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Fri Mar 9, 2012, 12:06 PM

Insect Experts issue "Urgent" Warning on using GM seeds

Source: NPR

For America's agricultural biotech companies, the corn rootworm is threatening to turn into their worst nightmare.

Last year, we reported that a major insect pest, the corn rootworm, had "found a chink in the armor" of genetically engineered crops. In several different places across the corn belt, the insects have developed resistance to an inserted gene that is supposed to kill them.

Now, in a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released this week, 22 of the nation's top experts on corn pests lay out some of the implications of this discovery, and they are potentially profound.

In order to slow down or prevent the spread of resistance, the scientists are calling for big changes in the way that biotech companies, seed dealers, and farmers fight this insect. The scientists urge the agency to act "with a sense of some urgency."

Read more: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/03/08/148227668/insect-experts-issue-urgent-warning-on-using-gm-seeds



Shocked, shocked I am! Readers of Organic Gardening have been expecting this news for years! Seriously - this letter is more important than the one Einstein wrote to Roosevelt urging the development of the atomic bomb!

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Reply Insect Experts issue "Urgent" Warning on using GM seeds (Original post)
hedgehog Mar 2012 OP
bemildred Mar 2012 #1
xchrom Mar 2012 #2
lovuian Mar 2012 #3
MuseRider Mar 2012 #4
AllyCat Mar 2012 #6
newspeak Mar 2012 #59
laundry_queen Apr 2012 #81
Marthe48 Apr 2012 #80
mike_c Mar 2012 #9
MuseRider Mar 2012 #18
hedgehog Mar 2012 #22
mike_c Mar 2012 #34
caseymoz Mar 2012 #49
siligut Mar 2012 #5
CanSocDem Mar 2012 #7
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #8
mike_c Mar 2012 #10
tonybgood Mar 2012 #13
hedgehog Mar 2012 #27
saras Mar 2012 #28
mike_c Mar 2012 #30
Tumbulu Mar 2012 #44
mike_c Mar 2012 #29
hedgehog Mar 2012 #39
Tumbulu Mar 2012 #45
Gore1FL Mar 2012 #50
Tumbulu Mar 2012 #57
mike_c Mar 2012 #58
Tumbulu Mar 2012 #60
OrwellwasRight Mar 2012 #65
mike_c Mar 2012 #66
Tumbulu Mar 2012 #72
mike_c Apr 2012 #73
Tumbulu Apr 2012 #76
zeemike Mar 2012 #14
DCKit Mar 2012 #21
mike_c Mar 2012 #31
DCKit Mar 2012 #41
Tumbulu Mar 2012 #47
DCKit Mar 2012 #53
hedgehog Mar 2012 #26
mike_c Mar 2012 #32
hunter Mar 2012 #38
hedgehog Mar 2012 #40
Tumbulu Mar 2012 #46
Tumbulu Mar 2012 #43
Trillo Mar 2012 #11
HubertHeaver Mar 2012 #17
Trillo Mar 2012 #56
HubertHeaver Mar 2012 #61
harun Mar 2012 #63
Snake Alchemist Mar 2012 #12
sulphurdunn Mar 2012 #15
FarCenter Mar 2012 #16
HubertHeaver Mar 2012 #19
NickB79 Apr 2012 #77
Nihil Apr 2012 #78
Dont call me Shirley Mar 2012 #20
Smilo Mar 2012 #23
LarryNM Mar 2012 #24
lunatica Mar 2012 #25
harun Mar 2012 #33
mike_c Mar 2012 #36
1monster Mar 2012 #35
Crunchy Frog Mar 2012 #37
jwirr Mar 2012 #42
Bohunk68 Mar 2012 #48
JoeyT Mar 2012 #51
hedgehog Mar 2012 #55
chervilant Mar 2012 #52
NickB79 Mar 2012 #70
chervilant Mar 2012 #71
RoccoR5955 Mar 2012 #54
Evasporque Mar 2012 #62
Vidar Mar 2012 #64
Baitball Blogger Mar 2012 #67
Kali Mar 2012 #68
Baitball Blogger Mar 2012 #69
slackmaster Apr 2012 #74
nolabels Apr 2012 #79
Dont_Bogart_the_Pretzel Apr 2012 #75

Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 12:17 PM

1. I guess God must have created some Bt resistant rootworms just to teach us a lesson. nt

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 12:18 PM

2. Du rec. Nt

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 12:19 PM

3. from your article above ...we just sold our corn surplus to CHINA

But Porter says that's not possible, at least this year. There's simply not enough conventional corn seed for such large refuges. He's wary of sudden regulatory shifts that could fundamentally disrupt production: "If we do the wrong thing, we could see corn at $15 per bushel." That's more than twice what corn costs today

America is being taken to the cleaners by these Corporations but they will soon create their own extinction

God didn't create the Earth for PROFIT
he was a NON for PROFIT kinda guy and that is why it works for billions of years

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 12:24 PM

4. Resistant?

Who would have ever expected that?

