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Overuse of Bioengineered Corn Gives Rise To Resistant Pests

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the navigating-the-biotech-maize dept.

Biotech 259

An anonymous reader writes "Though warned by scientists that overuse of a variety of corn engineered to be toxic to corn rootworms would eventually breed rootworms with resistance to its engineered toxicity, the agricultural industry went ahead and overused the corn anyway with little EPA intervention. The corn was planted in 1996. The first reports of rootworm resistance were officially documented in 2011, though agricultural scientists weren't allowed by seed companies to study the engineered corn until 2010. Now, a recent study has clearly shown how the rootworms have successfully adapted to the engineered corn. The corn's continued over-use is predicted, given current trends, and as resistance eventually spreads to the whole rootworm population, farmers will be forced to start using pesticides once more, thus negating the economic benefits of the engineered corn. 'Rootworm resistance was expected from the outset, but the Bt seed industry, seeking to maximize short-term profits, ignored outside scientists.'"

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O RLY (-1, Offtopic)

SeeSchloss (886510) | about 4 months ago | (#46522689)

O RLY

Re:O RLY (5, Insightful)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 4 months ago | (#46522727)

YA RLY
And the corporations selling this stuff cannot care less about it, all they care about is that we transition to patented and sterile seeds so we perpetually depend on them. All the fuss surrounding GMO is about this.

Needless to say, the corporations should be prosecuted as fraudsters unless those buying the seeds sign a contract which clearly states they assume all responsibility for what the seeds do to their environment and the nearby fields. Because if something bad happens it's the fault of either one.

Re:O RLY (5, Insightful)

SeeSchloss (886510) | about 4 months ago | (#46522863)

unless those buying the seeds sign a contract which clearly states they assume all responsibility for what the seeds do to their environment

Well, I might not have the same perspective on "muh freedom", but you shouldn't be allowed to sign such a contract at all, because the scope obviously surpasses you. In an ideal world with an ideal justice system, such a contract should be void and both those who sold and those who used the seeds are responsible for the damage.

Sterile seeds have little to do with that, by the way, as they have been easy to produce and have been used for a long time already (sterility can be either desired or undesired depending on the crop, but usually it's just a side effect from hybridisation).

Re:O RLY (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522925)

It's their business model. Now, with the altered pests, they'll make another type of corn, and sell it for the next 5 years. And keep at it until the corn becomes too poisonous for humans or livestock to consume or the farmers/government wiseup.

Re:O RLY (5, Insightful)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 4 months ago | (#46522947)

The deeper problem, of which all this is a direct consequence, is allowing short term economic considerations of a tiny minority to outweigh the mid to long term environmental and health consequences (with associated dollar cost, of course) for society at large.

FTFS:

The corn was planted in 1996. The first reports of rootworm resistance were officially documented in 2011, though agricultural scientists weren't allowed by seed companies to study the engineered corn until 2010.

Same thing is happening around fracking, companies are disallowing scientists to scrutinize the many chemicals they're squirting down into the earth, because trade secrets.

In a democracy, everyone is responsible and accountable when, decade after decade, private profits are allowed to trump public well being, time and time again.

Re:O RLY (2, Insightful)

Stormthirst (66538) | about 4 months ago | (#46523125)

But but but ... that might mean more government interference and then where would my Libertarian nonsense be? Shouldn't the free market sort this out? /sarcasm

Re:O RLY (3, Interesting)

gtall (79522) | about 4 months ago | (#46523277)

In your Libertarian nonsense, there are no public goods, or Commons. Everything is owned by somebody, including your grandmother. Every bit, byte, and nibble has a price. We have actuaries and accountants to keep track of it all, yep, even the data has a price, those actuaries and accountants do not work for free. In a Libertarian utopia, we'll all have Air Measures installed in our teeth and a monthly bill for how much air you breathe. And you'll have all the firearms and rocket launchers you need to prevent anyone from stealing from your pile of loot. And you'll need them too since not everyone will feel blessed in the Libertarian Paradise.

And when you die, don't forget to settle up or your heirs will be inheriting much more than your mold and spore collection.

Re:O RLY (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#46523271)

In a democracy, everyone is responsible and accountable when, decade after decade, private profits are allowed to trump public well being, time and time again.

Welcome to the dystpoian oligarchy, where the only thing which matters is corporate profits, and where you assume it's safe until someone proves otherwise -- all the while making it impossible for people to study it enough to find out.

Re:O RLY (5, Insightful)

lkcl (517947) | about 4 months ago | (#46522959)

YA RLY
And the corporations selling this stuff cannot care less about it, all they care about is that we transition to patented and sterile seeds so we perpetually depend on them.

my biggest concern is that they start creating what can only be described as "generation time-bomb crops", in a pathologically-insane effort to further save money. "time-bomb crops" would be those which you plant once, they grow, seed, plant twice, they grow, place a third time and they FAIL.

now imagine such insanely-dangerous crops pollenating and cross-pollenating world-wide and it's not so hard to imagine a scenario in which world famine occurs within a five to eight year period in which all food crops world-wide completely fail.

i was actually pretty shocked when i first heard of sterile seeds that even have a *single* generation planting. there's no guarantee that nature will not, through its own process of DNA evolution, *accidentally* come up with generation time-bomb crops.

i've said it once and i'll say it again: genetic modifications to crops are so insanely dangerous that i'm beyond understanding why people do not understand this. if there was even the *slightest* risk of killing 7 billion people *why would you even contemplate it*?

