change is more officially reported and it doesn't simply "sneak" into the consumer food supply.

Re:stop this crap (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about 2 years ago | (#40279879)

Most times with GMO, a single nuclitide base pair is altered, exactly what you would expect with evolution.

I don't think you know what you're talking about. Can you give me even one example where this is so? All the genetic engineering I'm aware of involves inserting one or more entire genes from another (usually very distantly related) organism. (And they do stuff with the promoter regions for the genes, but I'm not so certain about what the story is there.)

Re:stop this crap (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40279933)

No, that is not how GMOs are produced. Genetic engineers insert whole genes from completely different organisms. The inserted gene doesn't even have to come from the same phylum as the original organism. Heck, maybe not even the same kingdom.

Re:stop this crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279983)

So what? Protien is protien, carbs are carbs, it does not matter.

Re:stop this crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280197)

Actually, not true... a protein is not always protein... every heard of mad cow disease? It's caused by a class of proteins called "prions" -- a malformed protein.


Personally I think that GMOs either are, or soon will be, a necessary evil, but we do probably need at a minimum some very good ways of tracking GMOs from field to plate so that at the very least we have an outside chance of containing a food born apocalypse if we unleash one.

Re:stop this crap (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#40279937)

You are comparing what some crazy, negligent to the apocalyptic consequences, farmers have done to GMOs.
And how exactly does one of a multitude of genetically identically plants be different? If they use this method are they not cut evolution out of the equation?
An actual reasonable non-GMO based agriculture business would mitigate the risks of evolution created dangerous foods to an extreme minimum.

But I cannot comment on the likelihood of evolution randomly generating a poisonous/otherwise dangerous plant from an edible one (particularly one that in a single generation is dangerous at all). I have never heard of this happening and I will admit that you cannot be in-depth testing of every single generation of the evolution of a plant being grown for consumption.
But while you say, "Most times with GMO, a single nuclitide base pair is altered, exactly what you would expect with evolution", I cannot stop thinking that a new GMO produces a useful and quite big change while a single step in evolution does not. It does not seem conceivable to go from a non-poison to a poison in one step in evolution (particularly while also improving a good quality of itself), while a lot more complex things are done in most new GMOs.

Re:stop this crap (1)

subanark (937286) | about 2 years ago | (#40280127)

Its not a big step. Scientists don't really know how genes operate, they can only guess on what they do based on what they've seen happen in other organisms. Many times the change in an organism is a small genetic mutation, which turns off a functionality or enables one that previous did not happen. Even when entire genes are inserted into an organism with GMO, the same thing can happen in nature with gene transfer.

Evolution is messy, current genetic makeups of organisms are far from ideal. I fail to understand why everyone is so scared of genetic engineering. Do you fear we are interfering with "gods works"? Are you afraid of the implications of what GMO will do to the human race, that you consider so sacred? Much of what GMO can do, so can nature. Why then limit all of GMO instead of just those parts that cannot be as easily changed by nature?

Re:stop this crap (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#40279855)

When you can create a new different plant and then have it on consumers plates in a handful of years their is far more risk than a crop strain which was developed over decades/centuries.


Yeah but people have no problem introducing invasive species like Japanese Lilacs. Ah the irony.

Re:stop this crap (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | about 2 years ago | (#40280177)

I'm sorry, but do you have any hard data whatsoever? Everything you've said is at best somewhat believable conjecture otherwise. I can do the same thing and reach the opposite conclusion:

"There are inherent problems with traditional selective breeding. Compared to genetic modification, it creates a very different plant internally and has many side effects, not all of them good. To take just one example, over time plants adapt to insects in their environment and create specific natural pesticides for themselves. Breeding together several strains of a certain plant increases the offspring's insect resistance by overproducing each of the parent strains' natural pesticides. It can take many years for subtle developmental problems caused by the consumption of so-called 'supercharged' insecticides to appear in humans. Genetic modification, on the other hand, produces carefully controlled, surgical changes that can be calibrated for safety. Only well-tested non-harmful natural insecticides are added to the genome by genetic modification, making the process much safer than traditional selective breeding."

Honestly, it's ridiculously easy to make this shit up. It's hard to get scientifically valid evidence to back up your positions. I understand the GMO issue is large and contentious, and it's easy to make up good-sounding scientifically invalid arguments, but still, we don't need more people just spouting whatever crap pops into their heads. The same is true for a huge number of today's arguments by the way: autism and vaccines, (anti-)gay marriage, climate change.... And if you ask for evidence, I can provide some :).