The line that worried me the most comes after scientists in North Carolina and Arizona universities (from memory, I think that is right), when talking about a way to slow this down was to plant more corn refuges of corn unmodified by the 3 genes, stated that was probably not possible because there is simply not enough seed to do that. I hope I read that wrong but I don't think I did. So there is not enough regular corn seed available, it is all the gene modified crap that we have left?

Love the name given to the gene that is causing the problem, Cry3Bb1. Good lord. * there must be a good reason for this name but I find I worry that this is all just a game to these folks, a big money game but still a game. It brings to mind the playing cards used to ID terrorists.

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #4)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 12:43 PM

6. I had read somewhere (but can't find the link now) that about 95% of commercially grown

corn is GMO. And it pretty much messes it up for all the organic farmers and the remaining percent that use regular corn because it cross pollinates within a mile of the GMO crap corn fields.

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #6)

Mon Mar 12, 2012, 11:24 AM

59. yeah, well we can go back on the DU forum

and see the arguments against GMO and those who defended the shite. There have been people arguing, especially organic farmers, this for years. These corporations have sold this GMO, especially to third world countries. No more collecting seeds, must buy from corporations and must use their chemical sprays with it.

Was it buffett who started a seed vault? The corporate GMO corn and cotton have contaminated non-GMO crops. I've read that the corporations, like monsanto, have gone after farmers for "stealing" their GMO shite; when in actuality the GMO crop contaminated their fields. I believe a canadian farmer lost a case against monsanto.

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Response to newspeak (Reply #59)

Tue Apr 3, 2012, 10:04 AM

81. Yeah, that was Percy Schmeiser.

I followed that case for awhile. In other cases since, it seems monsanto wins everytime. They are really lawyered up.

I don't know who started a seed vault, but one of my goals (eventually) is to live on an acreage and learn to save seeds from heirloom plants. I don't trust big agra to keep our food supply going.

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #6)

Tue Apr 3, 2012, 06:59 AM

80. Corn couldn't exist/grow in the wild

Native Americans developed corn from grasses, and it has been modified over time from tiny nubs the size of a human thumb to what we grow now. Last time I read anything about corn, scientists weren't even sure of its origin. Its really a marvel.

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #4)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 01:22 PM

9. the name derives from the form of the toxin in situ in Bt....

It occurs as CRYstalline inclusions in the bacillus, so the toxins, which are proteins, were originally named cry toxins and the genes that encode them were named with a CRY prefix to indicate that they code for crystalline toxins.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #9)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 03:31 PM

18. :-)

I figured as much but still, it sounds so juvenile that I did question it. I could have looked it up, sorry you had to explain this to me. I should have known better.

Thanks though, it is always easier to understand when someone knows enough to make it understandable.

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #18)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 04:13 PM

22. You think that's bad, my family carries what we rerer to as the "Samuel Jackson gene"

MTHFR - which ironically can cause complications in pregnancy!

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #18)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 07:53 PM

34. LOL-- it sounds juvenile...

...but if you had to type "crystalline endotoxin family number one" fifty times in a journal article, you'd be abbreviating it CRY1 too!

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 12:54 AM

49. If I understood you right


They seem to have talking about putting a swath of unmodified corn around the affected areas, a buffer. The area of that by now would have to be huge. It's not too serious a shortage of unmodified seed if there wouldn't be enough seed to do it.

However, even if that were so, I'm glad it happened now rather than a decade from now when unmodified seed would probably be found only in museums.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 12:40 PM

5. I'd like to follow this

I just don't see the corporations, who went full speed with GM crops, responding in an effective and prudent manner.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 12:50 PM

7. Leave it up to Monsanto...



...and if they can't solve the problem, the banks have the answer.

"...other ways to control rootworm, rotating their fields into crops where corn rootworms cannot easily survive, such as wheat or alfalfa. But Porter says that's simply not an option for many farmers; they have to plant the most profitable crop..."

It's becoming obvious that in an industrialized society, that the only safe way is to grow yer own.....IOW

Produce For Use-Not For Profit


.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 12:53 PM

8. Do not eat corn or corn products.

 


Can you imagine trying to do that? We're being poisoned. Maybe this is a test of natural selection.

