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Genetic Engineering

belle
Posts: 4,113
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8/7/2010 7:51:23 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
would anyone be willing to take the con on some genetic engineering topic with me? its not something that really gets talked about a lot around here, but i was hoping for a good debate out of it... which is why i am not posting an open challenge :P

if there are any takers, also let me know what topic specifically you'd like to debate...
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
cjl
Posts: 1,073
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8/7/2010 7:53:01 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/7/2010 7:51:23 PM, belle wrote:
would anyone be willing to take the con on some genetic engineering topic with me? its not something that really gets talked about a lot around here, but i was hoping for a good debate out of it... which is why i am not posting an open challenge :P

if there are any takers, also let me know what topic specifically you'd like to debate...

Sorry, I am not in a debating mood. More discuss, rather than arguing.
Yvette
Posts: 859
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8/7/2010 7:53:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Depends on what the Con is...

My opinions on the subject are somewhat in the middle (ie genetic engineering is okay and even great but with limits and care) so dunno.
In the middle of moving to Washington. 8D

"If God does not exist, then chocolate causing cancer is only true for the society that has evidence for that." --GodSands
belle
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8/7/2010 7:55:06 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/7/2010 7:53:57 PM, Yvette wrote:
Depends on what the Con is...

My opinions on the subject are somewhat in the middle (ie genetic engineering is okay and even great but with limits and care) so dunno.

what limits?
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
TheSkeptic
Posts: 1,362
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8/7/2010 7:55:08 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Ethical concerns about genetic engineering, sure. Scientific issues, no (since I don't have any solid knowledge on that topic).
belle
Posts: 4,113
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8/7/2010 7:59:37 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/7/2010 7:55:08 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
Ethical concerns about genetic engineering, sure. Scientific issues, no (since I don't have any solid knowledge on that topic).

yeah would be the ethical side. not much to debate about the actual science of it that doesn't devolve to pure speculation.

what positions would you be willing to defend?
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Yvette
Posts: 859
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8/7/2010 8:16:06 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/7/2010 7:55:06 PM, belle wrote:
At 8/7/2010 7:53:57 PM, Yvette wrote:
Depends on what the Con is...

My opinions on the subject are somewhat in the middle (ie genetic engineering is okay and even great but with limits and care) so dunno.

what limits?

Hm...like...care should be taken that natural genetic diversity survives, that ethics committees maintain control on what can happen (ie no creating mindless slaves), that the changes made are in the interest of everyone (ie, increasing the intelligence of not just the wealthy who can afford it), full disclosure, etc.
In the middle of moving to Washington. 8D

"If God does not exist, then chocolate causing cancer is only true for the society that has evidence for that." --GodSands
Zeitgeist
Posts: 430
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8/12/2010 4:46:52 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Genetics in general is too young a science to be allowed to run riot the environment at this time.

On top of that the associated practices involved in agriculture especially are horrendous and impose dreadful damage on the environment in general.

To plough a field and then devastate it with a broad spectrum herbicide and insecticide killing everything that grows or crawls and creating a sterile medium is utterly wrong in every possible way. The effect on wild life is devastating. To then plant a crop, one that may even include natural "pest" toxins and spray it with toxins that it is immune to because of being genetically modified is also devastating to wildlife.

The other horrors are the deliberate introduction of "suicide genes" to prevent using a harvest to provide seed for the next year so that growers must buy new seed from the GM seed producers is bad enough but if there's cross pollination into the non-GM crops or even hybridization with similar plants then the possibility of widespread extinction of plants becomes far to close for comfort.

And let's keep it real. To pretend that separating a GM crop from non-GM crops by a few hundred metres as is the practice at present is akin to declaring a part of a swimming pool a "No Peeing" area.

All this without a single mention of the possibility of the metabolism of unexpected toxins within the GM product that may even take the form of prions or be initiators of prions.

GM is far too young a science to be let loose.
belle
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8/12/2010 12:39:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/12/2010 4:46:52 AM, Zeitgeist wrote:
Genetics in general is too young a science to be allowed to run riot the environment at this time.

...

humans have been doing it for thousands of years, just not so directly. ever heard of artificial selection?

