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China Science

China May Restrict Genetically Engineered Rice 183

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-rice-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "China's State Council has released a proposal for a grain law that establishes legislation restricting research, field trials, production, sale, import and export of genetically engineered grain seeds, the first initiative in the world that deals with GE food legislation at state law level. Monsanto had tried and failed to commercialize GE wheat in Canada. Now they were hoping China would become the first guinea pig, opening the gate to genetic experiments with staple crops."
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China May Restrict Genetically Engineered Rice

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  • by koan (80826) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:28PM (#39204005)

    A billion Chinese can't be wrong.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cshark (673578)
      They're communists, they're never wrong about anything.
    • by Inda (580031)
      A billion Chinese can't be Wong.

      They're also Chin, Chang, Lui, Tang...

      And before you all climb on your high horses, I have a Chinese name.
  • Hillarious Bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:29PM (#39204011)

    opening the gate to genetic experiments with staple crops

    You know, like most of the corn we produce in North America...

    • Re:Hillarious Bias (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Xandrax (2451618) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:59PM (#39204239)

      Very true. In fact, if not for the genetic manipulation of wheat, the people of the world would have actually faced the catastrophic starvation that was a concern in the early-mid 1900's.

      For what it's worth, Norman Buraug, the Nobel Peace Prize winning scientist who fathered the Green Revolution, said a year before he died (2003) that GE crops would become the accepted norm in much the same way that genetically engineered antibiotics have been.

      • Re:Hillarious Bias (Score:4, Interesting)

        by currently_awake (1248758) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:53PM (#39204549)
        GE crops have LOWER yields than traditional ones. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/exposed-the-great-gm-crops-myth-812179.html [independent.co.uk] If we switch to GE grains en mass it will lead to food shortages and higher food prices, like we're starting to see now. A second point: raising more foods always ends up with more humans, leading to starvation. The only limit on human population is food, so growing more just delays the trouble.
        • Don't know how significant this is: http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v27/n9/full/nbt0909-801b.html [nature.com] (it's paywalled and I don't feel like spending $32 to find out what their "clarifications" about the claims in the above article). I suspect that their numbers are misleading - I had always thought that GM crops *do* produce less, but a given crop may survive drought conditions or freezing conditions (extending the growing season)better. Different crops that have already been modified (as mentioned, corn an
          • I'm not a geneticist but my understanding is that GE is just targeting some property of the crop and
            enhancing it. On some crops they go for climatic durability, on others they go for high production etc.

            Practically it is the same thing farmers have been doing for ages by breeding the best livestock
            together and focusing on taking seeds from the well producing plants. Just now it is done in labs
            with enzymes and stuff. I don't know what the reasons are China thinks about restricting these crops
            but I don't thin

        • So lets just stop making that nasty polluting artificial nitrate and let 2 billion people starve.

          • Very true. Modern agriculture has caused more than enough desert-forming even in developed countries. Take a good look at the Alentejo in Portugal, for example. This was once the main grain producing area for the Iberian Peninsula. Now it almost dead.

            With Permaculture principles, this can be reversed, however. In fact, the people in Tamera [tamera.org] have done exactly that.

            Oh, you mean that people would starve if we did NOT pollute the precious soil with chemicals? How silly of me.

            • Modern agriculture has nothing to do with what is going on in Alentejo. Modern agriculture has is rarely practiced in this area. Crop outputs have always been at the low end of the scale for Europe. This is a very dry region which has always been subject to drought. Combine this with deforestation, overgrazing by goats and overplanting of traditional crops like cork and eucalyptis and voila deforestation.

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          A second point: raising more foods always ends up with more humans, leading to starvation. The only limit on human population is food, so growing more just delays the trouble.

          I think perhaps you should look at countries with modern, high yield agriculture - where 1-2% of the population is involved with farming - and look at their birth rates. Now look at developing countries where most of the population is involved with low-yield subsistence farming, and glance at their birth rate.

          Now come back to this site and tell me that high-yield crops will lead to overpopulation with a straight face.

