Do GMO crops have a higher yield? It depends on the answer.

gmo-corn-rxThe Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is an American environmental organization founded in 1969 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which claims 400,000 members. They focus, generally, on environmental issues like nuclear power, global warming and a few other issues. Many of these issues are critically important, and a science advocacy group like UCS helps keep the scientific facts about global warming and other environmental issues at the forefront of the discussion.

But one area where UCS has gone off the rails of scientific evidence and embraces generally left wing science denialism is agriculture, more specifically GMO, or genetically modified organisms (or in this case crops). They are generally supportive of organic farming (which has little or no health benefit at a high cost to consumers) and vehemently opposed to GMO crops, based on what appears to be the same bad scientific critical skills that we observe in global warming deniers. There is nothing more frustrating than dogmatic science that stands against evidence. 

There are few, convincing, peer-reviewed studies that show any risk from consuming GMO foods. Late last year, an article was published by Séralini et al. that seem to show that a particular GM corn, made by Monsanto, would cause cancer. The anti-GMO world was so desperate to grab onto any evidence that would support their beliefs about the evil of GMO crops that they broadcast this study widely. The dean of pseudoscience, Dr. Oz, hyped the study to his fawning and uncritical audience. Except the study was thoroughly debunked by a vast range of scientists, most of whom had little general interest in agriculture, but saw bad science for what it is: bad science.

A lot of the controversy about GMO’s seems to be based on the the precautionary principle, which states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an act. Yet, there are literally dozens of peer-reviewed articles that show that GMO crops are safe. And the scientific consensus also concludes that GMO’s are safe. Once again, individuals conflate a political debate or opinion with scientific evidence. Other than a small group of scientists, most of them associated with UCS and other left-leaning environment groups, there just isn’t a controversy with regards to GMO crops. Just switch sides of the political aisle, and it’s the same thing with global warming or evolution–the only debate is a political one where right-wing science deniers are insisting that the vast mounds of scientific evidence are wrong.

It’s also clear that anti-GMO feelings arise, partially, from the Appeal to Nature logical fallacy, that is, natural is better, even without any evidence supporting that belief (see my comments above about organic farming). What is amusing is that the natural, genetically unmodified corn, called teosintes, looks like your typical lawn grass. The fruiting body, the ear of corn that we all eat, is tiny. Corn was domesticated 10,000 years ago through, unsurprisingly, genetic modification. Our distant relatives were amazingly adept at genetic manipulation, and central Americans were able to domesticate corn. So the “natural” corn exists only as a wild plant in parts of Mexico. What we eat is completely different thanks to genetic modification, whether its grown in a huge agribusiness farm or in your small domestic cornfield in your backyard.

Moving beyond the fears of potential health danger of GM foods, what are the benefits? Probably the only reason to plant GMO crops is to vastly increase yields of food. This yield may be increased by reducing damage from pests, increasing drought resistance, or improving the amount of food from each plant. If there were no benefits from GM crops, then maybe the precautionary principle makes sense. 

Of course, the UCS has a point of view on this matter. They published a white paper (a non-peer-reviewed document that tries to look like a real scientific paper) that concluded that “overall U.S. corn yields over the last several decades have annually averaged an increase of approximately one percent, which is considerably more than what Bt (a type of GMO corn) traits have provided.” In other words, based on this one type of GMO corn, UCS is claiming that the corn doesn’t have a higher yield than conventional corn (whatever that may be).

But the UCS is using a term called “intrinsic yield” which means something very specific in agricultural, and does not mean what many of us think is meant by “yield.” The UCS claims that GMO plants (in this case corn) do not appear to produce higher “intrinsic yields”; but what they mean is that the GMO crops don’t produce more kernels per cob. But “yield” to a farmer means something more. It’s the total amount of corn (or other crop) that they can produce at fixed costs (land, water, pesticides, whatever) in a fixed area. For example, if more corn survives to maturity because it is more resistant to pests and requires less pesticide (or other non-“natural” compounds), the the yield of the farmer’s field is higher, even if each individual plant does not produce more.

A recently published communication in Nature Biotechnology shows that GMO corn sometimes has higher and sometimes lower yields than conventionally bred corn, if you ignore all confounding factors in the environment. In years where GM corn was producing similar or lower yields than conventionally bred corn, the environmental factors, such as weather, disease or pests, were average. When accounting for the bad environmental situations, GM corn had significantly greater yields. 