To plough a field and then devastate it with a broad spectrum herbicide and insecticide killing everything that grows or crawls and creating a sterile medium is utterly wrong in every possible way. The effect on wild life is devastating. To then plant a crop, one that may even include natural "pest" toxins and spray it with toxins that it is immune to because of being genetically modified is also devastating to wildlife.

so you're anti-pesticide but you're also anti-scientific advances that allow us to stop using pesticides so much? brilliant :P

The other horrors are the deliberate introduction of "suicide genes" to prevent using a harvest to provide seed for the next year so that growers must buy new seed from the GM seed producers is bad enough

how dare they try to make money off their product o.o

And let's keep it real. To pretend that separating a GM crop from non-GM crops by a few hundred metres as is the practice at present is akin to declaring a part of a swimming pool a "No Peeing" area.

granted, hard to control. but not impossible. i remember reading about a case where a neighbor got sued because some patented GMO plant cross pollinated with theirs... that kinda thing is f*cked. hardly a condemnation of GMO foods though. just absurd patenting laws...

All this without a single mention of the possibility of the metabolism of unexpected toxins within the GM product that may even take the form of prions or be initiators of prions.

do you eve know what a prion is? lol. its a modified form of a protein already present in the brains of animals... as long as they don't put the gene for that particular protein in the plant, it won't be a problem. additionally, they test all GMO plants for safety; a chemical that caused normal proteins to become prions would no doubt be detected.

we're not idiots in the realm of genetics here. messing with humans is a pretty long way off, sure, but we know how to insert single genes and control them effectively. your fears are unfounded...

anyways, i waited too long for this debate, summer is over. i'll see if i have time to challenge one of you during the semester...
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Zeitgeist
Posts: 430
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8/12/2010 11:06:04 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Oh dear. Hear we go again with the same hackneyed excuses.

At 8/12/2010 12:39:31 PM, belle wrote:

humans have been doing it for thousands of years, just not so directly. ever heard of artificial selection?

No we have NOT.

Genetic engineering is a new science and employs new and novel techniques. Breeding by selection, even hybridisation, has been around since the year dot but GM is something entirely different.

For example, as far as I know, a scorpion has never bred with a cabbage, nor an arctic fish with a strawberry, and yet that is precisely the nature of the science that is involved in the creation of Genetically Modified Organisms. (GMO's)

It involves isolating the DNA individual genes within the DNA of a living cell from one organism be it plant or animal that code for a particular characteristic and then inserting those genes into the DNA of the organism that is to be genetically modified.

The genetically modified cell is then stimulated into a growth phase and whatever has been created is allowed to mature. Sometimes, and it IS sometimes what emerges is a GMO that is on the surface the same as the organism that has been modified but that now contains new attributes, most times what emerges is anything from green gunge to a thing that simply "dies on the slides".

So you're anti-pesticide but you're also anti-scientific advances that allow us to stop using pesticides so much? brilliant :P

No, I'm not at all anti-pesticides when used sensitively and selectively and I'm anything but anti-scientific advances but the myth that GMO based agriculture results in a reduction in the use of pesticides diverts attention from the problems of a crop that is itself anti-pesticide and that results in acres of toxicity to a part of the environmental food chain.

The other horrors are the deliberate introduction of "suicide genes" to prevent using a harvest to provide seed for the next year so that growers must buy new seed from the GM seed producers is bad enough

how dare they try to make money off their product o.o

There are moral and immoral ways of making money. A moral way of making money doesn't expose the environment to the possibility / probability of cross fertilization to a natural crop that results in the seed from that natural crop then containing "suicide genes" simply due to accidental cross fertilization.

And let's keep it real. To pretend that separating a GM crop from non-GM crops by a few hundred metres as is the practice at present is akin to declaring a part of a swimming pool a "No Peeing" area.

granted, hard to control. but not impossible. i remember reading about a case where a neighbor got sued because some patented GMO plant cross pollinated with theirs... that kinda thing is f*cked. hardly a condemnation of GMO foods though. just absurd patenting laws...

It absolutely IS a condemnation of the use of GMO's in the environment because the GMO's are infecting natural crops. There will come a time when we know enough about cellular mechanics and growth to be confident that a GMO is benign to the environment but that time is not now nor will it be for a number of years. Today we don not know with certainty the interactions that take place in cellular growth into an organism. We know the results, we can modify the outcome, but it's "poke and hope" and not predictability in anywhere near the majority of cases.

do you eve know what a prion is? lol. its a modified form of a protein already present in the brains of animals... as long as they don't put the gene for that particular protein in the plant, it won't be a problem. additionally, they test all GMO plants for safety; a chemical that caused normal proteins to become prions would no doubt be detected.