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Response to The Doctor. (Reply #8)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 01:30 PM

10. poisoned?



Bt endotoxin has ZERO vertebrate toxicity. It's an environmentalist's dream-- no chemicals, no petroleum derivatives, and no non-target toxicity. The real problem here, as in every instance of insecticidal population control EVER, is overuse that stimulates insect resistance. Bt was the magic bullet that allowed high crop yields without chemical pesticides and their associated environmental damage. Bt is utterly benign UNLESS you're a specific kind of insect that is susceptible to the Bt strain used.

Insects are STILL our single greatest source of competition for food, consuming about one third of human agricultural production worldwide even today. Right now there are people going hungry because insects ate their crops or sickened their livestock. Bt does not "poison" food, at least not for human consumption.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #10)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 01:57 PM

13. You are incorrect!

Plenty of studies now out to refute your assertion. GMO crops do chromosomal damage.

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Response to tonybgood (Reply #13)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 04:28 PM

27. The Bt toxin as used by organic farmers has not been shown to cause harm.

When manufactured by the corn we eat, we may be dealing with a dose related response or the corn may now also be manufacturing or not manufacturing some chemical we don't know about!

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #27)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 05:55 PM

28. That's because it's applied externally and rots, it's not the innards of the plant producing it.

 

In addition, plants evolve. There's no reason to expect GM corn to continue producing proper BT toxin and nothing else into the indefinite future...

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Response to saras (Reply #28)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 07:28 PM

30. the cry endotoxins are identical...

...and there is ZERO evidence of vertebrate toxicity. ZERO.

As for your second assertion, every gene is subject to random mutations, but they are infrequent, and putting CRY genes into plants does not increase their mutation rate at all. That leaves selection as the most likely reason that plants might not continue "producing proper BT toxin and nothing else into the indefinite future." What on Earth do you see as possible elements of the selective environment that might cause that? The only selection plants expressing Bt are under with regard to CRY loci is insect herbivory, so any selection would likely drive reciprocal defenses against resistance, and there is likewise no current evidence that's happening.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #30)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 11:44 PM

44. but in different forms (crystal vs raw toxin)

and I must add that at the B.t. Fermentation plant we did mouse toxicity testing on every single batch of B.t. to make sure nothing had mutated which would cause mammalian toxicity.

Is this being gone with these plants? How would it be done?

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Response to tonybgood (Reply #13)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 07:21 PM

29. there is no evidence of vertebrate Bt toxicity at all, period....

You find some, then we'll talk. This is my profession-- I'm well familiar with the relevant literature. In fact, Bt is so nontoxic to vertebrates that it's being investigated as a possible treatment against human nematode parasites (several families of Bt endotoxin turn out to affect that other big ecdysozoan class, Nematoda).

Here's a quick abstract from a recent paper (2003) that summarizes Bt's vertebrate toxicity:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J153v05n01_02

The development of Bt crops is one of the most significant advances in crop protection technology of the past fifty years. Current Bt crops are based on highly specific insecticidal Cry proteins of Bacillus thuringiensis. Foliar Bt insecticides based on the same proteins have been used for more than forty years and have a remarkable safety record, with no known detrimental effects reported on vertebrate or non-target invertebrate populations. Bt cotton and Bt corn have been widely adopted by farmers in the United States, with acreage averaging 40-50% of the area planted with cotton or corn in 2002. Concern has been raised about the safety of Bt crops. However, most evidence shows that these crops, like foliar Bt insecticides, are safe for non-target organisms, especially in comparison to chemical insecticides. Evidence for safety comes from knowledge of Cry protein mode of action as well as from studies of the effects of Cry proteins on non-target organisms tested in the laboratory and under operational growing conditions. These studies indicate that Bt crops, owing to their high degree of safety, can serve as the cornerstone for more environmentally sound integrated pest management programs.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #29)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 10:04 PM

39. Good to have that info - it's what I would expect, but I

didn't want to pull facts out of the air. Organic farmers use Bt with care not because it is poisonous but to ensure continued efficacy.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #29)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 11:48 PM

45. There are thousands of B.t. strains and some produce other endogenous

toxins that can be toxic to mammals. There are strains that produce exogenous toxins to mammals.

At the fermentation facilities they run tests on every batch to make sure that no unexpected mutations have occurred. They cost money- these tests, they do not do them just for fun. They do them because there are B.t. toxins that cause mammalian toxicity.

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Response to Tumbulu (Reply #45)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 01:51 AM

50. What are the results?

What ratio doesn't pass?