In other words, semantics matter. Using the UCS definition of “yield”, which just looks at a single plant and ignores all other factors, GMO corn has no advantage. But in the real world of agriculture, the yield can be larger, sometimes quite a bit larger, under real world conditions that include a whole host of environmental challenges for the plant.

The point is that the value of GMO crops should not be underestimated, and the semantics can change how we value these crops. A real skeptic looks at the evidence for the value of the GMO crops (seems positive) while examining the evidence for the health risks (there is just nothing out there that scientifically supports any health issues with GM crops)–the scientific conclusion remains the same that GMO crops have a large positive benefit to mankind.

I know that a lot of hatred of GMO crops is pointed at Monsanto, which is one of the larger marketers of GM crops. But since many of the comments about Monsanto are strawman arguments or are intentionally poisoning the well, logical fallacies that are laughably similar to the arguments made about Big Pharma and vaccines, it’s hard to accept them. There are some arguments about GM crops that have some validity. Biodiversity is one that is concerning, but that can be overcome with small, sustainable farms that are willing to produce genetically diverse crops, which will attract a higher price from consumers who want them. But in a crowded world with less and less fertile farmland, it is important that “yields” be increased, and that may always require genetic manipulation–something that was done 10,000 years ago to get us the first domesticated corn.

 

Key citations:

The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!

114 Replies to “Do GMO crops have a higher yield? It depends on the answer.”

  1. Reads like written by Monsanto’s PR department. You sure you didn’t get help? Roundup-ready weeds now exist thanks to Monsanto, whose only concern is to get farmers to use their patented seeds and then have to buy from them forever, including the herbicides. Already modified genes are in the environment, the major fear at first which was why experiements years ago were conducted in sealed labs. You’re probably too young to remember that. Then the GM companies, impatient at all the opposition to their plans to own world agriculture, just let them spread; they even sued organic growers in the US for the accidental spillage of their genes into organic crops! Monsanto has behaved like a cross between the mafia and the CIA, bullying, throwing its weight about and spreading so many lies about GM, which you appear to have taken in wholesale, that it’s difficult to know which to start on.
    Organic yields are consistently higher than ‘conventional’ chemical farming, and that is higher than GM. There is no way GM is ever going to feed the poor and hungry, more likely force them into subservience where they are owned by the company.
    You really are naive if you think fiddling with genes will have no consequences. As for health, I was never that bothered about that aspect, it’s the environment that suffers, and in the long term we also, since we depend totally on a healthy exosystem for our existance.
    Others who spread dissinformation about GM are paid for their services, are you?

  2. "Last week the biggest study of its kind ever conducted – the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development – concluded that GM was not the answer to world hunger.

    Professor Bob Watson, the director of the study and chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when asked if GM could solve world hunger, said: "The simple answer is no."

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/exposed-the-great-gm-crops-myth-812179.html

  3. Perhaps 1 tumor is not enough for these folks? Maybe as they themselves have enough physical issues they will believe it? Maybe they have a fluffy Pfizer pillows to sleep on and that makes everything OK. I don't get it. Anyone who promotes These companies are enemies to the planet.

  4. The first study found in your link to AgBioWorld was funded by Monsanto, a company that insisted that PCBs were perfectly safe long after they knew better http://www.chemicalindustryarchives.org/dirtysecrets/annistonindepth/toxicity.asp.
    “But as the company's own documents show, Monsanto went to extraordinary efforts to keep the public in the dark about PCBs, and even manipulated scientific studies by urging scientists to change their conclusions to downplay the risks of PCB exposure. Monsanto's conduct, throughout the entire period that the company made PCBs, was less than commendable. Their attempts today to backpedal on the science and shirk responsibility for the global saturation of PCBs is equally discouraging, as are their repeated attempts to "green" their image with flashy, expensive PR campaigns.”.
    Also, “The study durations were 4 wk (rats and dairy cows), 6 wk (broilers) and 10 wk (catfish).” And they only looked at the following things; “Growth, feed conversion (rats, catfish, broilers), fillet composition (catfish), and breast muscle and fat pad weights (broilers) were compared for animals fed the parental and GTS lines. Milk production, milk composition, rumen fermentation and nitrogen digestibility were also compared for dairy cows.” None of that assures safety.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8598557

