GMO science facts – your one stop shop

GMO science facts – your one stop shop

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs or GMs) are one of the most well studied areas of biological and agricultural research. However, one of the tactics of the GMO refusers is that “there’s no proof that GMOs are safe.” It’s time to look at the GMO science facts – examining myth from science.

Typically, in a debate, the side making the assertion (those that say GMOs are unsafe) are responsible for the evidence that supports their contention. But, the anti-GMO gang relies upon the argument from ignorance, trying to force the argument to “if you can’t prove that they’re safe, they must be unsafe.”

The anti-GMO forces also like to invoke the precautionary principle, which attempts to shift the burden of proof to those who are advocating GMOs (or any new technology) until the advocates “prove” that there are absolutely no negative consequences of using GMOs.

The principle is often cited by anti-science and/or environmental activists when there is a perceived lack of evidence showing that a technology is absolutely safe.

I’ve written numerous articles about GMOs, focusing on scientific evidence supported by high quality research. And more than a few articles debunked myths and bad research from the anti-GMO crowd. To assist those who are doing research on the topic, this article was created to be a one-stop shop for GMO science facts – and fiction.

GMO science facts

 

Debunking anti-GMO pseudoscience

 

Supporters of GMO science facts

 

Anti-GMO ad hominem personal attacks

 

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in June 2015. It will be regularly updated as we publish new articles on GMO science facts.

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!
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  • Diddly doo

    “Genetic engineering works primarily through insertion of genetic material,
    although gene insertion must also be followed up by selection. This insertion process
    does not occur in nature. A gene “gun”, a bacterial “truck” or a chemical or electrical
    treatment inserts the genetic material into the host plant cell and then, with the help of
    genetic elements in the construct, this genetic material inserts itself into the
    chromosomes of the host plant. Engineers must also insert a “promoter” gene from a
    virus as part of the package, to make the inserted gene express itself.

    This process alone, involving a gene gun or a comparable technique, and a promoter, is profoundly different from conventional breeding, even if the primary goal is only to insert genetic material from the same species.” 3 point peter further down on thread

    Well there you have it, genetic engineering is profoundly different from conventional breeding even if you claim later selection is like breeding. So you have no leg to stand on Septical Raptor aka the septic rantor. Consider this thread disassembled as a tissue of lies and misrepresentation. period

    GMO is bullsxxt

  • Diddly doo

    “Genetically modified organisms (GMOs or GMs) are one of the most well studied areas of biological and agricultural research.” Septic Rantor

    Oh I missed the opening gambit. GMO researchers often claim the ‘well studied’ fallacy to make what they are playing at sound safe. Surely if it is ‘well studied’ then it must be safe? Well it depends on what you study, doesn’t it?

    Take Dolly the sheep, She was only six and half years old when she died – half the normal age for a sheep, she was euthanized because she had a progressive lung disease and had also developed arthritis prematurely.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3393-dolly-the-sheep-dies-young/

    “The only study of cloned mammals that have lived long enough to
    determine any effect on lifespan revealed that the mice involved died
    prematurely.” new scientist

    “Other cloned animals appear normal and healthy, for example the 24
    calf clones created by US cloning company Advanced Cell Technology, but
    these have yet to live long enough to draw any conclusions.

    On 2 February 2003, Australia’s first cloned sheep died unexpectedly
    at the age of two years and 10 months. The cause of death is unknown and
    the carcass was quickly cremated, as it was decomposing.”

    So lots of useful study there! Any that survived the process and the vast majority of cloned animals never make it out of the womb, and any that do die prematurely and of chronic diseases! What a result. Or the carcass was quickly cremated because it was getting smelly! I wonder why they did that, surely studying why it died was important?

    So you see, lots of study, but not the crucial bits !!!!

    Why on earth do you think eating prematurely diseased animals is going to save the planet from starvation. By the time you have worked out how to make mouse Tikka or got enough to serve we will all be dead from boredom, let alone hunger!

    This blog is making two very big mistakes or rather arrogant assumptions in its toy throwing over why the public has completely rejected GMO technology period.