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Response to Gore1FL (Reply #50)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 09:42 PM

57. In the three years that I worked

at the plant we never had a batch that produced mammalian toxicity, but every batch was tested. And it was a pricey test that we had to send out to another lab. I have no idea if there has been a bad batch one since, that was 20+ years ago. They still run those tests, I am told. Any bad batch would be discarded. The point is that they spend good money testing every single batch to make sure that no mutation has occurred which causes the B.t. to produce a toxin that mammals are susceptible to.

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Response to Tumbulu (Reply #45)

Mon Mar 12, 2012, 10:55 AM

58. that's in Bacillus, not in the engineered plant....

In situ, in Bacillus, there is the whole bacterial genome with lots of horizontally transmitted augments and whatnot. In Bt corn, not so much.

Seriously-- you've just articulated one of the best arguments FOR GMOs, i.e. that they isolate precisely the genes and gene products of interest and express them in precisely the ways we want them expressed.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #58)

Mon Mar 12, 2012, 11:26 AM

60. yes, I in fact identified toxins

from hundreds of B.t. strains that did produce additional toxins that were undesirable. These then were inserted into a Psuedomonas sp and they were cultured and then this product was used. It was a non crystal B.t. toxin and it lasted in the greenhouse 14 days. I ran the trials myself. It was the first genetic engineering of B.t. And guess what? The idea was that these engineered organisms had to be killed before release into the environment- in fact the whole greenhouse was a sealed structure so as to prevent any contamination. No one thought that genetically engineered organisms of any kind would be allowed to be released into the environment without extensive testing. At least not in the mid 80's. These B.t toxins were superior in activity to the ones produced by the B.t. strains used by industry.

This is what the genetic engineers promised to do- use gene sequences that coded for toxins different from the ones commercially produced (so that when the resistance happened, the entire original B.t. industry would not be jeopardized along with all the farmers who use the regular bacterially produced B.t.) AND they promised to TEST their products.

And so when both of the promises were broken, what is left?

The industry destroyed its credibility. There needs to be transparent testing for safety of all of these products of genetic manipulation.

I am not against manipulating B.t. toxins, but I am against destroying the commons for private gain. I am against putting any life at risk because safety testing has not been preformed. And I am thoroughly disgusted by people claiming that something is "safe" and "the same as" without testing it.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #58)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 11:17 AM

65. Problem is, it isn't just genes that matter.

Gathering evidence shows that "gene theory" has a lot of holes -- and that's why all cloning experiments and gene splicing experiments don't turn out as predicted. There is more to what's going on in the cell than just producing identical strongs of amino acids. Some "identicals genes" end up expressing themselves differently.

And becasue we don't really know what is causing the differences or why the differences occur, we can't be so sure that our monkeying around is "perfectly safe."

Harper's Magazine had a great story on this several years ago.

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Response to OrwellwasRight (Reply #65)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 03:20 PM

66. well, Bt is extremely well studied...

...and I don't know of any results that suggest that the specific gene products expressed by Bt transformed crops differ in any significant ways from the natural gene product produced by Bacillus, so perhaps you could be a bit more specific about what you mean by "gene theory" and the holes therein. Epigenetics, perhaps (although I'm not sure how that would apply here)? Comments made up thread about the crystalline form vs noncrystalline Bt likely have more to do with the different cellular environments in Bacillus and Zea et al than with any changes in its mode of action or toxicity-- again, I'm not aware of any data that suggest otherwise.

Other than its gross overuse in transformed crops, Bt is a godsend for organic farming, and it's just as benign in transformed crops as it is when applied via sprayer. I know that some folks dispute that, but their objections are more matters of faith than they are responses to actual evidence, because the evidence concerning Bt is pretty universally good unless one is just an utter Ludite. The real problem with transformed crops is the ever present Bt exposure they produce, hastening the development of insect resistance.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #66)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 03:54 PM

72. there are actual differences between the specificity/mode of action/biodegradebaly of the B.t. toxin

when it is in the crystalline form produced by the bacteria and the raw protoxin form produced by either engineered bacteria or a plant.

These differences are significant and lead me to worry a great deal about the effects on animals who consume the products of the engineered plants.

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Response to Tumbulu (Reply #72)

Sun Apr 1, 2012, 12:23 PM

73. citation?

Sorry, but I don't believe that statement is correct. It's my impression that the primary difference in crystalline and non-crystalline forms results not from any difference in the expressed protein, but rather from differences in the intracellular environment where it's expressed. AND in any event Bt in any form is nonactive in vertebrate guts. Please provide a citation providing data that demonstrates otherwise. I just haven't seen anything like what you suggest (other than in the hysterical popular literature, e.g. Mercola type stuff).