      • Re:Hillarious Bias (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:37PM (#39205073)

        Yes let me know if you want your children to eat this corn
        http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

        Even people with problems growing their own crops won't touch the garbage
        http://www.ecocentricblog.org/2011/12/07/hungary-destroys-all-monsanto-gmo-corn-fields/

        And finally:

        new study by Indiana’s University of Notre Dame has revealed that streams across the U.S. Midwest contain insecticides from adjacent fields of genetically engineered corn, even well after harvest. The transgenic maize (GE corn) in question has been engineered to produce the insecticidal protein Cry1Ab. Pollen, leaves and cobs from those plants enter streams bordering on the cornfields, where they are said to release Cry1Ab into the water.

        Notre Dame ecologist Jennifer Tank and colleagues conducted a field survey of 217 stream sites in northwestern Indiana, six months after the corn harvest. 86 percent of those sites contained corn crop debris, and Cry1Ab was detected in the debris at 13 percent of those sites. That said, Cry1Ab that had presumably leached out of corn debris was detected in the water itself at 23 percent of the original 217 sites. The concentrations were not provided.

        "Our study demonstrates the persistence and dispersal of crop byproducts and associated transgenic material in streams throughout a corn belt landscape even long after crop harvest," Tank stated.

        The study also concluded that 91 percent of the 200,000 km (124,274 miles) of streams and rivers in Indiana, Iowa and Illinois are located within 500 meters (547 yards) of corn fields. Cry1Ab, a byproduct of the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, does already occur naturally in the environment – expansive crops of corn that produce it, needless to say, do not.

      • by arisvega (1414195)

        Monsanto had tried and failed to commercialize GE wheat in Canada.

        I think this is the news here: Monsanto tried and failed

        There is hope.

    • Re:Hillarious Bias (Score:5, Informative)

      by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:01PM (#39204259) Homepage

      I was thinking the same thing. Corn is a staple in the U.S... though it doesn't hold my papers together very well.

      China is wise and correct in this case to block Monsanto and their monkey business. As the Monsanto story unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that Monsanto's crap is needless at the very least and is dangerous at worst. I say dangerous in the same way that the over-use and improper use of anti-biotics have resulted in the creation (dare I say selective breeding) of "super-bugs" Monsanto's insecticide foods are creating super-insects which can eat their poisonous plants and survive. I don't think the planet needs swarms of insects which have adapted to survive insecticide.

      Meanwhile, Monsanto only has interest in getting GM seed spread across the planet so they can later sue for ownership of wherever the seeds find themselves.

      By making Monsanto's crap illegal in their nation, they are closing the doors on Monsanto's game. It would be pretty hard for Monsanto to make claims against Chinese farmers when their product is illegal. On the other hand, Chinese farmers might find themselves in a hell of a lot of trouble should Monsanto's crap end up in their crops. Kind of frightening if you think about it.

      • Re:Hillarious Bias (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:39PM (#39204463)

        The reason the Chinese are rejecting Monsanto's offer has nothing to do with Capitalism. If they wanted it, they'd take it. That's the funny thing about being a soverign nation these days.

        Oh No. The reason the Chinese are Rejecting Monsanto's offering is because there are no studies prooving the GM Corn is safe. In fact, if you look around, there are very few studies whatsoever at all. Once the FDA approved it, everyone assumed it was safe.

        Here's the one study you're going to find, and it basically says the findings are inconclusive.

        http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

        Does it bother you 65% of the corn in the USA is Genetically Modified, with no studies on human health? Look, farmers make food, and farmers sell food, and they also breed their plants and cattle to make better plants and cattle. That's one process; the other process includes blasting genes into a genome until they stick and hoping what they knocked out if it wasn't important

        I'm not saying natural selection is better at getting results. I'm saying patenting a corn crop, allowing it to reproduce (what are bee's good for?), introducing it into the US, Sueing every farmer that doesn't pay the monsanto tax, while bribing the FDA to allow it and sueing anyone who even considers questioning the product or publishing a study, is a bad idea. It's a very bad idea. And I don't even NEED to argue the health perspective; If 1, little tiny Insect figures out how to bypass the protien they injected into that crop, you've got a famine. You don't think, on a long enough timeline, that won't happen??? Are you stupid? I don't even need nature for that one. I get some Locusts, I feed them some percentage of GMO corn, some percentage of regular food. Some die, some live; the ones that live reproduce, I up the ratio until all they eat is corn, and I release them. TADA, I'm an angry farmer and just killed that product line and a few thousand people from the saftey of my shed in a few years.

        Hrm, Gee, I wish there was some kind of Historical Precident to compare this too....oh yeah. rBGH!

