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  #21  
Old 01.09.2012, 19:09
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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Are these potatoes that you're planning to eat?

If so, they're almost certainly one of the varieties of potato that are the result of having their genes selected into unnatural, new combinations through years and years of human cross-breeding to make them edible.

"Natural" potatoes, i.e. the ones that grew wild in America in pre-Columbian times, have very high levels of chaconine and solanine, which would leave you pretty sick if you ate them. Unfortunately, breeding those chemicals out leaves the potatoes less able to protect themselves from insect predators, and growing them may encourage new pest insects into your field.

So, you could say you're growing a genetically-modified defenceless tuber thousands of miles outside its natural habitat. Very little farming is truly "natural" on a biological time scale.
Yes. I think that is very sensible! Only trust what your supermarket sells in boxes, packets, plastic bags.

By the way, do you know how to store potatoes?
They are stored in earth - where they grow.
And funny enough - really strange actualy - insects don`t seem to eat them. Is that because they are so poisonous? They are of the nightshade family, after all.
And, thanks to those wonderful scientists who bred them into being edible for us - we can now eat them without poisoning ourselves!

Oh, so I guess, if more scientists start interfering with their genetics, that can only be for our good?
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  #22  
Old 01.09.2012, 19:12
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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The cargo cult ignorance of assuming what is 'natural' is better for you and anything else causes cancer and birth defects never ceases to amaze me. The greatest contributor to birth defects is interfering with natural selection via modern medicine instead of allowing those with defective genes die and leave the gene pool.

Also WRT the 'evolution' of insects...it's more a case of natural selection where those who don't die and adapt to either eating the toxic plants or finding other food sources reproduce...those who don't, die.
Do you know what the "Cargo Cult" was? It has nothing to do with what you portray. It is much more interesting.

Yes, I agree with you about natural selection. But then, for every defective human born, there`s a new set of golf clubs for the medical profession, or new yacht, holiday house, whatever.
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  #23  
Old 01.09.2012, 19:38
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

For a second I read it as super weds
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  #24  
Old 01.09.2012, 19:43
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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Given the population is soon to hit 8 billion, crop yields need to be greater, plants more tolerant to drought, etc. - the idea of organic farming to feed the world is a nice idea for those who only intend to feed themselves and have the money to do it. I was part of the bt corn project.....and though I predicted nature would adapt, at least folks are trying to feed a growing world in a changing climate.
But would not a more and efficient farming lead to more and more people depending on a even more efficient farming, leading to more people, you get what I mean?
Sadly it seems that Malthus was a prophet after all.
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  #25  
Old 01.09.2012, 19:57
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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The cargo cult ignorance of assuming what is 'natural' is better for you and anything else causes cancer and birth defects never ceases to amaze me. The greatest contributor to birth defects is interfering with natural selection via modern medicine instead of allowing those with defective genes die and leave the gene pool.

Also WRT the 'evolution' of insects...it's more a case of natural selection where those who don't die and adapt to either eating the toxic plants or finding other food sources reproduce...those who don't, die.
About "Also WRT the 'evolution' of insects...it's more a case of natural selection...."

I was talking about Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection; what are you talking about
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  #26  
Old 02.09.2012, 02:55
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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And funny enough - really strange actualy - insects don`t seem to eat them. Is that because they are so poisonous? They are of the nightshade family, after all.
What do you think the Colorado Potato Beetle eats - takeaway pizza?


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And, thanks to those wonderful scientists who bred them into being edible for us - we can now eat them without poisoning ourselves!
The potato's genetics wasn't modified by "scientists", but by hungry farmers.

You don't need to be a scary scientist to alter genomes - flower, vegetable, dog and horse breeders have been doing it for centuries.
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  #27  
Old 02.09.2012, 21:46
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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But would not a more and efficient farming lead to more and more people depending on a even more efficient farming, leading to more people, you get what I mean?
Sadly it seems that Malthus was a prophet after all.
Well, look to the countries with the largest population. Then look at which countries export the most food and which import the most food. It doesn't support the idea that people procreate depending on how abundant food is. In fact, even in nature, when an organism in is crisis, it is even more likely to multiply in abundance because it must in order to survive in it's offspring.

Given the change in climate (interesting reading to be had about the desertification of the plains, i.e. the breadbasket of the world, in the US over the next 20 years) and the continuing population growth, no matter how efficient farming gets, there will be a point where growth can't continue for either agriculture or human population.
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  #28  
Old 02.09.2012, 21:57
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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About "Also WRT the 'evolution' of insects...it's more a case of natural selection...."

I was talking about Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection; what are you talking about
There is a subtle nuance between what folks lump together as 'evolution' to mean overall change in an organism and natural selection.

Overall, evolution itself is a long, slow process that involves genes being passed on to generations along with new variations that may be successful and be passed on to others. I like to think of it as 'proactive' evolution.

Natural selection, on the other hand, can be more nimble and adaptation can take place in the span of a few generations and it drives the 'selection' of various genetic variations (evolution). In the case of the insects in question, though, there were probably many unfavorable variations that would have been favorable if it weren't for the introduction of the bt plants. It's a more 'reactive' form of evolution.
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  #29  
Old 02.09.2012, 21:58
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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What do you think the Colorado Potato Beetle eats - takeaway pizza?




The potato's genetics wasn't modified by "scientists", but by hungry farmers.