If I've misread you and you do have good evidence, I apologize in advance.

Re:stop this crap (1)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#40279685)

The frustrating thing about this controversy is that the reason there's such a strong backlash against GMO plants is the widespread use of a *particular sort* of GMO plant: roundup-ready plants. Here, genetic manipulation has been used to make the plant resistant to Roundup, which is a fairly scary pesticide. And then there are the plants that have had insect toxins engineered into them. These toxins have in some cases been found to be toxic to humans as well.

OTOH, GMO products that have high yields, or are more resistant to fungus and mold, are not such a bad idea. But we treat all GMO products as the same, and so we wind up seeing stories like this one.

(Someone will probably point out that insect resistance and roundup resistance can improve yields, and this is true, but it's the side effects that people worry about.)

Re:stop this crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279725)

"fairly scary pesticide"...isn't it actually widely used because roundup is a relatively NON-scary pesticide?

"The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers glyphosate to be relatively low in toxicity, and without carcinogenic or teratagenic effects.[18] The EPA considered a "worst case" dietary risk model of an individual eating a lifetime of food entirely from glyphosate-sprayed fields, and with residue levels remaining at their maximum levels, and concluded no adverse effects would exist under these conditions.[18]" -- wikipedia

Re:stop this crap (1)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#40279849)

You should read the rest of the wikipedia article, not just the first paragraph of the toxicity section. Also, it turns out that the excessive use of roundup-ready GMO crops has, shockingly, caused evolution to occur in the midwest, where it was thought to be impossible. Consequently, the next generation of pesticide-ready GMO crops will be much more exciting. Another point I neglected to mention earlier is that if you are a farmer who does not use roundup-ready seeds, but does save seeds for planting next year, then when your neighbor's GMO crops contaminate your seeds, Monsanto will sue you for violating their patents [latimes.com].

Re:stop this crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280069)

If that's true then why couldn't they prove it in court? Stupid lack of evidence of Monsanto suing farmers in that case.

The stories you've read have been lies. The farmers who have been sued by Monsanto knew the seed had become roundup-ready and saved that seed specifically to plant. One farmer even bought his seed each year(did not save) for _decades_ and then suddenly started saving his seed. That's intent there.

Evolution occurs anyways, with or without GMO, and they knew about it. Who thought it was impossible? You?

Re:stop this crap (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40280111)

has, shockingly, caused evolution to occur in the midwest, where it was thought to be impossible


Yes. Many of us here are quite aware that evolution is thought to not be possible in the Midwest.

Re:stop this crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279967)

This was what killed all those honey bees. They were fed corn syrup made from GMO corn, which was engineered to produce toxins to protect itself from insects. Although I suppose with any luck evolution will sort that out and we'll eventually have pesticide resitant honey bees.

So, in conclusion, there is more than just humans we ought to be concerned about when we're doing our food safety testing.

Re:stop this crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280145)

Corn is wind pollinated.

Also, who is going around giving corn syrup to bees? They mostly eat nectar from flowers. Are they shopping at the store?

Re:stop this crap (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 2 years ago | (#40279919)

the reason there's such a strong backlash against GMO plants is the widespread use of a *particular sort* of GMO plant.

While there is some truth to that, I really can't say I agree with that for a couple of reasons. A few considerations in no particular order of importance: glyphosate is actually one of the better herbicides out there in terms of both human and environmental safety, and while no agrochemical input is desirable input, it is one of the least damaging ones (also, not many in the opposition to herbicide tolerant crops will mention the environmental benefits they have provided by facilitating the conversion to no till and conservation tillage systems). You mention the crops with a toxin to insects in them. This is true, but it is hardly new, in fact, this same toxin has been used in organic farming for decades. There is no evidence it is harmful to humans aside from a handful of widely criticized studies. You're partially right in that those are listed as reasons for opposition to GE crops, and contribute to some of the opposition (whether or not they make scientific sense), but realistically, people would oppose them regardless. Remember that there was opposition to the first GE crop used in the US, the Flavr Savr, and all it had was an antisense polygalacturonase gene and the NPTII gene, and that you see the same opposition to things like the virus resistant Rainbow papaya, the Arctic Apple (a non-browning apple awaiting approval), and even Golden Rice. So, to say that people oppose GE for the herbicide tolerant and Bt crops is like saying people oppose evolution based on lack of transition fossils. It may be the case in the minds of some people (again, rational or not), but make no mistake, there is a deeper reason.