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bovine_somatotropin

        Did the FDA protect the market? No. Did the States protect the market? No, they didn't want the FDA to come after them.

        Who protected the market? The Sellers of the product. Enough Customers developed SERIOUS health problems; I myself developed diahrea with blood after drinking their milk for more than a few days straight and stopped drinking milk entirely for nearly 6 years. Customers decided they weren't going to buy rbgh/rbst trashed milk, and enough health problems arose and enough people stopped buying milk or switched to buying organic milk that the sellers responded.

        What's happening now? What food are studies being done on?

        http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-fructose-corn-syrup/AN01588

        "Some believe that your body reacts differently to high-fructose corn syrup"

        I will bet you my entire livelyhood that the next thing that will happen here is people will realize, perhaps slower than they did with milk, that products with Corn Syrup in them are bad. And they will stop drinking them. And where might that FIRST show up at?

        Probably in Soda, since they're the #1 consumer of corn syrup.

        5 years ago; I go into the aisle of a super market, I'd be hard pressed to find Sugar in my soda.

        Now?

        Lots of "Wayback Mountain Dew" and "1960's Classic Cola" and lots of "fancy" soda's with SUGAR in them.

        Yeah....

        • Is this really worthy of -1: Troll? Perhaps someone more familiar with this can verify or dispute the claims presented.

        • It tastes better too. People have long imported soda from Mexico because they use cane sugar to make it. Here in the UK we probably use beet sugar. My wife loves Coke, but won't drink it in the States because it tastes bad.

          Here we have another problem with adulterating our soda though ; because artificial sweeteners are so much cheaper than sugar, even the non-diet varieties are replacing some fraction of the sugar with sweetener, which means that you get all the down side - nasty aftertaste, etc - without

        • by jbeaupre (752124)

          1) The FDA does not regulate GMO's http://environmentalcommons.org/RegulatoryDeficiencies.html [environmentalcommons.org] So the FDA never approved or disaproved it. Neither did NASA, the CIA, or Treasury department. Whether GMO's should be regulated by the FDA or another agency is a good discussion, but stating there is some sort coverup concerning the FDA is bullshit.

          2) rBGH is chemically the same as BGH, which cow produce naturally https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bovine_somatotropin [wikipedia.org]. Using rBGH has effects on the health of

      • by Shavano (2541114)

        Meanwhile, Monsanto only has interest in getting GM seed spread across the planet so they can later sue for ownership of wherever the seeds find themselves.

        Not so. They make a profit on the seeds themselves and it expands their market for their pesticides. That's sufficient motivation to want to sell their seeds everywhere they can.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by andydread (758754)
      Yes and don't get caught planting any of that corn without paying a license fee to Monsanto per hectare of Corn/Soy also If your crop gets contaminated with Monsanto GM corn through cross-pollination or any other natural cause then expect an expensive trip to court. Oh and don't bother saving the seeds from last year's crop for the next year. You will be sued out of existence. The 90% of corn that is grown in North America is Monsanto's Intellectual property you don't own your crop they do and they aggr
      • by MaizeMan (1076255) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:52PM (#39204531) Homepage
        Ninety percent huh? Ever heard of Pioneer Hi-bred? Syngenta? BASF? Monsanto's market share if the american seed corn market fluctuates between 30-40%. And yes, their lawyers are trigger happy. But that's no excuse for getting your facts wrong.
      • by MightyYar (622222)

        Feel free to correct me, but every case I've read about Monsanto taking a farmer to court for using cross-pollinated seed involved the farmer allegedly selecting for the Monsanto trait. For instance, dousing their field with Roundup and then taking seed from the survivors.

        While I still think that's something that should be legal and I dislike Monsanto's tactics, it is far different from being expected to actively prevent contamination.

  • Greenpeace. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Can I get some intelligent commentary on the topic from a resource who isn't Greenpeace? I figure you can trust them for reliably at least as little as you can trust Mosanto.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spyder-implee (864295)
      Strongly agree. Greenpeace and Monsanto may appear at the opposite ends of a spectrum, but they're equally as biased when it comes to their own agenda.
      • Re:Greenpeace. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:01PM (#39204871) Homepage

        Monsanto's bias is towards profits, including profits that are high enough to pay criminal penalties and still have plenty left over. Greenpeace has a bias to protecting the environment and taking a very 'conservative' approach to putting the environment and us at risk.