    1. The Septic community thinks that none of us can read what is published and draw informed decisions.
    2. The septic belief in science is a law unto itself – the CERN’s of this world are like the Cathedrals of two Centuries ago, their only purpose is to keep people in awe of some unfathomable greater being. Remember the Higg’s bullshit particle, there it goes? What does it look like? Is it blue, well it will take 40 years to process the data but in the meantime give us some more research money.

    You should have gone to most bars in the world that saw that fiasco on the news and seen what it meant to real people who work and pay tax – and are having difficulty with the expert banking system. Then the animosity towards you might loom into focus.

    Whatever the hoo haa over someone being rude to a GMO scientist on the other thread, he deserves it by default. Leave our food alone and go and do something useful instead.

  • Diddly doo

    “But, the anti-GMO gang relies upon the argument from ignorance, trying to force the argument to “if you can’t prove that they’re safe, they must be unsafe.” Septic Rantor

    Lots of juice here to pull to pieces, but let’s start here:

    We are not ignorant of the kind of scientists who do GMO research and the myopic way they decide to alter plants. Our experience of science in modern food is to remove nutrition and then put it back, the latest fad to stop diabetes is to put lots of fibre back in, well they took it out to make it tastier!

    Fuckwit food scientists give us genius places like Chorleywood, that prove bread to fast and make so the gluten isn’t predigested by the yeast – that is one reason that so many people have become gluten intolerent. We discovered centuries ago, without a scientist in sight that bread proving made the gluten less ‘toxic’. Like we got rid of the plague without scientists, they just by default learned that burning houses improved planning! They then changed planning laws.

    I don’t deny that some level of ‘science’ is really useful, but its track record for improving food is piss poor and the example given by Roger Foster on why GMO scientists were really useful was exactly why I and millions of others think they are fuckwits.

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  • 3Point_Pete1

    Cultist blog here, folks. Corporate science is not science…. “*Under the corporate science paradigm, this general bifurcation of science based on whether it is being practiced by the corporate establishment or by independent practitioners, by those who accept complete corporate oversight and control of their scientific practice vs. those who resist or reject such oversight, is extended to access to research materials themselves. From the beginning of the genetic engineering era the corporations have allowed access to research material only to those researchers who are willing to accept corporate control over their work. This is one of the main purposes of enclosing the materials by patents. The general acceptance of this intellectual property regime on the part of rank and file scientific practitioners and STEM types is in itself a strong barometer of their faithful adherence to the corporate “science” framework. According to traditional norms of science, such enclosure and prior restraint would have been considered outrageous and automatically non-scientific and anti-scientific. But today’s science establishment accepts and helps enforce this enclosure as an integral part of Science as such.
    .
    *The extraordinariness doctrine is a manifestation of a more general phenomenon of propaganda and policy under corporate rule, where the more obviously malign or insane a policy is, the less it’s held to any kind of reality-based standards whatsoever. Corporate science cultists here exemplify the classical “I believe because it’s absurd.” Poison-based agriculture joins Wall Street and the energy extraction sector as a prime beneficiary of this forbearance.
    .
    By contrast, system cultists demand 100% a priori theoretical perfection from any dissenter or advocate of any alternative to corporate rule.
    .
    In science, this is typical of how rank and file practitioners and propagandists work under the dominant paradigm. Again we see how, for those within the framework, the truth or falsity of anything is irrelevant, only how faithfully it reinforces the corporate party line and assists the corporate prerogative on its way.
    .
    *This is demonstrated by the complete fraudulence of their work where it comes to such harmful and shoddy, but profitable, products as GMOs. No government or corporation has ever performed a legitimate, full-length toxicity or cancer study, or an epidemiological study (in spite of requirements in Europe and elsewhere to do so), upon any GMO. They’ve done only short-term (“subchronic”) trials which measure only industrial parameters like fast weight gain. According to pro-GMO activists, smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer because the cancer rate among 14-year old smokers is negligible. These industry trials generally include fraudulent methodology like the use of “historical control groups” to drown out any toxicity or cancer data which does manifest. The researchers regularly engage in such fraudulent procedures as replacing animal subjects mid-study or obtaining leftover subject material from unrelated studies and pawning it off as new. They directly suppress adverse results or else define these away through such bogus classifications as “biological relevance” or “normal variation”, which are ideological measures meant to render as unevidence anything the corporation doesn’t like.
    .
    Every compendium of so-called “studies” sponsored by the pro-GMO activists – the Snell report, the EU SAFOTEST report, the Nicolia survey, the “Trillion Meal Study”, GENERA, the “GMO Pundit” list, etc. ad nauseum – is nothing but another list of these same bogus industry trials.
    .
    So the positive scientific evidence for the safety of GMOs is zero.”

