Minnesota Farmer


Modified, my say
October 22, 2012, 9:11 pm
Filed under: Farm, genetic modification, GMO, science | Tags: , , , ,

You can most likely guess from the previous posts that I am in favor of what has been happening with GMO products.  Part of it is because I understand the science of GMO’s.  I have training in Agricultural sciences and have kept up with what universities and private companies are doing.  I have not been “shocked” by some fake science finding that has no basis in truth.

A case in point.  One of the GMO items that some people are upset about is the addition of the Bt gene to crops so that crops can produce their own insecticide.  Here’s what the University of Wisconsin has to say about Bt.

  • What is Bt?
  • Bt is the common abbreviation for a naturally occurring bacteria Bacillus thuringienus that is found in the soil. A unique feature of this bacterium is its production of crystal like proteins that selectively kill specific groups of insects. These crystal proteins are insect stomach poisons that must be eaten to kill the insect. Bt insecticides have been used for over 60 years and are considered safe to non-target organisms. However, because it is a “natural” product it is unstable and short-lived.
  • How is Bt corn created?
  • Plant geneticists create Bt corn by inserting selected exotic DNA(in this case Bt DNA) into the corn plant’s DNA. DNA is the genetic material that controls the expression of a plant’s or animals’s traits. The Bt gene, modified for improved expression in corn, produce the crystal proteins which are toxic to some caterpillars, such as the European corn borer. Promoters determine where the toxin will be expressed in the plant. Varieties that express the toxin in silks, kernels and pith tend to offer longer season protection than varieties that express only in the pollen and green tissue of the plant.
  • How safe is Bt and Bt corn?
  • The EPA considered 20 years of human and animal safety data before registering Bt corn. Bt proteins are not toxic to people, domestic animals, fish, or wildlife; and they have no impacts on the environment. Bt crystal proteins are highly selective in killing larvae of moths. Bt corn, however, does not affect beneficial insects including honey bees, lady beetles, green lacewing larvae, spiders, pirate bugs or parasitic wasps.

So there you have it, that is the science of Bt genetics.  An organic insecticide is produced in the plant.  This product had over 20 years of trials before it was placed into plants and has been used for over 10 yeas since then.  I’d consider that to be sufficient testing.

Yes, insects will develop a resistance to it, that is natural.  These will not be super bugs, just survivors.  There will be other methods available to help contain those surviving insects.

Then you have genetic modifications that encourage better root growth or put more beans in a pod, are they to be classed with all other modifications when they do not add exotic DNA?

So many people are afraid that we are going to unleash Frankensteins Monster on an unsuspecting public, but this is not likely to happen.  This is not a horror movie, this is life folks.  Our scientific community is trying to produce more food to feed the children of the future, let them alone to do their job.  Please don’t stop them from creating beneficial changes in our plants and animals because of some fear monger’s nightmare.  The era of genetic modification is upon us and the potential benefits are exciting.

Michael

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8 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi Michael, I would like to compile your comments on GMO and make them available in a blog I compose as an update on the subject for 21st Century Tech. Do I have your permission?

Comment by lenrosen4

Go ahead

Comment by Michael

I finished the draft and sent you a note on your Facebook page. Want you to see the finished copy before I post it.

Comment by lenrosen4

yes please

Comment by Michael

Michael, My email address is rosen.len@gmail.com

Comment by lenrosen4

Hi Michael, I could do this article as an interview in which I pose questions and use your content to create the answers. What do you think?

Comment by lenrosen4

As long as I can see the finished product before publication.

Comment by Michael

Need your email to send you the draft. Don’t want to put it here in the comments.

Comment by lenrosen4




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