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China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the not-on-my-plate dept.

Biotech 152

sciencehabit writes China's Ministry of Agriculture has decided not to renew biosafety certificates that allowed research groups to grow genetically modified (GM) rice and corn. The permits, to grow two varieties of GM rice and one transgenic corn strain, expired on 17 August. The reasoning behind the move is not clear, and it has raised questions about the future of related research in China.

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Wow (2, Insightful)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718001)

Considering this is the country that put melamine in milk and cadmium in toys, this speaks volumes.

I would like to know their official justification.

Re:Wow (-1, Flamebait)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718023)

Isn't it obvious? The new GMO plants couldn't withstand the pollution in the air so it's not an effective use of research money.

Could be the pesticide lobby which has killed it (4, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718245)

According to the info @ http://www.plosone.org/article... [plosone.org]

The GMO rice requires much less application of pesticide than the non GMO counterparts (2 applications versus 5)

If the GMO rice is approved then the pesticide industry in China (both local / international vendors) will stand to lose a lot of sales

It could be their lobby which had killed the GMO rice

Re:Could be the pesticide lobby which has killed i (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718361)

That lobby thing you speak of... doesn't really exist in China.
Its not as corrupt as your setup.

Re:Could be the pesticide lobby which has killed i (2)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718633)

Correct. Instead of a lobby that everybody can potentially be aware of, you just pay the fine to the politician directly.

Re:Could be the pesticide lobby which has killed i (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about a month ago | (#47719425)

No corruption in the Chinese government? Either you're a troll or a party member.

Re:Could be the pesticide lobby which has killed i (1)

Friggo (765910) | about a month ago | (#47719949)

Note that GP said, less corrupt, not no corruption.
It is quite possible to be less corrupt that the US while still having some considerable corruption left.

Re: Could be the pesticide lobby which has killed (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719003)

less pesticide b3cause its grown into the plant. mmmm sounds like its good for you if it kills bugs it will kill you. no they dont want gmo because look at India... what is it 80 something farmers a day commit suicide because they bought GMOs and the seeds die after one planting and it cost a fortune to keep buying these junk seeds, when the alternative is natural, where upon seeds are replenished. but once you buy GMO seeds once, monsanto can come after you if there is any remnants left next season IF you dont use their seeds.

Re: Could be the pesticide lobby which has killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719193)

The suicides aren't attributable to the failures of GM crops. GM crops, in fact, have actually resulted in drastically increased yields for Indian farmers.

http://issues.org/30-2/keith/

Re:Wow (5, Insightful)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718071)

Considering this is the country that put melamine in milk and cadmium in toys, this speaks volumes.

Except in those cases those things were done in violation of the law. The issue was that it wasn't being enforced, not that it was legal. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that I want to know both the "official" and the actual reasons. Oddly, the permits that are being denied are for Bt rice and phytase corn, but they continue to support Bt corn, so environment or food safety doesn't seem like it would be an actual reason, although it could be the "official" reason. A more likely scenario is politics and lobbying (or whatever the Chinese version of lobbying is, they probably just call it bribery).

Re:Wow (-1, Flamebait)

johanw (1001493) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718541)

Actual reasons? They probably don't want Monsanto-style things to happen in China. Very wise of them IMO.

Re:Wow (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about a month ago | (#47719701)

Keep dreaming. Whatever the reason behind this, you can be damn well sure it has nothing to the with the Chinese government going all goody-two-shoes and wanting to act in the best interest of its citizens.

Re:Wow (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718941)

Oddly, the permits that are being denied are for Bt rice and phytase corn, but they continue to support Bt corn, so environment or food safety doesn't seem like it would be an actual reason,

That's an assertion, but is it true? Bt [grain] produces poison. Perhaps the poison is still present in the edible rice, but not the edible corn? I don't know, but there may be other reasons, perhaps it's because corn is so low in production, and not a traditional crop with widespread domestic use, so it's not a "health issue"? Just because one is banned and the other not doesn't mean that safety must not be a reason.

Re:Wow (5, Informative)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a month ago | (#47719107)

It produces a poison in the same sense that chocolate and grapes are poisonous (don't feed those to your dog). The Bt protein has a very specific mode of action in certain insect pests, and does not impact humans. It is not a health concern, and has been used in organic food production for decades before suddenly becoming controversial once genetic engineering got involved.

Also, that a plant produces a poison is not an alarming thing. In fact, it is ubiquitous. Chemical defenses are found throughout the plant kingdom, including in crop plants. Things like solanine in potatoes, or glucosinolates in broccoli, or even caffeine in coffee and tea (note that they are produced respectively in the seeds and leaves, two things a plant might want to defend...that humans like them for it is kind of an evolutionary plot twist) all have insecticidal properties. Anti-GMO groups love to be alarmist over the fact that some GMOs produce an additional insecticide (yes, one more, even non-GMO corn is going to have things like maysin in it) but in and of itself is not alarming. It's just preying on the ignorance of those who do now know just how many natural pesticides we consume daily.