        So they are apples and organes biased not equally biases. To be equally biased it would have to be two corporations, pushing genetically modified crops with limited and unverified, as well as pumping toxic agricultural chemicals into the food chain, both claiming there junk is safe while the others guys is toxic and should be banned.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      Nope, because the intelligent discussions on the topic, you know by scientists and experts in the field, get shouted down by the ignorant unthinking masses.

      • Re:Greenpeace. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Gideon Wells (1412675) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:44PM (#39204495)

        The problem is the current poster child for genetically engineered foods is Monsanto. They are effectively the RIAA/MPAA of GE foods. You bought some seeds, and want to replant some seeds produced by those plants? Nope, that is copyright/patent infringement. You don't intend to copy their product, but seeds accidentally fall on your farm by natural dispersion (someone playing licensed music too loudly), they feel they can sue you for the leaked material.

        The thing that has me pulling my hair out over this debate is this. It would be good to see scientists and experts argue back and forth, or even give a consensus. But as you say, they are drowned out. The two voices that get all the ink in newspapers either are the equivalent of the RIAA or people who want all music banned because RIAA is a bunch of crooks.

        • Re:Greenpeace. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by pseudofrog (570061) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @12:56AM (#39205469)

          seeds accidentally fall on your farm by natural dispersion...they feel they can sue you for the leaked material.

          Okay, can you give me a citation for this? In Percy Schmeiser's case, the court ruled (correctly) that he purposefully experimented for and then grew Monsanto seeds. I've never come across a case where a farmer was sued for accidental contamination, yet this argument comes up repeatedly every time Monsanto is mentioned.

    • Re:Greenpeace. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:46PM (#39204151)
      Check out a documentary called The Future of Food [thefutureoffood.com]. I won't claim that it's completely unbiased, but it features commentary from a number of small family farmers and does explain some of the science behind genetically modified food crops. I grew up on a farm myself and my parents still farm and the stuff that Monsanto is doing makes me mad as hell, both as a consumer and for what they're doing to the little guys (family farmers). IMHO Monsanto is a shining example of corporate greed and massive corruption. They aren't even all that bashful about it.
    • by Znork (31774)

      I don't particularly trust Greenpeace, but Monsanto are so far on the other side that you can trust them to be evil. They will knowingly and willingly dump toxic waste, they'll bribe and coerce as far as they can, to the point that one can question if making money is actually less important to them than simply being vile.

      So if Monsanto wants something you can trust it to be harmful in some way.

  • by mentil (1748130) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:38PM (#39204093)

    Rice is a staple food in China, any unforseen problems with a strain of genetically-engineered rice could lead to a massive famine, which would likely be (attempted to be) covered up similar to the previous Chinese famine. Poor rural people would be unable to afford the expensive imported rice, or the remaining good domestic rice, due to shortages.

    Imagine a monoculture of cheap rice that had only previously been grown in small quantities for a couple decades, which is overtaken by a fungus (like in the Irish potato famine). Due to new communications infrastructure, China could have a serious uprising on their hands.

    Then there's the problem of IP. Chinese industry is notorious for not respecting IP laws whenever possible; even if counterfeiters weren't making 'counterfeit' rice, their government could simply nullify the patent for being vital to the country's interests. Monsanto would be wasting their money. American farms are up in arms over Monsanto lawsuits and 'terminator genes', and they're much more modernized than Chinese farms, so imagine how much respect an American company would get there.

  • by mirix (1649853)

    If they ever implement the death penalty for 'legal persons', I'd like to see Monsanto as one of the first against the wall.

  • by hackus (159037) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:41PM (#39204113) Homepage

    So bad, let me count the ways...

    1) Growing Food crops that are 100% genetically identical is so stupid, it borders on idiocy.

    2) Genetic conatmination of the environment. People seem to have a big problem if they see CO2 anywhere, but if you want to wipe out native species of grains and destroy the gene pool, hey, thats A O.K.

    3) Greed, surprise! The small handful of people who run everything and pick who you get to vote for, rip off huge pension plans from everyday people and then claim they aren't cost effective and are socialist anyway also want to control the food, _ALL_ food you eat. Hell, they don't just want to control it, they want to turn those little genes on and off depending on how much nutrition you can pay for. No no...that is not enough, the good food you see, they get to eat as they build gigantic native grain, non GMO seed vaults for themselves and their families world wide, quietly and away from public attention.