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Response to mike_c (Reply #73)

Sun Apr 1, 2012, 09:33 PM

76. You can google this perhaps

but the differences that I refer to were written up in the old textbooks on B.t. (written during the 50's through the 80's). Lots of literature on the mode of action and specificity of the crystal and in the 80's when the B.t. toxins were first being engineered to be expressed by other bacteria the difference in biodegradability between the protoxin in a liquid vs the crystallin form. These would be in the old journals of insect biocontrol...do you think that they can be accessed online?

I personally ran the first greenhouse trials of the protoxin expressed as a liquid, not a crystal and it's action lasted 12-14 days vs 24 hr (which reflected the fact that the crystal broke down into non toxic to insect forms so rapidly).

This is why in 1986 at the Entomological Association meetings we had the scientists from the companies doing the genetic engineering promise us that they would not use the sequences from the B.t. strains that were being commercially produced as a crystal since anyone could see that a 10-12 day persistence of active ingredient vs a 24 hr in the environment spelled RESISTANCE pretty darn quickly. We argued that the normal B.t. was a biopesticide held by the commons and it's activity was not to be destroyed in this way.

The issue of changes in specificity were to be answered by an outside lab.

I remember the day of shock when the EPA ruled that this protoxin produced by engineering would be treated as the same as the crystal by them. No testing on mode of action, specificity, or why the biodegradability was so different- absolutely nothing. So, the engineers ended up being unable to keep their promises as the business people no way wanted a product in anyway different from the crystal because they did not want to have to run all these tests for the EPA......

The nightmare began.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #10)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 02:25 PM

14. As long as it don't kill you it is good to eat...


but no one can tell you what those things will do to your brain or the body's of the children that are developing...but what the hey...we are all up for a good biological experiment.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #10)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 03:51 PM

21. I must be part bug then.

 

I've had to ask the S.O. to stop making corn tortillas more than once or twice a week... the aftermath isn't pleasant for me.

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Response to DCKit (Reply #21)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 07:32 PM

31. be that as it may, Bt has nothing to do with it....

Bt works against insects because they have specific midgut cell surface receptors that recognize Bt. We don't have them. PLUS, the acidic environment of our stomach, and it's proteases, quickly break down the Bt polypeptide-- in the acidic environment of the vertebrate upper GI tract the cry proteins can't even maintain their active conformation, not that it would matter because there aren't any receptors for them.

So whatever is bothering your digestion, it most assuredly isn't Bt.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #31)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 10:07 PM

41. Well, then I guess whatever it breaks down to is pretty toxic to my system.

 

Just for you, I'd be happy to provide a demonstration of the immediate effects of BT corn on my digestive system. How close do you want to get?

We'll call it "Santorum 2012".

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Response to DCKit (Reply #41)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 11:57 PM

47. I do believe that the toxin produced by the plant

is different than the toxin bound up in the form of a crystal that requires so much more to become active.

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Response to Tumbulu (Reply #47)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 08:13 AM

53. You have belief, I have Santorum. nt

 

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Response to mike_c (Reply #10)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 04:25 PM

26. Or to re-phrase what you have said -

Organic farmers tolerate and accept a certain level of infestation controlled by methods such as crop rotation. They farmers use a specific Bt sparingly only when they must deal with a massive infestation of a specific insect. They kill say, all but 2% of the corn borers in their particular fields that particular year. The general population of corn borers in other fields still contains the 98% susceptible to Bt. So corn borers in any given field can be controlled with Bt as needed. Various types of Bt attack specific organisms and are harmless to other animals.

GM corn kills all but 2% of the harmful insects across field after field after field every year, until all the corn borers remaining are descendants of those who are resistant to the Bt. It's the same pattern seen with petrochemical pesticides and antibiotics.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #26)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 07:46 PM

32. exactly so....

That's been the sorry history of every insecticide introduced since WWII. Hell, forget Bt for a moment-- DDT was a solid boon to humankind, one of the most amazing things we've ever invented, and before anyone takes that as environmental heresy they should stop and consider history. DDT saved hundreds of millions of lives by increasing crop yields dramatically and breaking the vector cycles of insect mediated diseases. Hundreds of millions saved.

