Nature busts anti-GMO myth: Gene swapping among plants, insects common occurence

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There is a fierce debate in Florida over how the state should work to stop the spread of the Zika virus. One controversial solution offered is to release GMO mosquitoes. These lab-made bugs possess a ‘kill-switch’ gene made with fragments of DNA from coral, cabbage, the herpes virus, and E.coli bacteria. Matings between the GMO mosquitoes and wild ones would spread the lethal gene—eventually reducing and possibly eliminating mosquitoes from the region altogether.

The response to this plan has been strong from both sides. Many have pointed out that a tremendous amount of human suffering would be prevented by using the GMO mosquitoes. On the other hand, critics have cited the unnatural creation of the bug as a reason to oppose it. Helen Wallace, the executive director of the British anti-GM group GeneWatch, called the mosquito “Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, plain, and simple.”

But, it’s not just the GMO mosquito that elicits the cry of ‘unnatural’ from opponents of biotech. It is one of the most strident arguments used by activists against all genetically modifying organisms, be it crops or insects, or even bacteria.

The Institute for Responsible Technology, which is an anti-GMO organization founded by Jeffrey Smith, states, in its FAQ’s about GMOs that “With genetic engineering, scientists can breach species barriers set up by nature…The results are plants (or animals) with traits that would be virtually impossible to obtain with natural processes, such as crossbreeding or grafting.”

Such descriptions of GMOs raises fears about whether gene transfer between species is outside of how evolution operates and therefore unnatural. Research, however, has repeatedly shown the opposite to be true.

big-potato-1181af98982e14c3db199e3ecbf273b3756a2d56-s1000-c85In May 2015, researchers showed that practically every known species of cassava (sweet potato) contained genes from Agrobacterium, a bacterial species whose genes we have also harnessed to create other GM crops. The genes were inserted over 8,000 years ago and may have helped the tuber evolve into its current, edible form. This phenomenon of genetic transfer during evolution between species, also known as ‘horizontal gene transfer’ is not restricted to plants.

Scientists at François Rabelais University in Tours, France reported the results of an inquiry into the genetic makeup of monarch butterflies and moths, and parasitic wasps that use the caterpillars as hosts to lay their eggs. The team found over millions of years the wasps had not only completely domesticated the genes of a virus to help them parasitize the caterpillars, but chance events had led these wasps to pass on some of these viral genes to the butterflies and moths which it targeted as well. “In other words,” as Ed Yong wrote in The Atlantic “one insect was genetically modifying another with viral genes, via a sting.” And importantly, not only was this genetic exchange between three different species entirely natural, it provided each of them with a unique evolutionary advantage and helped them survive.

The viruses cannot reproduce inside another host outside of the wasp, thus making them practically non-existent without the insect. The wasp, in turn, is dependent on the virus for to parasitize the caterpillar. While laying its eggs, the wasp also injects viral particles which render the caterpillar’s immune system useless and unable to fight against the foreign eggs. This unique relationship has allowed thousands of species of parasitic wasps to attack caterpillars. But that’s where this whole ordeal takes a right turn.

What the study by the French team suggests is that around 5 million years ago, through a series of genetic accidents, some viral genes got incorporated into the genomes of monarch butterflies and a species of moth known as the armyworm moth (those were the two species they studied). These viral genes gave them an evolutionary advantage as they protected them against a whole other class of viruses known as baculoviruses. The positive evolutionary pressure meant that the genes were selected for and retained in the genomes of the moths and butterflies. The scientists think what they’ve uncovered is just the tip of the iceberg. Given the thousands of species of parasitic wasps and the insects they targeted, they expect the extent of gene transfer events to be much wider.

Commenting on the study to the Science Media Centre in the UK, Louise Johnson, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading, said:

“This three-way gene shuffle is a particularly clear and clever example: wasps use viruses to attack butterflies, but those viruses have also allowed the butterflies to steal genes from the wasps. It’s clear that the stolen genes are useful to the butterflies, so naturally occurring genetic engineering helps them to survive.  From my perspective as an evolutionary biologist, it’s also a perfect illustration of how evolution uses every trick in the book, and the book is bigger than we think.”