Re:stop this crap (3, Insightful)

Intropy (2009018) | about 2 years ago | (#40280313)

I think you're vastly overestimating people. I think the controversy controversy comes primarily from the fact that most people don't understand genetics at all; it sounds scary to them, so they fear anything that deals with it. Natural is good, and unnatural is bad. It's a similar deal with nuclear power, really, where the thing I can't see and don't understand is inherently too scary to permit.

Re:stop this crap (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 2 years ago | (#40280045)

So, you think an entire field of research shouldn't exist, and you don't care about any arguments? That's pretty much the epitome of anti-intellectualism. Also, there are hungry people in places other than Africa.

"Kiwis" (5, Informative)

Malcolm Chan (15673) | about 2 years ago | (#40279519)

male kiwis produce transgenic pollen

In NZ, "kiwis" are only either the people (New Zealanders) or the birds, but never the kiwifruit plants! Very confusing...

Re:"Kiwis" (4, Funny)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about 2 years ago | (#40279831)

Indeed. It is pretty much a lost battle for us convincing the rest of the world. Primary blame goes to the people who made the marketing decision to rename the "Chinese goosebury" to "kiwifruit". This was entirely predictable, had they thought about it.

I remember when I was in the USA and someone asked me if we ate a lot of kiwis in NZ. I was horrified and explained they were a protected species. It took a while for us to understand each other.

Re:"Kiwis" (3, Funny)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 2 years ago | (#40280009)

Do you kiwis eat a lot of turkey? No, not the people. The bird.

Speaking of eating flightless birds, it's a pity you guys ate all the moas.

Re:"Kiwis" (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 2 years ago | (#40280271)

As a kid in Australia, I remember kiwifruit were also synonym'd chinese gooseberry but since the gooseberry wasn't a known fruit in australia, the name never gained popularity. i.e. why is a berry named after a goose and why are we eating 'oriental' fruit cultivated across the ditch?

By contrast, kiwi-fruit, i.e. a fruit grown by NZers stuck.

those protesters are noobs (1)

laserdog (2500192) | about 2 years ago | (#40279521)

their trying to stop something to HELP humanity what noobs they need to learn to get with the times we live in a world of science and magic now its not the dark ages

Re:those protesters are noobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279577)

In this case, the issue is only that Italy has a law requiring that GE/GMO plants be kept in a roofed and floored structure to prevent pollen from escaping. The scientists here didn't do that, couldn't afford it, and then left the plants to grow without any safeguards. So, the scientists were basically pulling a Monsanto here and are now claiming that the plants shouldn't be destroyed because they want to gather more information (that they've been gathering since 1998 and were supposed to have stopped doing in 2008).

genetic illiteracy (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#40279545)

i bet the people angling to have these crops destroyed also count amongst their concerns fighting hunger, alternative fuel sources, better nutrition, fighting pollution, water conservation, etc.

all of which can be achieved through genetic engineering

Re:genetic illiteracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279607)

Genetic engineering can also cause species-wide destruction or unbalance an ecosystem by introducing harmful mutations without any safeguards. The scientists here have no safeguards; just an open field with a bee colony nearby that also pollinates non-GE plants, also close by. If something were to go wrong with their experiments, say mistaking which mutation will produce a desired effect, they could devastate the surrounding crops.

No matter how charitable these guys' intentions are, their negligence could cause far worse problems (like causing anti-GE fanatics to hold up this example as yet another reason for stopping all GE/GMO projects everywhere).

Re:genetic illiteracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279647)

I'm all for genetic engineering, but it needs to be done in a safe and controlled manner. This study seems to be doing so, by taking care to prevent any transgenic material from leaving the enclosure. Sadly, most studies I've found are extremely reckless with their separation.

genetic engineering will not stop hunger, just as (4, Insightful)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#40279715)

the 'green revolution' of pesticides and fertilizer did not end hunger. hunger is not caused by a lack of supply , but by the distribution methods. many countries that experience starvation are also experiencing brutal wars, dictatorships, lack of civil society, property rights, etc etc etc. afghanistan, for example, from 1979 to the present. they had to set aside things like crops and farming so that they could grow opium and fight a proxy war on behalf of the two the superpowers.

then there is the fact that most costs of food nowdays in places like the US go to marketing, and 'value added' stuff like freezing, dehydrating, processing, and otherwise repackaging basic wheat, corn, soy, etc, into pizza rolls, snack chips, etc etc.

