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oldsport

Gm Crops, Resistance And Pesticides Etc.

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I was listening to a radio programme the other night and it suddenly struck me that I may have totally misunderstood what GM was about.

I'd thought GM was about engineering plants to be resistant to infestations so you could use less chemicals.

Whereas last night they seemed to be talking about engineering plants to be resistant to the chemicals themselves! - so you can use more of them! Specifically they seemed to be talking about Monsanto and "Round Up". It took me ages to work out what they were discussing and am still confused.

Can anyone explain it to me in a nutshell?

Ta

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Monsanto makes Roundup resistant wheat, and sells Roundup pesticide.

The idea is that the Roundup is evil stuff which basically kills everything which isn't specifically resistant to it, so the field you spray it on doesn't allow a thing to grow on it which isn't the wheat Monsanto sell you.

Farmland made look "natural" but its anything but, theres no biodiversity there at all. Anything unwanted that grows there gets killed.

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Monsanto makes Roundup resistant wheat, and sells Roundup pesticide.

The idea is that the Roundup is evil stuff which basically kills everything which isn't specifically resistant to it, so the field you spray it on doesn't allow a thing to grow on it which isn't the wheat Monsanto sell you.

Farmland made look "natural" but its anything but, theres no biodiversity there at all. Anything unwanted that grows there gets killed.

Thanks.

Makes sense now!

The programme just seemed to launch into the discussion without any explanation and it just seemed all back to front and confusing.

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I think it's even worse than this?

The perfect GM crop only works works with the 'special' gm fertilizer and and doesn't produce any germinating seeds?

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I'd thought GM was about engineering plants to be resistant to infestations so you could use less chemicals.

In general, no.

GM has been about altering a specific plant trait, to make growing or processing easier.

The biggest selling early GM crops was the Flavr Savr tomato. This was genetically modified to delete a gene that accelerated ripening. The result was a tomato that could be grown on the vine for longer, developing more flavour, and would stay crisp on the shelf for longer. However, the main use was for tomato sauces and pastes, because the much stronger flavour made better pastes. For several years, the tomato paste made from flavr savrs was by far the biggest selling tomato paste in the UK, before public pressure forced production to cease.

The more common use these days is to simplify growing. The major ones are "roundup ready" crops. Roundup is a powerful herbicide which is highly effective against most grasses and annual plants (a description that fits many crops as well as major weeds). While roundup is a fantastic weedkiller with very low human and animal toxicity, it is unsuitable for use on many types of crop. Roundup works by blocking a specific biochemical pathway that plants use to make a certain amino acid necessary for growth. Roundup ready crops contain an gene that makes the same amino acid via a different method (which is not affected by roundup), the result is that these modified crops are unaffected by roundup. The benefit for the farmer is that with this type of crop, they just spray roundup, and pretty much all undesirable weeds are eliminated in one go, with no need for manual weeding, or the use of more toxic herbicide cocktails.

Edited by ChumpusRex

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I'd thought GM was about engineering plants to be resistant to infestations so you could use less chemicals.

Yes, this is one trait that can be engineered in using GM technology. The most common version is to make the plant produce a protein from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis which makes it toxic to insects but edible for mammals.

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

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:blink:It's pretty shitty if you can't get seeds of your crop to replant, and grow next year! There are loads of insects! We need them all, even if they are a nuisance sometime! This is all about "big business" having control of food!

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Monsanto makes Roundup resistant wheat, and sells Roundup pesticide.

The idea is that the Roundup is evil stuff which basically kills everything which isn't specifically resistant to it, so the field you spray it on doesn't allow a thing to grow on it which isn't the wheat Monsanto sell you.

Farmland made look "natural" but its anything but, theres no biodiversity there at all. Anything unwanted that grows there gets killed.

The problem with roundup ( glyphosate) is it`s a systemic herbicide ,so it will be absorbed into the crop so it will then enter the food chain ?

Edit: herbicide not pesticide

Edited by long time lurking

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In general, no.

GM has been about altering a specific plant trait, to make growing or processing easier.

The biggest selling early GM crops was the Flavr Savr tomato. This was genetically modified to delete a gene that accelerated ripening. The result was a tomato that could be grown on the vine for longer, developing more flavour, and would stay crisp on the shelf for longer. However, the main use was for tomato sauces and pastes, because the much stronger flavour made better pastes. For several years, the tomato paste made from flavr savrs was by far the biggest selling tomato paste in the UK, before public pressure forced production to cease.

The more common use these days is to simplify growing. The major ones are "roundup ready" crops. Roundup is a powerful herbicide which is highly effective against most grasses and annual plants (a description that fits many crops as well as major weeds). While roundup is a fantastic weedkiller with very low human and animal toxicity, it is unsuitable for use on many types of crop. Roundup works by blocking a specific biochemical pathway that plants use to make a certain amino acid necessary for growth. Roundup ready crops contain an gene that makes the same amino acid via a different method (which is not affected by roundup), the result is that these modified crops are unaffected by roundup. The benefit for the farmer is that with this type of crop, they just spray roundup, and pretty much all undesirable weeds are eliminated in one go, with no need for manual weeding, or the use of more toxic herbicide cocktails.

Thanks, that's a really clear explanantion. I'll be up to speed now next time I hear that type of GM being discussed!

