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Old 01-02-2006, 07:32 AM posted to sci.agriculture,sci.skeptic,alt.food.vegan,uk.business.agriculture
Oz Oz is offline
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Default Genetic modification (was: Coming Soon to a Paddy Near You: Frankenrice !)

David Hare-Scott writes

"Jim Webster" wrote in message


But in making that statement you have agreed with the author. GM plants

are
far more subject to scrutiny than conventional varieties which receive

damn
all.


Yes but it seems quite reasonable to me that it is so.


Indeed, but then don't simultaneously complain its all untested.

Many conventional varieties we have been eating for generations would
never have recieved clearance had modern regulators been able to check and
ban them when they first appeared


This is very hard to get a handle on as I cannot see any attempt to quantify
the problems with 'conventional' crops. Yes some cases of toxins being
created/augmented are reported but how significant is that in the overall
scheme of things? If it is only a rare siuation why would you want to
impose regulation on it.


One needs to be careful here. The argument in pesticides testing is that
nobody should ever be able to receive 1/10th to 1/100th (depending on
the perceived political hazard) of the NoEffectLevel. This leads to all
sorts of anomalies where levels are set assuming a vegetarian will eat
their entire food requirements in (say) carrots containing the legal
minimum which then sets the allowed concentration so its 1/10th of the
NoEL even though if you did this you would die of carotene poisoning.
Furthermore no trace of carcinogenicity is permitted.

Pharmaceuticals have a similar, but much more lax test.

The argument is that these very low levels are needed to ensure nobody
ever gets injured by the pesticide. The problem is that if you applied
the same test to known plant toxins, then you would have to ban the
plant because it contains more than the allowed level (or contains
carcinogens).

Something containing known carcinogens, like say toast, wouldn't even
get to first stage screening as a pesticide, it contains carcinogens so
its out.

What is needed is a proper toxicology of food items so we can properly
evaluate the risks of our foods. Then, somewhat perversely, we could
breed out the most dangerous (but probably most effective) toxins and
cover the pest control using tested safe pesticides.

--
Oz
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Old 01-02-2006, 07:32 AM posted to sci.agriculture,sci.skeptic,alt.food.vegan,uk.business.agriculture
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Default Genetic modification (was: Coming Soon to a Paddy Near You: Frankenrice !)


"David Hare-Scott" wrote in message
...

"Jim Webster" wrote in message
...

"David Hare-Scott" wrote in message
...

NO attempt to evaluate the risks of either technique so I cannot see

how
anyone can say one is more risky than the other. I take the point

however
that being new GM plants are subject to much higher scrutiny and

testing
than selectively bred varieties and that the presumption of safety of

the
latter is by no means guaranteed.


But in making that statement you have agreed with the author. GM plants

are
far more subject to scrutiny than conventional varieties which receive

damn
all.


Yes but it seems quite reasonable to me that it is so.


why? If something is a danger it is a danger, why should the reason for its'
creation mean it gets more or less scrutiney? Whatever happened to the
precautionary principle?


Many conventional varieties we have been eating for generations would
never have recieved clearance had modern regulators been able to check

and
ban them when they first appeared



This is very hard to get a handle on as I cannot see any attempt to

quantify
the problems with 'conventional' crops. Yes some cases of toxins being
created/augmented are reported but how significant is that in the overall
scheme of things? If it is only a rare siuation why would you want to
impose regulation on it.


much regulation is imposed to cope with rare situations
--

Jim Webster.
Pat Gardiner, Five years raving about bent vets and still no result



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Old 01-02-2006, 07:34 AM posted to sci.agriculture,sci.skeptic,alt.food.vegan,uk.business.agriculture
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Default Genetic modification (was: Coming Soon to a Paddy Near You: Frankenrice !)


"David Hare-Scott" wrote in message
...

Its more that plant breeding is pretty safe. Unfortunately we don't
actually know if our plant species are safe because most have never been
tested.


Hang on, we eat them all the time, isn't that a pretty large scale test?


but further down you refute that argument when discussing GM crops, there is
a contradiction in your stance


In fact feeding to animals is probably the only real test and
the species fed is very limited. Even so most feeds are restricted in
the amounts that should be fed due to animals showing negative
reactions. Often the precise reasons are not known but the safe feeding
amounts are.