Re: Wow (1)

James Buchanan (3571549) | about a month ago | (#47719769)

But has this been tested on humans? And proven safe? Or did they just make a result fit the outcome? But do like how you cannot grow unmodified corn in the us of Monsanto or pioneer. Seems a small mistake in Idaho, and we were done. Thanks, folks.

Re: Wow (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a month ago | (#47719983)

But has this been tested on humans?

Nope, but neither have a lot of things that present no reason to be suspicious of. Show me a long term multi-generational study on Wi-Fi exposure. You probably can't. Does that implicate Wi-Fi as potentially dangerous? Not unless I can provide a legitimate reason as to why one would be necessary, which I can't. Yeah, people go 'Ahh, no human study and they're feeding it to us!' but you know what, that's grasping for straws, implying there is a difference that requires study where none exists. Now, you provide some compelling reason as to why it is necessary to go beyond animal studies, with some biologically plausible rational, then I might be concerned. Until then I've got no problems eating them.

But do like how you cannot grow unmodified corn in the us of Monsanto or pioneer

Totally false. Non-transgenic seed is not only readily available, in the case of Bt corn, you are required to plant a non-GE refuge area.

Re:Wow (1)

Idou (572394) | about a month ago | (#47719225)

(or whatever the Chinese version of lobbying is, they probably just call it bribery).

Interesting. A language with less redundancy must be more efficient.

Re:Wow (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718109)

What an idiotic comment. The CPC didn't authorise putting melamine in milk or cadmium in toys. Both were illegal and the perpetrators of both were brought to justice. I don't know the details of cadmium laced toys, but the ring leaders of the melamine doped milk scandal were put to death.

Your comment is as stupid as blaming the US congress for the Union Carbide disaster.

Re:Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718213)

While I agree with you, I don't think the party permitted the contamination. Execution of those involved is hardly evidence.
Sufficiently embarrassing the party can get one executed.
The party needing a scapegoat can get one executed.
Having an organ needed elsewhere can get one executed.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718493)

That sound unreasonable. Do you have any source?

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719153)

I don't read Chinese anymore, but I can tell you with certainty that deliberate mass homocide is a capital offense in China and was before the incident in question. They were not simply trumped up and executed by decree.

China enforcing their own laws is the very opposite of corruption. There is a huge amount of corruption and lawlessness in China, and the CPC admits as much and recognises it as a problem in need of a solution (most of the corruption is at local levels of government and in private companies). They probably aren't as quick to admit that there is a problem of corruption within the CPC, while that may also be true.

The OPs nonsensical post implied that criminals, working for a private corporation deliberately causing mass poisoning, mass homocide, and subsequently being arrested, tried, convicted and executed is somehow evidence that the Chinese government is corrupt and puts melamine in milk, and therefore must have some sinister reason for not renewing the license to grow genetically modified rice and corn.

Re:Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718111)

Those were illegal and the people involved were punished harshly.

The big question is why in the US we still let this sort of research be done without any meaningful controls on where the genes spread. It's only been about 30 years since the first GMO crops were grown and researchers still can't ensure that the genes don't move to other plants and have little idea how they combine when they do jump species.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718135)

No clue, but I bet it's Diablo 2 hardcore Bremm Sparkfist MSLE fucked.

to save money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718173)

to save money

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718227)

Population control by other means.

.

Re:Wow (2)

johanw (1001493) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718529)

"Considering this is the country that put melamine in milk"

The directors of the company that did this were executed. In the US, they would get a bonus of $10M for increased profits in the short term and then a fine of $1M.

Re:Wow (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a month ago | (#47719167)

And they would leave the company with a $25M golden parachute. Because we're a meritocracy.

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718647)

Considering this is the country that put melamine in milk and cadmium in toys, this speaks volumes.

I would like to know their official justification.

China - the country as a whole or its government - can not be held responsible for crimes committed by private companies or individuals. In fact, these things happened because there was not enough governmental oversight - IOW too much freedom, rather than too little. This is what used to happen in the West, when companies were similarly unrestrained by legislation; things like adding chalk to bread and water to milk. Regulation is not all bad.

As for their official justification, they don't owe us any, but it seems likely that they are worried about the behaviour of the GM companies. Although GM holds huge potential in terms of nutrition, there are many things that give cause for concern: patented genes that spread to neighboring fields, genes that provide restitence to weed-killers spreading to wild species, modifications that hinder the production of viable seeds, so the farmers have to buy new GM seed from the producers rather than growing part of their harvest on next year, etc etc. I'm sure GM would be welcome in most countries if it was not for the companies producing them.

Another thing is that the Chinese are fully capable of developing or buying the technology themselves - so why should they allow in American companies that are only intent on siphoning off as much profit as possible to their share holders?

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718849)

Up till now the promises have never been met and the results seem contra-productive. The GM plants seem to give more problems than results.

