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Organ Damage In Rats From Monsanto GMO Corn

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the ditch-the-high-fructose-corn-syrup dept.

Biotech 766

jenningsthecat writes "A study published in December 2009 in the International Journal of Biological Sciences found that three varieties of Monsanto genetically-modified corn caused damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs of rats. One of the corn varieties was designed to tolerate broad-spectrum herbicides, (so-called 'Roundup-ready' corn), while the other two contain bacteria-derived proteins that have insecticide properties. The study made use of Monsanto's own raw data. Quoting from the study's 'Conclusions' section: 'Our analysis highlights that the kidneys and liver as particularly important on which to focus such research as there was a clear negative impact on the function of these organs in rats consuming GM maize varieties for just 90 days.' Given the very high prevalence of corn in processed foods, this could be a real ticking time bomb. And with food manufacturers not being required by law to declare GMO content, I think I'll do my best to avoid corn altogether. Pass the puffed rice and pour me a glass of fizzy water!"

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766 comments

Oh God, not the bourbon. (5, Funny)

Doches (761288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749440)

If it's going to damage my liver, I'm switching to scotch. I'm sorry, Jack, but I just can't take the chance...

Hey, I like puffed rice! (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749552)

And you health dweebs are making it too expensive!

(I tell you, when I was about 1-2, that was the big treat: rice cakes. mmmm. we couldn't afford much else.)

Re:Oh God, not the bourbon. (5, Interesting)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749574)

If it's going to damage my liver, I'm switching to scotch. I'm sorry, Jack, but I just can't take the chance...

Unfortunately, your scotch and bourbon is likely fortified with a corn product.

The kind of "duh" think that I'm thinking about here is that, if this corn produces these insecticide-like chemicals, one should have to show that it is non-toxic in humans...

One could feasibly find a way to splice in genes that would make the product lethal to humans... so if you're "adding" something to the corn, it should be controlled the same as any other food additive.

Although, people wishing to avoid all GM foods, corn itself has been so selectively bred that it doesn't even resemble its nearest neighbors. It's even moribund if we ever disappear, because its seeds over compete and kill each other off. If you want to talk about crazy amounts of GM, take something that's essentially a grass, and turn it into corn.

Not like corn provides all its nutritional value unless its treated with a relatively strong-ish base anyways... lime is what's mostly used to break up the proteins on the kernel to produce vitamin B12...

Re:Oh God, not the bourbon. (5, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749612)

,

The kind of "duh" think that I'm thinking about here is that, if this corn produces these insecticide-like chemicals, one should have to show that it is non-toxic in humans...

That's the key: the problem is not the fact that this plant was genetically modified, but rather the specific proteins that it was engineered to produce.

This distinction will be lost on millions of reactionaries.

Re:Oh God, not the bourbon. (2, Insightful)

flitty (981864) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749710)

This distinction will be lost on millions of reactionaries.

And the distinction is unnecessary if you just make sure the food is safe for long term use.

Re:Oh God, not the bourbon. (2, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749728)

That's the key: the problem is not the fact that this plant was genetically modified, but rather the specific proteins that it was engineered to produce.

This distinction will be lost on millions of reactionaries.

Sad that this was modded down because, unfortunately, it's true. The call will be "GM food kills", not "research has shown that some proteins that can be grown in highly modified corn caused organ damage in laboratory rats."

Actually, it sounds like the system worked to me.

Re:Oh God, not the bourbon. (1)

Bullseye_blam (589856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749780)

Agreed. Mod parent/grand-parent up!

Re:Oh God, not the bourbon. (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749792)

That's the key: the problem is not the fact that this plant was genetically modified, but rather the specific proteins that it was engineered to produce.

This distinction will be lost on millions of reactionaries.

Sad that this was modded down because, unfortunately, it's true. The call will be "GM food kills", not "research has shown that some proteins that can be grown in highly modified corn caused organ damage in laboratory rats."

Actually, it sounds like the system worked to me.

"Research has shown that a protein in grapes and raisins causes kidney failure in dogs and cats."

or even, "Research has shown that chemical in hemlock can cause death in humans."

Nature is an asshole, everything is either trying to eat you or trying to keep you from eating it...

Imagine the headlines back in the day, "Research finds that eating Tomatoes will not kill you!"

Foods are found unsafe or safe all the time... we just care that we MADE the food unsafe.

Re:Oh God, not the bourbon. (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749886)

Centuries of selective breeding by it's very nature also includes centuries
of testing on humans. The pace and nature of the tinkering is such that
everything is self-governing and self-correcting. Once you have a megacorp
that can buy entire national governments and generally push everyone else
accelerating the process you really have very little to keep the process from
running amok.