Jean-Michael Drezen, the scientist who led the study, suggests that in some way, these butterflies are ‘natural GMOs.’ In an email, to The Atlantic, he said, “What’s kind of funny is that such a species as iconic as the monarch has been genetically modified by the parasitic wasp virus and can thus be considered as a natural GMO.” Interestingly, though, he did admit in a different article in the New Scientist that the description was used to garner interest in the story, which emphasized a larger point about the GMOs.

1280-chipotleThe current usage of the term GMO is both nonspecific and confusing. And often it is used to imply that there is something unsafe or unnatural when in fact it seems to have been occurring for millions of years. It is precisely this confusion that organizations like Chipotle are trying to capitalize on by claiming that its food is healthier solely on the grounds it is ‘GMO-free.’

As our understanding of evolution increases, we’re beginning to see that genetic exchange between species is nothing outside the realm of possibility, a ‘Franken-nothing’ if you will. It doesn’t mean that introducing genetically modified insects does not have any consequences.

Peter Atkinson, a professor of Genetics at the University of California Riverside, told Genetic Expert News Service:

I think [the study] highlights the need to understand how such transfer occurs and how these genetic sequences interact with their new host genomes. This will enable us to better understand the consequences of horizontal transfer, be it natural or be facilitated by genetic engineering.

Any new technology carries with it a measure of risk. In the case of the genetically modified mosquitoes, Mark Q. Benedict, an entomologist at the University of Perugia and an expert in genetically modified insects, points out in the New Yorker, “There are unanswered questions and there always will be.” But, he continues, “there are also unanswered questions about the effect of insecticides on children, and we use them every day to try and kill the very same mosquitoes. It’s important to remember: we’re already trying to wipe this species out, and for a good reason. The risk involved in eliminating them is very, very small. The risk in letting them multiply is enormous.”

It is our collective responsibility, to decide whether the benefits of creating a genetically modified plant or animal outweigh the risks—and if it does, implement it for the collective good. In small studies in Brazil, the ‘unnatural’ GMO mosquito has been very effective at reducing mosquito populations. Studies by Oxitec researchers showed that the modified mosquitoes reduced rates of dengue by an astounding 95 percent, an achievement that can probably only be rivaled by vaccines for public health benefit.

Arvind Suresh is a science communicator and writer. He formerly was the Science Media Liaison at the Genetic Expert News Service. Follow him @suresh_arvind.

  • agscienceliterate

    Ward, sounds nice, but perhaps a bit simplistic.

    Please respond to the various concerns about milkweed (wrong types, and parasites) referred to in this article:
    http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2015/01/plan-save-monarch-butterflies-backfires

  • Christopher Marshall

    Interesting article. But cassava (Manihot esculenta) is not sweet potato. Ipomoea batatas is the name you are after. Nowhere is cassava referred to as sweet potato. And it is in fact Ipomoea batatas that shows evidence of the genetic transfer you are referring to. Such a basic error tends to call into question other assertions in your work.

    • Samuel Leuenberger

      Interesting, I was asking myself exactly the same question. I know about Sweet Potato (and the picture in the article is obviously a sweet potato) but not about Cassava (or manioc as we call it in French-speaking countries)

      • StrCmdMan

        Cassava is certainly not sweet potatoes it does in fact produce tuberous starchy roots that are edible. The major difference between it and other tuberous vegetables is that it contains cyanogenic glycosides which is a neurotoxin. It’s why you don’t see it in the local grocery isle in it’s raw form. Just a few slices of the root contains a fatal dose. Boiling it down renders the nerotoxin inert. It can be found as the starchy portion of tapioca pudding, cassava cakes, or deep fried with sugar on top in fact it can be used almost in any place where potatoes can be. It grows as a large tropical bush like shrub. Unlike its vineline counter parts.

        It is capable of growing in “marginal soils” which makes it the words third provider in low cost carbohydrates. This combined with its high yeilds.

        The plants are tilled from the earth and roots harvested their shape resembles a cluster of sweet potato but their insides are white with a elongated tap root like structure.

  • Ray E.

    Dr. David Tribe keeps a list of “Natural GMOs” at his site

    http://gmopundit.blogspot.com/search?q=Natural+GMos

  • Joe Murray

    When nature alters DNA in organisms it’s much different than when humans do it in a laboratory. To say they this is the same process and results is simply wrong.