Re:Wow (2, Informative)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a month ago | (#47718983)

patented genes that spread to neighboring fields

All genes do. If you are referring to the 'people getting sued' over it thing, look into it further. No one has ever been sued for simply being cross pollinated, and give China's general stance on IP of any kind, I highly doubt any company would have a chance of successfully suing in China.

genes that provide restitence to weed-killers spreading to wild species

To my knowledge there has never been any documented example of the herbicide tolerant gene jumping between GMO crops and weeds. There has, however, been selective pressure on weed populations that has resulted in the emergence of herbicide tolerant lines (by for example having a mutation at the binding site of the enzyme the herbicide targets). The key context here is that, one, this is due to over-reliance on the glyphosate herbicide (the main one of the two herbicides that crops are resistant to) instead of using herbicides of multiple modes of action, two, the problem here is that these weeds will diminish the benefits already provided by herbicide tolerant crops. The ideal would be rotating through multiple modes of action to mitigate resistance, however, due to the benefits of these crops, there has been too much reliance on them, which is why there is now more of a push to diversify the herbicides, although no doubt in the future glyphosate will still be preferred. I also fee it must be said that herbicide resistant weeds predate GMO crops by a few decades; although the case with GMOs is particularly problematic due to the gains that are at risk, this is not a new problem. There's a lot of hatred for the herbicide tolerant crops, and on the surface that makes sense, but I find people rarely have the background context and complete story.

modifications that hinder the production of viable seeds, so the farmers have to buy new GM seed from the producers rather than growing part of their harvest on next year

That doesn't exist outside labs. Anti-GMO people love to talk about that one but they lie. What is out there is hybrid seed, which has been in use since the 30's, which has better yields, more hardy, ect. the first year but subsequent progeny is so genetically variable that it makes economic sense to continue to purchase hybrid seed. Think of it like this, you cross AA with BB to get AB, which could be the best, but when you cross the AB and AB offspring you get AA, AB, and BB, which doesn't work out so well. Corporations didn't do this, genetic engineering didn't do this, its just basic genetics.

I'm sure GM would be welcome in most countries if it was not for the companies producing them. Another thing is that the Chinese are fully capable of developing or buying the technology themselves - so why should they allow in American companies that are only intent on siphoning off as much profit as possible to their share holders?

Well, you're wrong. They are Chinese developed varieties, the rice developed by Huazhong Agricultural University and the corn was developed by Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences' Biotechnology Research Institute in Beijing. Contrary to popular believe, more than just corporations are using technology. They're just the only ones able to jump through the scientifically unjustifiable regulations. There's cool GE plants sitting in university labs around the world, but the agriculture and plant science departments just don't have the funding necessary to bring them to market like the big corporations do. And to give your notion that non-corporate GMOs would be welcome another counterpoint, note that China does not accept shipments of the Rainbow papaya, developed by the University of Hawai'i, not a corporation.

The movement against GMOs likes to hide behind anti-corporatism, but so much as scratch the surface and you'll find they are just anti-science. Look at the controversy over Golden Rice developed by an NGO. Look at the opposition to Arctic apples developed by a small company. Look at the vandalism of CSIRO's low GI wheat. Every single genetically engineered crop that gains any notability is opposed. No exceptions. You can't call that opposition to some big company. TFA indicates the government may have decided not to pursue the technology further with so much public controversy and as they have been boosting food production without other means. I don't know when China started to care about Greenpeace and other science denialists (as a plant scientist I put them right with anti-vaxxers and young earth creationists). This is sad and frustrating news.

Re:Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719285)

No one has ever been sued for simply being cross pollinated

http://www.dailytech.com/Monsanto+Defeats+Small+Farmers+in+Critical+Bioethics+Class+Action+Suit/article24118.htm

That was the only one I knew offhand, so maybe there is more here than what we know publicly...

Re:Wow (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a month ago | (#47719421)

That's referring to the OSGATA vs Monsanto case. It basically went like this:

Plaintiff: We want to sue Monsanto before they sue us over cross pollination.
Judge: Can you prove they do that?
Plaintiff: Well, no, but what does that matter?
Judge: Case dismissed.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719015)

Of course China and it's government should be held at least partially responsible for the mass corruption of private companies and individuals. Same goes for situations like the US and the banking crisis.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719043)

China - the country as a whole or its government - can not be held responsible for crimes committed by private companies or individuals.

the general population cannot.. HOWEVER

the chinese (prc) government either directly or indirectly through agencies, departments, institutions, etc. maintains at least partial ownership of a lot of commercial enterprise located there (including part of lenovo, for example). so yes, that government CAN BE BLAMED.. and should be held accountable where appropriate.. unfortunately the rest of the world is too addicted to cheap made in china (prc) products to do anything about it.

Re:Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719439)

Indeed. It's not a policy problem or law problem, it's simply about enforcement.

Go watch a traffic cop at a busy intersection in China. He'll see about 10 traffic violations a minute. He can get to one. Doing that day in and day out conditions them to only go after the one that was seriously dangerous (as opposed to just plain dangerous).

Most Chinese cops* are straight up good people tasked with keeping the place safe. But think about the ratio of police to civilians, it's simply impossible to enforce like the in the west.

Bad milk was all about the lack of (reliable) enforcement, and greedy middlemen. The laws are very clear. Super clear to the people who were tainting the milk as they were matched off to their execution.

*real police, not city management officers or the massive bureaucratic engine behind the scenes

Re: Wow (3, Informative)

James Buchanan (3571549) | about a month ago | (#47719859)

The real reason was published several weeks back. Japan, one of chinas trading partners, said it was going to stop importing GMO rice. Money talks, China wants to keep its trading partners, so??? Don't take no rocket scientist!!!