Earth is a production system with no backups.

distinction (4, Interesting)

nten (709128) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749788)

Correct, GM is truly a wonderful thing. But I do wonder if spot checks on produce wouldn't be advisable. Processed foods get spot checked, perhaps produce should as well. You can get a DNA sequencer on ebay for two grand now. Grabbing the sequence that produces abrin, or ricin from the rosary pea or castor bean respectively, and putting it in a couple corn plants, is within the ability of an undergrad certainly. The lab procedures are published out there, I saw them on the kindle store even. Corn is wind pollinated, so planting a few modified malcious plants upwind of a field could be really nasty. It is only going to get easier to do, and restricting the technology is the wrong way to try and prevent it. Spot checks of produce for common pathogens and dangerous chemicals would add to the price of food, so I wouldn't suggest they be mandatory. Might work kind of like an organic stamp, "Non-deadly GM" or somesuch.

Re:Oh God, not the bourbon. (5, Informative)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749782)

Unfortunately, your scotch and bourbon is likely fortified with a corn product.

Bourbon is primarily made from maize corn [wikipedia.org] , while scotch is primarily barley [wikipedia.org] . This is why it is important to ensure that your scotch is pure single malt!

Re:Oh God, not the bourbon. (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749818)

If you get your Scotch from Scotland, then you can be sure it won't be a genetically modified corn product.

Re:Oh God, not the bourbon. (3, Insightful)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749842)

but due to monsanto's lobbying, they get to have their cake and eat it too. they lobby that their gm corn is 'different' enough that it requires patent protection, BUT they then turn around and lobby the fda(or have their former employee's that work there) declare it no different then normal corn so it gets the 'generally assumed as safe' status meaning it is exempt from special regulation and is treated by the fda as non-gma corn.

Selective breeding though is a different process, they took a already existing trait and only let the seeds from the plants that had it germinat, if the trait produced something else they did not want they either tried to select against it or started over. gm corn is taking a gene from a completely different organism, in this case gene's from Bactria that gained resistance to their weed killer or from a organism that produces natural(as in not artificially produced) insecticide and shoot it into the genome of the corn or another plant with micro gold spheres as well as chemical's that not only turn the gene on but smash the switch that turns the gene on and off in the on position.

forbes magazine's company of the year (4, Interesting)

fl!ptop (902193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749460)

what's most disturbing about this is forbes magazine just named monsanto company of the year. [monsantoblog.com]

Re:forbes magazine's company of the year (3, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749510)

what's most disturbing about this is forbes magazine just named monsanto company of the year. [monsantoblog.com]

"Company of the year" has everything to do with business model, and not the quality of the product offered.

Re:forbes magazine's company of the year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749576)

This is not disturbing at all. They are all in this together. It's not outright collusion but they all play this game of one hand washing the other in the name of corporate profits. Under eight years of a Republican President nothing was done that might get in the way of businesses making money, and it probably started a lot sooner than that. People may just love their little gadgets and such, but huge multinational corporations, based in a country whose government has an unbridled addiction to money, are really cultural poison. In the coming decades this will begin to come to light.

You don't have to be "organic". Just eating "natural" is not that expensive. And much healthier.

Re:forbes magazine's company of the year (4, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749644)

Under eight years of a Republican President nothing was done that might get in the way of businesses making money, and it probably started a lot sooner than that.

So... one year under a Democratic president with a Democratic congress exactly how many corporate abuses have been curtailed?

If you believe that any substantial difference exists between the two parties you are nothing more than a useful idiot.

Re:forbes magazine's company of the year (1)

Bartles (1198017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749812)

Is that truly what you see as the role of the president? Personally preventing businesses from making money? Good luck with that strategy in 3 years.

Re:forbes magazine's company of the year (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749884)

Sing "If I only had a brain," strawman.

Disturbing? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749602)

Only if you think Forbes is for the kind of people who get all gooey over fluffy pink bunnies.

 

Re:forbes magazine's company of the year (2, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749702)

what's most disturbing about this is ferengi magazine just named monsanto company of the year.

Why would a Ferengi care about your liver? Monsanto has always been evil. Before the Clean Air Act you couldn't drive through Sauget, IL with your windows down; you couldn't breathe and the air burned your lungs. Very toxic. These sociopaths don't give a rat's ass (or liver) about your health, your well being, anything at all about you except how much money they can extract from your wallet and how best to exploit you.

This is why we need regulations. Now, to you "free marketers" out there, how am I supposed to make an informed decision when there are no data showing what products have GM corn and what products have normal, non GM corn? Your god of commerce fails here, and we need "socialist" regulations badly.