    You see, GMO's isn't just about money. They want to be able to turn off your food supply and make it illegal for you to grow any of your own food without a intellectual property agreement.

    Besides, growing your own food is communist, socialist...or any other kind of ism if they can't control it themselves directly.

    -Hack

    • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:51PM (#39204195)

      I'm no expert, but I can tell you aren't either.

      1) Growing Food crops that are 100% genetically identical is so stupid, it borders on idiocy.

      Who is talking about that? You can still have a mix of crops: genetically modified from several suppliers and conventional from several suppliers. There is even the potential for genetically modified crops to only fill in where conventional crops fail (such as saline environments), thus displacing no conventional crops.

      but if you want to wipe out native species of grains and destroy the gene pool,

      Native species of grains? What agriculturally useful grain is this you see growing out in the wild? Rice, wheat, and especially corn are all dependent on man to cultivate the soil and plant them.

      I think it is perfectly reasonable to have reservations about GMOs, but the discussion should be based on some form of reality.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by andydread (758754)

        I'm no expert, but I can tell you aren't either.

        Troy Roush a 5th generation farmer and Vice President of the American Corn Growers Association is the expert look him up.

        Who is talking about that? You can still have a mix of crops: genetically modified from several suppliers and conventional from several suppliers. There is even the potential for genetically modified crops to only fill in where conventional crops fail (such as saline environments), thus displacing no conventional crops.

        Actually no you cannot. The GMO stuff you have License from Monsanto and they have special rules about what you are supposed to do in the license agreement. Also in practice the GM Corn and Soy are dominant and they cross-pollinate the conventional corn and soy. If your corn or soy gets contaminated by GM corn or soy then you have to pay for a license from Monsanto plus purchase see

        • by zill (1690130) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:42PM (#39204789)

          I'm no expert, but I can tell you aren't either.

          Troy Roush a 5th generation farmer and Vice President of the American Corn Growers Association is the expert look him up.

          Argument from authority.

          Actually no you cannot. The GMO stuff you have License from Monsanto and they have special rules about what you are supposed to do in the license agreement. Also in practice the GM Corn and Soy are dominant and they cross-pollinate the conventional corn and soy. If your corn or soy gets contaminated by GM corn or soy then you have to pay for a license from Monsanto plus purchase seed from them.

          With GMO you can certainly have a mix of crops. It's just that with Monsanto's particular brand of bullshit you can't mix and match. While what Monsanto is doing might be morally hideous and broader-line racketeering, that doesn't mean GMO as a technology is flawed or inherently immoral. Attack the evil-doer, not the technology.

          • by andydread (758754) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @01:15AM (#39205555)
            It's not about GMO its about patenting life-forms that can spread and contaminate other life forms with the patented trans gene then suing everyone who gets contaminated with that patented transgene out of existence with an army of lawyers. Its about the company that is the face of GMOs in North America. Their internal studies that have been leaked shows clearly that their methods are not safe. This is Monsanto we are talking about. The same people that said DDT was safe, then Agent Orange was safe, then rbst was safe, feeding cattle corn was safe, they claimed Round-Up was biodegradable...it was not. now they are claiming that their Round-Up ready products are safe when their leaked internal animal studies have shown not to be so and their claims about previous products have shown to be consistently false. Why are people so willing to stick their heads in the sand on this matter?
      • by biodata (1981610)
        Your comment about native species of grains shows you know nothing about this. Native species are capable of surviving the worst nature can throw at them - pests, diseases, droughts, shitty soil - and still reproduce. If we want our crops to survive the coming changes, then we need to mine the native stuff to bring in genes and alleles which are capable and adaptable. That is why we need to preserve the native stuff and not contaminate it with GMOs. The native stuff is what will help our crops survive t
        • by MightyYar (622222)

          I suppose it depends what you mean by "native". If you mean derived from a native species, fine. Almost all grain crops (maybe all?) have been heavily bred to be quite different from their wild ancestors.

          If we want our crops to survive the coming changes, then we need to mine the native stuff to bring in genes and alleles which are capable and adaptable.

          I think many genetic engineers would agree with you.

          That is why we need to preserve the native stuff and not contaminate it with GMOs.