    https://attempter.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/the-abdication-of-establishment-science/

    • Mike

      So your attempt to discredit anyone who differs from your opinion is to not cite facts or evidence that proves your theory, but to attempt a weird conspiracy theorem? Sounds legitly insane.

      I’ll give you three words that discredit your whole rant just now. International Scientific Review.

      If there was definitive evidence out there to disprove something then it wouldn’t matter. Look at climate change. The data is there to prove it even though the corporate deniers try to use fallacy to swing the populace. Saying that GMOs are unsafe because there is little long term evidence that GMO’s are safe is a fallacy. Now if you can come up with a peer reviewed scientific study that demonstrates GMOs are unsafe because X causes Y and that study can be reproduced then you might have an argument.

      • I’m used to it. There’s an old adage that if you don’t have scientific evidence, go for the ad hominem personal attack.

        • Can’t we do both?

          • Diddly doo

            EEueew. Pasta boy, a threesome with Mikey and Septic – what kind of GMO animal will that produce? No don’t think about it.

            • Get a life, troll. Isn’t it time for middle school to start back up? Go away; the adults are trying to have a conversation.

            • Diddly doo

              And the toys flew from Pasta boy’s pram like doo doos from a angry hippo. There is precious little engagement from poppies like you,
              3 point pete has totally demolished this thread bare thread and left you septic lot looking like lost teddies. LOL

              Change your avatar to subtract hom, it’s more accurate.

        • Diddly doo

          Maybe you should realise that if you are getting used to it, maybe they have a point! Consider the other angle, the only people that seem to be holding you in adulation are cocks like Mikey, Pasta boy and what’s that girl called – clam?

      • Diddly doo

        Mikey, Mikey Mikey I am sorry. Put your cock back in your ear. You really need to engage with the critique, don’t make a fool of yourself by trying to come across all Trotsky about it. There isn’t a conspiracy, it is happening, you are way not up to speed on this. Try putting your x box down and going for a walk, talk to some people and find out what year it is, the war is over.

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  • JohnAdam

    Love this ever-growing GMO article. I’ve read a bunch of the links but I have a question which I have yet to find (although I have not read through all the links so maybe I need to keep reading) I was having a GMO debate with a very anti-gmo neighbor of mine when she brought up the following question:

    How does the plant know to produce a protien from a transferred gene that is specific to the plant and not specific to the organism the gene came from?

    I couldn’t answer her so she thinks she won the debate. Can you point me in the right direction?

    • I’m not complete sure how to answer your question, but I’ll give it a try.

      In fact, we are inducing the plant to produce a “protein” or trait from the donor organism. There would be no other reason to transfer the gene, otherwise.

      Here’s a better way to look at it (again, without being certain about your question). We’ve been doing genetical modification ever since we domesticated the first crops 10,000 years ago. Plants, animals, bacteria, algae, whatever all undergo a normal rate of mutation of its genes over time. Agriculture used to select for certain traits, awaiting a mutation that is beneficial to farming (not necessarily beneficial to the plant).

      Genetic modification, today, transfers the mutation to the plant (in essence, I’m oversimplifying), so that we speed up the process. The difference between “artificial” genetic modification and “waiting around for generations” genetic modification is ridiculous. We don’t create some artificial DNA or RNA–it’s all random, so borrowing DNA from another organism is irrelevant to the plant. Plants have borrowed DNA from other organisms for like 1 billion years.

      DNA and RNA don’t have any thoughts, nor does the plant. The plant produces the protein (or trait, which probably are all as a result of a protein) because now the gene is there. It doesn’t know any better.

      Viruses replicate by hijacking cells, like human cells. The cell doesn’t care, it just replicates the flu virus (or whatever virus).