GM anything should be required to be clearly marked on the container.

This bothers me; I eat a lot of corn, and a lot of stuff that has corn in it (anything sweetened these days uses corn syrup). I like to drink a bit, which is one reason I stay away from Tylenol. Now I guess I'll have to stop drinking soda and stop eating corn, or stop drinking.

Re:forbes magazine's company of the year (2, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749860)

A free market requires full information about the product to be available. So what you need is free market regulations, like in the EU. Here, products containing genetically modified material are required to be labelled as such, and that guarantees that nobody will buy it.

Yummy Roundup! (2, Funny)

zenaida_valdez (599247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749468)

Eat enough corn and... Roundup Ready people!! Mmmm Yummy Roundup.

Why wasn't Monsanto required to reveal this info? (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749472)

Monsanto did the research in 2000 and 2001, and obviously knew the outcome. So how did they manage to suppress the data and results for 8 years?

Re:Why wasn't Monsanto required to reveal this inf (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749512)

I'd wager the answer to that is probably $$$.

A shame that it only seems to count as a crime against the community to knowingly poison the water supply. Any other type of community poisoning seems to be A-OK.

Re:Why wasn't Monsanto required to reveal this inf (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749528)

Monsanto did the research in 2000 and 2001, and obviously knew the outcome. So how did they manage to suppress the data and results for 8 years?

The invisible hand of the free market made the data and research invisible.

Re:Why wasn't Monsanto required to reveal this inf (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749848)

Any person in any country in the world could buy a bag of Monsanto corn, feed it to rats and dissect them. Controlled experiments with rats are cheap. North Korea could do it. Cuba could do it. Venezuela could do it. The African Development Bank could do it. Why haven't they? Is the lack of evidence merely a sign that capitalists have sabotaged that evidence?

Given the number of self-hating Marxists and Socialists around I would have expected at least one report of organ damage, which this study, had you bothered to read it, and contrary to the idiotic KDawson's title, does neither show nor claim.

Re:Why wasn't Monsanto required to reveal this inf (4, Interesting)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749906)

Any person in any country in the world could buy a bag of Monsanto corn...

Are you sure about that? I'm not a farmer, and I don't know anyone who has had anything to do with Monsanto corn, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a contract that you need to sign before buying Monsanto GM corn.

Re:Why wasn't Monsanto required to reveal this inf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749928)

>>Monsanto did the research in 2000 and 2001, and obviously knew the outcome. So how did they manage to suppress the data and results for 8 years?

>The invisible hand of the free market made the data and research invisible.

While the visible hand of government was busy doing something else.

Re:Why wasn't Monsanto required to reveal this inf (4, Interesting)

MrMr (219533) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749558)

I [organicconsumers.org] have [dupont.com] no [commondreams.org] idea. [iowaindependent.com]

Re:Why wasn't Monsanto required to reveal this inf (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749592)

uggg, mod parent up..

Re:Why wasn't Monsanto required to reveal this inf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749798)

In addition, check out this documentary of The world according to monsanto [livevideo.com] ... pretty eye opening.

If you are American, I hope your anti-French nationalism does not blind you while seeing this film.

Re:Why wasn't Monsanto required to reveal this inf (3, Insightful)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749898)

Wait...so the president's actions in 2009 is responsible for information remaining hidden from 2000 through 2008? For crying out loud, he didn't even make US Senate until 2004. But yes, I suppose the corruption of a member of the Illionois Senate has its reach all the way down into the state of Missouri (where Monsanto is based). Or maybe Obama has a time machine.

the answer is american mindset. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749564)

you know, the 'hands off business', 'corporations regulate themselves better', 'trade secrets' shit.

now it has come to the point of damaging our kidneys, but there are still morons who are able to defend that kind of bullshit.

Re:Why wasn't Monsanto required to reveal this inf (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749600)

Monsanto did the research in 2000 and 2001, and obviously knew the outcome.

You can't say "and obviously knew the outcome" unless you're Monsanto. I believe that GMO crops undergo far fewer tests for safety than pesticides. From the Wikipedia page on [wikipedia.org] one of the three crops in question (MON 863):

In 1989 a 90-day rat-feeding trial done by the FDA, 40 rats that were fed the Bt corn developed multiple reactions typically found in response to allergies, infections, toxins and diseases. Gilles-Eric Seralini reviewed the study as part of the French Commission for Biomolecular Genetics and said that the response by the rats were similar to reactions caused by pesticides. Although the Bt-toxin is a pesticide, he points out that animal research on pesticide-producing corn is nowhere as thorough as that required for approval of pesticides. Follow-up studies on these serious findings were demanded from organisations worldwide. None were conducted and the corn was approved.