    • morphd

      Sure – nature transfers random bits of DNA and a few happen to provide some selective advantage in evolution – and scientists transfer specific bits of DNA that provide some value to agriculture (or other biological system). Somewhat different approaches perhaps, but both generate “transgenic” organisms.

      Please suggest why some people think the science-driven version is more ‘risky’ than the scatter-shot natural version (beyond some non-scientific woo about “nature’s intelligence” http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/miscellaneous-ayurvedic-articles/ayurvedic-perspective-on-genetically-modified-foods.html#gsc.tab=0 ).

      • StrCmdMan

        As a student of the natural sciences and a degree in the natural sciences i have learned that ecosystems are broken down into smaller bio spheres. Until you get to the niche of a species. Certain species habitate very specific biomes due to their inherent need of food and shelter that can only be provided by specific regions. This leads to species that will naturally interact with each other and evolve together over thousands or hundreds of thousands of years.

        Now this is all good and fine. Things change things need to change to adapt and evolve change is good. Mutual adaptation can also be advantageous to the bio-system as a whole as it can increase competition which spurs adaptation which may lead to evolution.

        The system is delicate any large scale changes can have dire long term effects to specific species or any magnitude of the biospheres and or ecosystem as a whole.

        Lets use the mosquito bio-engineered gm insect as an example. But really it could be any gm organism specifically insects or animal in this case. Lets say the “kill gene” in the mosquito was to hop from carrier to under some unforeseen prehaps even unknown pathway to any insect or animal. Or more directly a female is resistant and produces off spring that then bite other animals as is shown to be a known pathway shown here in this very article. (some background information: only males are GM to carry the gene as they do not bite lowering the risk that transgenics can occur) This can also be true for any unfavorable gene as something as small as white pigmentation can devastate a population if spread as a dominant gene.

        Most genes introduced by GM measures would inherently be non-native as they are in fact trying to change a species in a meaningful way. Genes within a native habitat only exist due to evolution and are kept within this bio region due to niche evolutionary factors. Therefore gene selection would pose a much higher risk with a GM population versus through natural pathways.

        With perfect information GM organism would in fact be superior to all terrestrial life as it would possess everything it could ever need and nothing more. Truly unimaginable lifeforms i have no doubt. But the issue is it only takes one unforeseen or mostly right assertion to kill off a whole species of plants or animals where most of the world wouldn’t blink an eye it creates discord within our already fragile natural environment.

        While i find post like yours morphd apt towards scientific minded scrutiny. I also find your post, post like yours, and comments in general like yours incredibly hyperbolic leaving almost no room for interpretation. Totalitarian ideals do little to safeguard the world.

        • morphd

          First of all, the majority of GM organisms that are released into the environment are destined for agricultural production. Long before GMOs, new crops, new varieties of existing crops and crop rotations meant that plants were constantly being changed on a short-term (i.e. non-evolutionary) basis. Please explain how ”species that will naturally interact with each other and evolve together over thousands or hundreds of thousands of years.” applies to agriculture?

          ”The system is delicate any large scale changes can have dire long term effects to specific species or any magnitude of the biospheres and or ecosystem as a whole.” That can happen for sure, though the word “delicate” is open to interpretation considering nature, even in the ‘wilderness’, can change over time and it has the capacity to ‘develop’ new ecosystems – see http://www.npr.org/2016/09/30/495216034/how-do-we-embrace-all-kinds-of-nature .

          Keep in mind that the dire effects we’ve seen on the planet’s environment have been unrelated to GM crops. Apart from natural phenomena like meteor strikes and volcanic eruptions, they’ve come from human activities like hunting species to extinction, deforestation and movement of species from one ecosystem to another which become ‘invasive’ when they are liberated from their native ‘biospheres’ (so much for ”Genes within a native habitat only exist due to evolution…”). Even the movement of collections of genes from one ecosystem to another using traditional crossbreeding can have dire consequences – as when African honeybees were crossed with European honeybees in Brazil some years ago https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africanized_bee That example is just one of many where the movement and shuffling of thousands of genes via crossing crop sub-species adapted to different regions of the world has occurred. Unintended consequences do happen but there seems to be little popular concern over this non-GM breeding compared to the obsession over genetic modification https://www.nap.edu/read/10977/chapter/5#41

