The Instigator
DanK
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
Shedding
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Genetically Engineering a Better Meal (Agriculture)

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
DanK
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/23/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 526 times Debate No: 62161
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

DanK

Pro

I am pro in this argument as I believe GE to be a safe and effective technology. There will be three rounds. Round one is to state position and evidence for said position.
Genetically engineering is a tool and never the final product, that being said I do agree that testing of newly introduced genes is necessary. However that is not to say that I believe any GE foods on the market are by any means dangerous, with thousands of studies concerning safety I see no reason why so many believe them to be. GE foods have also shown to be better in the case of crop yields and lower amounts of pesticides being used. This technology is good not just for us here in established countries but for those countries who have a poor environment for growing crops.

I am not interested in discussing the manufacturers of GE seeds, nor GE Livestock. Those will be for another debate. Please cite sources.
http://www.sciencedaily.com...
http://gmopundit.blogspot.com...
http://www.npr.org...
Shedding

Con

It might be true that GE crops tend to have better yields. There is, however, something to be said about tinkering with the blueprints of millions of years of evolution. Fauna evolved with the animal kingdom in a symbiotic relationship where the plant provides energy in the form of food to an animal in exchange for the animal to spread the plant's seed. The plant wants the animal to thrive. The better the animal does, the better the plant does because both benefit from the relationship. In a computer program a programmer knows what the code does for the software he is developing. Some software has millions of lines of code and sometimes programs have bugs. This is with the software developer creating the program. He fully knows the program he has created and there are still bugs. We are doing the same thing with plant's DNA. We are going in.. looking at the code and changing something about the code to suit our needs. However, we did not create the code. We don't exactly know what we are changing and although we have a pretty good idea, the code could also create unintended results. In all the hundred of years we have studied human physiology we still don't know every single process happening within our bodies. Even if we could understand the process of a single human, too many people have different genes which make us different. Some people are allergic to peanuts other people are allergic to shellfish. What is to say that one slight modification of DNA could allow the plant to be more resistant to pest but in turn create a toxin which affect a certain part of the population. The non genetically plants have already been through this. It is called evolution. The non genetically olden plants that evolved a toxin by sheer evolution killed their animal seed carriers. No animals to carry their seeds means just that, no spreading of the plants seeds. This eventually suppressed the plant into extinction. We still don't know nearly enough to tinker with the inner workings of living organism's blueprints and it will backfire when we develop a food source with unforeseen results causing negative dire consequences.
Debate Round No. 1
DanK

Pro

For more than 10,000 years humans have been modifying the genes of plants. When agricultural practices began they selected the plants that had the best traits, in this selection hundreds or thousands of genes are exchanged at random, which is why it could take several decades before reaching the product in mind. This is where genetic engineering is advantageous, since you can change the individual genes that will lead to your desired outcome without the guess work.
What do you mean when you say that plants want animals to thrive? To me the statement say's that not only the plants but evolution as well have intentions, which may be true in the case of plants (though I've seen no evidence to suggest as much) however as Richard Dawkins says, evolution is blind, meaning whatever results came of it were in no way planned. Genetic engineering could be looked at as is in your programming technology, since there is always room for error (hence why I support the safety testing done before these products are released to market), however to suggest that the people working on these products don't know what they're putting in has no basis in reality. One example of this is Golden Rice created by the International Rice Research Institute(IRRI), it is gold in color due to the beta carotene present in the grains after modification. Rice plants naturally produce beta carotene however it is stored in the leaves and not in the rice grain, by rewriting the pathway IRRI was able to make a plant that is not only safe for consumption, but necessary for the survival of millions of people.
It seems though that your main concern is whether or not the new food is deemed to be safe. I'd like to respond to that by first reminding that there is no such thing as zero risk, you could choke on even choke on an organic peach. That being said minimizing the potential risk is the best we can do, and for that there is the substantial equivalence testing. When a food is newly introduced before its manufacture can put it to market they first must show studies on the new DNA and any proteins or metabolites that it may produce, they then test for any allergens or toxins that may have been introduced with the new gene, assessment of the risk of gene transfer from food to gut bacteria, assessment of the amount that goes into a normal diet and after it passes all that, if deemed necessary, it may go on to animal testing. This is far more care for safety than any exotic fruits receive, and those such as kiwis have been cause of suffering for many. There are numerous studies covering this very topic and a link to some of those studies is posted in my round 1.

http://www.goldenrice.org...
http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu...
Shedding

Con

Shedding forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
DanK

Pro

Since con did not debate last round I will just make a brief closing statement.
Genetic modification has been happening in a sense for thousands of years, the only difference now is our technology and our knowledge of plant biology. While this may not seem necessary in an established country, it is a god send to millions in impoverished countries. It is totally fine that many people in these established countries may make the decision not to buy these items, it is not OK that they try to convince the less established countries to ban them because of their unreasoned belief. If you are concerned about GE products impact on environment and health there are thousands of studies regarding both. The biggest problem I see surrounding this technology is the ignorance of its opponents, just because they don't understand what's going on doesn't mean someone else doesn't, and it especially is not a reason to take someones opportunity at improving their life.
Shedding

Con

Shedding forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by samal90 2 years ago
samal90
I am pro as well. But I think it would be much better to focus our energy to genetically improve plants to grow in dryer climates for example which could benefit places like Africa. Taste is not a priority.
Posted by Defro 2 years ago
Defro
If no one else accepts this debate, I'll accept it and play devil's advocate. Last year, I took AP Biology and we've had several class debates regarding this issue in which I have argued both sides.
Posted by yahuaa 2 years ago
yahuaa
Yay, I think this is going to be good. I'm pro GMOs. So, I'll be rooting for ya, but I will remain impartial in the voting. If I can vote. I doubt it. In any case. A good discussion to be had.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
DanKSheddingTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
DanKSheddingTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Both debaters make reasonable arguments, but only Pro managed to provide both evidenced support for his claims and rebuttal to that of his opponent's. Con needed to show that there is a substantial harm inherent to GMO crops (or that such a harm has at least been seen), and argue that it is, at least, somewhat likely to recur. Con does neither, presenting what is, perhaps, a plausible source of harm, but without any real world examples. Pro effectively established that even this source of harm is unlikely given regulatory measures and effective screening, and revealed that Con failed to show how genetic engineering is substantively different from phenotypic engineering that has been practiced for millennia. Lacking that, Pro easily takes the debate.