MON 863 is even approved for use in the EU which is surprising considering the long history of European countries denying crops imported from other countries like the US where GMO crops are allowed on the off chance that said crops were cross pollinated with GMO plants in other fields. Very recently I believe Germany banned cultivation of GMO plants [spiegel.de] . If you want your data don't look toward Monsanto or even the underfunded FDA. Look to the European Union, I hope more studies follow in the path of this research but unfortunately it's hard to think of a source for major funding if it's not our tax dollars.

Re:Why wasn't Monsanto required to reveal this inf (2, Interesting)

Nova77 (613150) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749750)

That's the reason why it was accepted:
http://www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/efsa_locale-1178620753812_1178620772383.htm [europa.eu]

"In conclusion, the Panel considers that the information available for MON 863 addresses the outstanding questions raised by the Member States and considers that MON 863 will not have an adverse effect on human and animal health or the environment in the context of its proposed use."

While I am not at all fan of Monsanto, I have to say that in the past research on GM crops has been highly polarized and there has been a lot of poor science from both sides. Let's wait and see how this study classifies.

Re:Why wasn't Monsanto required to reveal this inf (5, Insightful)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749840)

They do it through lawsuits. They are a very litigious company as they sue their own customers for failing to disclose harvest data and seed information. Since they patended certain varieties of soybeans and corn, you cannot keep seed from one year to the next. Also, a neighboring farmer who has his own non-Monstanto crops contaminated by Monstanto crops are also being sued and asked to prove themselves innocent.

It's a travesty. I am not opposed to GM foods by any means, but this company's approach to solving problems with their products is completely unreasonable. A class-action suit seems to be the only answer.

government protection (1)

geniepoo (1720122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749496)

Isn't there some person or group in government that will step in and protect us?

Re:government protection (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749556)

We need less government regulation, not more. Let the free market decide what is good for us. Just think how many people would have died if we had lost all that corn to pests!

Re:government protection (2, Insightful)

gnud (934243) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749578)

you see people would rather have a toothless "small government"

Re:government protection (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749684)

Even Monsanto wouldn't be so stupid to wipe out their own customers and their own employees, right?

I still believe that the governments must protect:
1. the use of GMO should be explicitely mentioned on any product.
2. any government has the obligation to protect its citizens - through control, regulation, and if necessary, closure of businesses.

Re:government protection (1)

Jinjuku (762364) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749820)

The explicit statement of GMO corn as an ingredient is fine. What happens when you get an 'in nature' cross breed? Who does the testing on what is thought to be 'normal, generic, corn'?

Re:government protection (1)

schizix (1377671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749838)

Isn't there some person or group in government that will step in and protect us?

uh oh, the government cares about us?

Avoid Corn? Bahahahahahaha good luck (1, Insightful)

pyster (670298) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749502)

Corn is in every-fucken-thing. You cant avoid it.

Re:Avoid Corn? Bahahahahahaha good luck (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749520)

Corn is in every-fucken-thing. You cant avoid it.

My mother's side of my family has a genetic disposition to allergy to corn. Yeah, when she found out she had it, it really limited her ability to just buy whatever.

Although, since she stopped consuming HFCS, she started losing weight.

Cheap food not good for you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749506)

Noooooooo really?

I thought everything made from corn would be good for you...

You want health... pay for it.

Could american law please... (1)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749540)

...put these filthy pigs behind bars already?

Re:Could american law please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749810)

It was rats, and they are already dead :(

Re:Could american law please... (2, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749936)

One of the main goals of corporations is to make sure owners, stockholders, and employees don't have personal liability. Who do you put in jail?

We're still in the age of no personal accountability due to the last administration. I don't see Obama doing all that much to untie that knot.

An effect of pesticides? (4, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749544)

From their conclusions:

This can be due to the new pesticides (herbicide or insecticide) present specifically in each type of GM maize, although unintended metabolic effects due to the mutagenic properties of the GM transformation process cannot be excluded. All three GM maize varieties contain a distinctly different pesticide residue associated with their particular GM event (glyphosate and AMPA in NK 603, modified Cry1Ab in MON 810, modified Cry3Bb1 in MON 863). These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown

It sounds to me like the issue isn't the GM itself, but the over-use of novel pesticides that it permits.

Re:An effect of pesticides? (2, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749746)

It sounds like that may be a possibility, but just as much as it may be a possibility that it's the corn itself. Other researchers need to replicate these results and do a couple of controls to try and isolate just the pesticides, just Monsanto corn, etc.