    The second study, again, is only 38 days long from the beginning of feeding to slaughter. I realize that chickens typically have short lives but I also know that subchronic toxicology studies should be at least 20-28 weeks long and that chronic testing for things like carcinogens should be much, much longer than that. You cannot tell whether or not a substance is carcinogenic in 38 days. No way, no how.
    http://cera-gmc.org/docs/articles/09-052-005.pdf

    Recently, a small, unsuspecting agriculture consulting company called ProfitPro found that when they compared a specific GM corn to a conventional variety, the GM corn was much lower in nutritional value. I called ProfitPro myself when the analysis was first revealed and they confirmed that they conducted the analysis and that the outcomes posted on several websites were true. They were upset by all of the attention they were getting for this because they only did it by the request of a client and not for public attention. This is by no means stellar proof of anything except it causes me to question the validity of industry claims that Bt corn is nutritionally the same as conventional corn. I know that giant agribusiness has a tendency to mold their so-called “studies” to serve their own desires. These extremely short term studies you shared are a prime example.
    http://www.profitproag.com/ProfitProGMODisclaimer.htm
    http://leaksource.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/gmo-corn-vs-non-gmo-corn-report-11.jpg

    So far, not very impressive. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that all of these so-called “safety” studies were either industry funded, of too short a duration to assure safety, or both. But go ahead, prove me wrong. Show me a long term, non-industry-funded study in the options above.

  5. The first study found in your link to AgBioWorld was funded by Monsanto, a company that insisted that PCBs were perfectly safe long after they knew better http://www.chemicalindustryarchives.org/dirtysecrets/annistonindepth/toxicity.asp.
    “But as the company's own documents show, Monsanto went to extraordinary efforts to keep the public in the dark about PCBs, and even manipulated scientific studies by urging scientists to change their conclusions to downplay the risks of PCB exposure. Monsanto's conduct, throughout the entire period that the company made PCBs, was less than commendable. Their attempts today to backpedal on the science and shirk responsibility for the global saturation of PCBs is equally discouraging, as are their repeated attempts to "green" their image with flashy, expensive PR campaigns.”.
    Also, “The study durations were 4 wk (rats and dairy cows), 6 wk (broilers) and 10 wk (catfish).” And they only looked at the following things; “Growth, feed conversion (rats, catfish, broilers), fillet composition (catfish), and breast muscle and fat pad weights (broilers) were compared for animals fed the parental and GTS lines. Milk production, milk composition, rumen fermentation and nitrogen digestibility were also compared for dairy cows.” None of that assures safety.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8598557

    The second study, again, is only 38 days long from the beginning of feeding to slaughter. I realize that chickens typically have short lives but I also know that subchronic toxicology studies should be at least 20-28 weeks long and that chronic testing for things like carcinogens should be much, much longer than that. You cannot tell whether or not a substance is carcinogenic in 38 days. No way, no how.
    http://cera-gmc.org/docs/articles/09-052-005.pdf

    Recently, a small, unsuspecting agriculture consulting company called ProfitPro found that when they compared a specific GM corn to a conventional variety, the GM corn was much lower in nutritional value. I called ProfitPro myself when the analysis was first revealed and they confirmed that they conducted the analysis and that the outcomes posted on several websites were true. They were upset by all of the attention they were getting for this because they only did it by the request of a client and not for public attention. This is by no means stellar proof of anything except it causes me to question the validity of industry claims that Bt corn is nutritionally the same as conventional corn. I know that giant agribusiness has a tendency to mold their so-called “studies” to serve their own desires. These extremely short term studies you shared are a prime example.
    http://www.profitproag.com/ProfitProGMODisclaimer.htm
    http://leaksource.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/gmo-corn-vs-non-gmo-corn-report-11.jpg

    So far, not very impressive. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that all of these so-called “safety” studies were either industry funded, of too short a duration to assure safety, or both. But go ahead, prove me wrong. Show me a long term, non-industry-funded study in the options above.

    1. Perhaps 1 tumor is not enough for these folks? Maybe as they themselves have enough physical issues they will believe it? Maybe they have a fluffy Pfizer pillows to sleep on and that makes everything OK. I don't get it. Anyone who promotes These companies are enemies to the planet.