Re: Wow (1)

larry (3749787) | about a month ago | (#47718991)

they executed executives who did that, unlike the US where when it happened no one got in trouble. China daid seperately they dont want GMOs, they banned ours, because everyone who looks at GMOs knows they arent just bad for you, there awful.

Re:Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719087)

Considering this is the country that put melamine in milk and cadmium in toys, this speaks volumes.

I would like to know their official justification.

Considering what they did to the people they caught - who were putting melamine in mile and cadmium in toys - how the fuck did you get modded "insightful" (was there no tag for "irredeemably stupid"?).

It means that China has their own version now (5, Informative)

BenJeremy (181303) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718049)

So get out, Monsanto, you dirty capitalist pigs!

Seriously, though, this means little. China will use their own knockoff version now and market it, as well.

Re:It means that China has their own version now (1)

Rosyna (80334) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718091)

If so, I wonder if this is related to Chinese spies stealing US corn [cnn.com] ?

Re:It means that China has their own version now (3, Interesting)

Rosyna (80334) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718095)

If so, I wonder if this is related to Chinese spies stealing US corn [cnn.com]

Re:It means that China has their own version now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718659)

They stole it twice??

Re:It means that China has their own version now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719411)

just to make sure, make sure.

Re:It means that China has their own version now (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about a month ago | (#47719717)

They're very sneaky.

Re:It means that China has their own version now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719201)

I can't tell if you hate the free market, or like it. This is confusing!

Nicatoids and bees (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718057)

That is the reason. China is governed by engineers and well educated people. Sure they cut corners to get shit done but they aren't stupid. They see the writing on the wall.

Re:Nicatoids and bees (2)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718117)

The ruling party has a lot of engineers and technical people, but the corner cutting happens mostly in the construction and manufacturing industries. No, what the higher ups do is not cutting corners, but filling those industries with people they think they can get bribed from. And the mass suppression before protests get out of hand (ie, start being effective).

Re:Nicatoids and bees (0)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718369)

Dude, being a ruler in China essentially means being above the law. Why bother with petty, complicated things like putting CEOs in that bribe you when you can simply appropriate public money as you see fit?

Re:Nicatoids and bees (2, Informative)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718439)

Uh, no. You don't know how China works. Look what happened to Bo Xilai. China's ruling party has real problems, so there's no need to keep pandering to Cold War era myths about how the Chinese government operates.

Re:Nicatoids and bees (0)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718651)

While I know the situation has improved markedly since the cold war, I highly doubt China has any serious checks and balances to prevent government corruption. I mean fuck, they have the world's largest firewall which is specifically intended to halt free speech. If you think the NSA is secretive, you know little. Unlike the NSA, the Chinese government not only has the authority to spy on your thoughts, but it also has the authority to bend them to its own will.

Re:Nicatoids and bees (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a month ago | (#47718985)

It doesn't have any checks and balances to prevent corruption. However, those who are corrupt enough to cause trouble for the government can expect to be executed.

The firewall, I think even the Chinese government knows it's ineffective, and it certainly knows people can get around it easily enough.

As for "bend them to its will", no government can do that. It can suppress, and the Chinese government can do that quite well. But it knows well enough that if it suppresses too much, there would rebellion. The threat of rebellion runs all through Chinese history and there's always the millennia old cultural inheritance of the concept of righteous rebellion that not even the Chinese government can ignore. This was the case even during the Cold War. Why do you think they went after the Gang of Four over the Cultural Revolution?

Re:Nicatoids and bees (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718435)

That is the reason.

Not every GMO contains nicatoids (engineers would know that). There are still some kids in China who could use yellow rice, and they definitely could export it to their neighbors.

Monsanto deserves a firey death for setting back non-psychopathic GMO's by 30 years or more.

Re:Nicatoids and bees (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718461)

Golden rice mostly solves a problem of outsider interference without actually resolving the problem. The main reason why it's even an issue is that the IMF pressured those people to only grow cash crops with little consideration paid for the malnutrition that resulted. GMOs don't really solve that problem, they just mean that now those people are going to be dependent upon GMOs that may or may not fuck up their other crops and may or may not be as affordable in the future.

Re:Nicatoids and bees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719097)

total utter bollocks

Re:Nicatoids and bees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719215)

may or may not fuck up their other crops

Where does this assertion come from exactly? GMOs don't "fuck up" other crops in the same sense that conventionally bred crops don't "fuck up" other crops.

FUD about GMOs is just as bad as FUD about any other technology.

Re:Nicatoids and bees (3, Informative)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a month ago | (#47719809)

Golden rice is OPEN SOURCE. Monsanto and its lawyers are nowhere in sight. And no, golden rice has no magical effects on other species around it.

Re:Nicatoids and bees (3, Informative)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a month ago | (#47719241)

Not every GMO contains nicatoids

No GMO crop is modified to produce neonicotinoids, although some anti-GMO people have tried to conflate these separate issues because GMO crops, like non-GMO crops, may be sprayed with them.