Some have been known in farming for A VeryLongTime. Not putting tupping
ewes on a clovery/leguminous sward is one very nice example but there
are others.

What about the risks of GE? To me it is an open question, one that we
should put many resources into answering so we can determine the real

risks.
This needs to be done over a long period of time with plenty of

redundant
cross checking by different parties.


's OK. Massive worldwide experiment feeding to humans and livestock
worldwide now in its 15th year without problems.


I must be ultra conservative on such issues.

but you just said
Hang on, we eat them all the time, isn't that a pretty large scale test?

--

Jim Webster.
Pat Gardiner, Five years raving about bent vets and still no result



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Old 01-02-2006, 07:48 AM posted to sci.agriculture,sci.skeptic,alt.food.vegan,uk.business.agriculture
Oz Oz is offline
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Default Genetic modification (was: Coming Soon to a Paddy Near You: Frankenrice !)

David Hare-Scott writes

"Oz" wrote in message
David Hare-Scott writes


I cannot see anywhere that he/she substantiates such a comparison.
There is
NO attempt to evaluate the risks of either technique so I cannot see how
anyone can say one is more risky than the other.


Actually that is incorrect.


Sorry where are the evaluations of risk of the two techniques are the
quantitative comparison of them?


Oh, its quite clear. Inserting a single known gene with a precise action
means you know what the effect will be (pretty much), whilst inserting a
whole bunch of genes, most of which do unknown things, clearly meas you
don;t know what the result will be.

What do I think of the relative risks? As I pointed out to start of the
thred with Genetic Engineering (GE) and Selective Breeding (SB) are both
Genetic Modification (GM). That does not say anything about their

relative
safety. GE involves direct transfer of genetic material including that

from
totally unrelated species. SB is the alteration of the frequency of
selected genes in the target population by breeding from organisms

showing
favoured characteristic(s). In GE genes are directly modified, in SB
existing genes are selected in favour of others, there is no alteration

of
the genes themselves.


Of course that's not quite right. In GE genes are not modified,


Ok I didn't express this very well but it doesn't alter my point that one is
direct manipulation of genes and the other of their frequencies in the
population.


Not necessarily, genes from related plants can be deliberately
introduced to obtain pest or disease resistance. Many food plant
families contain highly toxic relatives with excellent disease
resistance. This is a standard technique as is using primitive varieties
from all over the world.

And I want to know why my tomatos can't be made to taste like
salmon too! :-)


The can, just add some smoked salmon.

they are
nicked (unmodified) from elsewhere and in SE we note many garden
varieties (eg cereals) are so packed with mutations and polyploidy that
they can no longer breed unaided with wild relatives.

SB may select for a mutation but it does not create
mutations.


Frankly an unknown selected mutation is quite a bit more hazardous than
a known artificially introduced gene. Is this splendidly pest resistant
variety a new mutation or a good selection? Ditto nice flavour? etc etc?

We actually don't know.


So what do you recommend?


We should evaluate the toxicology of food plants. This won't be as easy
as you think. In animal trials you can't usually feed high levels of a
single food for a lifetime without your stock dying or showing bad
effects. This sort of thing is well known in farming, but appears
unknown elsewhere.

SB is traditional Darwinian evolution being directed by humans by

choosing
the environment. By manipulating the environment we manipulate the gene
frequencies in the population much faster than otherwise and in

directions
that would never be taken without human intervention. This is where

nearly
all our cultivated plant and domesticated animal varieties came from.


I don't think so. Most of the really useful characteristics are
mutations.


This may be so today, I don't know what modern plant breeders get up to in
any detail. But considering the history of edible plant breeding I would
expect that our ancestors selected for size, flavour, etc as a primary goal.


Mostly they wanted a secure, reliable, food supply. You were far more
likely to die of starvation or hunger-related disease than worry about a
1:10,000 chance of dying from excessive intake of a plant toxin.

Which is why the NZ organic courgette growers selected the most
resistant cultivars for propogation and poisoned a whole bunch of
people.

But in fact many of the most useful characteristics (particularly
cereals) are mutations, spotted and selected.

Most of those sorts of qualities are covered by many genes not single
mutations, which is why takes so many generations to develop them. Does it
really matter if such qualities are single or multi factorial? In both
cases SB is still pushing around genotypes in populations by selecting
phenotypes.


Hang on, why do you assume that traits, like levels of toxin production,
selected by breeders, are safe, when they can clearly be hazardous?
Known to be so, as well.

