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Publicly Funded GMO Research Facing Destruction In Italy 245

Posted by timothy
from the for-great-justice dept.
ChromeAeonium writes "Shortly after the events in Rothamsted Research in the UK, where a publicly funded trial of wheat genetically engineered to repel aphids was threatened by activists with destruction and required police protection, another publicly funded experiment involving genetically engineered crops faces possible destruction (original in Italian). The trial, which is being conducted by researchers at the University of Tuscia in Italy on cherries, olives, and kiwis genetically engineered to have traits such as fungal disease resistance, started three decades ago. When field research of GE plants was banned in Italy in 2002, the trial received an extension to avoid being declared illegal, but was denied another in 2008, and following a complaint from the Genetic Rights Foundation, now faces destruction on June 12th, despite appeals from scientists. The researchers claim that the destruction is scientifically unjustifiable (only the male kiwis produce transgenic pollen and their flowers are removed) and wish to gather more information from the long running experiment."
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Publicly Funded GMO Research Facing Destruction In Italy

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  • GE/GMO crops (Score:4, Insightful)

    by andydread (758754) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @11:31PM (#40279471)
    If you are genitically modifying crops they MUST be kept isoated from nature and ensure that they cannot contaminate conventional or organic farms with patented gene. Sealed greenhouse whatever. IF you can accomplish that then carry on and label your product as such.
    • Re:GE/GMO crops (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:17AM (#40279727)

      If you are genitically modifying crops they MUST be kept isoated from nature.

      People have been genetically modifying crops for ten thousand years. Banning genetic research makes about as much sense as banning motorcycle repair, because the motorcycles might escape and survive in the wild.

      • Re:GE/GMO crops (Score:4, Informative)

        by istartedi (132515) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:28AM (#40279773) Journal

        Selective breeding and GMO are too entirely different things. Allowing GMO makes about as much sense as letting self-driving, self-replicating motorcycle drones on the road because "we're pretty sure" they won't go Terminator on us.

        • Re:GE/GMO crops (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11, 2012 @01:21AM (#40279997)

          No, they're not.

          Plus, nature has been doing this on its own as well. Bacteria swap DNA all the time. Look up 'rafflesia', it's a plant that exchanges DNA with the organism it's a parasite on.

          Just because humans are involved, that doesn't suddenly make it new territory. We're just mimicking nature, yet again.

          • Re:GE/GMO crops (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Monday June 11, 2012 @02:48AM (#40280363)

            Look up 'rafflesia', it's a plant that exchanges DNA with the organism it's a parasite on.

            You don't even have to get that exotic. Plants can exchange genes via graft unions. [sciencemag.org] Most all fruit you eat is propagated by grafting, so it may be that every grafted plant has some gene transfer going on. Or to get even closer, here's a good example. [nih.gov] Turns out the Syncytin genes critical for human reproduction probably came from a virus. Everyone who says transgenes don't occur in nature had their syncytiotrophoblast made by one.

          • Re:GE/GMO crops (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11, 2012 @02:55AM (#40280399)

            There's even the theory that human evolution is caused, not by mutations, but by DNA swapping by viruses (mostly) and bacteria. Individual genes in humans don't evolve. They go from (very complex) state A -> (even more complex) state B without passing anywhere in between. Why ? Unknown, but if you discount Harun Yahya, the idea seems to be that someone's gonads get infected with DNA rewriting viruses.

            And it is quite understandable that it works this way. Humans reproduce once every 20 years (12 years at the earliest, so let's call it 16 years worldwide average, because that's 2^4, which just happens to be an easy number to calculate with). The search space for the protein is ~ 4^2000 (2000 basepairs, discounting the gene's metadata*, and there's loads of them that are much larger). So how long would it take a human race to make a single modification to a single protein ? 4^2000 / avg. number of humans (= 4 ^ 16 say) * 20 (let's say) 4 ^ 2 years = 4 ^ 1986 = 2 ^ 3972 years. Which is *far* longer than the universe has existed.

            Needless to say, this points rather strongly to the idea that we, as humans, and even life on earth as a whole, did not evolve due to mutation primarily, but due to GMO viruses, which essentially "share" the discoveries of lower, very short lived protozoa with higher lifeforms like ourselves.

