The Instigator
Forcechemist
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Hayd
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

GMOs are harmful for human health

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Hayd
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/2/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 722 times Debate No: 79312
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

Forcechemist

Con

I will be arguing that the consumption of genetically modified organisms by humans is not harmful for human health.

I am new to the site by the way and so I don't know all the rules sooo please let me know if I am not doing something or doing something wrong.

Looking forward to the debate! Go!
Hayd

Pro

First of all, welcome to DDO! I hope you enjoy your time here and stay a while.

As Pro I will be arguing that yes, GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms are harmful to humans. I understand that when refferring to GMOs we will be refferring to food that humans consume in which the DNA strands have been scientifically modified.

I will post my opening arguments in R2.

Good Luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Forcechemist

Con

Yes I am referring to just food and I accept your definition of GMOs.

First, I would like to say that the burden of proof that GMOs are harmful to human health lies on the pro side. Even though I have just stated that, in an attempt to help get the debate started and to strengthen my side I will provide evidence that the scientific literature's consensus is that GMOs are not harmful to human health. Review articles are a great help in this area as they look at the literature as a whole published in many, different journals and report their findings as a whole. One such review article looks at the research performed from 2002 to 2012 and found that none of them concluded there were any significant hazards to many concerns involving GMOs, including human health (1). This is all the evidence I will provide on this for now.

Second, there is little theoretical basis for harm to come from the consumption of GMOs to begin with. How exactly are GMOs made? The basics of the process are described in this article (2). Essentially, the gene of interest it inserted into bacteria which are then used to infect a plant that then have the gene of interest inserted into their genome. The end result is a plant that contains an extra bit of DNA and then the protein ultimately produced from this gene. Therefore, the only difference between the non-GMO plant and the GMO plant is that DNA and the protein. Obviously, eating DNA poses no issues to us as almost everything we eat was alive at one point. There is no mechanism for DNA to be taken up by our cells to begin with. We would have a ton of issues if we had to worry about what DNA was present in our food. The only other option then is the protein. There is potential harm that could come from these molecules in the form of allergies. But, GMOs must go through multiple tests to ensure that they will not cause allergic reactions and no GMO to date has ever caused an allergic reaction (3). Overall, the only potential theoretical harm is the harm caused by proteins in terms of allergies. Besides this, no harm can theoretically exist.

1. http://www.tandfonline.com...
2. http://learn.genetics.utah.edu...
3. http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org...
Hayd

Pro

As my Burden of Proof in this debate is to show how GMOs harm the human body, I will cite a variety of studies and research that prove just that.

Reproductive Toxicology

In this study, 30 healthy pregnant women and 39 healthy non-pregnant women were tested for dangerous chemicals that arrive via GMOs (specifically 3-MPPA, PAGMF, and a few others) in their blood.

To our knowledge, this is the first study to highlight the presence of pesticides-associated genetically modified foods in maternal, fetal and nonpregnant women’s blood. 3-MPPA and Cry1Ab toxin are clearly detectable and appear to cross the placenta to the fetus. Given the potential toxicity of these environmental pollutants and the fragility of the fetus, more studies are needed, particularly those using the placental transfer approach. [1]

As the study shows, xenobiotics (a chemical substance found in an organism that is not naturally produced, a byproduct of GMOs) is highly dangerous for the fetus, and thus the high levels available within the mother is unhealthy for the growth and development of a child.

Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases

About 85% of all GMO crops are herbicide-tolerant, they are designed to tolerate very high levels of herbicide, especially glyphosate. These crops are referred to as ‘RoundUp Ready Crops’. [2]

(Roundup [3] is a company that makes weed killers, the main ingredient is glyphosate; a toxic chemical that is extremely effective in fighting weeds. In an effort to make GMO crops weed-resistant, they infused it them with glyphosate, hence the ‘RoundUp Ready Crops’.)

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®, is the most popular herbicide used worldwide. The industry asserts it is minimally toxic to humans, but here we argue otherwise. Residues are found in the main foods of the Western diet, comprised primarily of sugar, corn, soy and wheat. Glyphosate's inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes is an overlooked component of its toxicity to mammals. CYP enzymes play crucial roles in biology, one of which is to detoxify xenobiotics. Thus, glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins. Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body. Here, we show how interference with CYP enzymes acts synergistically with disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids by gut bacteria, as well as impairment in serum sulfate transport. Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. We explain the documented effects of glyphosate and its ability to induce disease, and we show that glyphosate is the “textbook example” of exogenous semiotic entropy: the disruption of homeostasis by environmental toxins. [4]

The chemical, Glyphosate is found in the GMOs that we eat, so you would expect to find the dangerous chemical in our bodies. And that’s exactly what has happened.