Re:genetic illiteracy (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#40279815)

"fighting hunger" -> The world produces far more food then it could even eat let alone what is necessary right now. Also GMOs, since they are patented and that is how you get terminator genes, are one of the biggest issues causing/potentially causing in the future hunger and food shortages.
"better nutrition" -> We already have tons of super nutritious foods. unfortunately modern agriculture has been breeding nutrition out of their crops for decades, pretty much every food processor removes everything good with the food that they are processing, and no restaurants, snack, or junk food manufacturers ever care how good their food is for you. So if scientists succeeded and made a whole line of super foods we would be in the exact same situation as we are now. The only possible solution to (particularly America's) current nutrition problem while maintaining a moderately similar world otherwise would be for government mandated nutrition levels in all foods (and making/enforcing parents to feed their children properly [if your 16 YO son has diabetes, you are criminally negligent]).

"fighting pollution, water conservation, ect." -> I don't believe those issues have anything to do with GMOs... (I assume you are going to post back about how this one crack pot scientist has some theory that some GMO might be able to slightly help in these areas?)

Re:genetic illiteracy (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40279867)

i bet the people angling to have these crops destroyed also count amongst their concerns fighting hunger, alternative fuel sources, better nutrition, fighting pollution, water conservation, etc.

I think it more likely that their concerns included autism causing vaccines, crop circles causef by aliens, and nuclear power plants exploding in gigantic mushroom clouds.

Good news for US Agro business (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#40279581)

The anti GMO lobby needs to get with the program. GMO is a reality. You can't oppose it. You can moderate it. But it's happening.

Re:Good news for US Agro business (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279665)

This is a case of a GMO project that's ignoring regulations. The project had been ordered to follow regulations or shut down back in 2008. They did neither, so now they're being forced to shut down because it's been made clear they can't afford to follow the regulations (ie: putting the trees in a roofed and floored structure, as required by Italian law).

I really want GE/GMO to become universally accepted, but they need to do it properly. These scientists are just giving that much more ammo to the anti-GE lobby.

Do it in China. (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#40279601)

The West rejects some research, so find a welcoming alternative.

Re:Do it in China. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279629)

this is no valid research it's greed research not ever IN A BILLION YEARS going to help feed anyone...
that's what you get with sociopaths..

Re:Do it in China. (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40279791)

Yeah, I forgot all the big companies just doing research for the hell of it not to improve crop yields or get a sustainable advantage or anything like that. About the only thing I'm opposed to is that its publicly funded by theft.

But seriously, "greed research"? What kind of company is spending billions on stuff simply for "greed" that isn't going to be used to help feed someone? A corporation's goal is to make money. If I'm producing GM plants, there's a pretty huge marketplace for things that will grow better, have better yields, be resistant to drought, disease, pests, etc. which farmers will buy to get better yields to make more money which means there are more crops in existence, which means lower prices, which means people have to spend less of their income buying food, which means that fewer people go hungry. About the only thing bad in that situation is they will most likely use imaginary "property" to try to "protect" it, but those expire in 20 years or so...

What do you think they are doing with this research Mr. AC if they aren't going to sell it?

i.e a dictatorship where dissidents are imprisoned (1)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#40279717)

for speaking their mind about issues of the day, the use of their land + water, etc etc etc.

Re:Do it in China. (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 2 years ago | (#40279905)

If the Chinese engineers and scientists I work with are representative of the Chinese public (and they do seem to echo what I read in the papers), they are less informed and more suspicious of GMO than Europeans. The hot rumor last year was how a village had giant rats because of GM soybeans. They were adamant that the genes had jumped species by rats eating the soybeans.

Re:Do it in China. (1)

RollinDutchMasters (932329) | about 2 years ago | (#40279921)

Italy isn't exactly an R&D powerhouse. They're a science third-world country. The places where GMO research is being aggressively pursued are only becoming more active as the underlying biology improves. Some of that is in China, yes, but the bulk is in the major research centers in the US, Canada, and Germany.

Ultimately, GMO agriculture is essential to the long-term stability of our civilization as global warming starts to push on food production. Some disorganized and largely ignorant resistance isn't going to stop a nickel of research grant money in these countries from going out.

Thoughtlessness (1)

Yosho-sama (800703) | about 2 years ago | (#40279637)

It's cool activists... Monsanto will continue doing their research, with armed guards protecting their facilities, then they'll patent it and spend the next 100 years getting a nickle every time you eat.

Good work with that.

See? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279677)

It's not only the US that's full of fucking idiots.