          ”Lets use the mosquito bio-engineered gm insect as an example…say the “kill gene” in the mosquito was to hop from carrier to under some unforeseen prehaps even unknown pathway to any insect or animal…”. What if, what if? what if?? The construct in the GM mosquito is made to express a protein within mosquito cells which, when it isn’t suppressed by tetracycline, accumulates in the cell and eventually kills the mosquito (typically the progeny of the mosquito that was released from the breeding facility). This is a new approach, modeled on traditional Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) and used to control, at the present time, Aedes aegypti, which is native to Africa, one of the few mosquito species that can transmit diseases among humans, and which usually represents a tiny fraction (e.g. 1%) of the total mosquito biomass of a given area. Traditional SIT utilizes radiation but doesn’t work well in mosquitoes compared to other insect species so the GM technology was developed. If the GM construct should somehow stop working as intended, the cells would live like normal mosquito cells (and if they didn’t, the GM mosquito would likely be at a competitive disadvantage to wild mosquitoes). Why would a very simple GM construct be more risky than entire viruses or bacteria that can mutate/adapt to new hosts or increase their virulence?? Millions of humans (and no doubt many other species) have died prematurely over history because microbes adapted in such ways – but we are more scared of GM organisms… This just doesn’t make sense unless one understands that some people have an irrational aversion to GM technology and will come up with all sorts of fantastical “what if” arguments to oppose any use of that technology while at the same time ignoring real risks present in nature.

          Have you ever noticed the near absence of biologists in the anti-GMO organizations? It could be due to some Monsanto conspiracy… but the simpler explanation is that the people who understand GM technology don’t have nearly the concern that non-scientists have. Perhaps your “totalitarian ideals” are simply that understanding.

          • StrCmdMan

            “First of all, the majority of GM organisms that are released into the environment are destined for agricultural production. Long before GMOs, new crops, new varieties of existing crops and crop rotations meant that plants were constantly being changed on a short-term (i.e. non-evolutionary) basis. Please explain how ”species that will naturally interact with each other and evolve together over thousands or hundreds of thousands of years.” applies to agriculture?”

            It’s not meant to that is in direct reference to interspecies gene transfer. The over all view that your missing is that when you release something into agriculture is that fields, crops, and almost all of agriculture at it’s current state is open to the environment. I see enclosed green house fields as a viable option here but most fields in the world do not reach this criteria.

            ”The system is delicate any large scale changes can have dire long term effects to specific species or any magnitude of the biospheres and or ecosystem as a whole.” That can happen for sure, though the word “delicate” is open to interpretation considering nature, even in the ‘wilderness’, can change over time and it has the capacity to ‘develop’ new ecosystems – see http://www.npr.org/2016/09/30/… .

            I was speaking of the current state of nature our oceans may collapse at any time now bees may disappear hundreds of species are constantly dying off and we hardly know all the causes.

            “Keep in mind that the dire effects we’ve seen on the planet’s environment have been unrelated to GM crops. Apart from natural phenomena like meteor strikes and volcanic eruptions, they’ve come from human activities like hunting species to extinction, deforestation and movement of species from one ecosystem to another which become ‘invasive’ when they are liberated from their native ‘biospheres’ (so much for ”Genes within a native habitat only exist due to evolution…”). Even the movement of collections of genes from one ecosystem to another using traditional crossbreeding can have dire consequences – as when African honeybees were crossed with European honeybees in Brazil some years ago https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… That example is just one of many where the movement and shuffling of thousands of genes via crossing crop sub-species adapted to different regions of the world has occurred. Unintended consequences do happen but there seems to be little popular concern over this non-GM breeding compared to the obsession over genetic modification https://www.nap.edu/read/10977…”

            You literally just proved my point though i do agree GM plants have far far fewer unintended consequences in regards to the actual plant breeding process. But when something does truly go wrong it goes very very wrong usually with permanent consequences.

            Don’t get me wrong i am not Anti-GMO i feel there’s a place for GMO’s and that in fact they are superior however we lack the knowledge to understand their implications the world over not to risk our extinction. IE. Honey Bees, Oceans, Desertification to name a few very real possible scenarios.