          How would the GMOs displace the native traits if the native plants are superior? You should welcome the "contamination" just as you should welcome random mutation - if the contamination/mutation survives and spreads in the wild, that means it is more fit f

          • by biodata (1981610)
            Commonly, GMO's currently in use are resistant to herbicides, so will outcompete native species under pressure of herbicide spraying, even though the native species contain resistance to many other stresses, which are not contained in the GMOs. As the herbicide resistance spreads through a native species, the diversity of the native species is reduced, in favour of the few offspring which are derived from a cross between the native species and the GMO. In this way, many useful alleles for resistance to al
            • by MightyYar (622222)

              But the native ancestor to corn (and maybe rice?) would be considered a weed in any farmer's field. It wouldn't do very well competing against whatever cultivated crop is planted there, and all domesticated crops are going to pose the same danger of crossbreeding and weakening to the native species - domesticated corn can't even reproduce by itself.

              Not only that, but in the case of GMO corn, there simply is no such thing as "native" teosinte in most of the places that corn is grown. Even if you did harm the

              • by idontgno (624372)

                domesticated corn can't even reproduce by itself.

                That caught my eye. I spent too much of my youth detasseling perfectly viable fertile domesticated maize fields to prevent them from reproducing by themselves to believe that statement in any literal fashion.

                Maybe you're failed to proviso that statement with "GMO domesticated corn"? Because last I looked cleaning up volunteer corn in a field rotated to another crop (say, soybeans) is a significant issue.

                • by MightyYar (622222)

                  Yeah, I think because of the shear number of plants and all of the violent harvesting, you'll get a small second year out of the field. But I'm pretty sure that if you let a corn field go fallow, there won't be any corn after a generation or two.

      • by Carik (205890)

        [quote]Native species of grains? What agriculturally useful grain is this you see growing out in the wild? Rice, wheat, and especially corn are all dependent on man to cultivate the soil and plant them.[/quote]

        Rice, wheat, and corn in the form we commercially farm them are moderately dependent on man to cultivate them.

        Amaranth, spelt, and others are all capable of supporting and spreading themselves.

        As to their use... well, for the most part, they're of fairly limited use. But it's always useful to have a

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Intropy (2009018)

      1. It's bad because it's bad. That's not a "way" that's a restatement of the assertion. If you have a reason in mind, state it.
      2. Absolutely. We must do everything in our power to make sure that the environment isn't contaminated with... genes. Did you know that genes have become so prevalent that some have even been found within the human body?
      3. I am immune from this as all of my hats are made from 93% tin.

      • by andydread (758754)

        Nice trolling there. i'll bite.

        1) its bad because the strain is a dominant patented strain owned by one company. In the case of corn and soy the Monsanto strain is in 90% of crops. 90% of those crops are now Monsanto's "intellectual property" and they aggressively pursue violators intentional or not. The strain contaminates conventional crops with Monsanto's patented gene causing people who are growing conventional crops to have to take out a license agreement with Monsanto. Farmers are not allowed to

        • by Intropy (2009018)

          That is an argument against the particular business practices of Monsanto as well as with related legal structure and rulings, one with which I agree. That is not at all an argument against genetically modifying food plants.

          Also, statements with which you disagree are not automatically "trolling" or "nonsensical."

    • by geekoid (135745)

      You're understanding of crops and this situation doesn't border on idiocy, it plows right on in.

      I'm not an expert, but I can see one from my cube. Hey Paul!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by geekoid (135745)

      Oh crap. I wish I read your sig before bothering to post. You clearly can't think rationally and logically.

    • by bjpowers39 (768740) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:18PM (#39204665)
      I have actually done some work for major seed companies. There is no danger of the crops being "100% genetically identical." The industry is very good at protecting their underlying crop lines, the licenses are only for the particular traits. The company which licenses the traits then incorporates it into their own plant lines. Most of the major plant companies have a wide variety (hundreds or thousands) of different plant lines from a wide variety of regions with a pretty complete breeding and growth history-they are very aware of the problems involved with monocultures and work very hard to avoid that. The plant company then picks the seed lines where they think the trait will have the most impact/greatest demand and then they incorporate the trait (and the trait only) into that line. The technical term for this is "introgressing" the trait and they have worked for a long time to develop techniques which are very specific for individual stretches of DNA.