Re:An effect of pesticides? (3, Informative)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749804)

It sounds to me like the issue isn't the GM itself, but the over-use of novel pesticides that it permits.

No, you're misunderstanding. They don't allow the use of pesticides, the pesticides have been inserted into their genome. The pesticides are derived from bacterial DNA that is naturally herbicidal. Unfortunately, it's also a rodenticide, which means it's probably pretty poisonous to us as well..

High Fructose Corn Syrup (3, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749548)

I think the majority of "high prevalence of corn in processed foods" is HFCS - does this contain significant fractions of the proteins involved.

Not that I think HFCS is a health food. I'm so glad that Iowa corn lobby influence can't reach over here to the UK.

Re:High Fructose Corn Syrup (1)

zimtmaxl (667919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749690)

No other industry has as much freedom as the food industry when it comes to the ingredients of their products! WORLDWIDE! There are laws, but they only cover a tiny fraction of the possible substances the industry can put into their "food".

Riddle me this (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749562)

All you "free market" enthusiasts out there, answer this question for me:

How would the unencumbered "free market" handle a problem like this? Especially since none of us who eat corn are actually direct customers of Monsanto's GM corn?

Tell us how getting government out of business is going to prevent a little thing like people dying from organ failure for eating Monsanto's frankencorn?

Re:Riddle me this (4, Insightful)

thepooh81 (1606041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749638)

We probably wouldn't have had the government subsidized corn so much that it turned into our main source of food.

Re:Riddle me this (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749704)

Mod parent up.

MOD PARENT UP (5, Insightful)

schnablebg (678930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749748)

This is exactly right. The reason GMO corn exists and is widespread is that the gov't has incentivized corn production so much that it is practical to grow huge fields of it. This crop monoculture results in the excessive need of pesticides, hence the requirement of "Roundup-ready" crops in the first place.

Re:Riddle me this (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749698)

All you "socialism" enthusiasts out there, answer this question for me:

How would the unencumbered "socialism" handle a problem like this? Especially since none of us who eat corn are actually Party members in charge of corn production?

Tell us how getting business out of government is going to prevent a little thing like people dying from starvation for eating the two grains of corn that end up getting produced?

Re:Riddle me this (4, Informative)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749718)

How would the unencumbered "free market" handle a problem like this? Especially since none of us who eat corn are actually direct customers of Monsanto's GM corn?

People would stop eating corn products.

Those who were damaged by the defective product would seek damages in a civil court.

If the courts declined to provide relief then the injured parties would all get together, storm the Monsanto headquarters and lynch all the executives.

Re:Riddle me this (2, Insightful)

cartzworth (709639) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749878)

Correct. The free market assumes perfect access to information (information wants to be free, no?). We just got more information on this product. Thus we can make decisions based on this new information (it gets "priced in"). We then return to an equilibrium after the use of this GM corn falls in disfavor. Of course, I'd also like to see more studies confirming this before any conclusions are drawn. How about a simple comparison of how widespread this GM corn is, when it was released, and national rates of organ failure over a long period of time?

Re:Riddle me this (1)

snaz555 (903274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749720)

All you "free market" enthusiasts out there, answer this question for me:

How would the unencumbered "free market" handle a problem like this?

I'm not a free market enthusiast, but even I can answer this: you take your business to a store that doesn't carry GM produce or products that contain it. My local Whole Foods store, for instance, is GM-free and predominantly organic.

Re:Riddle me this (2, Insightful)

Jinjuku (762364) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749876)

And when your 'Organic Only' store is carrying a hybrid/cross breed that occurred in nature (that no one is testing for) you still have consumed a GMO crop.

People, please you need to understand what the end game is in all of this...

Re:Riddle me this (2, Insightful)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749892)

Yeah, I was out sick during that meeting where Monstanto's board of directors issued the "we need to kill all our customers" directive.

This thing called "the legal system," where someone could sue someone else for damages, trespassing, etc. is amazing from what I hear. People from everywhere can come in, fill out paperwork and ask for these things called "damages," but hell..what do I know? I am just a free market enthusiast.

Why is it all or nothing with GMO (3, Insightful)

ocularsinister (774024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749582)

I may be wrong here, but I think the current discussions regarding GMO are an 'all or nothing' approach - in other words, you can grow any GMO crop or GMO crops are all banned. This doesn't make sense to me - some GMO crops may be fine, others not so. In particular, I think some GMO should be banned, full stop:
  • broad-spectrum herbicide tolerant species should be allowed ever: this is giving the farmer instructions to completely soak the countryside with lethal chemicals (and who is to say the rats were sick because of the GMO or the herbicide?)
  • Genes that produce sterile crops: This is putting our food security at risk, if your business model can't cope with this - tough, find another model or another business - food security comes first.