            * in reality DNA (in eukaryots, like humans) looks a hell of a lot like a filesystem. Genes have symbolic names (which are just a sequence of basepairs, which then get indexed. Genes can refer to one another using this symbolic name). They have length data, they even have what might be termed permissions ("only translate this gene if protein X is present in at least concentration Y" is one of them). They have small non-translateable programs that get executed by the cell nucleus to do something (in most cases we don't know what exactly) before actually using the gene. They have small programs associated with them that rewrite the gene when executed upon normal cell division. They have small sections that get executed during meiosis (which is the cell division used for procreation, sometimes jokingly referred to as sex division, since that's what it's used for) (an example is code that essentially does this : "mommies_hla_code = hla_code; while(hla_code == mommies_hla_code) hla_code = random(297)", which resets one of the access codes for the immune system, but makes sure that, for the first few months after birth, mommie's access codes will work correctly, and her cells can operate inside the feutus/baby without getting massacred by the child's immune system).

            The DNA double helix we all know is a "serialized" form of DNA that isn't effectively present in the cell during normal operation (only during division). Instead the double helix is unrolled and present as a networked structure, which uses molecular "ropes", for example, link the symbolic names of a gene to the actual gene (think of it this way, if you have "int c = 5;" somewhere in the DNA code, during normal cell operation everywhere you find an actual use of "c", e.g. "translate(c)" you would find a physical thread that you can follow to arrive at the "int c = 5;" declaration). There are also a lot of proteins, which we mostly do not know, that execute all those bits of metadata coupled with genes.

            The weird part is that we haven't yet found the DNA that encodes the function of the cell nucleus. I mean, given that we've found it in pretty much every other organelle, we're pretty fucking sure we will find it eventually ... but if you want a nobel prize, finding this would probably get you one, especially if it's somehow weird, which is entirely possible.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          And how is that different from every other random mutation and genetic alteration? Genetic engineering is different from selective breeding, sure (so is every other breeding technique like back crossing and wide crossing, and other similar techniques like hybridization, and other plant improvement methods like induced polyploidy, mutagenesis, sport selection, embryo rescue, ect.) and the genes come from farther, but why exactly is that a bad thing (provided you understand the genes being used)? Okay, the

          • by AmiMoJo (196126)

            Evolutionary changes are slow, incremental and affect one individual at a time who must then pass them on to their offspring for them to take hold in the general population. Selective breeding is still slow and incremental. Genetic engineering slaps large amounts of new material from completely foreign species into a large number of individuals at once.

            Note that most environmentalists are not saying that we should stop genetic modification of crops entirely, merely that the pace we are doing it and the fact

        • Allowing GMO makes about as much sense as letting self-driving, self-replicating motorcycle drones on the road because "we're pretty sure" they won't go Terminator on us.

          You're saying if we invent self-driving, self replicating motorcycles, you'd want us to assume that they were going to rise up and destroy us? I actually would be a lot more okay with that than a lot of GMO. I mean, organisms have been subject to millions of years of evolution to adapt, reproduce, and consume natural resources. I'm pretty confident that Suzuki wouldn't be able to make something that competitive anytime soon.

        • by sFurbo (1361249)
          You could say they were different, in that selective breeding is blindly causing mutations and trying to select mostly the beneficial ones, whereas in GMO, we have a pretty good idea of what is being added, if not where. That makes selective breeding worse. As for your car analogy, nature is already full of self-replicators out to kill us, so unless you call for the destruction of all non-farming life, it really isn't applicable to this debate.
        • by shentino (1139071)

          The biggest problem I have with GMO is that it can get people sued by Monsanto even if they're not at fault.

      • Re:GE/GMO crops (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jesus_666 (702802) on Monday June 11, 2012 @01:04AM (#40279939)
        One reason why isolation is neccessary is because GMO plants tend to contain patented genes. If the pollen spreads then random farmers can now be sued by large corporatons even though they did nothing wrong. The only reasonable options I can think of are:

        - GMO plants must be cultivated in sealed greenhouses or the farmer needs to take other effective measures to prohibit the spread of pollen to unlicensed farms. Can be combined with the second option.
        - If pollen spreads it's clearly the fault of the farmer who grew the plants and thus THAT farmer is liable for patent violation, not the receiving farmer. The courts should find as such. Unfortunately, most farmers are going to settle without going to court so this is not a satisfactory solution. Also, the corporations are going to fight this tooth and nail as it doesn't allow them to pressure people into buying licenses.
        - GMO licenses are required to cover the farm and any area likely to be pollinated around it. The lobby won't allow it.
        - GMO plants are required to be sterile and pollen-free. This would probably lead to those plants being clones, which is not a good solution.
        - Gene patents are declared invalid or unenforcable. Unlikely.
        - GMO plants are banned entirely. Baby-and-bathwater scenario.