            Just keep in mind this whole post in based on Joe Murry which he is not wrong to say the two are truly different. And to answer your question is that gene combinations are now possible within the natural world that natural couldn’t possibly do on its own. Typically that just saves lives or feeds the hungry but over Melinia or even decades it could lead to the extinction of man or true hindrances the world over.

            Remember you did ask for someone to suggest why people would think its more risky with the scientific approach even though i consider this a incredibly small probability in my opinion it far outweighs the natural processies risks.

            “”Lets use the mosquito bio-engineered gm insect as an example…say the “kill gene” in the mosquito was to hop from carrier to under some unforeseen prehaps even unknown pathway to any insect or animal…”. What if, what if? what if?? The construct in the GM mosquito is made to express a protein within mosquito cells which, when it isn’t suppressed by tetracycline, accumulates in the cell and eventually kills the mosquito (typically the progeny of the mosquito that was released from the breeding facility). This is a new approach, modeled on traditional Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) and used to control, at the present time, Aedes aegypti, which is native to Africa, one of the few mosquito species that can transmit diseases among humans, and which usually represents a tiny fraction (e.g. 1%) of the total mosquito biomass of a given area. Traditional SIT utilizes radiation but doesn’t work well in mosquitoes compared to other insect species so the GM technology was developed. If the GM construct should somehow stop working as intended, the cells would live like normal mosquito cells (and if they didn’t, the GM mosquito would likely be at a competitive disadvantage to wild mosquitoes). Why would a very simple GM construct be more risky than entire viruses or bacteria that can mutate/adapt to new hosts or increase their virulence?? Millions of humans (and no doubt many other species) have died prematurely over history because microbes adapted in such ways – but we are more scared of GM organisms… This just doesn’t make sense unless one understands that some people have an irrational aversion to GM technology and will come up with all sorts of fantastical “what if” arguments to oppose any use of that technology while at the same time ignoring real risks present in nature.”

            I am a scientist i trust biologist. I trust science. What i don’t trust is our education system. Nor do i trust decision makers in this country as a man who works in the system. I feel our understanding of the natural world and its importance to us is grossly understated and in no small part because of a lack of its presence in our education system combined with poor decision making on a whole gambit of issues some understandable some grossly neglected.

            The thing is long term it’s just a matter of time before some GM genes become part of the worlds genetic makeup in some meaningful way which i’m sure it has already occurred. The natural world isn’t some patient “She” might as well be a living breathing entity that has has far outlived anything alive today and will hopefully continue for a long time after that. We cannot predict the future or the outcomes/impacts anything so terribly small may have over such immense time frames. We truly are not equipped for such thinking.

            This is the problem i have biologist (I am married to one btw) they go on and they do something and say “We are biologist and we are doing this because we can and we understand how it works” (And in no way are biologist the only profession that does this *Looking at Engineers*) Ok sure great you do understand you might have just saved us all yes its quite incredible. But you just ignored almost a whole branch of science one that looks at things very differently that may give you incredibly valuable insight.

            There is no denying the science but to think that professions are not interconnected that is my only issue. And to think simply because we can do something and we seem to have it figured out means its safe. If history has taught us anything its that that is almost never the case.

            “Have you ever noticed the near absence of biologists in the anti-GMO organizations? It could be due to some Monsanto conspiracy… but the simpler explanation is that the people who understand GM technology don’t have nearly the concern that non-scientists have. Perhaps your “totalitarian ideals” are simply that understanding.”

            Sorry i didn’t mean to offend you it truly wasn’t personal it was directed at the system as a whole and just how little importance is placed on understanding. We more or less wield the power of gods we need to make sure we take the proper precautions.

            If anything i hope i left you introspective i think there’s nothing more important when dealing with such broad issues. I am not afraid of science but i am afraid of people.

          • morphd

            It’s not meant to that is in direct reference to interspecies gene transfer. The over all view that your missing is that when you release something into agriculture is that fields, crops, and almost all of agriculture at it’s current state is open to the environment…

            Yes, of course – but that also applies to the products of cross breeding and introduction of species into new ecosystems (which become invasive) – which have had far worse consequences. Remember also that agricultural species (GM or not) tend to not survive in the wild.

            I was speaking of the current state of nature our oceans may collapse at any time now bees may disappear hundreds of species are constantly dying off and we hardly know all the causes.

