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Scientists create low-methane rice

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And I recently received thumbs down for even suggesting this, glad to see it.

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oh dear another GMO created grain

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These days informed, rational people can have intelligent and nuanced discussions about best practices involving GMOs, including how each individual GMO affects its environment, the economy, Earth's biodiversity, and human nutrition. What they can't have is the opinion that the creation of a GMO is inherently bad. To be against GMOs in principle is rationally no different from being against human agriculture, because every domesticated crop and every domesticated animal is a GMO, even if they were domesticated thousands of years ago.

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" To be against GMOs in principle is rationally no different from being against human agriculture, because every domesticated crop and every domesticated animal is a GMO, even if they were domesticated thousands of years ago."

Only someone completely ignorant about science and basic logic could say that. GMO is a far cry from selective agriculture, cross breeding and monoculture. The term "Frankenfoods" was invented for a reason and invented recently, because GMO is so very different from crossbreeding, etc. A giant difference being the time involved to create anything remotely like what you plan. Another difference being the relative lack of profit incentive. With GMO there is a rush to get products out there and they get out there fast, far and wide and globally. And its just one or two steps from an almost natural product to one that has never existed in nature before.

To be sure even our ancient practices of selective agriculture, crossbreeding and monoculture have come with problems and we still have not even solved all of those yet. Those in favor of GMO wish to up the ante. No thanks.

We need to stop tinkering and simply do what we know will work safely, such as stop over-breeding, stop over-fishing, stop over-grazing, stop over-farming, stop over-cutting forest and jungle, etc. etc. You know why? Because even if GMO buys us time it won't save us anyway if we cannot stop doing those things!

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team playerJUL. 24, 2015 - 02:54PM JST GMO is a far cry from selective agriculture, cross breeding and monoculture.

Selective agriculture results in GMOs. That's the entire purpose of farmers selecting the most desirable offspring of whatever they grow- to modify the genome to be more suitable to what human consumers desire. It's all genetically modifying organisms. Carrots are genetically modified to be orange. Dogs are genetically modified to be friendly to people. Corn and wheat are genetically modified to be more nutritious than grass.

The term "Frankenfoods" was invented for a reason

Yes, and that reason was to scare a public that doesn't understand science. But by bringing up "Frankenfoods", you show that you objection is not with genetically-modified organisms but rather with transgenic organisms, a special kind of GMO.

A giant difference being the time involved to create anything remotely like what you plan. Another difference being the relative lack of profit incentive.

And like I said, reasonable people can have rational disagreements about how to deal with these issues. What is irrational is opposing GMOs in principle.

And its just one or two steps from an almost natural product to one that has never existed in nature before.

A dog that didn't automatically distrust humans didn't exist in nature before some humans bred grey wolves into them. E. coli engineered to produce human insulin so millions of diabetic humans could live normal lives didn't exist until 1978, and we're all okay with them now. Novelty ≠ danger. Now like I said, rational people can disagree about how the proper way to test and verify that new GMOs are safe. But if you assume all GMOs are inherently unsafe just because they're new, that's irrational.

We need to stop tinkering and simply do what we know will work safely, such as stop over-breeding, stop over-fishing, stop over-grazing, stop over-farming, stop over-cutting forest and jungle, etc. etc.

Name one time in human history when any society has voluntarily consumed less than it did in the past without some kind of major population decline or economic collapse.

It's a nice dream, but people simply don't work like that. But more to the point, your preference for some kind of imaginary pastoral society where no one uses technology to increase agricultural yields beyond presumably what could be obtained in pre-settlement hunter-gatherer societies doesn't make GMOs inherently bad. For GMOs to be bad, you have to actually provide evidence that they are bad, not a vague argument that you prefer a different approach to solving human needs.

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Selective agriculture results in GMOs.

No it doesn't. The genes have not been modified (the M in GMO) in selective agriculture, they have evolved. Modification means getting in there ans altering the gene directly.

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Drastically reducing meat consumption would be a much better way to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

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Strangerland JUL. 24, 2015 - 03:58PM JST No it doesn't. The genes have not been modified (the M in GMO) in selective agriculture, they have evolved.

What do you think is changing during evolution apart from their genes?

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What do you think is changing during evolution apart from their genes?

The key word is 'modified'.

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That explains why it's so frickin hot in the Japanese countryside.

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StrangerlandJUL. 24, 2015 - 09:04PM JST The key word is 'modified'.

What specifically do you think is different in chemical terms between a gene modified through the evolution that happens in the artificial selection that happens in traditional human agriculture, and a gene modified through genetic engineering?

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Well, GMO's could be a dead issue in the US soon. Bypassing States rights that pass laws to make companies put labels on them, the US House of Rep. today passed a federal law to ban GMO labeling, "pre-empting a state law set to take effect next year in Vermont."