Re:O RLY (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 4 months ago | (#46523113)

Fortunately, life finds a way, and time bombs are an evolutionary dead end. I'm not saying that GMOs shouldn't be scrutinized, but you don't seem to be looking at this properly, and also seem to be conflating what the GMO industry is doing right now with the underlying technology.

Re:O RLY (3, Insightful)

morgauxo (974071) | about 4 months ago | (#46523455)

"and also seem to be conflating what the GMO industry is doing right now with the underlying technology."

There's a lot of that going around. Isn't that what pretty much every anti-GMO person does?

Evolution take care of that (1)

aepervius (535155) | about 4 months ago | (#46523471)

Seed with limited number of generation, simply kick themselves out of any gene pool which has no such limitation.

Re:O RLY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46523005)

All the fuss surrounding GMO is about this.

Not all of it, or even most of it. Most of the fuss is about how genetic modification is new and scary and GMO crops are going to be toxic. The justified component of the fuss, though - yes, that's about biotech companies establishing lock-in on the food industry.

Re:O RLY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46523029)

My pets already resist! I dont need them to be any more resistant.
Its hard enough to get them to go out and pee this winter, and sure enough, theyll wait til Im in bed.
Now some Chemical company has to go and make it worse.
Ill dump bags of dogshit dropped in my house on Cargills front door.
But , I bet they only stomp out the fire,the first time.
Making resistant pets, indeed!

Re:O RLY (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 4 months ago | (#46523061)

Corporations

Are any companies in the "Bt seed industry" other than Monsanto? I wonder why they hardly get a mention in the article.

Re:O RLY (3, Funny)

Stormthirst (66538) | about 4 months ago | (#46523133)

Because they are the biggest, and they invented it. Also everyone knows how big a bunch of cunts they are.

Re:O RLY (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 4 months ago | (#46523201)

Right, my question is why isn't Monsanto mentioned by name? I think you may have misunderstood my comment.

Re:O RLY (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | about 4 months ago | (#46523375)

You're right - I did miss-read. /tin foil hat Monsanto bought the paper?

Re:O RLY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46523203)

as far as I know sterile seeds are not major part of the sold seeds if at all. Patented and controlled better than ever before - that is a problem that majority just overlooks.

Re:O RLY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46523379)

Two thoughts.

1) Monsanto HAS already withstood antitrust scrutiny in regard with patented crop modifications. They won.
2) How long are patents protected, again? ISTR that some of Monsanto's expire in 2014.

It's in their own best interest, if those worms become resistant.

Re:O RLY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522729)

O RLY

Yes, really. But that's OK, let's keep defending those who want to hide themselves behind patents and threaten litigation for even hinting to peek behind the curtain. Yes, I'm sure that we'll find in 5 years that all other GMOs are perfectly safe too, and that spike in cancer isn't related at all...

Re:O RLY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522871)

O RLY

Yes, really. But that's OK, let's keep defending those who want to hide themselves behind patents and threaten litigation for even hinting to peek behind the curtain. Yes, I'm sure that we'll find in 5 years that all other GMOs are perfectly safe too, and that spike in cancer isn't related at all...

The factors driving growth in cancer cases are pretty well understood and documented. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02... [cnn.com]

Including the fact that if you adjust for the aging of America, the cancer rate and cancer mortality in America is actually declining notably.

Re:O RLY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522805)

And the worms shall inherit the earth...

Surprised? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522691)

That's how life works doesn't it? Pest attacks plant. Plant evolves defense. Pest finds a way bypass defense.

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522703)

Evolution vs Design : 1 - 0

Unless, the pests were designed too.

Re:Surprised? (3, Interesting)

xelah (176252) | about 4 months ago | (#46522785)

Presumably there are other ways of reducing the pest population and ways of delaying resistance to this and to pesticides. Consider crop rotation, for example. Gardeners know that some plants shouldn't be planted in the same place year after year because the pest population increases over time (and because of the effect on the soil, and sometimes other reasons). I'm sure farmers know this, too. But if maize is the best paying crop and someone offers you these seeds as a way to continue to plant maize on a heavily infested area, what are you going to do?

Re:Surprised? (5, Interesting)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about 4 months ago | (#46522889)

Diversity is the key. (Crop rotation is just one example.) The whole "mega-scale, mono-culture" approach to farming is flawed, and these GMO tweaks are just prolonging its inevitable demise. The future lies with smaller-scale, multi-species farms which more closely mimic the patterns found in nature.

For example, put multiple crops in a single field, alternating several rows of each (depending on what equipment you're using), and interspersed with "islands" of other species whose purpose is to provide habitat for the predators of your pests. You might not get quite as much yield, but if you don't have to spend a dime on pesticide, you'll still come out ahead.