In this study, 182 urine samples received from 18 European countries were analyzed for Glyphosate and AMPA residues using a new GC-MSMS method. With a LOQ of 0,15 µg/l, on average 44 % and 36 % of the urine samples analyzed were found to contain quantifiable levels of Glyphosate and AMPA, respectively. [5]

Conclusion

GMOs contain a chemical glyphosate which is extremely dangerous to humans. This toxic chemical is found in the human body. GMOs cause harm to human health. GMOs are also proven to damage the fetus, causing impairment as the child grows up.

[1] Aris, Aziz, and Samuel Leblanc. "Maternal and Fetal Exposure to Pesticides Associated to Genetically Modified Foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada." Reproductive Toxicology 31.4 (2011): 528-33. Web.
https://www.uclm.es... Pg. 5

[2] http://articles.mercola.com...

[3] http://www.roundup.com...

[4] Samsel, A.; Seneff, S. Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases.Entropy2013,15, 1416-1463.
http://www.mdpi.com...

[5] http://www.gmoevidence.com... Pg.6
Debate Round No. 2
Forcechemist

Con

Rebuttal to: “Reproductive Toxicology”


First, it was mentioned that this study tested for “dangerous” chemicals in the blood of women. Below is the selected quote used from this paper:


To our knowledge, this is the first study to highlight the presence of pesticides-associated genetically modified foods in maternal, fetal and nonpregnant women’s blood. 3-MPPA and Cry1Ab toxin are clearly detectable and appear to cross the placenta to the fetus. Given the potential toxicity of these environmental pollutants and the fragility of the fetus, more studies are needed, particularly those using the placental transfer approach.


There are two issues with the conclusions made by my fellow debater based upon this passage and the article as a whole. The authors of this paper never claimed that 3-MPPA and Cry1Ab are chemicals dangerous to human health anywhere in their paper. They even state “Given the POTENTIAL toxicity of these environmental pollutants” showing that there isn’t any current evidence that shows these molecules are harmful to humans and they even go on to say more studies are needed which further suggests that this fact is not known. Second, even if these molecules are harmful to humans, it is all dependent upon amount. It is a well-known fact that EVERY molecule we know of is toxic to us when ingested in adequate amounts and this is a large part of the basic groundwork of toxicology (1). For example, water can kill you and has an LD50 (the amount required to kill 50% of tested animals) of 90 mL/kg of body weight (2). So, even if these molecules are harmful, this research does not demonstrate that they are present in high enough quantities to have an adverse effect.



Rebuttal to: Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases


First, I dispute your claim that 85% of all GMOs are herbicide resistant. Your source does not present the source of their information to this claim and it is not a trusted source such as a peer reviewed research paper, university website, or government agency therefore it could easily just be a made up figure.


Second, you cite no source to your claim that glyphosate is toxic and “RoundUp Ready Crops” are NOT infused with glyphosate. You have a misunderstanding of how these particular GMOs work. From Monsanto (the company that produces the crops and roundup) themselves (3):


Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup agricultural herbicides, kills plants by inhibiting the enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS)…… Roundup Ready corn event GA21 contains a modified epsps gene from corn (Zea mays, L.). The modified maize EPSPS (mEPSPS) protein differs from wild-type maize EPSPS by two amino acids. This results in an EPSPS protein with greater than 99.3% sequence identity to that produced naturally in corn. The mEPSPS protein has a low affinity for glyphosate compared to the wild-type EPSPS enzyme. Thus, when corn plants expressing the mEPSPS protein are treated with glyphosate, the plants are unaffected.


So essentially, the plants are normally killed by glyphosate, but because of the modified EPSPS enzyme, they are able to survive while microorganisms are killed by it because their wild type EPSPS loses it’s activity from the interaction with glyphosate. This isn’t very relevant to the argument as a whole, but I like to spread knowledge when I can.



Now onto the paper you have quoted. There are many issues with this paper that have been exposed by multiple sources (4, 5).


First, the researcher who wrote this paper is a computer science and artificial intelligence expert. She by no means at all has any sort of expertise in biology, chemistry, or health. Second, their claim that CYP enzymes are inhibited by glyphosate are made up as the two sources they cite for this (6, 7) say nothing about these class of enzymes at all. Lastly, their claims that it causes “gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease” are made up as they cite no studies for this at all and they come to these conclusions based on speculation.


