Ask Us Anything About GMOs!

Q:
Maybe GMO's aren't the problem. They are only the enabler in the case of Roundup Ready. Enabling food to be doused with it. Roundup is supposed to be safe on humans since it only attacks plants. Isn't our gut flora and fauna plant like? This retired MIT scientist explains my question. http://youtu.be/h_AHLDXF5aw
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A:Expert Answer

Plants are not "doused" in Roundup or, more precisely, its active ingredient glyphosate.  Relatively small amounts of glyphosate are applied as weeds emerge.  These die and do not compete against emerging glyphosate-resistant crops.  Glyphosate is amazingly non-toxic to humans or any other animals.  Acute effects are seen only at relatively high doses. The LD50 (the dose that kills half of the rats that consume the dose) is about 5,000 mg/kg of body weight.  In other words, if you weigh 200 pounds, you'd have to drink about two pounds of the 41 percent commercial concentrate to have a 50 percent chance of dying. Of course, it is not recommended―ask any of the hundreds of people that have tried to commit suicide by drinking it.  It takes a good dose to cause problems. Look up "glyphosate" and "suicide" in PubMed.  

 

The flora of the gut are hardly plant-like—they are microbes, the vast majority bacteria. The "Roundup resistance" gene comes from a bacterium.

 

The woman in the YouTube video you sent is Dr. Stephanie Seneff.  She is a computer scientist in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT.  She is not a plant scientist, molecular biologist or expert in human disease.  She uses the MIT affiliation and a Ph.D. to create arguments from authority without evidence.  Her evidence is largely correlation.  She claims that glyphosate causes autism.  And obesity.  And Parkinson's.  And depression.  And ADHD.  And several other ailments. 

 

She explains their effect being caused by "exogenous semiotic entropy," a phrase that, if Googled, gives you her paper in Entropy, a low-/no-impact physics journal that has a reputation of publishing anything for a fee.  It claims peer review, but no biologist or medical researcher reviewed the work.  The phrase "exogenous semiotic entropy" sounds fancy, but she's the first person to use it.

 

The big problem with glyphosate is not physiological; it is resistant weeds.  Fortunately, new solutions are in the works.  Glyphosate is a great tool for farmers; it keeps labor and fuels costs lower, and it allows for "no-till" farming, saving valuable topsoil.

Topic: Safety, Health, and Nutrition  14 Comments | Add Comment