It's a lot more sophisticated than I can explain here, but there are plenty of people doing this already, and it is growing in popularity. There are many different methods being developed, most of which fit under the umbrella of "permaculture" or "holistic management". Look at what Joel Salatin is doing at Poliface Farm in Virginia, or what Colin Seis is doing with "pasture cropping" in Australia, as just a couple of prominent examples.

There are better ways to produce our food and fiber, it's just going to take a while to revolutionize the entire industry.

Re:Surprised? (4, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 4 months ago | (#46522997)

The problem with this model is, it's not friendly to automation. You can't harvest from a complex ecosystem with a petrol driven combine.

But you can build custom forests that are filled with massive diversity of food crops, and it's not really any more work to gather your food from one than it is to go to the grocery store.

These forests deliver way, way more food per acre than any conventional farming method, by a huge margin.

Because they're built using perennial plants that will propagate themselves, once they're up, you never have to dig, and you never have to plant the earth.

Because you fill all the available ecological niches with food bearing plants, you never have to weed, and you never have to use pesticides.

Because they are stable ecosystems, once you put them together, barring fire or catastrophic weather events, they'll continue to abide for many generations of man.

All these ridiculous claims about how the Earth is overpopulated are based on the assumption that we will continue to use existing farming techniques.

The truth is, if we transitioned to this method of food production, we could completely abandon oil, increase our population into the trillions and the worlds ecosystems would not only be healthier than they are now, but they would be healthier than if mankind weren't around in the first place.

But, for it to work, people need to stop thinking of food as something that comes from the store, and start thinking of it as something that comes from the forest. People need to go pick their food themselves.

It's not more work. It won't take more time out of your day than the way you gather food now. It's just a change of lifestyle, and the quality of the food you eat goes up, and your health improves as a consequence.

Regardless of what the rest of you do, it's my intention to build such a forest, build a home within it for myself, and another for my daughter and each of my future children. But it would be a much better world for all of us if you were inspired to do the same.

I'm not saying you should download "The Complete Geoff Lawton Permaculture DVD Collection" off the pirate bay or anything, you should definitely buy a legitimate copy... but everything you need to know to get the ball rolling is in there ;)

Re:Surprised? (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about 4 months ago | (#46523119)

You can't harvest from a complex ecosystem with a petrol driven combine.

Depends on what system you use. Pasture cropping, for example, is well suited to standard row-cropping equipment.

increase our population into the trillions

Hm... I think you're exaggerating a tad there. ;-) Certainly we can easily support the current projected population growth with these methods.

download "The Complete Geoff Lawton Permaculture DVD Collection" off the pirate bay

I already did that a couple of years ago. ;-) If you haven't yet, get over to his website [geofflawton.com] and sign up for his latest videos. He's been coming out with a new one each week for the last few months. Good stuff! (You'll have to provide an email address, but they don't abuse it, at least they haven't so far.)

Re:Surprised? (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 4 months ago | (#46523183)

Yep, I'm on there.

I don't think I'm exaggerating. There are 36.7 trillion acres of land on earth.

Re:Surprised? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46523217)

Of course the earth is overpopulated. Consider the energy resources available and how do we get rid of the waste products, CO2, etc. We're already screwed and yet people are still breeding like maggots. We've either got to stop fucking or use more birth control. China had it right.

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46523333)

Of course the earth is overpopulated. Consider the energy resources available and how do we get rid of the waste products, CO2, etc. We're already screwed and yet people are still breeding like maggots. We've either got to stop fucking or use more birth control. China had it right.

Kill yourself then, maggot

Re:Surprised? (2)

Rich0 (548339) | about 4 months ago | (#46523397)

But, for it to work, people need to stop thinking of food as something that comes from the store, and start thinking of it as something that comes from the forest. People need to go pick their food themselves...It's not more work. It won't take more time out of your day than the way you gather food now.

Uh, right now I can buy a found of steak in shrink-wrap. How exactly is walking through a forest supposed to be easier than that? I can buy enough food for a week in 30min of shopping.

And where is this forest going to be? Are we going to just plant it in the middle of our suburban housing developments? Will my neighbor mind me spearing some antelope in his back yard? If it is going to be in some designated area, then how is accessing that going to be easier than going to the local supermarket? If the food is unpreserved, then you'd need to basically go there daily.

I don't think the solution to the current ecological problems is to return to a hunter-gatherer state.

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46523319)

Better look at what Austria has been doing for generations. There's nothing new to invent...

Re:Surprised? (3, Funny)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 4 months ago | (#46522881)

"Plant evolves defense."

Stop right there ! There's no such thing as evolution. Pests didn't evolve defense, God created new resistant pests. All those farmers who used GMO crops are obviously gay and are punished for it. *That's the only explanation.*

Re:Surprised? (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 4 months ago | (#46523011)

"Plant evolves defense."

Stop right there ! There's no such thing as evolution. Pests didn't evolve defense, God created new resistant pests. All those farmers who used GMO crops are obviously gay and are punished for it. *That's the only explanation.*

Did you know, intelligent people are capable of designing systems that evolve?