Monsanto deserves a firey death for setting back non-psychopathic GMO's by 30 years or more.

I do not believe this is Monsanto's fault. The mainstream opposition to genetic engineering started with the Flavr Savr tomato, which was released before Monsanto released any GE crops. The blame lies with activist/interest groups like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Navdanya, Organic Consumer's Association, ect. and other groups that saw genetic engineering as an opportunity to further their own social, political, or financial interests. Those 'psychopathic' GMOs you mention are insect resistant crops (reduced insecticide use), herbicide tolerant (sounds bad, actually results in lower environmental impact via the substitution of harsher herbicides and the promotion of no-till agriculture) and virus resistant crops, with drought tolerant corn recently approved (no independent data on its impact yet though).

Consider this; do you really think the same people who lie about university, NGO, and publicly developed GE crops are going to be honest about Monsanto? These anti-GMO groups aren't just opposing Monsanto's crops, they're opposing, vandalizing, and slandering all GE crops. Golden Rice, BioCassava, Bangladeshi Bt eggplant, Rainbow papaya, HoneySweet plum, CSIRO's low GI wheat (destroyed by anti-science thugs), INRA's disease resistant grape rootstock (also destroyed), Rothamsted's insect repelling wheat, VIB's cisgenic potatoes (also destroyed), ect. All publicly developed, all opposed (or destroyed) by anti-GMO groups. Put Monsanto's blame where it is due, but this one is not on them.

Re:Nicatoids and bees (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about a month ago | (#47719739)

Wish I had mod points for you. I get so sick of the Monsanto bashing on /. sometimes. They're treated even more unfairly than Microsoft here.

Re:Nicatoids and bees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719205)

GMOs have no special association with neonicotinoids. Some GMO seed comes with a coating of pesticide, but so do quite a large number of conventional varieties. It's not a distinguishing selling point of GMO.

It's a ridiculous red herring.

Off topic (3, Informative)

codepigeon (1202896) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718093)

I have been a daily slashdot visitor since about the year 2001. Just now I was redirected to a full page ad that I would associate with crappy, suspicious websites.

I don't want to be another complainer, but this site is begging me to stop visiting. I am not very happy.

Re:Off topic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718127)

So leave already, what's keeping you?

Re:Off topic (1)

RussR42 (779993) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718163)

Sometimes I forget that some people see ads on the internet. It's disappointing to hear that /. is engaged in full page nastiness.

Re:Off topic (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718251)

Holy crap, I turned off ad block. I didn't see any full page ads, but a bunch of other moving ads.
Yikes, I certainly wouldn't come here if I had to look at those ads.

Re:Off topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718467)

Seems like a great idea for the next poll:

If you have visited Slashdot regularly since 2001 or earlier and are still here, do you use Ad Block?
* Yes
* No
* Dice, Y U Make Cowboy Neal's Eyes Bleed?

Posted from my AdBlocked Android. Or I probably would have left years ago.

Re:Off topic (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718421)

I don't want to be another complainer, but this site is begging me to stop visiting. I am not very happy.

There's a town nearby that is behaving similar to Slashdot '14. They have a tax shortfall, so they raise taxes, and people move out. This creates a tax shortfall so, GOTO 1.

The property values have literally fallen in half in the past decade, while other area towns' properties have maintained or slightly increased, and there are many abandoned properties now (with associated problems).

Slashdot will seemingly keep increasing the "revenue enhancers" until everybody has moved out. At that point, I guess they declare victory and go home.

Re:Off topic (1)

wallsg (58203) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718505)

With AdBlock and NoScript you don't see any of that crap. X10 pretty much started it in the late 90's and it's pretty much gone downhill ever since.

When I first started using those tools I wanted to only block the bad actors, but I quickly found that pretty much everybody was bad to some degree. Now with malware attacks through served ads I don't understand why anyone wouldn't be using these tools.

Checking the "reward" box from SlashDot to turn off ads doesn't change a thing that I see.

Re:Off topic (1)

johanw (1001493) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718559)

" Just now I was redirected to a full page ad"
So you're admitting you still have no adblocker installed? Then don't expect pitty. My old mother need my help to install things like that, if you\re on Shalsdot you're expected to be able to do that yourself.

fear (5, Interesting)

Dorianny (1847922) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718113)

Public skepticism about GMO's has been growing in China and the government there is extremely concerned with anything that can enrage popular discontent. They know and are very fearful that a movement or protests against GMO's can quickly snowball and morph into anti-government protests. China is extremely mindful of protests because its reliance on global trade and the internet means that they way it can respond is much more limited. Another Tienanmen Square would be a complete disaster with severe repercussions for the government.

Re:fear (2)

Techguy666 (759128) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718579)

Public skepticism about GMO's has been growing in China and the government there is extremely concerned with anything that can enrage popular discontent.

Just because it's no longer legal to grow genetically modified foods in China doesn't mean that Chinese corporations won't use them. Making GM seeds illegal cuts out a lot of red tape for both the government and the companies, gives China plausible deniability if things go badly in the future, and also gives the government a way to research China's own GMO crops that will somehow be different from the dangerous Western-created GMO products.