Yes. I probably know what a prion is a whole lot better than you do. I probably also know a whole lot more about cellular processes and cellular engineering than you do;

we're not idiots in the realm of genetics here. messing with humans is a pretty long way off, sure, but we know how to insert single genes and control them effectively. your fears are unfounded...

Not idiots, just doing very dangerous things in idiot ways. And believe me, if for a moment in time you really do believe that you know how to insert single genes and control them effectively then you're absolutely wrong and if you think you know the mechanisms involved in growth from cell to organism you're wrong and deluded into the bargain.

anyways, i waited too long for this debate, summer is over. i'll see if i have time to challenge one of you during the semester...

Ahh … an undergrad! That explains it!
belle
Posts: 4,113
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8/13/2010 12:38:23 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/12/2010 11:06:04 PM, Zeitgeist wrote:
Genetic engineering is a new science and employs new and novel techniques. Breeding by selection, even hybridisation, has been around since the year dot but GM is something entirely different.

For example, as far as I know, a scorpion has never bred with a cabbage, nor an arctic fish with a strawberry, and yet that is precisely the nature of the science that is involved in the creation of Genetically Modified Organisms. (GMO's)

sure, but its not like the genes are made of fundamentally different material between organisms. theres nothing to mark the species a naked gene belongs to. theres nothing intrinsically dangerous about genes from different species being together. i mean hell, species share a ton of genes anyways.

It involves isolating the DNA individual genes within the DNA of a living cell from one organism be it plant or animal that code for a particular characteristic and then inserting those genes into the DNA of the organism that is to be genetically modified.

The genetically modified cell is then stimulated into a growth phase and whatever has been created is allowed to mature. Sometimes, and it IS sometimes what emerges is a GMO that is on the surface the same as the organism that has been modified but that now contains new attributes, most times what emerges is anything from green gunge to a thing that simply "dies on the slides".

yeah, sure, its harder with more complicated organisms because their genomes are more recursive- the expression of one gene effects the expression of many others, etc. but since we're talking about plants here, and the plants can't suffer, i don't see the issue. anything that doesn't work is never planted and gets nowhere near the outside world...

No, I'm not at all anti-pesticides when used sensitively and selectively and I'm anything but anti-scientific advances but the myth that GMO based agriculture results in a reduction in the use of pesticides diverts attention from the problems of a crop that is itself anti-pesticide and that results in acres of toxicity to a part of the environmental food chain.

so its ok to spray tons of toxic chemicals on the plants but its not ok to grow plants that produce the chemicals themselves? i am seriously confused as to why you would consider the second worse when the first would more naturally result in pesticides spreading through the wider atmosphere.

There are moral and immoral ways of making money. A moral way of making money doesn't expose the environment to the possibility / probability of cross fertilization to a natural crop that results in the seed from that natural crop then containing "suicide genes" simply due to accidental cross fertilization.

thats easily dealt with. if they can engineer a plant to not produce viable seeds, they can just as easily engineer it in such as way that the pollen will not contain the genetic modifications by inserting the gene into the chloroplast (http://www.ciens.ucv.ve...). and even though you think buffer zones are a joke, they are effective at preventing the majority of cross-pollinations from occurring.

It absolutely IS a condemnation of the use of GMO's in the environment because the GMO's are infecting natural crops.

there are ways to deal with that, as i mentioned above. and in any case you can't just say because its not 100% preventable the risk is too great. there has to be a cost-benefit analysis

Yes. I probably know what a prion is a whole lot better than you do. I probably also know a whole lot more about cellular processes and cellular engineering than you do;

sorry if i came off rude, but bringing prions into this thing just strikes me as crazy. bring together two poorly understood areas of science and disaster awaits, eh? is there any evidence that prion disease has been linked to GMO crops? is there any mechanism you can propose to explain such a relationship?

Not idiots, just doing very dangerous things in idiot ways. And believe me, if for a moment in time you really do believe that you know how to insert single genes and control them effectively then you're absolutely wrong

you're far too pessimistic. high school kids are doing bacterial transformations in their biology classes. are eukaryotic organism more complicated? heck yes... but when genetic engineering becomes easy enough for a 16 year old to handle, i think the basic mechanism of inserting a gene and controlling its expression is pretty well understood.