        Do we have any better feasible option than to require the use of greenhouses to reduce unlicensed pollination? I don't think that "you can be sued by a big corporation because of something perfectly legal your neighbor did" is a state we should put farmers in.
        • Re:GE/GMO crops (Score:5, Informative)

          by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Monday June 11, 2012 @03:12AM (#40280471)

          you can be sued by a big corporation because of something perfectly legal your neighbor did

          I agree with that. However, if you look at any high profile case where a farmer was sued, the Schmeiser case, the Parr case, the Roush case, the Rinehart case, the Ralph case, ect., you find that when charges were pressed there was more than simple cross pollination occurring. I've often asked people who make that claim to direct me to a case where it actually happened but every time deeper investigation reveals it did not (though if that's not the case I'd rather have my foot in my mouth than go uncorrected). The lawsuits come from one of two sources: either someone signed a contract agreeing not to save seed, then did anyway, or someone was cross pollinated and was found to have intentionally selected for the trait. Don't do either of those and you don't get sued. So, the patent violation angle really doesn't pan out very well as an argument for keeping GE crops in a glass bubble. If you are talking about what courts should find, here's what they did find: a recent lawsuit filed against Monsanto, suing them to prevent Monsanto from suing farmers for cross pollination, was dismissed on the grounds that it does not happen. [reuters.com] If it did happen it would be a concern, no one disagrees with that, however, whether or not it actually happens is important.

          I doubt you'll see sterile crops after the uproar over the terminator gene, despite it being able to prevent cross pollination issues. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

          • by shentino (1139071)

            Those cases are only high profile because the farmers in question tried to fight back.

            How many got squashed and caved simply from the threat of going bankrupt from legal bills?

      • People have been genetically modifying crops for ten thousand years.

        That line of reasoning is self-contradictory - thousands of years for problems to shake out. Gene splicing gives us, at best, only years of testing on tiny populations - and often less than that under the flawed theory that genes which are benign in one organism will remain benign when spliced into a new organism.

        Even with tens of thousands of years of experience, sometimes we still eat dangerous food, for example - fiddlehead fern is commonly eaten in Korea, even considered medicinal when eaten, but it is

        • by sFurbo (1361249)
          It isn't like we did selective breeding thousands of years ago and then stopped and have been testing the results ever since. It is a continual process, where each new cultivar has exactly the same potential for problems as any other, older cultivars had when they where new, and a slightly higher potential than new GMO cultivars (in GMO, we know what is added, if not where, in selective breeding, we know neither).
          • It isn't like we did selective breeding thousands of years ago and then stopped and have been testing the results ever since. It is a continual process, where each new cultivar has exactly the same potential for problems as any other,

            Rolling it out is also a continuous process. Compare that to round-up ready corn which went from the lab to practically 100% of the crop in like a decade.

            (in GMO, we know what is added, if not where, in selective breeding, we know neither).

            In GMO we don't necessarily have a clue about the systemic effects of the changes. So we take a couple of genes that have a primary effect of increasing pesticide resistence, but what we don't notice is that in the original organism harmful secondary effects were repressed by the existence of other genes, genes we didn't splice into the new organism. At

            • by sFurbo (1361249)

              Rolling it out is also a continuous process. Compare that to round-up ready corn which went from the lab to practically 100% of the crop in like a decade.

              It would make sense to limit the speed of introduction (when that is possible. This is often not practically possible for e.g. disease resistance), but this applies to all cultivars, regardless of their origin.

              In GMO we don't necessarily have a clue about the systemic effects of the changes. So we take a couple of genes that have a primary effect of increasing pesticide resistence, but what we don't notice is that in the original organism harmful secondary effects were repressed by the existence of other genes, genes we didn't splice into the new organism. At best GMO is neutral for predicting unintended side-effects.

              That applies in equal measure to selective breeding, except that there are many more potentially harmful pathways which may be affected by it. At worst GMO is neutral for predicting unintended side-effects.