Here's a tutorial for you:

http://www.gp-field-guide.org.... [gp-field-guide.org.uk]

The correct response to the whole "God hates Fags" controversy is to simply point out "If God didn't hate Fags, he wouldn't have Created Evolution to weed them out of the gene pool. He dealt with it already, so shut up about it."

Re:Surprised? (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 4 months ago | (#46523173)

No the correct response is to explain that god actually hates figs. [blogspot.com] Easy mistake to make.

Re:Surprised? (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 4 months ago | (#46523177)

If God didn't hate Fags, he wouldn't have Created Evolution to weed them out of the gene pool.

So you're suggesting he's incompetent and homophobic and that this somehow was the motivation for him 'designing' evolution? Yeah, that sounds persuasive...

Re:Surprised? (0)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 4 months ago | (#46523431)

If God didn't hate Fags, he wouldn't have Created Evolution to weed them out of the gene pool.

So you're suggesting he's incompetent and homophobic and that this somehow was the motivation for him 'designing' evolution? Yeah, that sounds persuasive...

No, I'm saying, God is a metaphor used to propagate knowledge, Evolution exists, homosexuality prevents an organism from propagating their DNA forward, causing them to be selected against by evolutionary pressure, and that is the entire point.

If you don't believe in God as a man with a white beard in the sky who interferes capriciously in human affairs, well, neither do I, and neither do most intelligent religious people. Why do you think Islamic people are barred from drawing pictures of him and his prophets? To hammer home the fact that he's not REALLY a "man in the sky".

But, regardless, homosexuality DOES prevent an organism from propagating their DNA forward, and they ARE selected against by evolutionary pressure, and they ARE wiped out of the gene pool if they confine themselves to sexual activity only with members of their own sex. These are simple, immutable facts of life.

So, if YOU were going to try to express these facts using the God metaphor, how would YOU phrase it?

Re:Surprised? (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 4 months ago | (#46523465)

Naturlly, It takes a lot longer.

Well evolution at work (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522695)

I wonder when will we learn that fighting the Nature is not the best path to survival.

Re:Well evolution at work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522707)

I wonder when will we learn that fighting the Nature is not the best path to survival.

What does that mean in practice in this context, should we just let the rootworms have the corn?

Re:Well evolution at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522773)

It means we should find what eats or infects rootworms, what "is in rootworm business" and work from there. Awkwardly similar to Second Law of Thermodynamics, we can never win completely, like, eradicate the pests, we can only hope to keep them under control of other links in the food chain.

Or, perhaps we could bribe the pests - engineer some plant species which are more tasty and preferable for them then cultures we consume, thus "gently nudging" them away from where we don't want them.

Finally, we could engineer the pests themselves, introduce genes which will make them "corn intolerant" or something like that.

However, my favorite way would be to shift industrial plantation indoors - under controlled environment, controlled spectrum lighting, using no inefficient internal combustion engines to unnecessary move (unneeded) dirt, probably using electricity from clean sources, in atmosphere of low O2 and high CO2 - killing every breathing pest that manage to sneak into factory, as well as boosting biomass production.

Re:Well evolution at work (1)

228e2 (934443) | about 4 months ago | (#46523031)

It means we should find what eats or infects rootworms, what "is in rootworm business" and work from there.

I think the Simpsons have shown that this is a very bad idea.

Re:Well evolution at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522807)

There are many things one can do to protect against pests like for example.
Don't plant vast fields with single crop for 50 years. Diversity will stop a single pest specie growing out of control.
There are a lot of types of corn however with GM crops we are limited to 1 which makes the pests adapt to that one i.e. be better at lowering the production.
I'm sure there is something else these worms like better then corn. Why not plant that alongside.

and so on.

Re:Well evolution at work (1)

Alioth (221270) | about 4 months ago | (#46522971)

Plant a certain percentage of GMO crop toxic to rootworm along with unmodified, so the rootworm have an environment where they can live and reduce the selective pressure to become resistant. It will lower the yield but you can still avoid pesticides.

Re:Well evolution at work (1)

Sique (173459) | about 4 months ago | (#46522973)

In a natural world, plants defend against pests by producing toxins themselves that keep enough of the pests away for survival. But in a natural world, you don't have the big feast of hundreds of acres of food for a single species (ok, for two species, one being Homo sapiens sapiens L.) without anything else getting in the way. Corn rootworms have a literal field day in a corn field, and anything the corn plant has evolved itself to keep rootworms at bay is outnumbered by the sheer amount of rootworms. The easiest way to get the number of rootworms down is to get the number of corn plants down, and that means fruit change. If there is a generation of rootworms which doesn't find a single corn plant to feed on, the population will simply die out.

Re:Well evolution at work (1)

hink (89192) | about 4 months ago | (#46523425)

I wonder when will we learn that fighting the Nature is not the best path to survival.

What does that mean in practice in this context, should we just let the rootworms have the corn?

Before the genetic engineering the rootworms didn't "have" all the corn. The existing pesticides, used prudently, and other practices were working. The pesticides are not the only course for fighting the rootworms, crop rotation and other practices can work. The pesticides were the most common method. But pesticides are scary chemicals, and Jenny McBunny swears they cause "-insert disorder here-", so "think of the children" shenanigans happened.