Just consider the grossly deformed maize plant with teosinte.
Heck it doesn't have male and female bits of flower at the top but has
the female bits grotesquely poking out half way down.


No comment?

Is the SB process 100% free of risk? No way. But as we are only playing
with the frequency of existing genes the scope for a bad result is

limited.

Unfortunately not. Mutations happen. They get spotted.

If it wasn't people would have be getting poisoned far to often since
agriculture started and neither cultivated species nor the humans that
depend on them would be what they are today. The huge growth of human
population could never have happened if SB was very unsafe.


Its more that plant breeding is pretty safe. Unfortunately we don't
actually know if our plant species are safe because most have never been
tested.


Hang on, we eat them all the time, isn't that a pretty large scale test?


Indeed. We also eat (and have eaten) vast tonnages of GM varieties too
for many many years with no effect.

But food plant poisoning (as I pointed out at the start) happens and is
a known hazard, particularly in some cultivars (like, say kidney beans).

In fact feeding to animals is probably the only real test and
the species fed is very limited. Even so most feeds are restricted in
the amounts that should be fed due to animals showing negative
reactions. Often the precise reasons are not known but the safe feeding
amounts are.

Some have been known in farming for A VeryLongTime. Not putting tupping
ewes on a clovery/leguminous sward is one very nice example but there
are others.


No comment?

What about the risks of GE? To me it is an open question, one that we
should put many resources into answering so we can determine the real

risks.
This needs to be done over a long period of time with plenty of redundant
cross checking by different parties.


's OK. Massive worldwide experiment feeding to humans and livestock
worldwide now in its 15th year without problems.


I must be ultra conservative on such issues.


How long do you need?

I am running short of hours again so we might have to leave it until another
day. Oz I think we have both said what we can about this interesting topic.


Hardly.

--
Oz
This post is worth absolutely nothing and is probably fallacious.

Use functions].
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Old 01-02-2006, 01:29 PM posted to sci.agriculture,sci.skeptic,alt.food.vegan,uk.business.agriculture
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Default Genetic modification (was: Coming Soon to a Paddy Near You: Frankenrice !)

In message , Oz
writes

Oh, its quite clear. Inserting a single known gene with a precise action
means you know what the effect will be (pretty much),


Does that not depend where it's inserted ? How much control over that
do you have these days ?


whilst inserting a
whole bunch of genes, most of which do unknown things, clearly meas you
don;t know what the result will be.


But at least you know they are native to the species, so you'll probably
have encountered their effects in a similar context before.


In animal trials you can't usually feed high levels of a
single food for a lifetime without your stock dying or showing bad
effects. This sort of thing is well known in farming, but appears
unknown elsewhere.


Think most nutritionists would take issue with you there !


Cheers, J/.
--
John Beardmore


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Old 02-02-2006, 05:42 AM posted to sci.agriculture,sci.skeptic,alt.food.vegan,uk.business.agriculture
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Default Genetic modification (was: Coming Soon to a Paddy Near You: Frankenrice !)

In article , John Beardmore wrote:
In message , Oz
writes

Oh, its quite clear. Inserting a single known gene with a precise action
means you know what the effect will be (pretty much),


Does that not depend where it's inserted ? How much control over that
do you have these days ?


I reckon it probably does. As with all things, we think we know what we are
doing when we really just have more questions. The concept of gene ecology
may well become a growing field as some of those questions are answered
Likewise the data suggests we know only some of the controls currently.

Is it "better" or "worse" than breeding ? ... probably

Bruce

----------------------------------------
I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are the good
people and the bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and
only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.

Lord Vetinari in Guards ! Guards ! - Terry Pratchett

Caution ===== followups may have been changed to relevant groups
(if there were any)

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Old 02-02-2006, 07:30 AM posted to sci.agriculture,sci.skeptic,alt.food.vegan,uk.business.agriculture
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Default Genetic modification (was: Coming Soon to a Paddy Near You: Frankenrice !)

John Beardmore writes
In message , Oz
writes

Oh, its quite clear. Inserting a single known gene with a precise action
means you know what the effect will be (pretty much),


Does that not depend where it's inserted ? How much control over that
do you have these days ?