            Humanity is having a tremendous impact on the planet; habitat destruction and carbon pollution (leading to climate change) likely being the worst offenses. Yet we have more fear of GM technology – which can make agriculture more efficient and even environmentally friendlier (e.g. Bt crops that require less synthetic pesticide).

            You literally just proved my point though i do agree GM plants have far far fewer unintended consequences in regards to the actual plant breeding process. But when something does truly go wrong it goes very very wrong usually with permanent consequences.

            You’ve provided no rationale for why any unintended consequences for GMOs would be worse or permanent versus the unintended consequences for breeding etc. discussed previously. Arguably the worst unintended (though predicted by some) GM consequence so far is weed resistance to the herbicide glyphosate. That results in higher rates of glyphosate (plus additional herbicides) being applied to agricultural land and higher – but still very low – residues in food. There’s little if any effect on non-cultivated land and if glyphosate use was suddenly stopped, residues in the environment would degrade relatively quickly (within a few months?).

            The one GM technology that could potentially eliminate one or more species is gene drive. That technology could be quite helpful to humanity (e.g. by making mosquitoes incapable of transmitting malaria) but it must be monitored very closely.

            Just keep in mind this whole post in based on Joe Murry which he is not wrong to say the two are truly different… Remember you did ask for someone to suggest why people would think its more risky with the scientific approach even though i consider this a incredibly small probability in my opinion it far outweighs the natural processies risks.

            Again, with the exception of gene drives – which haven’t been (and may never be) deployed in the open environment, I’m still not convinced that “lab-made” GMOs are ultimately any more risky than “nature made” GMOs – and much less risky than any number of examples of invasive species transported to new ecosystems.

            Earlier you’d mentioned the GM mosquito. You may know that an alternative approach favored by anti-GMO people is to infect the Aedes aegypti mosquito (carrier of zika, dengue, yellow fever viruses) with Wolbachia bacteria, and use either a ‘male sterile’ approach (utilizing cytoplasmic incompatibility conferred by Wolbachia) or virus transmission reduction approach (supposedly by spreading the Wolbachia infection to all wild A aegypti in a region). While I support the WHO recommendation that both the GM and Wobachia approaches be tested, to me the forced introduction of an entire species (Wolbachia bacteria) into a new ‘ecosystem’ (A aegypti mosquitoes) should be viewed as more risky than GM based on an invasive species argument (yes, more than half of insect naturally carry species-specific Wolbachia types, but those were all ‘matched by evolution’; Wolbachia for A aegypti was taken from fruit flies, I believe).

            This has been a good discussion. Thank you.

    • Jim Gordon

      That’s right, Joe. We have been trying to conceal those microscopic swastikas and devil horns that always show up on the DNA helix when it is altered in a lab. I guess you prove that the jig is up. You caught us red handed.

  • Chris Stowell

    LMAO corporate science that taints results IS Ideology. The bias of this source is already more than well known. This is another pretense at using science and nature to support GMO studies which ARE NOT the same concept. Muddying the waters with DISINFORMATION.. Classic corporate technique to refuse to supply peer reviewed INDEPENDENT LONG term studies- as yet 90% of all GMO study still are 90 day studies which does not and never will equate to a precedent for long term effects. Considering hundreds of crops the amount of study needed before actual having an empirical consensus is phenomenal. We are talking THOUSANDS of studies NEEDED and and the amount of Nobel Laureates who jumped the gun considering the lack if said studies are an example of the opposite if scientific method. The Genetic Literacy Project has a corporate AGENDA and Truth is NOT in the money interests of their stockholder’s. Sorry!!!!!

    • Guest

      Using ALL CAPS while clearly demonstrating you have NO SCIENTIFIC TRAINING nor the ability to WRITE COHERENTLY does not create a strong, reasoned position.

      • Chris Stowell

        It is called Emphasis but I guess since you are clueless it is too complicated for you

        • agscienceliterate

          There are about a dozen GE crops available, not hundreds. Genetically engineered foods are the most tested foods on the planet and have been safely eaten by billions of humans and livestock for well over two decades. Meanwhile, there are thousands of foods and plants whose genes have been scrambled through mutagenesis, with no testing, oversight, or regulation.
          (See? Science stands on its own. Much more emphatic than irrelevant capital letters.)
          You should indeed be sorry. We accept your apology.

