How GMOs Are Made

By • January 16, 2015

Excerpt from publication originally posted at Sense About Science.

"Introduction: Why Make Sense of Uncertainty?

"Scientific uncertainty is prominent in research that has big implications for our society: could the Arctic be ice-free in summer by 2080? Will a new cancer drug be worth its side effects? Is this strain of ‘flu going to be a dangerous epidemic? 

"Uncertainty is normal currency in scientific research. Research goes on because we don’t know everything. Researchers then have to estimate how much of the picture is known and how confident we can all be that their findings tell us what’s happening or what’s going to happen. This is uncertainty. But in public discussion scientific uncertainty is presented as a deficiency of research. We want (even expect) certainty – safety, effective public policies, useful public expenditure. 

"Uncertainty is seen as worrying, and even a reason to be cynical about scientific research – particularly on subjects such as climate science, the threat of disease or the prediction of natural disasters. In some discussions, uncertainty is taken by commentators to mean that anything could be true, including things that are highly unlikely or discredited, or that nothing is known. This conflict frustrates us at Sense About Science, and we know that it frustrates researchers we work with and the public we hear from. Some clearer ideas about what researchers mean by scientific uncertainty – and where uncertainty can be measured and where it can’t – would help everyone with how to respond to the uncertainty in evidence. 

"This guide has brought together specialists in many areas – climate science, clinical research, natural hazard prediction, public health, biostatistics and epidemiology. We asked them for the reasons why they are not automatically so troubled by the presence of uncertainty in the most heated debates. We have looked at what uncertainty means and doesn’t mean in science, how it is measured, when it can’t be measured and how that might change through research into the big questions. Above all we asked how other people can grapple constructively with advances in knowledge and changes in thinking, instead of despairing at ‘those uncertain scientists’."

Read the full publication, "Making Sense of Uncertainty:Why uncertainty is part of science" here [PDF].

 

Anyone who has traveled through the Southeast and seen kudzu vines along the highway knows that plants can evolve into a negative outcome. There is a similar concern that a GMO can produce negative outcomes in the environment. Therefore, prior t

Anyone who has traveled through the Southeast and seen kudzu vines along the highway knows that plants can evolve into a negative outcome. There is a similar concern that a GMO can produce negative outcomes in the environment. 

Therefore, prior to approving their commercial planting, GMOs must be tested in contained field trials to ensure that they do not behave in ways that could cause problems. To prevent negative outcomes, GMOs must not have the ability to cross with wild relatives, show weedy tendencies, or the ability to harm wildlife, among other criteria.

By • April 05, 2018

This post was originally published on GMO Answers' Medium page.

Don’t let food labels fool you. Knowing the facts can make you fool-proof.

By Mike Stebbins

With the amount of myths and misinformation about GMOs permeating the news, online and even grocery stores this year, it seems like every day is April Fool’s Day. But don’t let these fearmongering tactics fool you into believing today’s bogus food trends. Here are some of the biggest GMO jokes that you shouldn’t fall for:

1. You may have heard the myth that GMOs are made by injecting fish DNA into plants.

 

But here’s what really happens: When scientists create a genetically modified plant, the process begins by identifying a desired trait, like disease-resistance or drought-tolerance, in nature. Once they have identified a trait and isolated the specific gene or genes that control the trait, the next step in development is to transfer the desired gene into a crop plant. A common misconception is that this practice is dangerous, when in fact, the GM improved plant is then extensively tested, and researchers look for differences between the GM plant and its conventional counterpart. Nothing fishy about GM crops here!

2. Food containing ingredients derived from GMO crops is less nutritious.

But, don’t be fooled. There’s no nutritional difference between a GMO and its non-GMO counterpart, unless it has intentionally added nutrients! In fact, an analysis of more than 21 years of research on genetically modified crops found that GMO corn can provide more health benefits than traditional corn.

 

3. Someone tells you “GM Farmers soak, douse & drench their crops in pesticides."

Don’t fall for it! A common misconception is that the adoption of genetically modified crops has increased the use of pesticides, when just the opposite is true. Over the last 20 years, GMOs have reduced pesticide spraying by just over 8 percent!

 

4. And the biggest hoax of them all – absent labels.

Maybe you’ve come across “GMO-free” water or “GMO-free” pink Himalayan salt at your local grocery store? Neither of these products have genes that could be edited in the first place, yet the absurd claims of what’s “absent” in food continue, perpetuating fear and negatively shaping people’s perceptions of GMOs. Thankfully, consumers are no longer taking this joke seriously and are calling out companies for fearmongering.

 

 

A day of practical jokes can be fun, but when those jokes lead to misinformation about our food beyond April 1, it’s important to know the facts. Get informed so that next time you hear one of these four myths, you’ll have the last laugh.

 

 

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PRESENTATION: Get to Know GMOs

Production of genetically engineered plants, aka, plant transformation, is probably one of the safest techniques in a science laboratory. In fact, plant transformation in a lab is safer than most home kitchens. Most genetic modification that takes place t

Production of genetically engineered plants, aka, plant transformation, is probably one of the safest techniques in a science laboratory. In fact, plant transformation in a lab is safer than most home kitchens. Most genetic modification that takes place these days is done through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Agrobacterium is a very common soil

By • March 21, 2018

The following is an article recently published by Esquire detailing the research of scientists from the University of California Berkeley showing how they used DNA-editing software to create sustainable hops-replacements for brewing beer. 

People make a lot of noise about GMOs: They aren't natural; we don't know what they'll do to our bodies. But if GMOs could save the beer industry, would anyone really give a damn?

 

 

The hops used to flavor beer require a whole lot of water to cultivate. An average of 50 pints of H2O goes into growing enough for just one pint, which is expensive and unsustainable. But you need them to make beer taste like, well, beer. Or at least you did. It looks like scientists have succeeded in replicating that sour, hoppy, delightfully beery taste without using actual hops.

Lagunitas is an example of the many craft breweries that use more hops than Big Beer companies—compare the flavor of a Lagunitas IPA to a Miller Lite—leading to an increased industry demand for the flower, and using up even more water. These genetically engineered hops require less water (and fertilizer). And because they suck up fewer resources, they might also lower the price of beer, just in time for beer prices to get ratcheted up thanks to President Trump's tariff on aluminum.

If breweries start using GMO hops, we could have many more years of sustainable drinking at a lower cost with the same beery taste. All you have to do is pop the tab on a science experiment.

In a research paper published Tuesday, scientists at the University of California Berkeley introduced an alternative to hops. They were able to mimic that refreshingly funky beer taste by altering the genome of brewer's yeast, fusing the yeast with genes from mint and basil plants, the Guardian reports.

The results were so convincing that they taste tested them on employees at the local Lagunitas Brewing Company, who admitted beer brewed with the GMO hops was hoppier than beer brewed the old-fashioned way. The tasting notes? "Fruit Loops and orange blossom," without any "off-flavors," the employees said.

QHow was the Rainbow Papaya constructed? What specific genes were inserted into the papaya in order to get it PRSV resistent

How was the Rainbow Papaya constructed? What specific genes were inserted into the papaya in order to get it PRSV resistent
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