    2. "Last week the biggest study of its kind ever conducted – the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development – concluded that GM was not the answer to world hunger.

      Professor Bob Watson, the director of the study and chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when asked if GM could solve world hunger, said: "The simple answer is no."

      http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/exposed-the-great-gm-crops-myth-812179.html

  6. The effects of glyphosate? It targets enzymes in plants. "Glyphosate inhibits a certain enzyme that is needed for biosynthesis in most plants (EPSP sythetase). This enzyme is needed to produce vital aromatic amino acids. If a plant is prevented by glyphosate from producing these amino acids, it stops growing and dies within three to seven days.
    Compared with other herbicides, glyphosate is regarded as environmentally friendly. It is biodegradable and non-toxic to humans." http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/search/ The other common product of ge/gm foods would be bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), its target is the guts of certain soft bodied insects, no harm done to other organisms, including humans, we just digest it. Peer-reviewed articles are aplenty if you specify and know what to look for. http://ucbiotech.org/biotech_info/PDFs/Preston_2005_Peer_Reviewed_Publications_on_the_Safety_of_GM_Foods.pdf ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/fp7/kbbe/docs/a-decade-of-eu-funded-gmo-research_en.pdf

  7. Over 3 TRILLION meals containing GMOs have been consumed by humans, and not one single documented case of ill health effects. Sorry, you try another topic.

    1. It’s not about our health, it’s about the health of the ecosystem that we all depend on for our very existance. Sorry, try to broaden your mind from single issues and try to take a more hosistic [joined up] approach. Problem with the scientists who ‘do’ GM research is they have spent their lives in a lab with no connection to the real, biological world. They are not soil scientists so don’t have a clue about the organisms in soil which are vital to healthy plant growth, and which are killed by the drenchings of chemicals. Soild become depleted and poisoned and need more and more inputs to maintain yield, are degraded and washed away with heavy rain. Try learning from the Soil Association, they understand these things.

  8. So…Mr. Skeptical Scientist Raptor, where are the peer-reviewed articles with your name on them? Where is your research? What kind of scientist are you?

  9. It's quite amusing, you dismiss the Mother Jones article despite it referring to the exact study that you mention in your blog post. In other words, you don't bother reading the evidence that other people post. It's obvious, you aren't a skeptic and you aren't a scientist, just another blogger who is a pretender.

  10. Thanks for admitting you have no evidence on your side. It was pretty obvious since you've never presented any, and it's pretty obvious you were never a scientist.

  11. Doug Ittner You're an amusing person. As most of us know, those who use ad hominems and strawman arguments are the ones who have no evidence on their side. So, in my world, you're saying blah blah blah.

  12. Jake. Just a quick point. I don't publish on Facebook, I just use their comments system, I'm not sure why. It's been a couple of years since I've implemented it.

    And I try to use scientific evidence to support what I write. As opposed to science deniers.

  13. If we take Simpson's notions to heart then his comments are irrelevant because he's done no research and his blog isn't peer reviewed. On the other hand UCS have scientists producing papers that are in their field of expertise and they utilize research from published studies. So dismissing all of those studies because you simply don't like UCS is a pathetic cop out.

    Here's another bit of research on yields from ongoing research in Iowa:
    http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/pub/cm/symposium/organic/farm/LTAR/

    I'm curious what research Simpson has done. Given his poor method of debate I highly doubt he has published anything since his main methodology is simply reminding everyone he's a scientist. It's about as a person on a commercial wearing a lab coat saying they're a doctor. As for Cami Ryan, it didn't take long for her to shut down comments when it became obvious she couldn't debate the science either.

  14. No real scientist has to go around claiming that they are a real scientist. Maybe you are, I'm sure you made the beakers really clean for those who did the real science. Any "real scientist" would be able to look at the reference section of the paper and see that there are a host of references to studies.

  15. Brian Ruark You are proposing the formal assertion, so don't use the lame Argument from Ignorance on me. You need to provide peer reviewed scientific articles that support YOUR denial of real science. I just get to mock you for being anti-science. I'm fine with that.

  16. Lisa, I'm a fast reader, and I saw nothing linked to a real journal. Mother Jones is a left wing rag that has NO peer review. So, yeah, I did check. You failed. Deal with it.