As others have mentioned, there was very little altruism behind the sale of the modified corn.

the easily bought and paid for, corrupt agency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522701)

""little EPA intervention""

There to busy going after everyone else.. The article itself isn't surprising, and the industry will be on the defensive with GM crops, and I'm waiting to see resistant weeds, and insects, as they are exposed to stronger, or more powerful insecticides/pesticides. Not that their more toxic, but I would expect to see the same resistance.

Who is John Galt? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522705)

Who coulda known?

Creationists (3, Funny)

jlebrech (810586) | about 4 months ago | (#46522713)

Are those bioengineers creationists who didn't think nature would adapt to those new genes? crazy.

Re:Creationists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522741)

Are those bioengineers creationists who didn't think nature would adapt to those new genes? crazy.

Well, they have had 5 years (and several more in practice as resistant population will take time to grow) with a solution to a problem. Even if they are now heading towards being back where they started, they have had a significant advantage for a significant amount of time. Could and should they have stretched this advantage with more careful use? Certainly. But they haven't lost anything vs not using it at all, quite the opposite, they have still gained significantly.

Re:Creationists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522865)

I don't think that the engineers have much to do with the use (and overuse) of the crop, but more in the actual creation of it. The responsibility of that lies in the hands of economists, lawyers and CEOs which purpose is to squeeze the maximum amount of profit out of the product.

Re:Creationists (1)

Stem_Cell_Brad (1847248) | about 4 months ago | (#46522943)

The bioengineers knew this would happen if their new seeds were overused.

Well, make it better then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522721)

1. Bug eats corn
2. Engineers update corn to 2.0 to withstand bug
3. Bugreports come in implying corn 2.0 still has bugs
4. Engineers should bugfix corn again, it's called 'progress'

Re: Well, make it better then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522817)

Humans consume cancer 2.0.

The most damning aspect of this affair (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 4 months ago | (#46522733)

is this: agricultural scientists weren't allowed by seed companies to study the engineered corn until 2010.

surely with the help of our corrupt lawmakers.

How in the hell can scientists NOT be allowed to study IN DETAIL, and from the get-go, something as fundamentally groundbreaking and new as genetic engineering applied on a planet-wide scale for the first time ever in the history of life itself?

We need a revolution to overthrow the current government structures the world over, and sooner rather than later, if only because some day, Something Bad[tm] will happen that'll cause genuine harm to humanity.

Re:The most damning aspect of this affair (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522793)

is this: agricultural scientists weren't allowed by seed companies to study the engineered corn until 2010.

surely with the help of our corrupt lawmakers.

How in the hell can scientists NOT be allowed to study IN DETAIL, and from the get-go, something as fundamentally groundbreaking and new as genetic engineering applied on a planet-wide scale for the first time ever in the history of life itself?

We need a revolution to overthrow the current government structures the world over, and sooner rather than later, if only because some day, Something Bad[tm] will happen that'll cause genuine harm to humanity.

Given the current situation we're facing today, what in the hell makes you think that Something Bad has not already happened.

The global infection that Monsanto is driving may be irreversible in a few years. It may be there already.

And yeah, I have no problem calling out those cocksuckers by name. If you want to know why scientists were not allowed to study this problem for over a decade, try and talk to one of their fucking lawyers.

Re:The most damning aspect of this affair (4, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | about 4 months ago | (#46522803)

We do (need that revolution), but it wont' happen because most people do not, or just refuse, to understand how bad things are. Science is hard, after all. Better to worry about things like abortion and gay marriage.

Re:The most damning aspect of this affair (2)

alexhs (877055) | about 4 months ago | (#46522895)

What about focusing the greatest minds and resources on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections ?

So you say you want a revolution? (5, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 months ago | (#46522809)

Such counter-revolutionary feeling is only happening due to yours being a matter of breaking away from a foreign power that was very busy at the time and so didn't come in to wash the streets of New York with blood. You clearly cannot imagine the price. Take a look at revolutions against strong and established governments based where the revolution has happened and you'll get a good idea of the cost. Take a look at the outcomes of those and compare it to what George Washington's revolution gave you.
Do you really think you will get something better and what is wrong with George Washington's ideas in the first place that another revolution is required to replace them?
Why do you think it will turn out better than what Egypt is dealing with now?

Re:So you say you want a revolution? (2)

DarkOx (621550) | about 4 months ago | (#46523013)

I think it *could* work better than the Arab spring has. The major reason being Americans still have a vague cultural memory of what Washington and Jeffersonian democracy looked like.

If they ever do remove the blinders enough to see what is really going on in the first place, it won't be as easy to sell them a Plutocracy or Military dictatorship gussied up to look like a Republic at least not right after their brothers, sons, and daughters have just got done bleeding for freedom again.

Most people here are to comfortable though, so its not going to happen in the first place. As long as they have money for beer and football is on TV they won't bother looking around to see what has been and is being taken from them.