              • That applies in equal measure to selective breeding, except that there are many more potentially harmful pathways which may be affected by it.

                I see no way to support that claim. When GMO programs do things like insert genes from fish into tomatoes or bacteria into corn or even daffodils into rice there is simply no equivalent in the world of selective breeding.

      • Re:GE/GMO crops (Score:4, Insightful)

        by EdIII (1114411) on Monday June 11, 2012 @01:34AM (#40280073)

        He did not say ban, he said isolate.

        Why is that so unreasonable?

        Your hyperbole aside, it makes no sense at all for you to claim that people have been genetically modifying anything for ten thousand years. That's hybridization, which is not remotely the same as GMO.

        GMO can be fine. Just keep the shit separate and labeled until the science has progressed to the point where it can be said with real confidence that current ecosystems will be protected for generations. Don't tell me that you know what will happen in the wild, because even the best scientists cannot state with any reasonable certainty that they know either. They hope. Gutcheck says yes. No hard data to back that up, and that will take time. Not 5 years, not 10 years, but more than likely 50,100, or more years.

        Everything does not have to be so fast. Take your time. Not such a bad idea either, because contrary to popular belief, the Earth is not that big of a place. We have ONE Earth right now. That's it. Fuck it up and we are a toast. We are doing a good enough job of that already with the ecosystems that we have. Hmmmm.... Let's add some GMO to it as well.

      • That's not at all a valid comparison. Here's a good place to start learning about the difference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_organism [wikipedia.org].
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You sir, are an idiot on so many levels that it defies belief.

      Do you eat Nectarines? Tomatoes? Potatoes? ( The list goes on, but I doubt you care.)

      All of these items have been "Genetically Modified". What is the real difference between selective breeding for traits, and simply inserting those traits?

      Oh, yeah, YEARS of time possibly saved. The article doesn't say where or how the GMs came from, so your comment is uneducated at best. (Reference for natural trading of genes via bacteria inserte
    • Re:GE/GMO crops (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Monday June 11, 2012 @01:06AM (#40279949)

      ensure that they cannot contaminate conventional or organic farms

      In the Italian case, these are perennial asexually propagated crops, so even if cross pollination did occur, it would have zero effect on a farm. Second, I grow in my garden open pollinated plants. I save the seed because they are some oddball varieties that cannot be bought in stores. If they are cross pollinated, I lose the pure variety, and I'm out of luck. If you do the same on a farm, the same holds true, and this is for any gene. Singling out transgenes does not make sense. Sure, I get that there is a market for it, but that shouldn't put undue burdens on other growers. I mean, what if suddenly there is a market for rice without the sd-1 gene, should every rice grower out there bend over backwards to prevent cross pollination?

      with patented gene

      Perhaps you missed the first two words in the title. What you are saying would be like bashing Linux because you hate Microsoft because you saw a documentary about how Microsoft goes around kicking puppies.

      label your product as such.

      Please read this. [slashdot.org]

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      And i'd add just one thing on why that shit NEEDS to be locked up, at least here in the states...Kudzu. Do you have ANY idea how far that shit has spread across the south? That damned Kudzu is like a cancer of the land, swallowing everything in its path. I've seen huge buildings just swallowed up whole by the Kudzu and once that shit digs in its hell to get out without pesticides and burning, because it quickly becomes home to poisonous snakes and is damned dangerous to be near.

      So please keep that shit lo

      • by Bucc5062 (856482)

        Recently Kudzu has been looked at by farmers, yes farmers as an alternative to standard hay feed for cows and goats. Turns out that cows and goats will eat kudzu with good affect. Farmers did not have farming tools up to the task of dealing with the tough root/vine system that makes Kudzu so resilient, that is changing.

        Commercialzing this way [maxshores.com] or this way [ncsu.edu] may be the way to go. Once mankind figures out a way to make a buck on something, rest assured that something will be used up. At this point farming ne

    • by Kirth (183)

      I concur with that.

      And a way to achieve this, at least in the commercial world, would be to abolish patents -- nobody would have an incentive to let the reproductive means of their products escape.

  • Not so reassuring (Score:4, Insightful)

    by arth1 (260657) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @11:38PM (#40279507) Homepage Journal

    (only the male kiwis produce transgenic pollen and their flowers are removed)

    Until a single seed gets away, then the cat is out of the box.