I just thought it was about pest resistance - and also yields I suppose.

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The more common use these days is to simplify growing. The major ones are "roundup ready" crops. Roundup is a powerful herbicide which is highly effective against most grasses and annual plants (a description that fits many crops as well as major weeds). While roundup is a fantastic weedkiller with very low human and animal toxicity, it is unsuitable for use on many types of crop. .

I've just had a quick thought. Roundup is a herbicide - so it kills other plants but not insects? - so presumably Roundup Ready crops still need insecticides like normal crops do?

Edited by oldsport

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roundup is a fantastic weedkiller with very low human and animal toxicity

This is far from certain (the claim is mostly made by Monsanto based on studies they paid for), in fact I have come across enough articles that claim the contrary, i.e. that Roundup is very toxic for humans, too.

For example:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=weed-whacking-herbicide-p

---

Edited by The Eagle

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The problem with roundup ( glyphosate) is it`s a systemic herbicide ,so it will be absorbed into the crop so it will then enter the food chain ?

Edit: herbicide not pesticide

Doesn't it damage some cell energy process which means it can do long term damage to lots of other stuff?

Oh and ...

http://www.i-sis.org.uk/glyphosate_kills_rat_testis_cells.php

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Plant biologist here. A large proportion of GM work goes into improving resistance to abiotic factors such as drought, understanding the plant stress response as well as trying to increase yields through the identification of crop lines that are able to produce more crop in the weather conditions we expect to see in the future i.e increased temperature, higher CO2 and reduced rainfall. After testing, plants that show desirable characteristics are analyzed and the the gene can be transferred to another plant in an aim to improve the trait even further.

Interestingly, a lot of plant biologists disagree strongly with what Monsanto do but there you go :)

Feel free to ask any questions.

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Plant biologist here. A large proportion of GM work goes into improving resistance to abiotic factors such as drought, understanding the plant stress response as well as trying to increase yields through the identification of crop lines that are able to produce more crop in the weather conditions we expect to see in the future i.e increased temperature, higher CO2 and reduced rainfall. After testing, plants that show desirable characteristics are analyzed and the the gene can be transferred to another plant in an aim to improve the trait even further.

Interestingly, a lot of plant biologists disagree strongly with what Monsanto do but there you go :)

Feel free to ask any questions.

shirley Higher CO2 is great for any plant...that is what they breath?

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shirley Higher CO2 is great for any plant...that is what they breath?

David Bellamy proposes that hypothesis! :blink:

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Plant biologist here. A large proportion of GM work goes into improving resistance to abiotic factors such as drought, understanding the plant stress response as well as trying to increase yields through the identification of crop lines that are able to produce more crop in the weather conditions we expect to see in the future i.e increased temperature, higher CO2 and reduced rainfall. After testing, plants that show desirable characteristics are analyzed and the the gene can be transferred to another plant in an aim to improve the trait even further.

Is that approach a bit more like traditional cross breeding?

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David Bellamy proposes that hypothesis! :blink:

I thought it was Little Orgasms he was telling us about...in ponds

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David Bellamy proposes that hypothesis! :blink:

Yeh that's true. In low co2 conditions plants do badly as the enzyme that that binds co2 binds o2(oxygen) instead. This is because the carbon part is needed to produced sugars that the plant uses to grow. This mechanism is a big area that plant biologists are currently working on. They are trying to use a co2 concentrating mechanism to increase co2 levels in the plant which, if they can get it to work, will give us the boost in yields that we're searching for.

Mind you, imho i don't think the whole world has a shortage of food itself just an inability to distribute it,

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Is that approach a bit more like traditional cross breeding?

Yeh it is just a speeding the whole process up a bit. The thing is that traditional breeding still has the best success rate as there are so many mechanisms that we still don't understand so the transfer of a single gene often results in a plant that has significantly reduced growth or some other non-beneficial trait. However, by producing these mutants it allows us to study these plants and see how changes in a solitary gene can affect other genes and pathways.

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Yeh that's true. In low co2 conditions plants do badly as the enzyme that that binds co2 binds o2(oxygen) instead. This is because the carbon part is needed to produced sugars that the plant uses to grow. This mechanism is a big area that plant biologists are currently working on. They are trying to use a co2 concentrating mechanism to increase co2 levels in the plant which, if they can get it to work, will give us the boost in yields that we're searching for.

Mind you, imho i don't think the whole world has a shortage of food itself just an inability to distribute it,

:o

Thanks for that Mr Box! I'm not a biologist at all, BTW, I'm just an Internet gobshite!

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Messing with a system of an almost infinite number of variables smacks of supreme arrogance, with a large dollop of ignorance.

These Rube Goldbergs assure us that they are doing no more than nature does with natural selection, and then they splice a jellyfish gene into a tomato. And when the whole thing goes belly up and they are left scratching their heads and asking " what the hell happened ?!" , it will be already too late and we are left with scorched earth. You may trust them, I have been around these people too long and wouldn't trust them with my car keys.

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Monsanto GM crops are bad, just research the incidences of suicide by Indian farmers.

The crops do not produce the levels of increased yield stated, but cost a lot more and as others have mentioned don't produce seeds. Anyone who thinks that is good for the farmer or the consumer is kidding themselves.

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