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Future Summit

"Would you or do you eat G.M. food?"

GMO may be more useful in that specific domain of adding gene that are not usually part of them. The population is ove growing, we would need a way to enlarge the food suplies of the world, that currently cannot feed all the human alive. what if by adding the gene of a fish to a tomato would reduce the time for it to grow and be ready to eat. This is only an example and may not even bwe truth. All I want to say is until this type of growing have been proved to be harmful to the human kind, we shouldn
Marie-Lou, Canada (July 19)
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Using that word 'modified' confuses the question. The simple claim that genetic engineering is merely an advanced from of breeding becomes the lie, believed because it is so simple by the genetic engineering industry, and it therefore misleads the public. In truth of course, genes behave in complex ways, modulating each others' activities through means that are mostly not known. The process works because a gene has been grossly simplified (such as by removing its intervening sequences) then linked to a powerful promoter which force the recipient tissues to make the new protein, but little is known and no notice is taken of the complex controls of the genetic 'operating system'. Just like in a computer, adding or removing a program can only be safely done through the proper routes otherwise the operating system may not function correctly. G.M.O's are misnamed, they are gene engineered forcing a strange gene into a complex biological system. The general finding in biological or ecological systems is that large single impacts have wide-ranging complex consequences, mostly unpredictable. Even the President of the Royal Society questioned whether G.M.O's might so ratchet up the intensity of agriculture that biodiversity becomes even more threatened. This is the question, and the evidence so far (as in the crop trials) shows that this danger is likely to be real rather than possible direct effects effects on health. But the reverse argument about organic farming has a valid biological basis: that plants growing on high humus soils containing mycorrhiza and the million other species of microorganisms in the soil, are healthier and more resistant to disease, as probably are the animals including humans growing on such crops. Thus Bob Yelps Australia (May 5) is wrong in his comparison with farming a couple of hundred years ago, which was not organic, and had none of the modern understanding of how plants take up nutrients nor of health.
Ulrich Loening, UK (May 20)
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I have no problem eating GM food. In reality all food, even that labeled 'organic', has been genetically modified in some way. Whether the food I eat arrived at its present form via cultivation and domestication, or via laboratory experiments, matters not to me.
Eric, U.S (May 5)
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I prefer to eat GM foods because they are the most thoroughly tested in history, and use the most modern farming practices. This is in stark contrast to the primitive, distasteful and soil-eroding methods involved in "organic" farming.
Schiller Thurkettle, U.S. (May 5)
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G.M.Os sustain and push us further into a more industrial agricultural model just as we are learning that organic farming and sustainable agriculture provide benefits that 'conventional' agriculture cannot. GM food is like the Wright brothers plane. There was the potential in that plane to carry people across the Atlantic but only a fool would have tried to fly that plane to America. The companies selling GM now are selling the Wright brothers plane as international transport - one day you might do more than make crops round-up ready but not yet.
Paul Dambra, UK (May 5)
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If I had the choice between eating G.M. food and organic food I would choose G.M. food every time. Its safer, its cleaner and its better for the environment. No one has ever gotten sick from eating G.M. food but hundreds get sick every day from eating organically grown food. You only have to look back a couple of hundred years to when organic food was the only choice and look at people's life expectancy, the number of diseases and the amount of famine around the world to realize that eating organic food is like playing Russian roulette with our health. G.M. food is the only certified safe food on the planet.
Bob Yelps, Australia (May 5)
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Of course I do and would eat genetically modified food. All food is genetically modified, either by nature or by science. Of the two, I greatly prefer that which has been modified by science, a far more precise method.
James C. Webster USA (May 5)