Re:See? (0)

thrich81 (1357561) | about 2 years ago | (#40279851)

I logged in to say just about exactly what you did and then caught your comment. I'll rephrase it so it will show up at a higher mod rating -- this shows that the Europeans have absolutely no standing on which to make statements about science illiteracy in the USA!

Re:See? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280195)

Cheers to you for calling it how you see it!.

Luddites have taken over Slashdot.

GMO crops reduce fuel dependence, and help conserve water. He stated that what used to be a good yield for him in a is now considered to be a really low yield. Before GMO crops every time it rained, he had to go out and turn the soil to prevent weeds from growing. The turning of the soil caused the water to be lost in compared with GMO crops, now when it rains the soil is not turned and the soil retains the water causing the larger crops and more crops. Fuel costs go down too because there is drive the tractor as much.

So you Luddites can stick with your non GMO crops and deal with the smaller crop size, water shortages, and fuel shortages that will most likely be caused when 8 billion people need to be fed food.


If these activist had a clue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279747)

If the activists had real knowledge of what these fruits needed protection from, they might give this a second thought. There are a lot of things happening that concerns the welfare of vegetation worldwide. They (activists) may need to do their own research before they destroy this. If certain factors are amped up which affect the weather and components of the chemical makeup of rainfall, they may regret this action. Its very secretive, still there is more than ample knowledge available concerning this.

Italian democracy versus the 1% (4, Interesting)

br00tus (528477) | about 2 years ago | (#40279861)

Italians have voted to not do this. They're tired of US corporations like Monsanto pushing them around. Actually, the US with the push of its power elite was heavily involved in fixing elections and installing a puppet government [wikipedia.org] in Italy, and then making sure [wikipedia.org] that government couldn't be tossed out once it was in [wikipedia.org]. Now Italian workers are told they have to suffer under "austerity" (for them) and be ruled by foreign banks and foreign corporations.

Good for Mario Capanna and company. The Italians democratically voted this in, I have no desire for the Monsantos of the world to find some way to weasel around this. What does Monsanto do anyhow? Create plants with sterile seeds [wikipedia.org], so Monsanto can then grab all of the farmer's money? Sue farmer's whose fields are next to [percyschmeiser.com] Monsanto seed fields, alongside the blowing winds, and get the courts and government's to side with them against small farmers?

The antiquated, anti-enlightenment ideas are not the working people and small farmers trying to protect themselves against a small handful of parasites trying to take ownership of everything. The backwards, antiquated ideas are the corporate newspapers and websites who attack anyone against against handing the whole world on a plate to the parasite heir Monsanto majority shareholders. In Italy, in Greece, in Spain, at Occupy Wall Street and Occupy everywhere, people are fed up with the high unemployment, and the expropriation of surplus value from the majority of working people to a handful of parasitic 1% heirs. This Monsanto GM IP deal is no different than the big companies in IT who own all the patents and are parasitically suing everyone around, and harming economic growth.

Re:Italian democracy versus the 1% (3, Insightful)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 2 years ago | (#40280031)

Create plants with sterile seeds, so Monsanto can then grab all of the farmer's money? Sue farmer's whose fields are next to Monsanto seed fields, alongside the blowing winds, and get the courts and government's to side with them against small farmers?

So which is it, are they sterile or spreading everywhere? Second, this is publicly funded research. As in, not Monsanto. The only antiquated ideas I see here are placing superstition & conspiracies over science in the name of politics & anti-corporatism.

Re:Italian democracy versus the 1% (1)

camionbleu (1633937) | about 2 years ago | (#40280237)

Create plants with sterile seeds, so Monsanto can then grab all of the farmer's money? Sue farmer's whose fields are next to Monsanto seed fields, alongside the blowing winds, and get the courts and government's to side with them against small farmers?

So which is it, are they sterile or spreading everywhere? Second, this is publicly funded research. As in, not Monsanto. The only antiquated ideas I see here are placing superstition & conspiracies over science in the name of politics & anti-corporatism.

It's both. Most GMO seeds are NOT currently sterile and Monsanto has successfully pursued litigation [wikipedia.org] where a non-Monsanto crop has been contaminated with genes from a Monsanto GMO crop grown nearby. Monsanto owns a patent on those genes and courts ruled that this is a violation of Monsanto's patents, even if the contamination is accidental. Monsanto also holds patents on "terminator" technology that will allow some seeds to be sterile in the future, so that Monsanto no longer needs to sue any of their customers who illegally save seeds [techdirt.com] from this year's crop for planting next year.