But, you object, at what environmental cost? Yes, the cost was prohibitive, but only because of vast and gross overuse. We have used EVERY insecticide the same way, even though we've gotten maybe just a little bit more judicious over the decades, but not much. We could have gotten all the benefit of DDT with little or none of the environmental damage if we'd used it wisely and then we'd STILL have a large potential arsenal of population controls for insects that, instead, we overused terribly and now many pests are resistant to nearly everything. Remember, this isn't just about getting blemish free apples to the grocery store-- insects consume fully one third of the human food supply even today, so they are our number one competitor for food and fiber.

So back to Bt. My primary objection to GMO Bt crops is that they continue the cycle of overuse in spades. Even places where corn rootworm isn't an economic problem become resistance breeding laboratories if any susceptible species co-occur with Bt corn. We use a ton where a gram would be sufficient. We do it that way because it's convenient and because it provides some false sense of security-- if we did it right, pests would constantly return, but we'd be able to handle them easily when they did. Overuse makes it appear that we've solved the problem permanently, but it's really a ticking time bomb.

Bt had INCREDIBLE promise. It is the most environmentally benign insecticide EVER used by humans. It was a gift, and we're fucking it up, mainly for convenience and profit.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #32)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 09:26 PM

38. Humans shit on all their gifts. Including the earth itself.


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Response to mike_c (Reply #32)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 10:05 PM

40. Well said!

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Response to mike_c (Reply #32)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 11:54 PM

46. AND in 1986 at the Entomological Association

the genetic engineers PROMISED us that they WOULD NEVER use the same toxin(s) that the strain of B.t. in use by industry at the time used. They would clone a different toxin- not ours.

If they had done this, then the natural B.t. would not be at risk of being redundant.

But the business people ignored, as is usual, the scientists.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #10)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 11:40 PM

43. the crystal toxin produced by the bacteria

has an additional level of specificity that the toxin produced by the plant does not have.

The natural B.t. crystal requires a particular pH (must be basic) within the gut and an enzyme to turn it into the the toxin. Without both present the crystal simply biodegrades.

However the toxin produced by the gmo plants is simply the raw toxin, no enzyme or insect specific gut pH is required. In addition it lasts far longer in the environment than the crystal toxin (24 hr vs 14 days).

I have never seen any toxicity studies of this raw toxin. My understanding is that the EPA ruled that it was exempt from toxicity testing because they were told by industry that it was the same thing- the crystal and the protoxin not in a crystal form.

They are not.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 01:34 PM

11. Mitchell says, "A lot of the time, farming is run by bankers now".

Until money is removed from politics, the poisoning of humans by bankers shall not be halted?

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Response to Trillo (Reply #11)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 03:26 PM

17. Cash-crop farming always has been.

In the Reconstruction-era South, financial control allowed the banker to decide what crops would be funded.

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Response to HubertHeaver (Reply #17)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 01:00 PM

56. And in modern day America, zoning codes are used

to outlaw fruit and vegetable stands, where growers may sell directly to neighbors without middle entities such as grocery stores and "farmers markets" (where a landowner "rents" space). The same codes also seem to push non-food producing plants, ornamentals I believe they're called, onto residents, by having lists of "approved" plants and where they may be grown.

Before the civil war, even before the founding of the country, if you had land and water, growing your own fruits and vegetables seemed to be a normal activity, at least from the histories I've read. Now it's rather unusual.

All due to bankers?

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Response to Trillo (Reply #56)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 11:29 PM

61. Pre-Civil War subsistence agriculture was the rule for poor whites and free blacks.

They were outside the national economy. Post Civil War, the devastation in the South caused them to be sucked into the economy. In order to get back to where they were before the war the former subsistence farmers needed to buy seed, equipment, and draft animals. They had no money--that belonged to the northern bankers. The bankers would lend the money but they demanded the money be spent on specific seed purchased from specific suppliers--a top-down managed economy.


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Response to Trillo (Reply #56)

Sat Mar 17, 2012, 02:09 PM

63. Can't sell a solution if there are no problems. The Spanish did their best to outlaw the natives in

NA from growing their subsistence crops when first fighting them.

It is about dependence on the corporate machine. Whether it is in buying expensive insulation, GMO crops,
permits or that new car. If it doesn't increase someone's Corporate Profits they don't want it legal.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 01:46 PM

12. Back to the pesticides. nt

 

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 02:34 PM

15. $15 a bushel corn!

 

Hell's bells, that could be more profitable than speculating in oil if you get in now.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 03:11 PM

16. It is not clear what the urgency is

There are still two genes out of three to which resistance in the corn rootworm has not appeared.

As noted, farmers can use chemical insecticides in addtion or in place of relying on the Bt corn seed.

