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Looking for some GMO answers

Posted by LaurieK123 7b Oregon (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 4, 12 at 0:43

I have been trying to research GMO seeds/plants. The net gives me lots of conflicting information and I am wondering if some of you have the answers.

I read on the net that there is no way GMO seeds are being sold on the open market to people like you and I. They say GMO seeds are limited to around 8 food types (mostly grains), and those grain seed are only sold to huge companies for crop production. TRUE/FALSE?

I also read that if a seed company says that they take the safe seed pledge; that all this statement means, is that they do not knowingly sell GMO seeds. It does not mean that all of their seeds are actually NON-GMO. TRUE/FALSE?

I receive a lot of seed catalogs. Some say they take the safe seed pledge. Some don't say anything about GMO vs NON-GMO. When I look through these catalogs I can't help, but to notice that the one's that make the safe seed pledge statement offer varieties of hybrids that have at most, resistance to 1 or 2 or 3 diseases. And, when I look at the catalogs that don't mention GMO at all; they have hybrid varieties that are resistant to 4 or 5 or 6 diseases. I find that strange and it makes me wonder how those other companies have cross-bred their seeds to be resistant to almost all disease "naturally".

I have had really mucky springs these last few years and it would be cool to get one of those super hybrids that are resistant to almost everything, but I am leery.

Thank you for any input : )

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Looking for some GMO answers

First you must decide what you mean by GMO.
To me is like crossing a fish with a tomato to get a tomato that can stand freezing. I am not kidding you on this. I don't need any part of that.
Then there is exposing a plant to a disease or chemical until it builds up a resistance to that problem by natural selection. I do not consider this GMO, but many people do, either by choice or lack of knowledge. Then crossing this resistant one with a wanted variety to get the end result. Just about every tomato there is fits into this category, so if you use this strict definition I doubt you can find any food the is not GMO.

RE: Looking for some GMO answers

Hi, Good question back.

I am bothered by the GMO that comes from (man-made), artificial changes to DNA.

On the other hand as you pointed out above, if a mutation occures through natural selection or if a plant is forced to addapt through forced exposure to disease etc... then I would still consider that natural, because it is the plant adapting through it's natural means.

Thank you for your point, I had not thought about in those terms before : )

RE: Looking for some GMO answers

Buy organic. They cannot by definition be gmo.

RE: Looking for some GMO answers

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 6, 12 at 11:47

I don't know of any retail source for any kind of GMO seeds. If anyone knows of such a source, I would be interested in knowing what it is. So that "safe seed pledge" seems like a marketing gimmick to me.

As I understand it, our government's regulations have not kept GMO foods off of our grocery market shelves, and GMO foods are not labeled, except that Organic foods are probably not GMO. However, I don't know of any documented case in which someone was hurt by eating GMO food. Bacterial contamination of food products is more of a real problem.

I have probably eaten some of those tomatoes that had fish genes. No ill effects except, possibly, an odd craving for tomatoes when I am in the shower. (Grin) And now, to even things out, I guess we need some fish that have tomato genes.

RE: Looking for some GMO answers

GM is a special set of technologies that alter the genetic makeup of organisms such as animals, plants, or bacteria. Biotechnology, a more general term, refers to using organisms or their components, such as enzymes, to make products that include wine, cheese, beer, and yogurt.

countries that grew 97% of the global transgenic crops were the United States (53%), Argentina (17%), Brazil (11%), Canada (6%), India (4%), China (3%), Paraguay (2%) and South Africa (1%). Although growth is expected to plateau in industrialized nations, it is increasing in developing countries. The next decade will see exponential progress in GM product development as researchers gain increasing and unprecedented access to genomic resources that are applicable to organisms beyond the scope of individual projects.