Thank you to all those Republican and Democratic whore supporters, the corporate lobbyists rule the day.

Go Trump!

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What specifically do you think is different in chemical terms between a gene modified through the evolution that happens in the artificial selection that happens in traditional human agriculture, and a gene modified through genetic engineering?

I said it here:

No it doesn't. The genes have not been modified (the M in GMO) in selective agriculture, they have evolved. Modification means getting in there ans altering the gene directly.

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StrangerlandJUL. 24, 2015 - 11:07PM JST I said it here:

No it doesn't. The genes have not been modified (the M in GMO) in selective agriculture, they have evolved. Modification means getting in there ans altering the gene directly.

That doesn't answer my question, that's just a load of vague waffling to avoid admitting you don't know what the difference is between a gene which is "evolved" and a gene which is engineered.

And that's because there is no difference. Genes are just a code made of chemical bits in a biological computer. Adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine. They're the same chemical bits regardless of how they get into the gene.

Could an engineered genome be dangerous? Absolutely, just like a naturally-evolved creature can be dangerous (say, antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis for example). Should GMO organisms be extensively tested before they're passed into commercial use and widespread human consumption? Absolutely, and rational, informed people can easily disagree on just how much testing is necessary. Does that genetic modification inherently dangerous? No. Humans have been genetically modifying the life around them since the dawn of agricultural civilization, and no amount of uninformed waffle will make that magically disappear.

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That doesn't answer my question, that's just a load of vague waffling to avoid admitting you don't know what the difference is between a gene which is "evolved" and a gene which is engineered.

I'm a firm believer in language having meaning. The two things mean different things. But if you want to go beyond the meanings of the words, you just said it yourself. One is evolved, one is engineered. Or if you'd prefer, one can happen naturally, the other can't.

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StrangerlandJUL. 24, 2015 - 11:28PM JST I'm a firm believer in language having meaning.

I'm growing tired of this sort of waffling. "Modify" is a synonym for "change", and every English speaker here knows it. Make your point with facts and evidence please, not by trying to play semantics.

Or if you'd prefer, one can happen naturally, the other can't.

Actually, this is entirely incorrect. So far as I have read every modified genome in use in transgenic organisms not to mention every modified genome in traditionally GMO food happened naturally. For example, in the SUSIBA2 rice talked about in this article, the genome that reduces methane and increases starch in the rice comes from barley. It happened naturally in barley.

And of course, there is absolutely no reason that this barley gene couldn't arise through natural selection in rice without human interference. It would just take thousands, perhaps millions of years of random mutations in the rice genes and some kind of environment that naturally selects for rice with increased starch and decreased methane.

But then it would be cruel to condemn thousands of humans to starvation and our planet to increased greenhouse gasses just because some random people are afraid of science they don't fully understand. Rational humans are unafraid to honestly admit what they don't understand, and rather than ban subjects they are afraid of because they don't understand them, they try to study them under controlled conditions.

Now, if you have specific and objective evidence that the conditions under which these scientists are studying SUSIBA2 aren't sufficiently controlled, by all means feel free to share it. But I'm going to politely request as one reader to another that if all you have are word games, could you kindly not misinform other JT readers with them? In the end, it's no less irresponsible than people who are uninformed about how vaccines work but who are anxious about Autism insisting without evidence that one causes the other.

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I'm growing tired of this sort of waffling. "Modify" is a synonym for "change", and every English speaker here knows it. Make your point with facts and evidence please, not by trying to play semantics.

I always find it interesting when people don't like that language isn't agree with what they are saying, so they call it 'playing semantics'. What you call 'playing semantics', I call 'using words by their agreed upon meaning'.

Modify may be a synonym for change, but that does not mean that it means the exact same thing. Modification requires actively changing something, evolution comes about naturally over time.

So far as I have read every modified genome in use in transgenic organisms not to mention every modified genome in traditionally GMO food happened naturally. For example, in the SUSIBA2 rice talked about in this article, the genome that reduces methane and increases starch in the rice comes from barley. It happened naturally in barley.

It happened in barely, not rice. If a human were spliced with the DNA to give them a cat's tail, would you call that natural? Cats naturally have tails. So it's natural if we give them to humans too?

it would be cruel to condemn thousands of humans to starvation and our planet to increased greenhouse gasses just because some random people are afraid of science they don't fully understand.

You seem to think I'm anti-GMO. I'm not. I haven't made a decision yet on whether or not I think they are good or bad. They seem to be good, but they are still a pretty new thing in the greater scheme of things, so the jury is out for me. So I'm not calling for them to be abolished but neither am I going to bury my head in the sand and pretend genetic modification is natural, when it isn't. I'd rather look at all the facts, and observe accordingly.

I'm going to politely request as one reader to another that if all you have are word games, could you kindly not misinform other JT readers with them?