As noted in the article, farmers can go back to crop rotations of corn, soybeans, grain and alfalfa. This is said to be uneconomic, but would not be if/when farmers all make the move together. They would all be in the same boat, so the prices would rise for all at once, given reduced yields.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #16)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 03:41 PM

19. There is always that one greedy F'er down the road that will go fencerow to fencerow with corn while

the neighbors are fighting the pests.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #16)

Mon Apr 2, 2012, 09:19 AM

77. It's not so easy for the very large farms to go back to crop rotation anymore

The larger farms have specialized, with very expensive equipment devoted to just one or two crops and a heavy reliance on fertilizers instead of soil management. Getting a large corporate farm to switch crops is like retooling an auto factory to produce a different type of car: expensive and time-consuming.

Unfortunately, these farms are expanding and now supply us with the majority of our corn.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #77)

Tue Apr 3, 2012, 05:37 AM

78. Another flavour of "Too Big To Fail"?

 

Once they've got above a certain critical mass then every industry will have some
form of "It's too time-consuming & expensive to change now" defence against
doing the right thing.

I understand what you're saying but can't for the life of me think of an easy
solution to it ...


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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 03:42 PM

20. SUPRISE! SUPRISE! Nature is smarter than (Mon)Insaneto.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 04:22 PM

23. Of course, this will be kept quiet from the mainstream.....

and the corn will achieve high prices on the stock market and then millions of people who rely on this staple will be left without any food at all. So, of course, the GMO corps will like this because.............


"GMO Giants: Because of growing awareness of the health affects of GM foods, several countries have rejected planting them. Therefore, they would seem to need a food crisis to be seen as the savior in countries currently opposed to their products. A leaked WikiLeaks cable confirms that this is indeed the strategy for GMO giants, where trade secretaries reportedly “noted that commodity price hikes might spur greater liberalization on biotech imports.” Since GMO giants already control much of the food supply, it seems they can also easily manipulate prices to achieve complete global control of food."
http://www.activistpost.com/2011/01/7-reasons-food-shortages-will-become.html

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 04:24 PM

24. I guess the GM manufactuers could Sue the Insects n/t

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 04:24 PM

25. Great! Built in insecticide

I hate the idea of eating insecticide.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #25)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 07:52 PM

33. Insects hate it too. Anything dangerous to one form of life is likely to be dangerous to another.

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Response to harun (Reply #33)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 07:56 PM

36. oxygen is utterly toxic to anaerobic organisms...

...yet it's absolutely essential for aerobes. In fact, many substances that are dangerous to "one form of life" are standup beneficial to others. Many of our pharmaceuticals are derived from plant metabolites selected for herbivore toxicity, for example. Like aspirin.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 07:53 PM

35. The Third Horseman of the Apocalypse

Famine. Thanks Monsanto, et als.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 08:34 PM

37. Evolution 1 Genetic Engineering 0.

It would probably be for the best if corn production were dramatically reduced in this country. All the excess corn products they're pouring into the food supply are contributing to making Americans fat and diabetic.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 11:21 PM

42. While I hate to see this happening I still think that something like this needed to happen in order

for people and government to wake up on this issue.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 12:43 AM

48. Heard a report on NPR

the other day about cotton and pigweed (amaranth). It appears that the pigweed has evolved resistance to the weed killers and is now growing rampant in the cotton fields of the South. So, is anyone really surprised that things evolve resistance? Really?

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Response to Bohunk68 (Reply #48)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 02:58 AM

51. If anything that report actually underestimated how bad the stuff is.

The stuff we're having issues with is spiny or thorny pigweed. It gets huge and you can't work near it because you can only lose so much blood before you give up. The spines are also bad about breaking off under the skin and getting infected. They're hollow, so the effect is similar to a porcupine quill. It's isn't just cotton, it's causing hell with everything in some areas.

It's only resistant to Roundup so far, as far as I know. The problem is you can't spray anything else without killing most crops too, and wiping the fields out for a season doesn't really work, because you can't guarantee it won't just be reintroduced. The seeds are smaller than normal amaranth seeds, so they're about three times as big as the period at the end of this sentence, and each plant makes an unbelievable amount of them. So even scorched earth on a field will only keep it clear for two to four years, if you're lucky.

The hell of it is the Roundup resistance gene could have been used as a monster of a control measure while other control programs were being run to eradicate it. Unfortunately, the company that makes the stuff convinced all the people that used it that it was all they'd ever need, because other control measures cut into their profit margin. So all the other measures that were being used to control it (Pre emergents, rotating and repeatedly bushhogging or disking the fields so it couldn't go to seed, etc) were stopped. Now we're overrun and worse off than we were to start with.