      Sometimes (and this is getting more frequent now) they will incorporate more than one trait in a particular plant line. This is a major issue for things like glyphosate tolerant plants. By incorporating multiple modes of herbicide tolerance into a single plant line, the farmer can use a mix of herbicides on the field to make sure that the weeds do not become tolerant to a specific type of herbicide. Similarly, extensive studies are done to make sure that insects do not become resistant to certain traits. One of the primary approaches for this is the use of "refuge" which consists of planting non-insect resistant crop with the insect resistant crop. By having the appropriate mix of the two, you can manage the tolerant insects to prevent losing the effectiveness of the trait. This is also important to the plant company because nobody will purchase the trait if it no longer works. The refuge requirements for a particular trait have a pretty good safety margin included as well to make sure that the trait will continue to be effective.

      I respect individual decisions to eat modified crops or not, my family generally eats organic primarily to benefit local growers and give them a better margin in return for a product which is not mass-produced. We like meeting and knowing the farmers who grow our food. Whatever your opinion might be, disinformation and conspiracy theories is not the way to have an intelligent debate. The plant companies are well aware of the risks and it is in their best interest to mitigate them. Having worked with a number of employees from plant companies, all that I have met take their responsibility for feeding the world very seriously and want to do what they can to increase yields, decrease pesticide/herbicide use and protect the food supply.
  • GM crops in the US (Score:5, Informative)

    by rgbrenner (317308) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:48PM (#39204169)

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/BiotechCrops/ [usda.gov]

    Soybeans: 94%
    Corn: 72%

    The first GM crop was planted in the US in 1996

  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:51PM (#39204193)

    the first guinea pig ? What in the world are they talking about? Monsanto has been using the US citizens as guinea pigs for years?

  • Vitamin A (Score:2, Funny)

    by Intropy (2009018)

    Vitamin A, who needs that crap, anyway?

  • Greenish revolution (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tomhath (637240)

    Much of what made the Green Revolution [wikipedia.org] so successful wouldn't be acceptable to the organic farming True Believers - pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, cultivation practices, etc. But billions of lives have been saved by using them. Genetically Modified crops are the next extension of that revolution. Like it or not, people need to eat.

    The "fail" in Canada was with Roundup Ready wheat. But it's now "a matter of when, not if" GE wheat becomes commercially grown. [growersfor...nology.org]

    • Green Revolution was all about finding the right breed of rice by cross breeding different varieties of rice. It was something that had been done for centuries, but now at a large scale. The effects of cross breeding are mostly known, and nothing too radical is expected.

      I agree, Genetic Engineering is the future, but it needs to well studied and effects understood before it can become mainstream. China and India (see Monsanto attempt to introduce Genetically Engineered Egg Plant in India - https://en.wikip [wikipedia.org]

    • by devent (1627873) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:53AM (#39206141) Homepage

      Can't we just stop with this Myth once and for all? The world is capable to produce more food that humans can ever eat, the problem is that most of the people can't afford to buy food.

      Please go to the poorest countries in the world, and tell them that GE food can solve all their problem and feed their children. The people don't have money to get normal wheat or rice, how please in the world can they afford to buy expensive GE wheat, or rice, from one supplier, Monsato.

      It's all a matter of money and who have the money to buy stuff. In Germany we throw away food in a volume of 20 Billion Euros each year. That is one year turnover of Aldi in Germany (one of the biggest groceries stores). Alone with the thrown away food we could feed all the starving people in the world twice.

      Or in England we throw away 4,1 million ton food each year [sueddeutsche.de]. So please stop with this myth that we need better technology to feed the world population. No we don't need better technology, we need a better redistribution of wealth. We need to make sure that all people in the world can afford to buy food. We can ship bananas or pineapples around the world to Germany, but we can't ship bread, wheat or rice to the starving countries? Because the starving people don't have money to buy our food so we throw it away.

      * http://www.taste-the-waste.de/ [taste-the-waste.de]

      • by khallow (566160)

        No we don't need better technology, we need a better redistribution of wealth.

        Note that we don't need a redistribution of wealth, the countries with all those starving people do.

      • by Cytotoxic (245301)

        There are those with boots on the ground in these poverty stricken areas that disagree with your conclusion about redistribution. There was PBS documentary [pbs.org] a few years ago about an Ethiopian expat. working in the US who returned to her home country to solve the problem of famine. [ted.com] In spite of many decades of billions of dollars of direct aid, there were still massive regional famines in her home country. She saw that access to capital and markets was restricted for poor rural farmers, so they were not get

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        That is one year turnover of Aldi in Germany (one of the biggest groceries stores). Alone with the thrown away food we could feed all the starving people in the world twice.