AFAIK the insertion point basically determines if the result produces a
viable organism with the inserted gene expressed.

whilst inserting a
whole bunch of genes, most of which do unknown things, clearly meas you
don;t know what the result will be.


But at least you know they are native to the species, so you'll probably
have encountered their effects in a similar context before.


As has been pointed out the toxins of plants are mostly unknown and the
level of expression is variable. So whilst that is usually true, its not
always true. Of course pest resistance tends to be strongly correlated
with toxins and their levels and this is actually the main thrust of
plant selection and breeding. Obviously this is also strongly correlated
with high yielding blemish-free produce.

In animal trials you can't usually feed high levels of a
single food for a lifetime without your stock dying or showing bad
effects. This sort of thing is well known in farming, but appears
unknown elsewhere.


Think most nutritionists would take issue with you there !


They might, but they won't have actual trial results let alone know the
major toxins and have analytical procedures to evaluate them. Compared
to animal nutritionists, human ones are at the stick and bone level.
Nearly all their claims are more or less invented by comparison.

--
Oz
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Old 02-02-2006, 09:36 AM posted to sci.agriculture,sci.skeptic,alt.food.vegan,uk.business.agriculture
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Default Genetic modification (was: Coming Soon to a Paddy Near You: Frankenrice !)

In message , Oz
writes
John Beardmore writes
In message , Oz
writes


Oh, its quite clear. Inserting a single known gene with a precise action
means you know what the effect will be (pretty much),


Does that not depend where it's inserted ? How much control over that
do you have these days ?


AFAIK the insertion point basically determines if the result produces a
viable organism with the inserted gene expressed.


Yes, though presumably it may also produce a viable organism with some
other genes expression altered.


In animal trials you can't usually feed high levels of a
single food for a lifetime without your stock dying or showing bad
effects. This sort of thing is well known in farming, but appears
unknown elsewhere.


Think most nutritionists would take issue with you there !


They might, but they won't have actual trial results


Well, I suspect that all nutritionists will express the need for a
'balanced diet', and they will know from animal trials, the effects of a
lack of most micro and bulk nutrients.


let alone know the
major toxins and have analytical procedures to evaluate them. Compared
to animal nutritionists, human ones are at the stick and bone level.
Nearly all their claims are more or less invented by comparison.


Well much of what they know will be from animal trials anyway, so there
may be the odd misunderstanding.


Cheers, J/.
--
John Beardmore
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Old 02-02-2006, 09:54 AM posted to sci.agriculture,sci.skeptic,alt.food.vegan,uk.business.agriculture
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Default Genetic modification (was: Coming Soon to a Paddy Near You: Frankenrice !)

John Beardmore writes
In message , Oz
writes
John Beardmore writes
In message , Oz
writes


Oh, its quite clear. Inserting a single known gene with a precise action
means you know what the effect will be (pretty much),

Does that not depend where it's inserted ? How much control over that
do you have these days ?


AFAIK the insertion point basically determines if the result produces a
viable organism with the inserted gene expressed.


Yes, though presumably it may also produce a viable organism with some
other genes expression altered.


Possible, but usually unlikely to be viable.

In animal trials you can't usually feed high levels of a
single food for a lifetime without your stock dying or showing bad
effects. This sort of thing is well known in farming, but appears
unknown elsewhere.

Think most nutritionists would take issue with you there !


They might, but they won't have actual trial results


Well, I suspect that all nutritionists will express the need for a
'balanced diet', and they will know from animal trials, the effects of a
lack of most micro and bulk nutrients.


Unfortunately plant toxins can vary widely in their effect on animals.
Its quite usual to find some animals that can eat (as food) plants that
would kill others. One nice example is that minute amounts of penicillin
will kill a guinea pig (which fortunately wasn't used to test the drug).

So extrapolating (say) pig nutrition to humans is a pretty rough way to
go. Best match would probably be the dog, but not many full-blown
feeding trials done on dogs as they are not much of a commercial farm
animal.

let alone know the
major toxins and have analytical procedures to evaluate them. Compared
to animal nutritionists, human ones are at the stick and bone level.
Nearly all their claims are more or less invented by comparison.


Well much of what they know will be from animal trials anyway, so there
may be the odd misunderstanding.


Indeed. Probably more than the 'odd bit', too.

--
Oz
This post is worth absolutely nothing and is probably fallacious.

Use functions].
BTOPENWORLD address has ceased. DEMON address has ceased.



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