This string of commentary has taken enough time and frustration that I’m bumping it up to its own post.
Posted by Jon Berkowitz on April 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm edit
Genetic modification of a plant affects only polypeptides translated from the genome template. Proteins in GMO and non-GMO foods may have variation in three-dimensional structure, but all that structure is rendered moot when the protein is digested to free amino acids by enzymes in the stomach and in the small intestine. While there might be vanishingly small variation in amino acid representation in the digestion mix, amino acids are still amino acids whether they come from a GMO plant or a non-GMO plant.
When a GMO food is digested, the digestion products, amino acids, are no different than the mix of amino acids generated by digestion of a non-GMO food. The whole GMO obsession is one big hoax.
Posted by laurabruno on April 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm edit
Then how do you explain all the (numerous) studies showing otherwise? The only times these studies are refuted is when Monsanto takes over the publication or someone gets threatened. The hoax is having the rolling door between our government and Monsanto and paid shills spouting company propaganda. If GMOs are so great, then why the thuggery, why the corrupt business practices, why the refusal to label anything, why the bribery and pressure to keep GMOs unaccountable for organic farms’ crop pollution (and it IS pollution) … why the refusal to conduct REAL scientific, long-term studies before determining something is safe? Even if the proteins were similar, your comment accounts nothing for the toxic herbicides and pesticides these crops are routinely drenched with — chemicals that HAVE been proven to cause cancer. You’re either a paid shill yourself, or a sadly misinformed artificial flavor and FD&C Kool Aid drinker. I would encourage you to research glyphosate and Agent Orange. They’re not health tonics. Also interesting that your url is just a straight https://www.facebook.com url.
Posted by Jon Berkowitz on April 5, 2014 at 3:05 pm edit
Rest assured, I am paid or supported by nobody in my comments. I am a protein chemist with a thy-year career studying proteins from native sources. What I recited to you are the facts. Your studies may reveal this or that but what I have put down are the facts and it’s likely that Monsanto isn’t doing long-term studies because they too recognize the truth that the facts reveal. I not here to discuss the relative merits of pesticides and herbicides as you bring up. That isn’t even tangential to the legitimacy of the claims that GMO foods are dangerous. You can kick against the the pricks all day long, but in the end, the basic facts and the logic that accompanies them will prevail. “Don’t harbor beautiful theories by concealing ugly facts.” (Bill Patton) For the record, I am a big fan of organic gardening/farming and have been involved in the natural foods movement since 1975
Posted by laurabruno on April 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm edit
Good to hear you’re not a paid shill. I disagree that pesticides and herbicides are irrelevant to the discussion. GMOs and these toxins go hand in hand and are designed to do so. Blessings, Laura
Posted by Jon Berkowitz on April 5, 2014 at 11:51 pm edit
The discussion concerns the legitimacy of the claim that GMO are hazardous to human health. If, as you say, that pesticides and herbicides go hand-in-hand with GMO crops then you need to come up with a explanation of why the adjustment of one to several genes in the germline of a compromises resistance to pests and competing plants. Pest resistance is also something that can be manipulated for advantage. This can reduce or eliminate need of and herbicides to great economic benefit. I challenge you to demonstrate the verity of your claim that GMO crops and pesticides and herbicides “go hand-in-hand.” That aside, it seems you are unwilling to recognize the argument I have set forth that refutes the legitimacy of the entire GMO-foods crusade. And it’s irresponsible and misleading to propagate untruths.
My Facebook page is openly available to anyone who wants to view it. I don’t know what problem you had with my Facebook url because your sentence was cut off before the end. I am the Jon Berkowitz who resides in Niskayuna, NY
Posted by laurabruno on April 6, 2014 at 1:57 am edit
Have you really not heard of Bt corn that is designed to be its own pesticide and that cows that eat this corn are having some of the same effects (exploding stomach) as the insects? Have you not heard of Roundup ready corn and soy? As in, these are designed to withstand increasingly heavy sprayings of glyphosate? Do you think they design things to be sprayed by glophosate and then just miraculously don’t spray it? Are you not aware of Agent Orange being used because of RoundUp resistant superweeds?
Where do you think all these chemicals go if not into the food, water and land? My ex-husband was a Vietnam Vet who was exposed to Agent Orange. It’s not a health tonic. What about studies now indicating the role of GM corn in increased food sensitivities and gluten intolerance due to damage of human digestive tracts? What about the fact that most of these pesticides and herbicides are known carcinogens and neurotoxins?
I am not spreading disinformation. Dow chemical and Monsanto are chemical corporations in the business of industrial chemicals. That is a fact. Their GM Frankenfoods are designed to withstand absurdly high applications of their chemicals. To say the connection is not relevant to the dangers of GMO’s is like the bought and paid for Federal gov’t saying “Just because we have the NDAA and the right to drone American citizens, c’mon it’s no big deal, because at our discretion we might decide not to. Why do you assume because we designed the laws this way and insist through court cases that we maintain these rights to do away with due process and just kill people at our discretion that we intend to use the laws to imprison without trial or kill without consequence? That’s paranoid.” Roundup ready soy growers aren’t going to use Roundup. Right.
The reason we have superweeds is because of the massive use of Roundup on GM monocrops. And who’s to say that a tiny shift in proteins isn’t a big deal in terms of the body and the endocrine system? Look at what tiny shifts in an ecosystem do – huge ripple effects. Playing with genetics is, at best, something that ought to require good ethics and a sense of responsibility. Monsanto has shown neither. Consistently.