    Then there's the human factor. If anthrax can get out of controlled labs, I'm quite sure that pollen or seeds can get out that way too.

    • by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:33AM (#40279799)

      It is worth noting that kiwis are not propagated by seed (like most perennial fruits they are asexually propagated), so even if cross pollination were to occur, it isn't likely to have an effect. Also worth noting that kiwis are generally pollinated by bees (with a minor role played by wind), which dislike kiwi flowers [slashdot.org] and generally pollinate everything else first, so unless they've got bunch of hungry hives on site pollen isn't likely to go far. I don't know what kind of wind drift you see with kiwi pollen or how long it remains viable, but I'd have to assume they have some sort of distance barrier in place too to account for even that, as most trials do take pollination into consideration when selecting a site. I'm not saying there is zero risk, just that it is pretty unlikely to happen, especially if the orchard is managed as it is, and that expecting completely zero risk is not an exceptionally reasonable expectation.

      General role of thumb: if though of something about a thing you just heard about something three minuted age, chances are the people who have been working on it for three decades thought of it too. Zero risk

    • And those killer tomatoes. Saw a documentary on them back in the 1970s. People *died*, man!

  • "Kiwis" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Malcolm Chan (15673) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @11:39PM (#40279519)

    male kiwis produce transgenic pollen

    In NZ, "kiwis" are only either the people (New Zealanders) or the birds, but never the kiwifruit plants! Very confusing...

    • Re:"Kiwis" (Score:5, Funny)

      by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:39AM (#40279831) Journal

      Indeed. It is pretty much a lost battle for us convincing the rest of the world. Primary blame goes to the people who made the marketing decision to rename the "Chinese goosebury" to "kiwifruit". This was entirely predictable, had they thought about it.

      I remember when I was in the USA and someone asked me if we ate a lot of kiwis in NZ. I was horrified and explained they were a protected species. It took a while for us to understand each other.

      • Re:"Kiwis" (Score:4, Funny)

        by jbeaupre (752124) on Monday June 11, 2012 @01:22AM (#40280009)

        Do you kiwis eat a lot of turkey? No, not the people. The bird.

        Speaking of eating flightless birds, it's a pity you guys ate all the moas.

      • As a kid in Australia, I remember kiwifruit were also synonym'd chinese gooseberry but since the gooseberry wasn't a known fruit in australia, the name never gained popularity. i.e. why is a berry named after a goose and why are we eating 'oriental' fruit cultivated across the ditch?

        By contrast, kiwi-fruit, i.e. a fruit grown by NZers stuck.

  • The anti GMO lobby needs to get with the program. GMO is a reality. You can't oppose it. You can moderate it. But it's happening.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:07AM (#40279665)

      This is a case of a GMO project that's ignoring regulations. The project had been ordered to follow regulations or shut down back in 2008. They did neither, so now they're being forced to shut down because it's been made clear they can't afford to follow the regulations (ie: putting the trees in a roofed and floored structure, as required by Italian law).

      I really want GE/GMO to become universally accepted, but they need to do it properly. These scientists are just giving that much more ammo to the anti-GE lobby.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      So basically we should accept it simply because it's going to happen whether we like it or not?

      Sounds like an appeal to authority based on fait accompli in the status quo.

      I could make the same argument for the wonders of modern medicine and pharmaceuticals you recently bashed.

      • 4000 years ago there was probably some guy that said it was wrong for the people to stop following the great animal herds. He said he was wrong for people to live in the same mud huts year after year and grow wheat/rice/potatoes/maze. He said it was better for people to follow the great herds. Sleep someplace different every night and live on their feet.

        And 4000 years ago someone like me said, we're going to build this village. We are going to grow our crops. And we're not going to follow the stupid herds a

  • The West rejects some research, so find a welcoming alternative.

    • for speaking their mind about issues of the day, the use of their land + water, etc etc etc.

    • by jbeaupre (752124)

      If the Chinese engineers and scientists I work with are representative of the Chinese public (and they do seem to echo what I read in the papers), they are less informed and more suspicious of GMO than Europeans. The hot rumor last year was how a village had giant rats because of GM soybeans. They were adamant that the genes had jumped species by rats eating the soybeans.

  • Who knew aphids had such rabid fans?