GM Products: Benefits and Controversies


  • Crops

    • Enhanced taste and quality
    • Reduced maturation time
    • Increased nutrients, yields, and stress tolerance
    • Improved resistance to disease, pests, and herbicides
    • New products and growing techniques

  • Animals

    • Increased resistance, productivity, hardiness, and feed efficiency
    • Better yields of meat, eggs, and milk
    • Improved animal health and diagnostic methods

  • Environment

    • "Friendly" bioherbicides and bioinsecticides
    • Conservation of soil, water, and energy
    • Bioprocessing for forestry products
    • Better natural waste management
    • More efficient processing

  • Society

    • Increased food security for growing populations


  • Safety

    • Potential human health impacts, including allergens, transfer of antibiotic resistance
      markers, unknown effects
    • Potential environmental impacts, including: unintended transfer
      of transgenes through cross-pollination, unknown effects on other organisms
      (e.g., soil microbes), and loss of flora and fauna biodiversity

  • Access and Intellectual Property

    • Domination of world food production by a few companies
    • Increasing dependence on industrialized nations by developing countries
    • Biopiracy, or foreign exploitation of natural resources

  • Ethics

    • Violation of natural organisms' intrinsic values
    • Tampering with nature by mixing genes among species
    • Objections to consuming animal genes in plants and vice versa
    • Stress for animal

  • Labeling

    • Not mandatory in some countries (e.g., United States)
    • Mixing GM crops with non-GM products confounds labeling attempts

  • Society

    • New advances may be skewed to interests of rich countries

RE: Looking for some GMO answers

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 6, 12 at 20:06

I think that it is inevitable that amateurs will begin dabbling in genetic modification. Most of the genetic modification is now done by big companies in expensive laboratory facilities, but amateurs will devise ways of doing it without big investments or elaborate laboratories. Science Fair projects by children will do genetic modification. For example, the gene gun was originally a modified Crosman air pistol. Kids will enjoy creating new forms of life. Welcome to living in a science fiction world. Will things go wrong? Probably.


RE: Looking for some GMO answers

Right now, most GMO seed is for big ag commodity crops- RoundUp Ready soy, corn, canola, and now alfalfa. There is also BT corn & BT cotton, which has BT wedged in there to kill the corn & boll worms when they take a bite. They are evolving to resist that now....

You have to buy GMO seed from the source- Monsanto or whoever, and you have to sign a pledge that you won't perform any experiments with it, and that you won't save the seed. There can be pollen drift which containmates regular seed being grown nearby, (like with corn) but in general, the average gardener cannot get their mitts on GMO seed.

Hybridizing plants for disease resistance & other qualities has been going on since the dawn of time. The key element there, is that it is cross pollination within the same species, and is perfectly natural.

Some Hybrids aren't all that great though- it depends on how much & in what way they have been tweaked. There is some debate to their nutritional value. But there are also Hybrids which have been developed to bump up nutrition, the fine print with them, do trials, etc.

But Hybrids are not GMOs. GMOs are created when one species' genes are inserted into another species' DNA. With BT corn, a bacterium's gene (bacillus thuringiensis a known caterpillar kiler) is inserted into corn or cotton DNA. I don't know what RoundUp Ready seed has inserted, but the basic function of RoundUp is to weaken the plant's natural defenses to enable soil borne pathogens to take over & kill the plant. RoundUp resistant weeds are evolving & becoming a problem now. Old school pesticide companies are quite happy about that~

Google Don Huber & glysophate. Not only are we eating loads of RoundUp every day in soy, corn & canola products, but we are destroying our soil and reducing nutrient uptake by the crops that are sprayed with it....and our livestock is starting to show signs of infertility from GMO feedstock.

As to the Safe Seed pledges- it is incredibly expensive to test for GMO contamination. Organic seed, by definition, has to be GMO free- but I don't know if it's 100% anymore, as the USDA has watered down Organic standards to be almost comical.

Anyhoo, any seed house that makes the pledge is at least aware of the problem & is doing what they can.

Understanding the pollination of whatever you want to grow will help your decisions: if you want to grow corn, which is primarily wind pollinated, don't fool around, buy Organic seed. (Unless you know for sure it's been grown far away from any GMO corn fields.) Stuff that is mostly self pollinated and non commodity (like tomatoes, peppers, melons, etc.) there's not alot to worry about in terms of GMO contamination. Yet!

I hope this helps- it does get confusing & alarming. But at this point you're more likely to eat GMO food than accidentally buy GMO seed. But they have all kinds of GMO plants & animals in the pipeline for eventual release.

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