If you are not familiar with the ravages of indigenous communities and the poisoning of their food and water, then I encourage you to research what’s happening in South and Central America. It is ALL related. Monsanto favors BigAg practices and BigAg is what’s depleting our topsoil of nutrients and poisoning our land and water. That all factors in. I’m sorry if you can’t see that.
Posted by laurabruno on April 6, 2014 at 2:33 am edit
Posted by Jon Berkowitz on April 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm edit
My initial post concerning the basis for claiming that GMO foods and non-GMO are indistinguishable did not have the purpose of launching into the controversy regarding pesticides and their toxicity into which you have manipulated this discussion. You have not addressed my initial assertion that, after digestion, the product from GMO foods is indistinguishable from that of non-GMO food. This is the central thesis of the controversy surrounding GMO foods. Even unique post-translational modification of products emerging from genetically modified plants are rendered into amino acids and simple sugars in the gut before absorption into the bloodstream. Are you aware of any of the beneficial results from genetically engineered crops? For example, this article http://www.goldenrice.org/Content2-How/how1_sci.php discusses the engineering of the rice genome so that the crop produces beta carotene for the purpose of ameliorating vitamin A deficiency among natives in primitive communities.
Furthermore, you have not cited the literature in asserting claims regarding the evil that pesticides are as you suppose. You seem to disregard the fact that the body has a certain capacity to detoxify noxious compounds and that resides in the liver. Not that we should tempt this capacity by seeking out opportunities to ingest toxins. But it is a significant factor in clearing the body of those things it cannot use. Unfortunately you don’t seem to understand that we all have potentially carcinogenic processes taking place in our bodies and the causes of metabolic equilibrium shift toward products of these processes and the appearance of malignancy is not determined by one factor but by many. Thus, to say “Agent Orange causes cancer,” is not scientifically sound because there’s no quantitative consideration in the claim, nor is there any mention of the enormous variation in tolerance that exists among people for the toxins found in pesticides. Another element to consider is that the bulk of the pesticides fractionate with the fibrous parts of plant material and are eliminated before they get the chance to be absorbed. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691599001106).
But again, I would like to know how you can operate in this cause while not admitting the specious pretexts upon which it is based. Studies of anything biological usually yield a spectrum of results and frequently researchers will use calculations to arrive at results which support final conclusions that are consistent with the researcher’s objectives. You can debate, interpret and manipulate results. But you cannot do this with facts. And the facts concerning germline manipulation of plants and the resulting protein products produced by this do not support the notion that GMO-foods are different in their elemental constituents after digestion than non-GMO foods and therefore there is no logical or scientific basis for the assertion that there is a difference between them. Here is a study from a reputable, mainstream scientific journal which supports my stand: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691511006399
Posted by laurabruno on April 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm edit
I have not manipulated the discussion, as I do not feel you can argue GMOs in a vacuum that fails to address pesticides and herbicides. If you feel so strongly about GMOs being safe then go ahead and campaign for them. Somewhere else.
There have been enough studies and experiences of birth defects, neurological issues, cancers and respiratory issues and even death after spraying of such. A friend of my partner’s family had their young, healthy child drop dead the afternoon of mistakenly riding his bike downwind of a field as they sprayed pesticides on it. My father got the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma specifically associated with glyphosate after a summer of spraying Roundup on dandelions. The level of toxins found in bloodstreams and crossing the placental barrier would seem to indicate that we have far exceeded many people’s capacities to detoxify them.
I have sent links to articles. I will read the one you sent, but I personally don’t care if GMOs digest the same. I don’t believe it does in all cases, as per the humans now having Bt in their own guts. I also do not see how you can reasonably separate pesticides and herbicides from health concerns with GMOs. As for feeding the world? Permaculture and restoring the land so it is not so depleted of life giving nutrients. Permaculture also creates systems that mimic nature and help to enlarge and protect harvests.
I don’t have time to continue this discussion with you. Clearly, we do not agree. In the long haul, mankind has not shown that altering Nature is a universally wise decision. People have an immediate revulsion against some things for a reason. Third World countries are among the groups banning GMOs. They would rather starve than eat that crap. Enjoy your organic gardening whilst trumpeting the safety of GMOs!
Posted by laurabruno on April 6, 2014 at 2:59 pm edit
Twelve “long-term” studies of 90 days or up to two years! LOL, 90 days to two years is not long-term, particularly when some studies have indicated multi-generational effects from both GMOs and the toxins associated with them. It is this sort of short sighted thinking that got us into the corporatocracy and medical mafia destroying our world. I do not worship the god of science. I’m sorry if that’s your chosen profession and religion, but, while science does sometimes have value, science and the corporations worshiping it are also largely responsible for most of the problems they purport to solve. Indigenous wisdom worked well for millennia before science insisted on improving Nature. Even Pasteur recanted some of his work on his deathbed.
As I said, enjoy your organic gardening whilst promoting the “longterm” safety of GMOs. In my world, safety includes living environment, as well as quality of life — all life, not just humancentric. We have not even gotten into discussions about the bees and pesticides. Try solving world hunger without bees! The way things are going, we might have to. I’m sure science will bless us with a solution to that, which causes another whole series of problems, for which they will also have the (patented) solution.