There may be others, but those spring to mind...

Not completely surprising. (2, Interesting)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749590)

What chemicals are in these plants that give them insecticide properties? Finding a chemical that harms insects but doesn't harm humans is a tricky problem and it's why fly spray companies and the like have R&D departments.
If they are releasing a new never before ingested product onto the market shouldn't they be forced into similar regulations as pharmaceuticals?

Re:Not completely surprising. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749614)

The plants don't have insecticide properties. They're modified to resist damage by specific pesticides. The article's a re-analysis of the data that was used to gain approval of the GM corn in the first place.

Re:Not completely surprising. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749622)

Actually I'm full of crap, two of them do have insecticide properties. That's what I get for reading the article and ignoring the summary.

Re:Not completely surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749832)

Fly sprays and other home-use insecticides are cancerigens.

rep of Int Journal of Biological Sciences????? (5, Interesting)

acidfast7 (551610) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749606)

as a scientist, it has two things I dislike listed on its webpage... 1. In a prominent position its "unofficial IMPACT FACTOR" ... ugh. 2. In a prominent position its "UNOFFICIAL impact factor" ... well, if TR/ISI can't find it important enough to tabulate (assuming this is what unofficial indicates), why should we care :( in fact, this is the first time I have heard of the journal ... if the work is more widely useful, we not publish in a more widely-read journal?

Perhaps not (4, Informative)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749726)

It doesn't look like the 'impact factor' relates to anything. Its in the header whether you're looking at an article or their contact information. No explanation there.

This note on the front page: This Journal is ranked among the top 2.1% of journals (29/1380) according to SCImago in the area of Agricultural and Biological Sciences ...details
Indexed/covered by MEDLINE, PubMed, Science Citation Index (SCI) Expanded, Current Contents®/Life Sciences, EMBASE, CAS, CABI, Scopus

Plus there isn't much anti-GM crapvertising elsewhere on the website. I'm normally among the first to call bs, but this could very well be the ideal journal for the paper as it seems specifically dedicated to issues in the biological/agricultural sciences.

Anyone familiar with the journal or practices in submitting in the field?

Re:rep of Int Journal of Biological Sciences????? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749762)

Also at the bottom of the page we see this. Not saying they are biased, but sometimes you find what you're looking for.

Greenpeace contributed to the start of the investigations by funding first statistical analyses in 2006, the results were then processed further and evaluated independently by the authors.

Is it really that surprising? (2, Insightful)

janek78 (861508) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749608)

We knew that insecticides are harmful. Now we have a GM crop that instead of being sprayed with them actually makes them. Is it a surprise that it's harmful? If you make a crop that produces cyanide, it's going to be poisonous.

This is not really related to GM technology (although TFA does not rule out mutagenic properties of the GM transformation process), rather content of toxic substances.

That's excellent. (4, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749610)

You have a food that kills rats. How can you possibly get angry about a food that kills rats? I mean, do you know how many people are starving because rats eat the food? This is absolutely a great thing.

Wary (3, Insightful)

methano (519830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749656)

You know what? I don't believe this research is right. It may be correct and we're gonna learn of an interesting mechanism whereby this implementation actually allows a protein to avoid the digestive system and make it's way straight into the bloodstream. That would really be cool. But from what I know of the mechanisms of digestion and what types of molecules get through the whole process, I just don't believe this conclusion is correct. I suspect that it's bogus or a statistical fluke. As I said, there may be something here but my first inclination is to suspect something is wrong. Research has shown many mutually exclusive things to be "true" and so one has to have a mechanism that throws up a "bogus flag". This article does.

So I'm gonna call bogus for now.

Ubiquitous Corn ... depending on what you eat (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749662)

If people don't drink soda, eat candy, or eat meat (fed on said corn), isn't there a sort of Darwinian solution to this? It seems like all you really need to do is not eat crap.

Politics of GMO (5, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749670)

This demonstrates the European objection to GMO. It is not, as the manufacturers would like to suggest, a Luddite fear of new technology. It is a growing perception that there is no proper oversight of GMO development. In the US, the NIH acts as a counter to the pharmaceutical companies and does a lot of fundamental research. The GMO companies are perceived as being able to carry out inadequate trials, and not make their seeds and research sufficiently available to genuine independent researchers to ensure that the result is properly evaluated. (In the UK, the chief cheerleader for Monsanto is George Bush's pal Tony Blair, which goes a lot of the way to explain our concern. He's lied to us so often that now anything he promotes is immediately seen as being evil.)