          • Chris Stowell

            33 different types of GMO corn alone are approved in the United States. That is just ONE vegetable-33 different STRAINS. There are over 430 GM products on the market. Are you really that uninformed? It is a simple concept mathematics. To pretend that 90 day studies which equal the BULK of all GM studies REMOTELY can be representative of LONG term effect is NOT based in study. It is an ASSUMPTION. Again the bulk of all the 1700 tests that GM industry has put forth are 90 day studies with less than 3 dozen studies lasting over a year and NONE lasting for ten or twenty. The fact is that the data SIMPLY does NOT in fact exist to pretend that long term judgements can be made. On 430 different GM strains when there are no long term studies because people are the guinea pigs RIGHT NOW. The concepts I have provided are simple. Mathematic in nature and the data DOES NOT in fact exist for the assumptions and claims that industry propaganda spreads. Sorry..

          • agscienceliterate

            Stacked traits, well researched, do not imply new traits.
            There have never been any long-term studies on any type of food, whether organic, conventional, or produced by mutagenesis, That is not how safety assessments are done.
            Your capital letter emphasis is jejune, but your apology again accepted.

          • Chris Stowell

            People have eaten organic and conventional foods for centuries and millennia and didn’t have massive cancer levels smart guy. Change up to GMOs and processed foods in the last 100 yes and suddenly massive changes. Pretending that there is ACTUAL valid DATA for Long Term GMO safety is a fallacy. When you can provide or refute THAT specifically I am fine looking at new data. At this time NO such data exists. Again MY point is a simple one and does in fact still stand valid against people like yourself who claim long term GMO safety WITHOUT in fact having any bulk of such studies to PROVE that. Assuming safety of long term o short term studies IS NOT scientific or logical reasoning. Sorry…

          • agscienceliterate

            I, and others, have responded to your erroneous assumptions numerous times already. The fact that you are a reluctant learner or a slow learner is insurmountable and not worth more of my time. If you have intellectual curiosity, you will educate yourself. If not, then you won’t.

          • Chris Stowell

            When you learn how to be informed as to the bulk of the science and don’t start with lies in your initial statement I might take you serious. But you lied.

    • GLP i s non profit. It has no stockholders and accepts no money from corporations.

      • John Zohn

        That’s not true and you know it. The Searle Freedom Trust (one of the GLPs biggest donors) alone is funded by the likes of DonorsTrust (Koch Brothers), a slew of corporate funded right wing think tanks that most of them are funded by industry giants like the fossil fuel, tobacco and biotech industries. It also has close ties to the American legislative Exchange Council which is a corporate bill mill that passes bills and laws that destroy consumer and environmental protections. So indirectly you are funded by corporate interests.

      • Chris Stowell

        Um you do know that this is 2016 and we have internet to RESEARCH your funding. LOL nice try though… Industry science..

        • agscienceliterate

          You got any evidence to the contrary? All big mouth and zero evidence. Look up GLP’s federal nonprofit 501c3 status, and then come back and apologize. Do your homework. Engage your brain rather than your mouth.

  • Schratboy

    Nature’s gene swapping isn’t motivated by a commercial outcome, nor does it surreptitiously force itself into the US food supply.

    • Guest

      Please provide evidence of surreptitious forcing of GE products into the US food supply. What does the “motivation” you insinuate about have to do with anything?

      • Schratboy

        The Ag biotech cartel only had to convince less than 1% of the US population, farmers, to adopt GMO soy, corn and sugar beets and then was able to control the commodity grain market where today over 80% of processed foods contain GMO ingredients. The public was NOT informed of these circumstances. We’re 20 years down the road from this GMO Trojan Horse event…a pantheon of pesticide-infused product that pollutes our food supply. The fact that glyphosate is found in most Americans, the rain in Indiana and California wine, I think, would come as a surprise to most people. Thus, one must wonder where did all this poison come from? It surely wasn’t by the light of day via a well-publicized event.

        • Guest

          Please cite your sources

        • gmoeater

          Pollutes? Forced? Poisons? Pesticide infused? Control of the market?
          Absolute rubbish.