  17. Ryan Gambord What are you even talking about? Roundup-ready crops are resistant to Roundup so they can be sprayed liberally enough to kill all surrounding fauna without killing the crops. Due to the development of glyphosate-resistant weeds, farmers require more of the herbicide to produce yields.

  18. There are no true peer science articles, studies, etc. to Defend Monsanto and like companies practices, that are available at this time. Sorry try another topic.

  19. I posted those 5 minutes before you responded. You didn't read them and you have no idea whether or not the articles link to peer-reviewed studies. Several do.

  20. Not a single one of those are from peer-reviewed, high impact factor journal sources. Some apparently repeat the same mantra.

    Cherry picking isn't avoided by cutting and pasting dozens of articles, all of which are of poor quality. Cherry picking means ignoring the scientific consensus to provide only that "evidence" that supports YOUR opinion (not science) regardless of its quality.

    As a real scientist, I only respond to evidence. Someone stated that GMO crops have a lower yield. I critiqued that article and brought a few of my own. You are jumping on dozens of strawman arguments that have no relevance here.

  21. Don’t try to accuse me of “cherry-picking.” Naturally, I select the articles and studies that best support my view. So do you. The only difference is that you only present industry-funded evidence and I do not. I am taking a screenshot of my comments on your blog post for safe-keeping.

    Herbicide resistant weeds:
    http://news.cahnrs.wsu.edu/2012/10/01/pesticide-use-rises-as-herbicide-resistant-weeds-undermine-performance-of-major-ge-crops-new-wsu-study-shows/

    http://www.weedscience.com/summary/home.aspx

    http://www.weedscience.org/Graphs/ChronologicalIncrease.aspx

    http://www.weedscience.org/Summary/MOA.aspx?MOAID=12

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/10/19/herbicide-resistant-super-weeds-increasingly-plaguing-farmers

    http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/02/report-spread-monsantos-superweeds-speeds-12-0

    http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2011/07/monsanto-superweeds-roundup

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/business/energy-environment/04weed.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Politics and pest resistance:
    http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/rough/2005/07/seeds_of_suicid.html

    http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/in-india-gm-crops-come-at-a-high-price/

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/03/201332813553729250.html

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/the-legacy-of-pesticides-superweeds-and-superpests/

    http://grist.org/food/gmo-resistant-insects-add-insult-to-drought-injury/

    http://www.grapes.msu.edu/pesticideresist.htm

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/10/1/l_101_02.html

    Adverse health effects from glyphosate pesticides (Round-up):
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/25/roundup-herbicide-health-issues-disease_n_3156575.html

    https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/26-3

    http://www.goldmanprize.org/blog/new-study-shows-glyphosate-linked-cancer-and-parkinson%E2%80%99s-disease
    Gatica was the victim of threats against her life for her activism: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/argentine-activist-sofia-gatica-monsanto_n_1475659.html.

    Biodiversity, economics and the truth about crop yields: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/03/the-battle-for-biodiversity-monsanto-and-farmers-clash/73117/.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=can-genetically-modified-crops-feed-09-04-16

    http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/failure-to-yield.html

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/exposed-the-great-gm-crops-myth-812179.html

    http://earthopensource.org/index.php/5-gm-crops-impacts-on-the-farm-and-environment/5-1-myth-gm-crops-increase-yield-potential

    http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/food_and_agriculture/failure-to-yield.pdf

    http://truth-out.org/news/item/15601-farmers-and-consumers-vs-monsanto-david-meets-goliath

    http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/02/do-gmo-crops-have-lower-yields
    Nasty politics:
    “The Monsanto Protection Act” http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/mpa.asp.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michele-simon/monsanto-protection-act_b_3327270.html

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Monsanto

    http://www.chemicalindustryarchives.org/dirtysecrets/annistonindepth/toxicity.asp

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/monsanto200805

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/06/organic-farmers-cant-fight-monsanto-patents-in-court/

  22. Don’t try to accuse me of “cherry-picking.” Naturally, I select the articles and studies that best support my view. So do you. The only difference is that you only present industry-funded evidence and I do not. I am taking a screenshot of my comments on your blog post for safe-keeping.