During the 19th century the issue was contaminated food produced by the new breed of large processed food manufacturers: in the early 20th it was the meat packing industry. Now it's Monsanto. In the first two cases it turned out industry was unfit to regulate itself, and bribery of Government officials was rife. But nowadays we regard processed food manufacturers as mostly benign (well, except for the junk food industry), and nobody worries about tinned meat. Regulation in the end was good for the industry. Monsanto needs to stop pissing on anyone who suggests it isn't perfect, and start to come clean. It would be in its long term benefit.

Re:Politics of GMO (1)

o'reor (581921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749756)

Hell, Tony Blair even picked up his phone to have researchers at the University of Aberdeen fired, just because their own research proved that the GMOs were not as innocuous as Monsanto pretended them to be...

Re:Politics of GMO (2, Interesting)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749902)

The chief cheerleader in the UK is the former science minister in Tony Blair's government - Lord Sainsbury, who's family owns a supermarket chain of the same name.

Science (4, Interesting)

takowl (905807) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749680)

OK, I haven't read the paper in detail, but my initial impression is that, if academic researchers have found evidence that GM food damages your health, why haven't they put it in a really major journal--Nature, Science, PNAS, or something like PlosONE if the whole publication really had to be open access? I've got a degree in biology, and this is the first time I've ever come across the 'International Journal of Biological Sciences'.

Glancing at their results table, it doesn't seem clear cut overall. E.g. there are cases where rats fed 11% GM corn show a response, but rats fed 33% GM corn don't, cases where male rats are apparently affected, but not females, and vice versa. They also don't name the maize they used as a control, so we don't know how accurate it is.

All in all, it looks like they did a rather unconvincing study that prominent journals weren't prepared to accept, so they stuck it out there in this way. That doesn't mean it's wrong, but take it with a pinch of salt.

Re:Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749822)

Good to see an island of sanity, in this comment, amid a sea of FUD. Likely, a qualified science blogger will soon take a look at this and find even more problems with study methodology and analysis.

Good luck with that! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749700)

I think I'll do my best to avoid corn altogether

If anyone has ever read The Omnivore's Dilemma [wikipedia.org] , you'll realize that in American culture, the only way to stay away from GMO corn is to stay completely away from processed foods - I'm not sure about the Organic brands.

But you just know that the GMO corn makers are just going to take the cigarette companies' play book and stall any legitimate inquiries and just poo-poo any facts and studies that that show their product in an unfavorable light..

Good luck (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749712)

gotta keep this short as I have to get to work, but something like 90% of the food products you buy at say, walmart, contains GM corn or soybeans.

Re:Good luck (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749806)

Likely because the foods we eat the most (such as corn and bananas) have been genetically modified for thousands of years. Same thing with cows, pigs, and chicken but those might not be thousands.

So, no more rat problem in the corn field (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749736)

When I first read the title, I thought this was some sort of intentional solution targeted at controlling rats in corn fields. They just need to tweak this to be more targeted.

How did I guess this was from Kdawson? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749738)

The study shows no organ damage. This is a lie by the esteemed Slashdot editor.

The study shows slight changes in some parameters which could be signs of damage. It could also not be. Eating sausages will give you different kidney readings from eating chicken, yet neither sausages nor chicken has been banned. Correspondingly the study says these are "signs of toxicity and not proof of toxicity". I would have expected KDawsons "organ damage" to imply that organ damage had been found.

Some data seems surprising - there is a significant effect for female rats consuming 11% Monsanto corn, but not male rats or female rats consuming 33%?

Although I agree that multiple year teasts should be performed, and organ damage checked for. Though it would be extremely surprising if this has not already been done by anyone.

Of course, since I write this I must be paid by Monsanto or just be evil, since all good-thinking progressives would never question criticism of an evil megacorp like Monsanto.

Re:How did I guess this was from Kdawson? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749870)

> the study says these are "signs of toxicity and not proof of toxicity"

Thirdly, the statistical power of the tests conducted is low (30%) because the experimental design of Monsanto (see Materials and Methods). However, it is important to note that these short-term (3-month) rat feeding trials are the only tests conducted on the basis of which regulators determine whether these GM crop/food varieties are as safe to eat as conventional types.

> Although I agree that multiple year teasts should be performed, and organ damage checked for. Though it would be extremely surprising if this has not already been done by anyone

Given that these GM crops are potentially eaten by billions of people and animals world-wide, it is important to discuss whether the experimental design, the statistical analyses and interpretations originally undertaken are appropriate and sufficient ...

we need GMO foods (2, Insightful)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749744)

like it or not.
you can choose between keeping the human population to a constant (and already there are a lot of starving people), or change something to the food we eat.
I didn't do any research on the issue, but if a biologist says he wants funding to make food that grows faster and easier, I think he should get that funding. I would gladly have society give up on "new clothes every season, or you're a caveman/woman/person/thingie" and put more money into this kind of research.
but i'm just a geeky hippie, so i don't get a say in this.
on the other hand, if there are alternatives to gmo foods, let me know.