        Great, but who's going to feed them the other 1093 times?

        Seriously, though, your numbers are a bit silly, and your assumptions are flawed. It's like adding up all the coffee breaks that employees at a company take, and saying "Look, this year alone employees wasted 16 man-years of company time. Clearly the real problem isn't that we don't have enough employees; we're just not working them hard enough". It's easy to come up with big numbers, and it's even easier to twist them in order to support your prec

  • Maybe someday Monsanto will clue in to the fact that they can't buy off ALL the world's governments.

    NOBODY WANTS GMOS EXCEPT THE PEOPLE PRODUCING THEM.

    • by tomhath (637240)
      Actually most people don't really care. Activists have been successful because for the vast majority it's a non-issue.
      • by msobkow (48369)

        Nobody except the farmers and citizens of just about every country EXCEPT the US.

  • by Guppy (12314) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:59PM (#39204577)

    My cynical interpretation is that Monsanto failed to make sufficiently generous offers for technology transfer. In which case the ban will last until Chinese laboratories make sufficient advances to field their own GM crops.

  • We're working to develop rice that can still produce even under drought conditions using genes from bacteria, genes that aren't expressed in the grain itself at all. This is something that could be quite useful to farmers, yet because of shortsightedness and Greenpeace, efforts like this may never be released for use.

    It's not all about poisoning insects, or killing weeds, some of the GMO stuff is done to, you know, help people eat.

    • by cshark (673578)
      Yeah, but we have no long term studies on what genetically engineered crops are actually doing in our bodies. All the consumer rejection of gmo foods isn't all about xenophobia. Some of them appear to be dangerous, and it's reckless and irresponsible of Monsanto and company to pour these things into the market before we have a good understanding of this. I think at the very least gmo food needs to be labeled so consumers know what they're buying. But China's move to ban genetically engineered rice is not an
      • Yeah, but we have no long term studies on what genetically engineered crops are actually doing in our bodies. ;

        We have no long-term studies of the long-term effects of CFL bulbs, either, and yet here we are, all bathed in their light, every night. Why aren't you calling it reckless and irresponsible to pour those onto the market?

        There are ways we can know that GMO crops aren't likely to be dangerous in the long term, just like we have ways of knowing that CFL bulbs aren't likely to be dangerous in the long term.

    • If only those short-sighted humanitarians would get out of our way we could research splicing genes for photosynthesis into humans to reduce our dependence on edible food, produce our own antibiotics and insect repellent, and enrich the soilent green crops. Agricows herds could grow hay on their hides, and survive harsh conditions or long migrations by eating themselves.

      I'm sick of everyone holding back progress. If only we were allowed to we could wire up new senses directly into the brains of human f

  • by Hartree (191324) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:31PM (#39205037)

    Do you realize that genetic modification is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face?

    Do you realize that in addition to modifying corn and soy - why, there are studies under way to modify tapioca, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream? Ice cream, Mandrake! - children's ice cream!

    Do you know when genetic modified crops were introduced?

    Nineteen hundred and ninety-six. 1996, Mandrake. Just after the World Trade Organization was established. How does that coincide with your New World Order Commie conspiracy, huh?

    It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign genetic substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual - certainly without any choice.

    That's the way your hard-core Commie works.

    • by Hillgiant (916436)

      Mandrake ice cream? Mandrake is poisonous, isn't it?

      Also: Do you know what the QUEERS are doing to the SOIL?

      • by Hartree (191324)

        "Do you know what the QUEERS are doing to the SOIL?"

        You're saying the milkmen died after they put genetically engineered mandrake into the ice cream, Stuart?

  • I'm not against all GMO. There are plenty of "natural" plants that will kill you instantly if you ate them. There is plenty of âoenaturalâ mutagenic insecticides nature invented that are not so good for you either. In the end it is the final product and its nutritional value that matters rather than means of production.

    Having said this there seems to be evidence for issues concerning several popular GM products:
    http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm [biolsci.org]

    We simply don't have the technology to understand

  • If you want to do something criminal or unethical, do it somewhere where it's not...

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