Don't breathe the air or drink the water (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718847)

Seriously, toxins in the soil, air and water pollution, what a a few GM genes really going to do to life expectancy?
Anyway 'Organic' crops have a much better price, and it is cost effective for 'hand farming' when jobs go south.

Re:fear (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a month ago | (#47719755)

Another Tienanmen Square would be a complete disaster with severe repercussions for the government.

I agree with you, but I think such a happening is highly unlikely, despite the fact that there are many Chinese citizens who aren't really happy with their government. Here's the reason. Did you know that the Chinese constitution has the PLA swearing to protect the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)? Think about that. Their job is to protect the CCP, not the nation or the citizens but the CCP. What this means, in my opinion as an outside observer (I have never lived in China, but I have visited there several times), is that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is composed of highly brainwashed individuals from the privates all the way up to the top generals who are pledged to save the CCP above all else. I'm a little concerned that the CCP may be losing control of the PLA. Right now they are in control, but I think that they just barely control it. All these decades of brainwashing have caused the entire military to be hair trigger that they are constantly under siege from outside forces, usually the USA, who want to beat the crap out of China and possibly destroy it militarily. It's not difficult for me to foresee a time in the future when the CCP finds it can't control the PLA. I wouldn't even rule out a military coup. But anyway, if there was another major Tienanmen Square protest, the CCP would simply have to tell the PLA to put it down and the PLA would happily kill as many protesters as they could.

Better to starve I guess? (0)

Quebst (263980) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718115)

Just because they currently can feed people doesn't mean that will last. There will be droughts, infestations, population increases, and more events that can be helped by GMOs. Of course China seems to have no problem destroying the environment with massive amounts of chemicals whose usage could be drastically reduced with proper science. The Chinese government seems to place a low value on an human life so maybe this is just their own sick version of population control.

Re:Better to starve I guess? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718185)

current GMOs designed for herbicide resistance, not drought resistance

Re:Better to starve I guess? (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718239)

Sigh.
There are many GMOs that do different things. People always talk about herbicides resistant because it sound scary. oooOOOooohhh.

Re:Better to starve I guess? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718895)

"people" also always use the same old "we'll starve without GMO!!!11" to scare people the other way; despite the problem being distribution not production.

Re:Better to starve I guess? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a month ago | (#47718963)

Someone else posted the types being rejected. They are the ones where the rice generates its own insecticide. So it's food for humans, that's also poisonous to humans. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Better to starve I guess? (4, Informative)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a month ago | (#47719035)

It produces Bt, which is toxic to certain orders of insects, not to humans. And before someone comes along and says that it is still toxic, remember that gapes and chocolate are toxic to dogs, and dogs are a lot more closely related to humans than lepidopterans.

Oh, and every plant produces insecticides anyway. It's only alarming if you don't know much about plant biochemistry. Give something that can't swat back at the trillions of things out there trying to eat them a few hundred million years to come up with defenses and they develop things chemical defenses, like caffeine (yep, it has insecticidal properties, ever wonder why coffee evolved to have it right in it's seeds?), piperine (a yummy insecticide, turns out black pepper's original plan was to not have things eat its offspring), maysin (found even in your non-GMO corn) solanine (tomatoes and potatoes, don't eat this) and falcarinol (found in carrot a neurotoxin in high enough quantities).

Re:Better to starve I guess? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719091)

You forgot two of the best-known ones: nicotine (tobacco) and capsasin (hot peppers).

Plants are pretty much natural chemical weapons factories, as far as insects go. That's why swapping those "toxins" around isn't necessarily going to do any harm to humans, depending on the choice of toxin (nicotine would be a problem, but capsasin wouldn't be).

There are also other GM techniques that would be of great benefit that have nothing to do with toxins, such as the attempt to generate a version of rice with the C4 photosynthetic system instead of the C3, which would increase yields significantly if successful.

Re:Better to starve I guess? (3, Interesting)

itsdapead (734413) | about a month ago | (#47719295)

It produces Bt, which is toxic to certain orders of insects, not to humans.

The problem isn't killing off a few humans. Plenty more where they came from. Disrupting ecosystems due to unintended consequences could be far more destructive.

E.g. Transfer natural insecticide "X" from plant Q to plant P, insect A (that had never encountered plant Q) eats P and accumulates X; insect B eats insect A and dies from X, is no longer around to eat insect C, which swarms and displaces insect D, which had an essential role in pollenating crop S...

Of course, X could get transferred from plant Q to P naturally or by old-fangled horticulture - but this will happen gradually, even horticulture will probably take decades, giving ecosystems time to adapt, but GM can make the transfer and roll out the GMO around the world within a few years. Plus, with GM, X might come from a plant from another continent, a seaweed, a jellyfish...

Now, if we could only be sure that the firms making GMO crops were painstakingly exploring all possible ecological side effects, and would scrap a new product at the first hint of any possible problem on a "better safe than sorry" basis, then the benefits of GMO might outweigh the risks. Unfortunately, these are probably the same people who thought that putting diseased sheeps' brains into cattle feed was a good idea, who are resisting attempts to ban neonicatinoids until its absolutely 100% proven beyond all doubt that they're killing bees, and think a 1m strip of ploughed land around a GMO trial field will prevent cross-pollenation.