  • by br00tus (528477) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:44AM (#40279861)

    Italians have voted to not do this. They're tired of US corporations like Monsanto pushing them around. Actually, the US with the push of its power elite was heavily involved in fixing elections and installing a puppet government [wikipedia.org] in Italy, and then making sure [wikipedia.org] that government couldn't be tossed out once it was in [wikipedia.org]. Now Italian workers are told they have to suffer under "austerity" (for them) and be ruled by foreign banks and foreign corporations.

    Good for Mario Capanna and company. The Italians democratically voted this in, I have no desire for the Monsantos of the world to find some way to weasel around this. What does Monsanto do anyhow? Create plants with sterile seeds [wikipedia.org], so Monsanto can then grab all of the farmer's money? Sue farmer's whose fields are next to [percyschmeiser.com] Monsanto seed fields, alongside the blowing winds, and get the courts and government's to side with them against small farmers?

    The antiquated, anti-enlightenment ideas are not the working people and small farmers trying to protect themselves against a small handful of parasites trying to take ownership of everything. The backwards, antiquated ideas are the corporate newspapers and websites who attack anyone against against handing the whole world on a plate to the parasite heir Monsanto majority shareholders. In Italy, in Greece, in Spain, at Occupy Wall Street and Occupy everywhere, people are fed up with the high unemployment, and the expropriation of surplus value from the majority of working people to a handful of parasitic 1% heirs. This Monsanto GM IP deal is no different than the big companies in IT who own all the patents and are parasitically suing everyone around, and harming economic growth.

    • by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Monday June 11, 2012 @01:27AM (#40280031)

      Create plants with sterile seeds, so Monsanto can then grab all of the farmer's money? Sue farmer's whose fields are next to Monsanto seed fields, alongside the blowing winds, and get the courts and government's to side with them against small farmers?

      So which is it, are they sterile or spreading everywhere? Second, this is publicly funded research. As in, not Monsanto. The only antiquated ideas I see here are placing superstition & conspiracies over science in the name of politics & anti-corporatism.

    • by Prune (557140)
      Did you RTFA? This is about Luddites vs scientists, not democracy vs the, as your brand of Newspeak goes, "1%".
      • by Shatrat (855151)

        For some people EVERYTHING is about the "noble underclass vs. 1% overlords" battle.

    • by orzetto (545509)

      I am not sure this has much to do with democracy. Mario Capanna is a great guy, but he has no significant power in the current technocrat government, and much less in the current kleptocrat parliament.

      Italy is not interested in GMO because their export focuses on quality rather than quantity. Most people I know (yes I am Italian) are likely to be more passionate about using olive oil instead of sunflower oil rather that having e.g. an honest mayor. Using industrial product such as GMO or anything too far fr

  • Pest cold war (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grayhand (2610049) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:46AM (#40279865)
    A major problem that isn't generally discussed is the pests and diseases don't just cry uncle and move on to non commercial food sources. The problem is evolution kicks in and they get resistant. They are already finding it in some GMO crops. Ultimately the pest and diseases get tougher so they potentially are even more damaging to traditional crops while GMO crops go back to the drawing board. It's very similar to what is happening with antibiotic resistant diseases. It's very much like the old cold war where each side builds bigger weapons. Eventually one side looses and I doubt it'll be nature. The problem is if we loose this war billions potentially starve. Basically all staple crops are being genetically modified so the entire food supply is at risk. I know the belief is science always solves every problem but the antibiotic analogy proves that isn't the case. There are now many incurable strains of diseases with no solution on the horizon. Do we really want to go through the same nightmare with food? It'll take 20 pr 30 years for us to be in the same position with food production but by then it will be far too late. If you don't believe it's happening in GMO crops do some web searches.
    • The problems with your point is that it is also applicable to conventionally bred resistances. Resistance breakdown is not a new phenomenon. Pathogens and bugs adapt to resistances, and evolution does not care if that resistance came about as a result of selective breeding, wide crossing, mutagenesis, or genetic engineering. Anything that works and is widely used is susceptible to genetic breakdown. People make a big stink about Bt genes losing effectiveness against European corn borer (as they should;

  • Would it be possible maybe to "save" some of the research by de-planting the tree and replanting them in a more friendly country ? Maybe crowd source it ? I would not mind to pass a few day in italy doing hard work for science, with a shovel.

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