You don't need to be a scary scientist to alter genomes - flower, vegetable, dog and horse breeders have been doing it for centuries.
Well, there don`t seem to be any Colorado Potato Beetles in my garden!
So, yes, maybe they are eating pizza?

And I thank those hungry farmers then, and withdraw my thanks to the scientists whom I mistakenly gave the glory to. My humble apologies to hungry farmers.

What I`m actually trying to say here, and if you read the original link to this thread, is that what scientists are now trying to do - is the scary thing. Or is that not scary?

Should we just blindly believe all the crap - or not crap - and trust them and our future health?
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  #30  
Old 03.09.2012, 00:56
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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What I`m actually trying to say here, and if you read the original link to this thread, is that what scientists are now trying to do - is the scary thing. Or is that not scary?

Should we just blindly believe all the crap - or not crap - and trust them and our future health?
Equally, should we just blindly believe any crap which says farmers' actions are are all natural and good, but scientists' actions are all scary and dangerous?

What makes growing genetically-modified-to-remove-toxins potatoes "natural" and growing genetically-modified-to-contain-vitamin-A rice "scary"?
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  #31  
Old 03.09.2012, 10:26
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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Equally, should we just blindly believe any crap which says farmers' actions are are all natural and good, but scientists' actions are all scary and dangerous?

What makes growing genetically-modified-to-remove-toxins potatoes "natural" and growing genetically-modified-to-contain-vitamin-A rice "scary"?
If anything, we shouldn't trust the farmers, they have no idea what they're doing. They've unleashed all sorts of plants and animals into new environments, forever altering the flora and fauna of every continent.
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  #32  
Old 03.09.2012, 11:55
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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Well, there don`t seem to be any Colorado Potato Beetles in my garden!
So, yes, maybe they are eating pizza?

And I thank those hungry farmers then, and withdraw my thanks to the scientists whom I mistakenly gave the glory to. My humble apologies to hungry farmers.

What I`m actually trying to say here, and if you read the original link to this thread, is that what scientists are now trying to do - is the scary thing. Or is that not scary?

Should we just blindly believe all the crap - or not crap - and trust them and our future health?
About "Should we just blindly believe all the crap - or not crap - and trust them and our future health"

Blindly?
Actually these new seeds/plants have to go through a very rigorous
& lengthy testing process in each country/region before they are approved for release.
As mentioned before, if potatos had gone through this process they would have been banned.
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  #33  
Old 03.09.2012, 12:02
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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Given the population is soon to hit 8 billion, crop yields need to be greater, plants more tolerant to drought, etc. - the idea of organic farming to feed the world is a nice idea for those who only intend to feed themselves and have the money to do it. I was part of the bt corn project.....and though I predicted nature would adapt, at least folks are trying to feed a growing world in a changing climate.
As long as food crops are still being made into bio-ethanol, I don't buy the argument that we need to grow more food.
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  #34  
Old 03.09.2012, 12:03
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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If so, they're almost certainly one of the varieties of potato that are the result of having their genes selected into unnatural, new combinations through years and years of human cross-breeding to make them edible.
What, humans werer cross-breeding with potatoes? Well that would explain why so many of them look like potatoes these days.
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  #35  
Old 03.09.2012, 12:09
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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What makes growing genetically-modified-to-remove-toxins potatoes "natural" and growing genetically-modified-to-contain-vitamin-A rice "scary"?
Simple. People like Monsanto take out patents on their stuff and so drive farmers into dependency. A bulldog or an iceberg lettice may also be the result of selective breeding but nobody threatens you with litigation if you propagate your own.
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  #36  
Old 03.09.2012, 12:13
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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Simple. People like Monsanto take out patents on their stuff and so drive farmers into dependency. A bulldog or an iceberg lettice may also be the result of selective breeding but nobody threatens you with litigation if you propagate your own.
That is because they did not bother to patent bulldogs and iceberg lettuces at the time; I bet they would now
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  #37  
Old 03.09.2012, 12:18
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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If anything, we shouldn't trust the farmers, they have no idea what they're doing. They've unleashed all sorts of plants and animals into new environments, forever altering the flora and fauna of every continent.
That's a bit unfair - we should also blame botanists, gardeners, shipping merchants and hunters, to name a few.
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  #38  
Old 03.09.2012, 12:38
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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As long as food crops are still being made into bio-ethanol, I don't buy the argument that we need to grow more food.
Depends how you define need; it seems the decision makers are OK for people to starve to keep the engines running

It is certainly true that bio-ethanol production is reducing the amount of food crop available; the UN have already warned about this.

The US drought has badly hit corn production forecasts - who knows what the resukt will be.
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  #39  
Old 03.09.2012, 12:45
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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Depends how you define need; it seems the decision makers are OK for people to starve to keep the engines running
Not even that, as some sources of bio ethanol cost almost as much fuel to grow, harvest and distribute as they actually produce. So the net energy gain is virtually nil but the effect on food supplies is disastrous.
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  #40  
Old 03.09.2012, 13:05
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Re: New super weeds and mutant insects.

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Simple. People like Monsanto take out patents on their stuff and so drive farmers into dependency. A bulldog or an iceberg lettice may also be the result of selective breeding but nobody threatens you with litigation if you propagate your own.
That's why I referred to Golden Rice, which has been released from licensing and patents for subsistence farmers and smallholders

Still, the biological question of safety and the ethical question of licensing are two very different matters.
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