I strongly doubt it (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 months ago | (#46523197)

You don't end up with something almost the same but just a bit better after a revolution. You end up with whatever the person who can get together the most guns wants, and whatever wet dreams the NSA has that's not going to be civilians - it's going to be whoever promises the military the best deal. There's no "easy to sell them" involved for the rest.

Most people here are to comfortable though, so its not going to happen in the first place

Which is why I tried pointing out to the above poster that a revolution has already been won for him - IMHO tweaking the current situation instead of throwing it all away to be a dictatorship or whatever is frankly somewhat more sane.

Re:So you say you want a revolution? (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46523059)

Well done.

You are more likely to get a Putin than a Gorbachev, and there are many more Ted Cruz-like asshats out there than there are George Washingtons.

Re:So you say you want a revolution? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 4 months ago | (#46523299)

Ukraine just had a revolution. Look what happened? Woe to you if you live in Crimea. You are now Russian with Putin spies all over and will dissapear if you do not watch what you say or act carefully. Sounds better under the corrupt Ukraine dictatorship if you ask me.

Re:The most damning aspect of this affair (2)

spikenerd (642677) | about 4 months ago | (#46522955)

If legitimate, this "scientists weren't allowed" statement is indeed alarming. However, it was also given without details, basis, or evidence. I am a scientist, and I don't give a damn about what my industry wants me to study. Who are these pansy agricultural scientists that ask companies for permission about what to study? Was a scientist actually sued? Can anyone document any details of a possible threat, even a subtle or implied one? How did these companies manange to distribute these seeds so widely to farmers while completely preventing all scientists from obtaining a single sample? Come on, evidence please! Until then, I really want to be inflamed by this story. Can anyone with some real details help me out?

Re:The most damning aspect of this affair (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 4 months ago | (#46523027)

The trouble is these things come with what amounts to a EULA. Look how things worked out for that farmer who bought GM soy from a grain silo and tried to use it for seed: law suit city.

I am sure the farmers were forbidden from furnishing the plants to anyone who was not going to be using them for animal or human consumption. So its not that nobody could study it but that there would have been nothing but pain associated with doing so. As soon as they went to publish or even just talk about it, they would have with little doubt been trampled by an army of lawyers.

Re:The most damning aspect of this affair (1)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | about 4 months ago | (#46523057)

If legitimate, this "scientists weren't allowed" statement is indeed alarming. However, it was also given without details, basis, or evidence. I am a scientist, and I don't give a damn about what my industry wants me to study. Who are these pansy agricultural scientists that ask companies for permission about what to study? Was a scientist actually sued? Can anyone document any details of a possible threat, even a subtle or implied one? How did these companies manange to distribute these seeds so widely to farmers while completely preventing all scientists from obtaining a single sample? Come on, evidence please! Until then, I really want to be inflamed by this story. Can anyone with some real details help me out?

Here's the explanation. There was no Grand Consipracy to prevent scientists from obtaining and studying the seeds. What wasn't allowed was for scientists to have access to the fields where the plants were being commercially grown.

They *could* have obtained the seeds, planted them, and done their studies on those crops. But they couldn't possibly reproduce the sheer scale of Mega-agrobusiness. Since evolution involves lots of random chance, there would be a lot more chances for resistance to develop in the millions of acres of commercial fields than there would be in the much smaller scale fields available to researchers.

About the onlly thing to be alarmed about is the fact that the EPA didn't require monitoring of GMO-planted fields for such changes. But while that might be alarming, it's not particularly surprising, given the way the US goverment caters to corporations.

Re:The most damning aspect of this affair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522965)

Revolution is for those desperate enough to die for it. If all you're doing is sitting in a chair and ranting at the screen, then we're good for another 50 years.

Re:The most damning aspect of this affair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522979)

About 10 or so years ago I heard a husband wife team of scientists. They were investigating some genetically modified crop. I think it was soy. They wanted to know if: 1. the soy was genetically modified to produce BT, a chemical or chemicals that have a pesticide effect. 2. if the soy is now making an amount of BT, it has to be making pound for pound less amount of some other chemicals it would be making without the BT gene splice in. 3. are the levels of genistein, a chemical naturally found in so, reduced? 4. genistein may reduce some cancers, increase other, mimic estrogen and cause gynecomastia in males, and so on.

Since the Monsanto GM soy is infertile, they had to go every year and buy new seeds to grow more soy beans. After a couple of years, they went to buy some and were told by the supplier: Monsanto found out what you are doing. The Monsanto seed is sold under a license only for the purpose of growing soy beans for sale on the commodity market. Growing it to study it is not allowed. I've been ordered not to sell you any more seed.

Maybe we need GM transparency?

Re:The most damning aspect of this affair (2)

StormReaver (59959) | about 4 months ago | (#46523055)

Our corrupt government allows corporations to poison our food in order to poison the bugs that eat it.
The bugs evolve to resist the poison, making the poison pointless.
Our government allows corporations to continue poisoning our food because the corporations have become dependent on the income the poisoning provides.
We are still being poisoned, and will continue to be poisoned.