You were the one trying to claim that selective breeding is the same as genetic modification. I'm not the one playing word games here, and you'd do well to listen to follow your own request.

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that's just a load of vague waffling to avoid admitting you don't know what the difference is between a gene which is "evolved" and a gene which is engineered.

You're the one who doesn't understand the difference.

A dog that didn't automatically distrust humans didn't exist in nature before some humans bred grey wolves into them.

No. The domestic dog is no more descended from wolves than man is descended from apes. There is a shared common ancestor. Some specimens of the common ancestor of the modern wolf and the domestic dog with a bit more curiosity/courage/foolhardiness/hunger than others hung around human settlements for the scraps that were available. The ones that were more naturally disposed to tolerate humans in return for food mated with others who were also more naturally so inclined, their offspring grew up around humans and themselves mated with like minds. Those offspring who inherited genes not conducive to being friendly to/tolerant of humans slunk off into the wild, leaving a stronger mix of 'friendly' genes in the population left behind. The genes got shuffled about, but from start to finish nothing but canine genes were/are involved; nothing got 'modified' in the sense of alien genes being added to produce the desired result.

GMO crops, on the other hand, with bits of bacteria/insect/heaven only knows what else artificially spliced in, have never and could never appear naturally.

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StrangerlandJUL. 25, 2015 - 12:18AM JST What you call 'playing semantics', I call 'using words by their agreed upon meaning'.

I don't really care what you call anything. I care about facts and insightful knowledge from informed people. If you can't provide that then I'll happily leave you to continue playing with your words.

If a human were spliced with the DNA to give them a cat's tail, would you call that natural? Cats naturally have tails. So it's natural if we give them to humans too?

I would call the cat's tail natural. It's presence on a human is clearly not natural, but it not being natural on a human doesn't inherently make it dangerous either. To make the judgment of if it was dangerous, I'd need facts about how the genome for a cat's tail affects the human it is spliced to.

You were the one trying to claim that selective breeding is the same as genetic modification.

And it is. The genes of domesticated crops are undeniably modified under human control, which is why domesticated maize looks nothing like the teosinte plant Meso-Americans modified it from. All GMO crops are unnatural. Corn is unnatural. Wheat is unnatural. Dogs are unnatural. And yet the public tends to be okay with them. People who are uninformed of what genetic modification really is seem to feel some degree of safety coming from that pre-scientific human control being clumsy, barely targeted and taking multiple generations to produce a lasting change. I disagree. I'll continue to disagree until you back up your position with facts. Since you're trying to avoid doing that by going back to the start of the conversation and repeating what's already been covered, I'll take that as a sign you have no intention of doing so and save myself some time by wishing you a good evening. Enjoy your word games, I'm sure they'll keep you entertained.

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I don't really care what you call anything. I care about facts

Apparently not, as the meanings of words are facts, and you don't seem to care about them.

I would call the cat's tail natural. It's presence on a human is clearly not natural

And yet you claimed this:

So far as I have read every modified genome in use in transgenic organisms not to mention every modified genome in traditionally GMO food happened naturally.

So you're contradicting yourself now.

it not being natural on a human doesn't inherently make it dangerous either.

I have not claimed otherwise. As I said, the jury is still out for me.

And it is.

Except that it's not. One is getting in there and modifying organisms at the genetic level, in ways that they wouldn't get to naturally, and the other is pushing things to evolve in a direction in which they are able to evolve.

Corn is unnatural. Wheat is unnatural. Dogs are unnatural.

GMO corn and wheat are unnatural. Non-GMO corn and wheat are natural. Dogs are natural.

the public tends to be okay with them

You don't say...

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GMO crops, on the other hand, with bits of bacteria/insect/heaven only knows what else artificially spliced in, have never and could never appear naturally.

I think it a mistake to quibble over the meaning of "natural." The salient point regarding GMOs is this:

Genes resulting from selective processes (natural selection/breeding, etc) differ from genes spliced into one organism to another. It is not necessarily clear to those doing the splicing what effect these added genes will have on organism itself, and the environment. These things should be strongly regulated. BIg Ag and Big Food, because of their past failure to proceed with caution in food additives and pesticides, have the burden to demonstrate, that GMOs are safe. not the other way around.

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katsu78, I would say your position is like saying an atom bomb is just like a firecracker, only 1000 times bigger and a million times more powerful. So all a nuclear bomb really is is a million firecrackers taped together.

Tell ya what: If its all the same, then just abandon GMO and do it the old fashioned way! Cause surely if they need specific genes in there they can do it the old fashioned way since its all the same.

Well, anyway, I will add one more danger to all this: companies literally owning most or all crops, leading them to sell only infertile seeds. And then when something happens to the economy or distribution system, we get a nice famine.

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