I have nothing against GMO in theory (3, Insightful)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749754)

but WTF Monsanto, FDA. This is bad for EVERYBODY. Especially considering Americans eat more corn than anyone on Earth, ever(except maybe the Hopi).

This is why you can't let lobbying continue as is. I don't think this out-and-out corruption through bribery, but I'd bet my bottom dollar Monsanto spent a lot of money wispering into ears that GMO posed no health risk and was a forgone conclusion. Hell, they didn't even need to check their own data, what could possibly go wrong? Besides that's the FDA's job right? Meanwhile the FDA hears all about how Monsanto wouldn't let any GMO through that would hurt their consumers. Of course they know the technology better, and their own analysis should be thorough enough to allow for FDA approval.

I'll take a Department of Redundancy Department that does its goddamn job over a regulatory body that doesn't.

Re:I have nothing against GMO in theory (2, Insightful)

o'reor (581921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749790)

FDA and Monsanto ? Mind the revolving door [wikipedia.org] on your way out...

An opinion by a PhD and sustainable farmer (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749764)

I don't know enough about toxicity studies to analyze this too closely but then as I read it, there is some "fishy" stuff going on.. First off, though - these researchers did not set up these studies. They used lawyers to get data from some of these companies or something like that- it's kind of vague. I have NEVER seen a study where you report like you did the research but you actually didn't. You are just trying to take the numbers and draw your own conclusion.
They say in one part: "The most fundamental point to bear in mind from the outset is that a sample size of 10 for biochemical parameters measured two times in 90 days is largely insufficient to ensure an acceptable degree of power to the statistical analysis performed and presented by Monsanto. " They say that because they think Monsanto shouldn't say the corn is safe - but then they (these researchers) are using that same "Insufficient" data to say it's unsafe. That's the way this whole paper is- it just doesn't jive together.

They also note that the control corn fed the rats in these studies was not similar enough to the GM variety to be good controls.

OK - then why are they using these data at all - why not do their OWN study???!!! I"ll tell you why - because they found a way to skew this data for their own purposes. How can you pick apart an experimental design and then use that data and say YOUR conclusions are valid. This is insulting and I still do not believe this can be a legitimate journal (although I can't find much on it online).

Re:An opinion by a PhD and sustainable farmer (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749816)

here is some "fishy" stuff going on.. First off, though - these researchers did not set up these studies. They used lawyers to get data from some of these companies or something like that- it's kind of vague.

      Granted such a study is not scientific and has no merit per se. However this type of thing might be enough to get a real group of scientists interested in setting up a real, controlled study. After all science is all about asking questions and getting answers. There might be a valid question. So now someone will look for a reliable, reproducible answer.

I have NEVER seen a study where you report like you did the research but you actually didn't.

      Tobacco companies claiming that smoking is "safe" circa 1970's and 80's?

Re:An opinion by a PhD and sustainable farmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749880)

Also, note the acknowledgments at the bottom: Greenpeace (which is against GMOs) started the research in the first place. No, it doesn't show that the results are bogus, but it is fishy.

Avoiding Corn-derived Products (2, Informative)

jdevivre (923797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749776)

Good luck avoiding corn-derived products.

Try reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" [wikipedia.org] to get a sense of how much of our food products come from subsidized corn (sugar? CITRIC ACID???!).

Finally, somebody gives a rat's a$$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749850)

It was time somebody had to teach those rats a lesson for eating our food.
Does anyone know if it has a similar effect on cockroaches too?

Don't jump to conclusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30749866)

I'm no Monsanto fan, but a lot of commenters on Boing Boing [boingboing.net] were questioning the methodology and validity of the study.

Got news for you, GMO is in the wild in China (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749896)

I taught at an Agricultural U. in China, where the government and University was all but openly encouraging students to take the untested GMO rice home to their rural families to plant. They were experimenting with all kinds of nasty pesticides and other things, and I would not exactly call the development they were doing "scientifically rigorous". The scientific method in China basically means at best copying things from other countries, and at worst just randomly trying things out. I never got the sense the grad students and such even really understood what it was they were doing, and the potential environmental impact or ethics of it was certainly not openly discussed.

Puffed... (1)

DigitumDei (578031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30749918)

round up ready rice?
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