Yet genetically altering our food is somehow still considered a good thing by the clueless. Sadly, the clueless are the ones making the decisions and supporting those making the decisions.

Re:The most damning aspect of this affair (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 4 months ago | (#46523279)

The Tea Party is counter revolution of more corporate control and less goverment and liberalism.

The Tea Party is winning. Expect more corruption and more power to the big boys and the citizens are all brainwashed and in line thinking less government is really for them lol

Feature, not bug (4, Funny)

Warbothong (905464) | about 4 months ago | (#46522749)

We need to start outsourcing our problems to Nature. How about we genetically engineer corn which can only be eaten by organisms which excrete efficient batteries, BitCoins and flying cars?

Re:Feature, not bug (1)

R4D4R (3548635) | about 4 months ago | (#46523017)

How about some rootworm ethanol?

Free market economy, way to destroy us all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522751)

And this is what happens when decision are made by money greed capitalists. If scientist would lead the world, it would look quite a bit different.

Re:Free market economy, way to destroy us all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522837)

Yea, wasn't Hitler all kinds of sciency and shit, you know all into the rockets and gas oriented tech of teh day? No? 'Cause I thought I read that here once.

Oh fuck off hippy.

Given that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522761)

Why doesn't slashdot stop its overuse of bioengineered corn?

Slashdot Sociakists (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522829)

"but the Bt seed industry, seeking to maximize short-term profits"

Hard at work.

Power to the [correct] people! Eleventy! Haliburton, Cheney!

Remember children, socialism is for the people, NOT for the socialists. Now shut the fuck up and get back to work, someone has to pay for Michelles fucking vacations.

A bit slanted? (2)

Lando (9348) | about 4 months ago | (#46522867)

Okay, I can be pretty dense when it comes to reading between the lines, but even I notice a heavy dose of agenda in this summary. It's a good thing the anti-GMO folks have a crystal ball to see the future clearly.

I guess we need our daily dose of propaganda though.

Re:A bit slanted? (2)

quantaman (517394) | about 4 months ago | (#46522885)

Okay, I can be pretty dense when it comes to reading between the lines, but even I notice a heavy dose of agenda in this summary. It's a good thing the anti-GMO folks have a crystal ball to see the future clearly.

I guess we need our daily dose of propaganda though.

I'm pro-GMO but I think this is one of the legitimate issues. If you engineer something to resist a pest the pest is going to evolve a response, we've learned that lesson countless times with anti-biotics but the pests evolve faster than human nature.

Re:A bit slanted? (3, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 4 months ago | (#46522951)

Okay, I can be pretty dense when it comes to reading between the lines, but even I notice a heavy dose of agenda in this summary. It's a good thing the anti-GMO folks have a crystal ball to see the future clearly.

I guess we need our daily dose of propaganda though.

I'm pro-GMO but I think this is one of the legitimate issues. If you engineer something to resist a pest the pest is going to evolve a response, we've learned that lesson countless times with anti-biotics but the pests evolve faster than human nature.

Perhaps I am missing something but I fail to see the issue? it was completely expected for the pests to overcome it, GE corn was never going to be a solution forever, it doesn't negate all the years of use they got out of not having to use a heap of chemicals to kill the pests. Now they have to go back to chemicals again though, at least until they find the next method to counter them.

Re:A bit slanted? (0)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 4 months ago | (#46523069)

... it was completely expected for the pests to overcome it ...

Let me put that in context: "it was completely expected for the pests to overcome it since the seed company bought off congresscritters to not require refuges to prevent resistance."

Re:A bit slanted? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 4 months ago | (#46523053)

So previous to this seed we use pesticides to combat rootworms because farmers grow the same crop year after year permitting rootworm populations to rapidly grow. The seed is introduced which the corn produces its own pesticide. The seed is used, once again year after year. The rootworms become resistant. Farmers are now required to use pesticides once again.

We've returned to where we were about five years ago and about the worst thing you could say happened is that this particular modification of corn to combat root worms would need to be shelved and a new one found. As long as farmers engage in mono-crop farming this is going to happen and that's not even getting into the issues of nitrogen levels in soil.

Re:A bit slanted? (1)

Lando (9348) | about 4 months ago | (#46523193)

My problem isn't with the information provided, my problem is how they are framing the summary. It comes across as an emotional plea rather than actually providing knowledge/data. The message is getting lost in the rhetoric, imo.

Nothing new (4, Interesting)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about 4 months ago | (#46522887)

Years ago (10 years or more)? There was a study about the arms race in agricultural pest control. The subject of this study was a genetically engineered crop that made its own poison, but that was not really relevant to the outcome of the study. Traditional spraying would have the same effect.

It was discovered that poison did not only fight pests, it also helps pests. The non-resistant pest bugs were killed, but the resistant pest bugs were given a predator-free environment. This was important, because the poison resistance often comes with lower chances of survival in non-poisoned environments. For example, one poison had an impact on the nerve system, paralysing non-resistant bugs. Resistant bugs had a nerve system that worked much slower, so they would be a "sitting duck" in a natural environment.

the study showed that if a certain portion of the land (recommended was 15% to 20%, which sound like a lot, but is peanuts compared to the 60% loss often found due to resistant pests) was planted with non-poisoned crops, the whole arms race could actually be stopped. The bugs would move between plants, and if they came on a poisoned plant they would be attacked by the poison, and if they came on a natural plant, they would be attacked by their natural predators.