Ahh … an undergrad! That explains it!

sure, dismiss everything i said as the ramblings of a child. and i'll dismiss everything you've said as the stubborn fears of an old man. sounds productive!
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Zeitgeist
Posts: 430
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8/14/2010 2:06:46 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/13/2010 12:38:23 PM, belle wrote:
sure, but its not like the genes are made of fundamentally different material between organisms. theres nothing to mark the species a naked gene belongs to. theres nothing intrinsically dangerous about genes from different species being together. i mean hell, species share a ton of genes anyways

Very true – up to a point. The point comes where unpredicted genetic combination creates a chimera-like organism that will have unexpected characteristics that will not be tested for, and which may actually result in a recessent gene in the genome of the GMO that only expresses under unexpected circumstances, maybe when pollination with a non – GMO takes place.

We really don't know enough about this whole area yet and the place to learn isn't in the field, it's in the lab.

yeah, sure, its harder with more complicated organisms because their genomes are more recursive- the expression of one gene effects the expression of many others, etc. but since we're talking about plants here, and the plants can't suffer, i don't see the issue. anything that doesn't work is never planted and gets nowhere near the outside world...

But the whole point is that while a desired result may emerge what is unknown is what the unexpected results will be. We have a number of GMO trials taking place within a short distance of where I live.

They are presented as "GMO crops being tested in the environment" whereas what is actually taking place is that GMO crops are being tested in the environment with no testing of the environment when being confronted with GMO taking place.

I can tell you right now that I have seen the result on the bird population in my back garden, an orchard actually. There has been a dirth of moths, very few wasps of any kind, the fly population is significantly reduced and the effect on the insect eating bird population has been disastrous. Even Blackbird nests have eggs that have been broken because of thin shell syndrome.

so its ok to spray tons of toxic chemicals on the plants but its not ok to grow plants that produce the chemicals themselves? i am seriously confused as to why you would consider the second worse when the first would more naturally result in pesticides spreading through the wider atmosphere.

That is not what I wrote and it is disingenuous to imply that it is what I meant.

What I would say is that in my opinion, and I am by no means alone in this, is that of the two the worst is where crops that include pesticides within the ARE worse than the use of sprayed pesticides for two reasons.

Firstly spraying is done when the crop is at its most vulnerable which leaves periods when at least a part of the wild life population that is being targeted has an opportunity to go through its life cycle.

Secondly cross pollination between a GMO crop and the organic crops will result in the organic crop eventually including the pesticide gene into its genome and so the pesticide spreading through the environment in which the organic crop is planted.

We will end up with acres of sterile insect or wild plant free that will be a disaster to the rest of the food chain from beetle to blackbird.

And that's not even considering the effects of an increased level of insecticide within the crop that de will then eat or otherwise use in our food chain.

thats easily dealt with. if they can engineer a plant to not produce viable seeds, they can just as easily engineer it in such as way that the pollen will not contain the genetic modifications by inserting the gene into the chloroplast (http://www.ciens.ucv.ve......). and even though you think buffer zones are a joke, they are effective at preventing the majority of cross-pollinations from occurring.

Putting aside the inevitable arrogance of any scientific research (mine was primarily in opto-electronics and I can tell tales form THAT domain!) the matter of buffer zones preventing cross pollination has been shown round in my neck of the woods to be a joke. We've had three years of a local farm growing modified brassica napus.

It's very obviously different from the natural forms in size and even its scent, and over that time seed loss in transport has resulted in the growth of oilseed that always takes place in the verges, included GM oilseed and now a hybrid is emerging. It's also very clear that there has been a devastating effect on the insect population based on nothing more than the number-plate observation and those missing insects are a missing foodstuff in the whole wild life food chain.

There is a whole lot more involved than the simple stuff when the impact of the environment of a GM crop is examined.

It absolutely IS a condemnation of the use of GMO's in the environment because the GMO's are infecting natural crops.

there are ways to deal with that, as i mentioned above. and in any case you can't just say because its not 100% preventable the risk is too great. there has to be a cost-benefit analysis

The cost never includes the knock on costs to the greater environment. Today the benefits and the unexpected spin-offs simply are not known and when the environment as a whole is considered I go with the principle of spots on apples and birds and bees. I want all three.

sure, dismiss everything i said as the ramblings of a child. and i'll dismiss everything you've said as the stubborn fears of an old man. sounds productive!

No, not the ramblings of a child, the inevitable views of someone who is engaging in a discipline being led by those with a vested interest that is focused on a partisan end result.

With old age comes not necessarily wisdom (sometimes just the opposite!) but often experience and breadth of vision. Take glass fibre optics. You can get a 100km throw and more easily, and at low cost ….. but the materials used in forming the "soot" are horrible and the fibre is carcinogenic when fractured unless great care is taken and yet …..; it seemed so good at the time!