Apply enough selective pressure, especially from a single direction, and sooner or later whatever is being pressured is going to bite us in the ass.

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Response to JoeyT (Reply #51)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 12:05 PM

55. My understanding of sustainable or organic gardening methods is that

you accept a degree of messiness - some insect loss, a few weeds here or there as the cost of doing business. On the up side, you increase soil depth year after year and you keep insects and weeds fighting with each other so no single species becomes a pest that wipes out your entire crop.

http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 07:45 AM

52. Wow...

GM seeds are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In my half century on this planet, I've witnessed the steady decline in the quality and flavor of all produce. Current research proves that our much vaunted high yields of grains and produce have resulted in significant decreases in the nutrients in these foods, to whit:


•In wheat and barley, protein concentrations declined by 30 to 50 percent between the years 1938 and 1990.
•Likewise, a study of 45 corn varieties developed from 1920 to 2001, grown side by side, found that the concentrations of protein, oil and three amino acids have all declined in the newer varieties.
•Six minerals have declined by 22 to 39 percent in 14 widely grown wheat varieties developed over the past 100 years.
•Official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data shows that the calcium content of broccoli averaged 12.9 milligrams per gram of dry weight in 1950, but only 4.4 mg/g dry weight in 2003.


Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Sustainable-Farming/Nutrient-Decline-Industrial-Farming.aspx#ixzz1oiVNjjWH

The last time I planted an organic garden, I used French Intensive methods, and grew more produce (VERY flavorful) than my family could eat or preserve. I gave friends and neighbors copious amounts of eggplant, acorn squash, butternut squash, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, peppers, and other produce. The quality of my organic produce highlighted the lack of quality in most of the produce I was getting at our grocery store.

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Response to chervilant (Reply #52)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 01:03 PM

70. That's primarily due to depleted soil nutrition

We've spent the past 75 years replacing rich organic matter in the soil with synthetic fertilizers because modern farmers can't be bothered to rotate their crops, let land lie fallow or apply manure anymore.

It's the equivalent of feeding your kids nothing but junk food and then wondering why they're not growing well despite getting sufficient calories.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #70)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 02:15 PM

71. Indeed.

Since I wrote the post that motivated your response, I've made a commitment to go Vegan.

Furthermore, I've returned to the Ozarks, and--as soon as possible--will be acquiring a remote piece of property, hopefully with year-round running water. I'll again use French Intensive methods to grow my own food.

A few days after I returned home, I had a serendipitous encounter in my new library with a Vegan who does free presentations about living a Vegan lifestyle (he and his wife do the presentations, and have been Vegans for a couple of decades). Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of sampling their almond milk, green smoothies, vegan 'burgers,' and 'crackers' made in a dehydrator with living, organic seeds. They also made a smooth 'cheeze' from potatoes, carrots, onions, and nutritional yeast. It tastes just like a rich bechamel sauce infused with cheddar cheese.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 11:05 AM

54. No matter what they have ever done to get rid of insects

 

they have ALWAYS found some way to mutate beyond whatever chemical they put on them, that poisons other life forms.
It was only a matter of time until this effect was present with GM organisms.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sat Mar 17, 2012, 08:40 AM

62. Soylent green is people!....

Nature finds a way....

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 10:43 AM

64. How ironic that their worst nightmare has been realized, when America's

agricultural biotech companies are probably themselves the planet's worst nightmare.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 01:03 AM

67. The bigger question is how durable is the seed?

Isn't it already out there, spreading around by the wind and birds? Our only hope is that it isn't as durable as wild, natural seed.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #67)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 11:40 AM

68. you mean the wild corn seed?



plenty of things to be concerned about with this issue, but you might want to read up on corn cultivation

(hint: corn has been so modified by humans - and that started around 10,000 years ago - that it cannot exist without human agriculture)

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Response to Kali (Reply #68)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 12:01 PM

69. Well, that's a good thing, right?

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sun Apr 1, 2012, 12:28 PM

74. History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men

 

Rinji news o moshiagemasu
Rinji news o moshiagemasu
Godzilla ga Ginza hoomen e mukatte imasu
Daishkyu hinan shite kudasai
Daishkyu hinan shite kudasai

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #74)

Tue Apr 3, 2012, 06:05 AM

79. History shows again and again the folly of mother nature......

for making such thing as a man

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sun Apr 1, 2012, 01:23 PM

75. Don't mess with Mother Nature.

That is why some countries have GM crops banned, and also it'll take years to undo the damage.

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