Re:Nothing new (4, Informative)

hibiki_r (649814) | about 4 months ago | (#46523365)

Yep, it's called refuge. And that's why you will find, today, that the recommendation is to do exactly as you say. You'll even find Monsanto, BASF and Pioneer telling you to do that, and even selling the seeds for both. If you find a farmer that doesn't know that, he's not paying attention.

Now, good luck finding people that know this unless they have farmers or agronomists in the family.

example monoculture and sexual reproduction (1)

fonske (1224340) | about 4 months ago | (#46522891)

Phytophthora infestans A1 type created famine in 1845 in Ireland and Flanders.
Blight was largely under control in 20th century until the Oömycete got the chance to sexually reproduce with the A2 type imported from latin America to Europe around the 1980's.
Potatoes are largely from the "bintje" variety because consumer wants so. And potatoes are "cloned" by planting tubers from previous harvest.

Been to a seminar on this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522911)

I went to a seminar about a year ago at Clemson U. The presenter went over all of the protocols that farmers are supposed to follow, which included growing non-modified corn in a certain proportion of their acreage. This was to prevent this very thing happening. The idea is that pests thrive in the non-modified crop and spawn non-resistant offspring, and since their numbers are much larger than the bugs in the modified crop, they pollute the resistant DNA and they don't develop herd immunity to the modified corn.

He basically said that the pests are becoming resistant because farmers are not following the protocol, because the non-modified crops basically get obliterated as a honeypot for pests to thrive and multiply, and the farmers don't make any money off of that acreage.

So, don't blame the corn. Blame big agro for failing to follow the rules in the name of greed and profit.

I'll oppose GM agrobusiness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522945)

...as long as it's only in the hands of greedy corps.

Because it's about furthering their interests, which most of the time don't align with mine.

Does this mean pesticide works better now? (2)

swb (14022) | about 4 months ago | (#46522987)

So there was a switch to rootworm resistant corn, which I'd assume came with a declining use of pesticide. If the rootworms overcame resistance to the resistant corn, does this mean they may have lost some of their resistance to the pesticide?

Or are these resistances somehow retained or overlapping so that we have rootworms with high resistance to both?

Other than the nasty concept of pesticide use generally, it sounds like maybe this would allow for a switch back to pesticides which the rootworms may have lost resistance to.

Or will my cynicism be correct, that farmers will use both the resistant seed AND pesticide and develop a super-rootworm with strong resistance to both?

Re:Does this mean pesticide works better now? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#46523139)

as long as they have little S symbols on their chests so we can easily identify them.

Re:Does this mean pesticide works better now? (3, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | about 4 months ago | (#46523191)

I can't see what the actual issue with the situation put forwards by the article is. Farmers have been able to use considerably less pesticide for a decade, the effectiveness of that solution is falling so they'll have to go back to using pesticide. How is that worse than just having used pesticide throughout the whole period and have the rootworm build up a better resistance to that instead?

buy hey! (2)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 4 months ago | (#46523067)

evolution isn't real, right? adaptation to environmental stresses just a theory...

tell that to these farmers.

Re:buy hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46523317)

A witch did it!

Scientists suprised by evolution.... (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#46523127)

News at 11.

Come on. really? nobody expected this?

This is why you are supposed to ROTATE pesticides not using the same thing over and over and over.
DDT has been out of use so long that I bet it is highly effective if they bring it back into use, but this time using it sparingly not dousing the entire countryside in thousands of gallons of it.

Re:Scientists suprised by evolution.... (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 4 months ago | (#46523269)

> dousing the entire countryside

Countryside?! They had trucks driving around cities and towns fogging it on everyone.

Well, let's eat the root worms instead (3, Funny)

gatkinso (15975) | about 4 months ago | (#46523131)

Yummy.

As long as the bottom line was good for a quarter (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | about 4 months ago | (#46523169)

or two, it was well worth the experiment, at least to the CEO and shareholders. The CEO got his bonus and the shareholders got their bump in the price and that's all that matters.

When the CEO lays off all the genetic engineers because of this "problem" the shareholders will reward him with another bonus for being so proactive.

I don't know why you guys are getting so upset. It says right there in the Bible that God gave us all the plants and animals to do with as we see fit.

So this is a bad why? (3, Insightful)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 4 months ago | (#46523263)

"1996. The first reports of root worm resistance were officially documented in 2011"

So we got 15 years of pesticide-free corn? And the downside is we have to return to what we used to do, until we get another variety?

If it's 15 years for that one too, I suspect we can out engineer the bugs continually.

Same with Global Warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46523267)

It is going to cost big business to retool factories to generate less CO2 emissions. They continue to do everything to maximize short term profits, without looking at the long term harm.

If they had their "no government intrusion" the way they want it, they'd still dumping waste in our waterways, and the major California cities would never have any smog-free days.

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