      • Diddly doo

        “Agriculture used to select for certain traits, awaiting a mutation that
        is beneficial to farming (not necessarily beneficial to the plant).” Rantor

        yes but they would wait until it happened, nature did the work. If we wait for man to do the work we get Dolly the sheep, it’s gonna take forever and we have to rely on lab geeks to do it rather than a method that has been around for billions of year and got a track record of success.

        Considering the content on the rest of this blog – you are doing a great job for the anti GMO movement, so keep posting.

    • 3Point_Pete1

      Conventional breeding employs processes that occur in nature, such as sexual and asexual reproduction. The product of
      conventional breeding emphasizes certain characteristics. However these characteristics are not new for the species. The characteristics have been present for millenia within the genetic potential of the species.

      Genetic engineering works primarily through insertion of genetic material,
      although gene insertion must also be followed up by selection. This insertion process
      does not occur in nature. A gene “gun”, a bacterial “truck” or a chemical or electrical
      treatment inserts the genetic material into the host plant cell and then, with the help of
      genetic elements in the construct, this genetic material inserts itself into the
      chromosomes of the host plant. Engineers must also insert a “promoter” gene from a
      virus as part of the package, to make the inserted gene express itself. This process
      alone, involving a gene gun or a comparable technique, and a promoter, is profoundly
      different from conventional breeding, even if the primary goal is only to insert genetic
      material from the same species.

      But beyond that, the technique permits genetic material to be inserted from
      unprecedented sources. It is now possible to insert genetic material from species,
      families and even kingdoms which could not previously be sources of genetic material
      for a particular species, and even to insert custom-designed genes that do not exist in
      nature. As a result we can create what can be regarded as synthetic life forms,
      something which could not be done by conventional breeding.

      the use of a foreign promoter is needed in GE and is not found in
      traditional breeding, including hybridization and wide crosses and so constitutes a
      difference between GE and conventional breeding. Indeed, for most of the genes that
      are being transferred (gene for herbicide tolerance, gene for Bt endotoxin), if one used
      the naturally occurring promoter for that gene, the plant would never be able to
      recognize the inserted gene and express it. Thus, a promoter that works in plants must
      be used; hence the reason for the widespread use of a plant viral promoter. Most
      promoters that work in plants fail to get the gene expressed at a high-enough level to do
      the work; hence the use of the CaMV 35S promoter (the strongest of the various
      promoter in the CaMV).

      Use of such strong promoters also raise safety concerns. Since the CaMV 35S is
      so strong, not only can it affect the introduced transgenes, it can also affect genes (either turn them “on” or turn them “off”)
      Depending on the insertion site the gene that codes for toxin could be turned “on”, leading to production of that toxin.

      GE and conventional breeding are not the same thing.

      8

      turn them “on” or turn them “off”)

      downstream from the insertion site on a given chromosome and even affect behavior of
      genes on other chromosomes. Consequently, depending on the insertion site, a gene
      that codes for a toxin could be turned “on,” leading to production of that toxin.

      • You are completely incorrect. You assume that naturally occurring mutations are somehow better than induced mutations. They are exactly alike. And laughably, you don’t even have a clue as to what is a natural mutation. But you seem to want to throw in a lot of words that you don’t have clue as to their meaning. In essence, you use that old trick of all pseudoscientists to throw about science sounding words in an attempt to sound intelligent. But you can’t bring one single scientific study that provides evidence for your faith-based belief system.

        Of course, I did bring evidence for my science based FACTS.

        But good for you. I’m using your comment as an example of the naturalistic logical fallacy. You embody it with such gusto too.

        • Diddly doo

          You assume that naturally occurring mutations are somehow better than induced mutations. They are exactly alike” Septic rantor

          More GMO mythology, cutting out a piece of a gene and manually inserting it somewhere else is not the same as a random natural mutation. Nor is it the same as hand pollinating crops, that bluff is well out of date buddy.

        • Diddly doo

          “You are completely incorrect. You assume that naturally occurring mutations are somehow better than induced mutations.” The septic one

          Someone plug this guy back in, he is a paper tiger but actually believes he has some kind of authority. How is a chemical truck the same as hand pollinating an apple? or encouraging two horses to fuck?

          Explain using no citations from some medical journal, use your own intellect, I am interesting in your ‘reasoning’.