Plus, as others have pointed out, the problems of food supply are caused by poor infrastructure, overpopulation, growing high-value crops for 1st-world markets instead of food and over-reliance on single crops. These are not generally helped by increasing yields in the already-overproducing rich nations who can afford to buy GMOs.

Re:Better to starve I guess? (1)

DavidMZ (3411229) | about a month ago | (#47719507)

It's funny that you made an almost identical answer a couple of posts above this one. Why don't you just cut-and-paste, like any normal person would do?

11:32 am

It produces a poison in the same sense that chocolate and grapes are poisonous (don't feed those to your dog). The Bt protein has a very specific mode of action in certain insect pests, and does not impact humans. It is not a health concern, and has been used in organic food production for decades before suddenly becoming controversial once genetic engineering got involved. Also, that a plant produces a poison is not an alarming thing. In fact, it is ubiquitous. Chemical defenses are found throughout the plant kingdom, including in crop plants. Things like solanine in potatoes, or glucosinolates in broccoli, or even caffeine in coffee and tea (note that they are produced respectively in the seeds and leaves, two things a plant might want to defend...that humans like them for it is kind of an evolutionary plot twist) all have insecticidal properties. Anti-GMO groups love to be alarmist over the fact that some GMOs produce an additional insecticide (yes, one more, even non-GMO corn is going to have things like maysin in it) but in and of itself is not alarming. It's just preying on the ignorance of those who do now know just how many natural pesticides we consume daily.

10:54 am

It produces Bt, which is toxic to certain orders of insects, not to humans. And before someone comes along and says that it is still toxic, remember that gapes and chocolate are toxic to dogs, and dogs are a lot more closely related to humans than lepidopterans. Oh, and every plant produces insecticides anyway. It's only alarming if you don't know much about plant biochemistry. Give something that can't swat back at the trillions of things out there trying to eat them a few hundred million years to come up with defenses and they develop things chemical defenses, like caffeine (yep, it has insecticidal properties, ever wonder why coffee evolved to have it right in it's seeds?), piperine (a yummy insecticide, turns out black pepper's original plan was to not have things eat its offspring), maysin (found even in your non-GMO corn) solanine (tomatoes and potatoes, don't eat this) and falcarinol (found in carrot a neurotoxin in high enough quantities).

Re:Better to starve I guess? (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a month ago | (#47719995)

Hm, I guess that is a good question.

Re:Better to starve I guess? (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a month ago | (#47720121)

A Slashdotter caught making an extensive post from memory because it's a concept he understands all by himself, rather than cutting and pasting from Moonchild's EcoBlog? Burn the witch!

Re:Better to starve I guess? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719361)

Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, therefore chocolate is poisonous to humans.

See the error in your logic?

Re:Better to starve I guess? (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a month ago | (#47719085)

And that really is annoying, because people assume that it is a case of herbicide tolerant GMOs vs some ideal hypothetical where weeds are never a problem, when in reality it is herbicide tolerant GMOs vs. other weed control methods, including harsher herbicides and soil damaging tillage. Giving the choice between the realistic options, I'll take the herbicide tolerant crops any day.

Then you see people point to herbicide resistant weeds as evidence that they are a bad thing, but that's trying to have your cake and eat it too. The resistant weeds are a big problem, you bet they certainty are a problem, because they threaten to diminish the benefits of the herbicide tolerant GE, but then people say there are no benefits, while also saying that the benefits are eroding. Then when you point that out you're apparently on Monsanto's payroll.

I get that facilitating the use of an agrochemical is not the sexiest possible application of biotechnology, but until someone comes up with something better it does not deserve bashing it always gets.

Re:Better to starve I guess? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718379)

Don't worry. China will be able to feed their population, no matter what. The question is whether you will be if they're pressed to hoover up the food around the globe. You'd be amazed if you knew just HOW much purchasing power the Chinese government has and how willing it is to avoid any kind of protests.

Re:Better to starve I guess? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718535)

Or alternatively, you don't know how much it costs to feed 1.6 billion people, or the logistical difficulties. It's only been 40 years since their last mass starvation, and massive food inflation is a current problem. And there's only so much food to be bought on the international marketplace. No foreign country would allow food to be exported to the point of starving its own people.

Re:Better to starve I guess? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718691)

Are you affiliated with monsanto by any chance? You sound like it.

Genetic manipulating is fun and all, but its efficacy in the long run compared to the rest of our box'o'tricks is still very much out there. Like everything it has its downsides along with the upsides. For example that it's really hard to keep properly contained. It's a good racket for the rightsholders to the "genetic IP" of the stuff, though. Such parties' goodwill is not something I'd like to have to depend upon if I had to feed 1.4mrd people. Don't forget that the Chinese government, for all its faults, does look out for the future, in fact much moreso than western governments.

And, as hard it is to believe, they do get around to caring for their environment, they have no choice but to, and they know it too. Still, it's a big country with poor (but improving) infrastructure very much going through its own industrial revolution. Be honest now, how long did "the west" take to figure out pollution and everything was bad and get around to get a handle on it? This sort of thing takes time.