Re:Italian democracy versus the 1% (1)

Prune (557140) | about 2 years ago | (#40280083)

Did you RTFA? This is about Luddites vs scientists, not democracy vs the, as your brand of Newspeak goes, "1%".

Re:Italian democracy versus the 1% (1)

Shatrat (855151) | about 2 years ago | (#40280137)

For some people EVERYTHING is about the "noble underclass vs. 1% overlords" battle.

Pest cold war (4, Insightful)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#40279865)

A major problem that isn't generally discussed is the pests and diseases don't just cry uncle and move on to non commercial food sources. The problem is evolution kicks in and they get resistant. They are already finding it in some GMO crops. Ultimately the pest and diseases get tougher so they potentially are even more damaging to traditional crops while GMO crops go back to the drawing board. It's very similar to what is happening with antibiotic resistant diseases. It's very much like the old cold war where each side builds bigger weapons. Eventually one side looses and I doubt it'll be nature. The problem is if we loose this war billions potentially starve. Basically all staple crops are being genetically modified so the entire food supply is at risk. I know the belief is science always solves every problem but the antibiotic analogy proves that isn't the case. There are now many incurable strains of diseases with no solution on the horizon. Do we really want to go through the same nightmare with food? It'll take 20 pr 30 years for us to be in the same position with food production but by then it will be far too late. If you don't believe it's happening in GMO crops do some web searches.

Re:Pest cold war (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280121)

You've made some connections, but you've missed the larger point that GMO is not the start of the cold war, but rather a weapon in the cold war.

Almost all crops have new varieties that come out ~10years, some sooner. Non-GMO breeding targets things like... Pests... fungi.... viruses... bacteria.... as well as drought conditions, flood conditions, temperature conditions. And nature "fights back" each time. Causing more breeding to happen.

Seriously. This is all without GMO. This "cold war" of yours has been happening for a few thousands of years. GMO is another "weapon" or more importantly, a way to design better "weapons." (to use this cold war analogy).

Has nature been losing? For twenty thousand years so far..... Why do you think that will suddenly change with more informed decisions for breeding?

Traditional potato, tomato, barley breeding has to watch out for toxins since all of them are naturally poisonous to humans. Instead of crossing with wild, toxic varieties they can put in a single gene from another potato plant or a different species, or something fully synthetic, that will make one protein that has a function.

Oh, allergy testing has to be done on food crops whenever there is a GMO, so we know if people are allergic or not.

Yes, antibiotics have been overused. But you are confusing GMO and antibiotics. Antibiotics destroy bacteria(not all, but not going into specifics). GMO puts a new gene(which is a blueprint for a protein, to oversimplify) into another organism, and that organism creates that protein based off of that blueprint. It could be for pesticide resistance, or fungal resistance, or something else that _we do already_ by traditional breeding. Or it could be for flavor, nutrition, color, or some other reason.

Dummies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279875)

Anti-GMO is anti science. You GMO haters might as well become creationists and start going to anti-vaccination meetings. I know you THINK you arrived at your precious conclusion via reason, but, seriously, you are way the fick off base here and well into woo territory. Try getting some information from a source that isn't some batshit insane ideological morass.

Let's destroy those who threaten these experiments (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280037)

Anti Science precautionary principle ecofreaks are a REAL threat to human prosperity and possibly to hman survival. If there wre ever an arguement for imposing the eath panalty, it would be against those dangerous idiots. Perhaps the crops could have a gene added that releases cynanide gas if anyone attempts to harm the crops? Love to see it.

Meh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280161)

I kind of think this is an example of a first world problem...

In the not too distant future the earth will reach its carrying capacity with regard to non-GMO food production, and then we'll have an entirely different ethical problem on our hands -- shall we allow dark skinned babies die of starvation even though we'll have the ability to produce more than enough food if we use GMO? Will we be so high minded then as to mix GMO and non-GMO food together so that we're all playing Russian roulette together? I doubt it. We'll ship millions of tons of GMO to poor countries, and we'll keep "the good stuff" for North America and Europe no doubt. We are a disgustingly short-sighted and greedy species... barely evolved beyond cannibalism frankly.

Re:Meh... (1)

camionbleu (1633937) | about 2 years ago | (#40280259)

In the not too distant future the earth will reach its carrying capacity with regard to non-GMO food production

This assumes that GMO crop yields are (or will be) higher than those of non-GMO crops. So far, the evidence seems to suggest that the opposite is the case [organicconsumers.org].

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account