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It is amusing to see the change in the pro G.E. language around the health impacts of G.E. foods. First it was "no impact" and then "no evidence of impact" and now it is "no substantiated evidence." Why the change? Because several recent and independent studies done into health impacts of G.E. foods (most of the data that forms the basis for regulatory approvals is company based) showed potential health impacts associated with G.E. foods. One study showed lung damage in mice from minor changes in the proteins expressed by a G.E. pea and another feeding study into G.E. soy showed intergenerational impacts...These studies looked at concerns that no regulatory system anywhere in the world requires be tested. G.E. foods are not predictable and their safety is certainly open to question.
Jeremy Tager, Amsterdam (May 4)
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We find that bulls are more agressive sexually if they have more "junk" DNA, which probably means the DNA is not junk, but has significant consequences in the behaviour of the animal. Does this not mean that if we alter genes in the food we eat that well be altering some of the factors that impart life from the plant to us without knowing it? Considering any DNA "Junk" sounds dangerous to me and until we come to terms with the fact that no DNA is junk I won't be eating GMO's
Sean, Australia (May 4)
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Being an animal science student, I believe in G.M. as it offers room for breed improvement to obtain higher yields.
Kibe N, Kenya (May 4)
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The risks of playing God with nature far outweighs any potential benefit - most of which have not been realized in any case. There is a reason why nature will not sustain for example a fish gene in a tomato - this could never be done with natural tweaking of characteristics. The long term impact of complex interactions is very little understood and we should not gamble with our futures.
Mike Grenville, U.K (May 4)
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What the pro G.M. propagandists always conveniently fail to mention, is that virtually all G.M. crops (90%+) are fed to animals. Humans have rejected GM food across the planet! The only way it has been forced into the food chain, is in highly processed form , mainly in the USA, where, conveniently once again, there is no GM labeling.
Anthony Jackson, Scotland (May 4)
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I can't let two of the many unsubstantiated anti-biotech claims go by without challenge. Allegations that "In the UK modified genes from a G.M. crop trial have been found to have transferred into local wild plants, creating a form of herbicide-resistant "superweed."" were denied by none other than the authors of the study in question. So instead of quoting from a Guardian story FoE might be more believable had they quoted what the study's scientists actually said, which was that as the seeds do not persist .... "so are not weeds, let alone superweeds". Similarly with this claim from Friends of the Earth, "Sure G.M.Os should mean farmers use less pesticides, but in reality they don't," says Oxborough. A 2006 report from the United States department of agriculture proves the opposite, by confirming that American farmers who grow GM corn (maize), soybeans and cotton crops reduce the chemicals they apply. As you and Julian Morris correctly point out, biotech IS complex. Unfortunately, by repeating so many unsubstantiated claims, you merely confirm the observation of Alexis, Compte de Toqueville (1885-1959) "The public will always believe a simple lie rather than a complex truth."
Tony Combes, Monsanto, UK (May 4)
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Where do you start with an article like this. I could unpick the arguments by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth one by one but that just gives them credibility. Therefore, perhaps, it is more reasonable to stick to plain facts. Despite all the doom merchants, more than eight million farmers, the vast majority of them living in resource-poor areas of the world, have tried growing G.M. crops, liked them, and are still growing them. An area of 200 million acres of them were grown in 2005 alone. And, after ten years of growing them, there still has not been a single substantiated health issue attributed to eating GM food. Not that this is surprising since as the UK's Royal Society and the British Medical Association have said, the testing of the crops and food prior to commercialization is extremely robust.
Dr Julian Little, Public & Government Affairs Manager, Bayer CropScience, UK (May 3)
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As long as the flavor in foods is not sacrificed, and the genetic modification is for the better, I'd be glad to.
Gustavo, Columbia (May 3)
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The effects of genetically modified foods on the biological processes of the human body has not yet been fully understood regarding assimilation, influence on cell states of organs and ageing. Consequently, I will not eat them.
Yinka-Babalola, Nigeria (May 3)
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Agricultural biotechnology is a great tool for control, neo-colonialism and erosion of peoples' food sovereignty. G.M.Os deepen poverty and as have been seen in India create death through suicides. It is a technology against life. The only good news about it is for the industry and beguiled politicians!
Nnimmo Bassey, Nigeria (May 2)

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