Re:Better to starve I guess? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719145)

are you affiliated with eco nutter stupid fucking idiots? you sound like it...

those fuckers will convince governments to reject free golden rice that blind's and kills millions, While they live on their organic all natural abundant resources, fuck the poor and the consequences,

Twats living in comparable luxury condemning the poor to blindness and deaths, no fucking thanks..they should be made to live in the areas they fuck up with the same conditions, then they might just understand the damage they do!!!

you Fail It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718125)

Applaude (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47718693)

I applaud China for this move. While we can speculate about the "true reasons", not going the GM-route is the only way to go.
Nature itself has given us a LOT of natural ammo and you just need to be a little clever to reach you goal.

I like my food being produced naturally, thank you.

Re:Applaude (4, Informative)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a month ago | (#47719075)

You mean like wheat, a hybrid of three species, and strawberries, another hybrid?

Or corn, bred to be so radically different from its ancestral teosinte that most people wouldn't even recognize it?

Or carrots, which were not orange until humans bred them to be that way?

Or cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, kale, and Brussel's sprouts, which are all the same species with various genetic mutations dramatically altering their form?

Or apples, which are selected from somatic mutations and grafted onto root stocks?

Or citrus, which is altered through selecting radiation induced mutations?

Or pluots, which had to have their embryos cut out of the parent plant and cultured in vitro because they would have never developed naturally?

Or seedless watermelons, which are bred from chemically induced chromosome doubled watermelons?

Or tomatoes, which have genes introgessed from other wild species?

Oh, you're just referring to the thing you knew was unnatural, not all the things you were utterly clueless about. Well, since it would be such a bother to admit your initial premise and driving belief are completely inane, I'll wait while you move the goalpost to attempt to justify your irrationality.

Re:Applaude (1, Insightful)

Archtech (159117) | about a month ago | (#47719549)

No, actually: not in the least bit like any of those. Like grafting in genes from entirely different species, without the slightest idea (or any way of finding out) what the effects will be in the long term.

But that doesn't matter, does it? To those whose only reality is profit, there is no future beyond the current quarter.

Re:Applaude (3, Insightful)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a month ago | (#47719821)

Right on schedule the moving goalpost away from 'genetically changing a plant is bad' to 'the way I don't like is different therefore bad'. If you note, you'll see that everything I mentioned are actually all quite different. Various types of somatic and induced mutations, selective breeding, biotech facilitate wide crossing/embryo rescue, artificial chromosome alteration...very different from genetic engineering, where a single well known gene is inserted. Why not lump genetic engineering in with everything else and select the chromosomal duplication to be the pariah? After all, that is also an entirely different thing, which I don't think is particularly meaningful, but means about as much as your argument. What I personally do is both more and less extreme than transgenics, depending on how you want to view it. The lumping of everything as 'conventional breeding' to make a dichotomy between it and genetic engineering is a very simplistic view.

without the slightest idea (or any way of finding out) what the effects will be in the long term.

Fallacy number two, the straw man. Do you really think the scientific community, which overwhelmingly supports GE crops (don't even try to deny this), does not pause to consider such things? Perhaps you could explain your long term fears in less vague terms?

But that doesn't matter, does it? To those whose only reality is profit, there is no future beyond the current quarter.

Sorry, the corporate card has no bearing on scientific topics. Save it for politics.

simple economics (0)

ruir (2709173) | about a month and a half ago | (#47718897)

They found it was cheaper to fake it from plastic.

Putin's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719031)

ohh wait...

The answer is easy and sad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719101)

The answer to this is very easy. It is cheaper and quicker to steal the information from the U.S. and other countries than to reproduce the 'wheel'.

high food costs will suck up excess capital (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a month ago | (#47719283)

China has a growing middle class, and a growing class of perpetually single men. They need to stop the middle class from becoming so affluent so quickly (where do you park 400 million cars?), and they need to find jobs for the millions of sad horny guys who could easily become revolutionaries. If the cost of food rises a few percent here and there it bleeds excess capital out of the system, inconveniences a few on the long tail, but as a whole (remember, China thinks long-term, and like a single organism) the economy will be better off.

Easy answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47719357)

Why? Because it's far easier, and cheaper, for China to steam GMOs developed in other countries than develop their own.

Very wise indeed (1)

Archtech (159117) | about a month ago | (#47719529)

In stark contrast to Western nations, China is largely ruled by qualified engineers and technicians. They presumably understand the insanity of radically undermining the technology that feeds most of the world's human beings: agriculture. Any experimentation with agriculture should be done with extreme caution, and as far as possible contained so it is reversible.

Less important, but also worth considering: do we really want a world where one or two vast bloated Western corporations literally own the food that keeps everyone alive? I don't think so.

And that's without even considering the multiple proven and documented cases of specific harm caused by GM "food".

Re:Very wise indeed (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a month ago | (#47719813)

The idea that one or two corporations will own the food supply is an insane paranoic delusion. Already many of the key traits used in GMO foods are off-patent and in the public domain.

Round-up ready soybeans, the most successful GMO trait comes off patent in 2015.

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