    Herbicide resistant weeds:
    http://news.cahnrs.wsu.edu/2012/10/01/pesticide-use-rises-as-herbicide-resistant-weeds-undermine-performance-of-major-ge-crops-new-wsu-study-shows/

    http://www.weedscience.com/summary/home.aspx

    http://www.weedscience.org/Graphs/ChronologicalIncrease.aspx

    http://www.weedscience.org/Summary/MOA.aspx?MOAID=12

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/10/19/herbicide-resistant-super-weeds-increasingly-plaguing-farmers

    http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/02/report-spread-monsantos-superweeds-speeds-12-0

    http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2011/07/monsanto-superweeds-roundup

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/business/energy-environment/04weed.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Politics and pest resistance:
    http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/rough/2005/07/seeds_of_suicid.html

    http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/in-india-gm-crops-come-at-a-high-price/

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/03/201332813553729250.html

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/the-legacy-of-pesticides-superweeds-and-superpests/

    http://grist.org/food/gmo-resistant-insects-add-insult-to-drought-injury/

    http://www.grapes.msu.edu/pesticideresist.htm

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/10/1/l_101_02.html

    Adverse health effects from glyphosate pesticides (Round-up):
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/25/roundup-herbicide-health-issues-disease_n_3156575.html

    https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/26-3

    http://www.goldmanprize.org/blog/new-study-shows-glyphosate-linked-cancer-and-parkinson%E2%80%99s-disease
    Gatica was the victim of threats against her life for her activism: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/argentine-activist-sofia-gatica-monsanto_n_1475659.html.

    Biodiversity, economics and the truth about crop yields: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/03/the-battle-for-biodiversity-monsanto-and-farmers-clash/73117/.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=can-genetically-modified-crops-feed-09-04-16

    http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/failure-to-yield.html

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/exposed-the-great-gm-crops-myth-812179.html

    http://earthopensource.org/index.php/5-gm-crops-impacts-on-the-farm-and-environment/5-1-myth-gm-crops-increase-yield-potential

    http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/food_and_agriculture/failure-to-yield.pdf

    http://truth-out.org/news/item/15601-farmers-and-consumers-vs-monsanto-david-meets-goliath

    http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/02/do-gmo-crops-have-lower-yields
    Nasty politics:
    “The Monsanto Protection Act” http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/mpa.asp.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michele-simon/monsanto-protection-act_b_3327270.html

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Monsanto

    http://www.chemicalindustryarchives.org/dirtysecrets/annistonindepth/toxicity.asp

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/monsanto200805

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/06/organic-farmers-cant-fight-monsanto-patents-in-court/

    1. Not a single one of those are from peer-reviewed, high impact factor journal sources. Some apparently repeat the same mantra.

      Cherry picking isn't avoided by cutting and pasting dozens of articles, all of which are of poor quality. Cherry picking means ignoring the scientific consensus to provide only that "evidence" that supports YOUR opinion (not science) regardless of its quality.

      As a real scientist, I only respond to evidence. Someone stated that GMO crops have a lower yield. I critiqued that article and brought a few of my own. You are jumping on dozens of strawman arguments that have no relevance here.

    2. I posted those 5 minutes ago. You didn't read them and you have no idea whether or not the articles link to peer-reviewed studies. Several do.

    3. There are no true peer science articles, studies, etc. to Defend Monsanto and like companies practices, that are available at this time. Sorry try another topic.

    4. Lisa, I'm a fast reader, and I saw nothing linked to a real journal. Mother Jones is a left wing rag that has NO peer review. So, yeah, I did check. You failed. Deal with it.

    5. Brian Ruark You are proposing the formal assertion, so don't use the lame Argument from Ignorance on me. You need to provide peer reviewed scientific articles that support YOUR denial of real science. I just get to mock you for being anti-science. I'm fine with that.

    6. No real scientist has to go around claiming that they are a real scientist. Maybe you are, I'm sure you made the beakers really clean for those who did the real science. Any "real scientist" would be able to look at the reference section of the paper and see that there are a host of references to studies.

    7. If we take Simpson's notions to heart then his comments are irrelevant because he's done no research and his blog isn't peer reviewed. On the other hand UCS have scientists producing papers that are in their field of expertise and they utilize research from published studies. So dismissing all of those studies because you simply don't like UCS is a pathetic cop out.