They have actually ignored the majority of the scientific literature that says that development and reproduction are not affected by glyphosate (8), non-cancer diseases are also not caused by glyphosate (9), and cancer is not a result of glyphosate (10). It is important to note that the studies I just published are review articles that look at many studies and determine what they say as a whole which is always more reliable than relying upon just one study. It’s like asking experts their opinion on something and when 99% of them say one thing, you decide that they are all wrong at that you will go with the opinion of the 1%. Except this is hard, data and not opinions.



Finally, you have only attempted to present evidence of the harm caused by RoundupReady GMOs in all of your sources. Your argument would be much better if the claim you had to backup was that RoundupReady crops are harmful to human health, but the statement is that GMOs as a whole are harmful. There are many, many more GMOs that work in very different ways than RoundupReady crops. These include “rainbow papayas” resistant to a virus, “golden rice” that contain more vitamin A for places where there is malnutrition of this vitamin, and Bt crops such as soy and cotton (11). So tell me then, what is harmful about other GMOs such as these?





  1. 1. https://en.wikipedia.org...

  2. 2. http://www.sciencelab.com...

  3. 3. http://www.monsanto.com...

  4. 4. http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

  5. 5. http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org...

  6. 6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

  7. 7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

  8. 8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

  9. 9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

  10. 10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

  11. 11. http://recipes.howstuffworks.com...

Hayd

Pro

In R2, Con argues two things, so I will address each separately.

1) First, Con cites a review paper that has seemingly read and analyzed every single study and research paper ever done on GMOs in the last 10 years and concludes that ‘scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of GE crops’.

The fault here is that as Pro all I have to do is prove GMOs are harmful for the human health, no matter how small. If Con wanted to argue that there is no significant harm to human health from eating GMOs then he should have said so in R1, instead he said that there is no harm whatsoever by eating a GMO. All Con’s evidence does is claim there is no significant hazards, yet Con’s goal is to negate the fact that GMOs cause any harm whatsoever, the evidence does nothing for his case. The paper doesn’t even define what they mean by significant. ‘Significant hazards’ could mean immediate death, Con misinterprets his evidence and tries to bend it into supporting his case.

Con also presents one review paper, assuming that it is the one golden study that is right.

So to contest Con’s review paper I will cite a review paper that supports my case. [1]

The results of most studies with GM foods indicate that they may cause some common toxic effects such as hepatic, pancreatic, renal, or reproductive effects and may alter the hematological, biochemical, and immunologic parameters.

To conclude; Con has cited a review paper that says that they think there is no significant harm, ignoring the fact that there is less-significant harm caused by GMOs, and Con assumes that his paper’s opinion is correct, which is contested by the review paper that I cited that says there GMOs do cause harm, completely negating the impact of Con’s argument.


In the second contention, Con argues that since really all genetically modifying an organism is adding proteins and DNA, and since we eat DNA all the time in organic foods GMOs are no different, and therefore not harmful.

Con makes it sound like adding DNA to an organism is no big deal, that it is a small change. Yet ignores what changing the DNA means, you are changing the chemical makeup of the organism. This can cause unthinkable consequences. This is not an insignificant change.

[1] http://www.tandfonline.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Forcechemist

Con

Forcechemist forfeited this round.
Hayd

Pro

This is disappointing...extend arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
Forcechemist

Con

Forcechemist forfeited this round.
Hayd

Pro

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: V5RED// Mod action: Removed<

5 points to Con (Arguments, Sources), 1 point to Pro (Conduct). Reasons for voting decision: Con cited only reputable sources while pro relied on either inconclusive or biased studies and cherry picked quotes to fit his or her argument.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) The voter doesn't examine any of the arguments given in the debate, yet he allocates argument points. RFDs that include argument points must evaluate the arguments directly, and not just evaluate the sources. While sources can make the difference, more must be done. (2) The voter doesn't specifically point to any sources of ill repute, merely claiming that many of them were "inconclusive or biased", does not explain where or how Pro "cherry picked quotes", nor does he examine Con's sources at all to show that they were superior. While these things may have happened, the voter needs to do more than just say that they happened. (3) The voter cannot afford a conduct point without any explanation. While it may seem obvious that the reason is the forfeit, the voter must state it directly.
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Posted by Sravaka 1 year ago
Sravaka
I agree with Pro that the conclusion was disappointing. The number of rounds chosen to be in a debate requires careful consideration.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by 64bithuman 1 year ago
64bithuman
ForcechemistHaydTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by tajshar2k 1 year ago
tajshar2k
ForcechemistHaydTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Varrack 1 year ago
Varrack
ForcechemistHaydTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Ff