      Here's another bit of research on yields from ongoing research in Iowa:
      http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/pub/cm/symposium/organic/farm/LTAR/

      I'm curious what research Simpson has done. Given his poor method of debate I highly doubt he has published anything since his main methodology is simply reminding everyone he's a scientist. It's about as a person on a commercial wearing a lab coat saying they're a doctor. As for Cami Ryan, it didn't take long for her to shut down comments when it became obvious she couldn't debate the science either.

    8. Jake. Just a quick point. I don't publish on Facebook, I just use their comments system, I'm not sure why. It's been a couple of years since I've implemented it.

      And I try to use scientific evidence to support what I write. As opposed to science deniers.

    9. Doug Ittner You're an amusing person. As most of us know, those who use ad hominems and strawman arguments are the ones who have no evidence on their side. So, in my world, you're saying blah blah blah.

    10. Thanks for admitting you have no evidence on your side. It was pretty obvious since you've never presented any, and it's pretty obvious you were never a scientist.

    11. It's quite amusing, you dismiss the Mother Jones article despite it referring to the exact study that you mention in your blog post. In other words, you don't bother reading the evidence that other people post. It's obvious, you aren't a skeptic and you aren't a scientist, just another blogger who is a pretender.

    12. So…Mr. Skeptical Scientist Raptor, where are the peer-reviewed articles with your name on them? Where is your research? What kind of scientist are you?

    13. Over 3 TRILLION meals containing GMOs have been consumed by humans, and not one single documented case of ill health effects. Sorry, you try another topic.

  23. I'm interested in those independent, long term studies that you claim to have. In the article all I saw was a right-wing, climate denying organization presenting a bunch of industry financed, short term studies.

  24. An idiotic strawman argument. GMO foods have been tested thoroughly before planting. Besides which, can you provide a plausible physiological pathway where GMO foods might cause any type of harm to a human? Just a plausible one.

  25. Typical of the science denying crowd, you invent strawman arguments that make no sense. Please point to one comment I made about pesticides. Right, you can't, because I never made that claim. GMO foods are safe. Period. And I have evidence. What do you have? Logical fallacies? They don't mean much to me.

    1. An idiotic strawman argument. GMO foods have been tested thoroughly before planting. Besides which, can you provide a plausible physiological pathway where GMO foods might cause any type of harm to a human? Just a plausible one.

  26. but what are the effects on the human body? they make more money but at what expence , our health , our children born with mental problems,..younger children going thru puberty too early, big boobs on 9year oldsthis is not worth it.

  27. but what are the effects on the human body? they make more money but at what expence , our health , our children born with mental problems,..younger children going thru puberty too early, big boobs on 9year oldsthis is not worth it.

    1. The effects of glyphosate? It targets enzymes in plants. "Glyphosate inhibits a certain enzyme that is needed for biosynthesis in most plants (EPSP sythetase). This enzyme is needed to produce vital aromatic amino acids. If a plant is prevented by glyphosate from producing these amino acids, it stops growing and dies within three to seven days.
      Compared with other herbicides, glyphosate is regarded as environmentally friendly. It is biodegradable and non-toxic to humans." http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/search/ The other common product of ge/gm foods would be bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), its target is the guts of certain soft bodied insects, no harm done to other organisms, including humans, we just digest it. Peer-reviewed articles are aplenty if you specify and know what to look for. http://ucbiotech.org/biotech_info/PDFs/Preston_2005_Peer_Reviewed_Publications_on_the_Safety_of_GM_Foods.pdf ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/fp7/kbbe/docs/a-decade-of-eu-funded-gmo-research_en.pdf

  28. Only an idiot believes that foods loaded with pesticides are better for you than foods without pesticides (organic).

  29. Only an idiot believes that foods loaded with pesticides are better for you than foods without pesticides (organic).

    1. Typical of the science denying crowd, you invent strawman arguments that make no sense. Please point to one comment I made about pesticides. Right, you can't, because I never made that claim. GMO foods are safe. Period. And I have evidence. What do you have? Logical fallacies? They don't mean much to me.

    2. I'm interested in those independent, long term studies that you claim to have. In the article all I saw was a right-wing, climate denying organization presenting a bunch of industry financed, short term studies.

    3. Ryan Gambord What are you even talking about? Roundup-ready crops are resistant to Roundup so they can be sprayed liberally enough to kill all surrounding fauna without killing the crops. Due to the development of glyphosate-resistant weeds, farmers require more of the herbicide to produce yields.

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