Comments are closed.
Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.
(read the very fine print next to the UDSA logo)
"Trust us. We're Scientists." ™
GM food can help us in so many ways. Starvation due to draughts can be alleviated and until we manage to figure out a cure for overpopulation we will, no matter what the dangers, need it. Theres no getting away from it.
Its either that or figure out a way to decrease the constant rise of the human population on our planet, until we figure out a good way to do that we will have to be able to grow food on fucking rocks or something... its a problem of choosing to eat chunky or loose shit and pretend its filét mignon - misplaced commas or not.
(1) = or we stole the patent from the natives of a third world country for it.
Stray genetic material from all over is in our food, and always has been.
There are excellent arguments against GM crops besides the almost certainly imaginary health dangers. GM is an intellectual property disaster, not a health one.
The article itself is not much better. The upshot is that microRNA with origin in rice have been found in mammalian bloodstreams and can be shown to influence cells. It's actually pretty interesting, but it hardly constitutes some red alert for GM foods. Somehow people have this bizarre notion that GM food are the only ones endowed with DNA and therefore somehow more risky. There is no reason to suppose microRNA is more likely to show up from GM foods than any other food, so their existence is no more a warning about GM food than organic kale.
The most frustrating thing is that there are actually legitimate concerns and a few outright problems with some GM foods, but they get drowned out by the hysterical, overblown, unscientific rhetoric surrounding the subject.
If Monsanto has its way, it will *cause* more starvation than it solves.
Imagine eating an apple that is designed to increase testosterone levels or some such thing. Maybe possible maybe not, eukaryotic regulations is not my speciality. That said, adding a halibut gene to a tomato and similar DNA gene modifications are not going to cause an miRNA problem. It is of totally different DNA origin.
I am surprised, Lynx, that miRNAs survive the gastrointestinal system. It must be rife with RNAse. I wonder how miRNA degradation works. As a regulatory element, it can't be that long lived right?
It's what some are modifying organisms to do that can be alarming. Not all of it is awful.
I was referring to the byline on the Atlantic article, which expresses surprise that we consume more than "proteins and vitamins" when we eat. I shouldn't have gone off quite like that, because they do say "microRNA" and not DNA, so that was a mistake of mine. Of course they call microRNA information and make a number of other boneheaded statements, so I'll keep my guilt to a minimum ;-)
Which can be considered "information".
Depends on how you look at it.
The most interesting argument I've heard against GM food came from my sister. She's allergic to soy milk, but not soy. Turns out, the soybeans used to make the soy milk were modified with genes from Brazil nuts, which she is allergic to.
miRNAs are short, they average about 22bp. Maybe RNAse doesn't act on them with equal efficiency. Or perhaps as high acid concentrations is one thing that can denature RNAse, the stomach is an environment that would permit survival of RNA for a time. It's an interesting question.
remember, if in fact up to half of our food sold in the US contains GMOs or comes from China (where half the food is adulterated and it most likely contains GMOs), then it's kind of hard to avoid in US food, as opposed to EU food.
Time for a bio major to chime in. MicroRNAs (miRNA) are chopped-up bits of what used to be similar to messenger RNA (mRNA); that is, transcripts of protein-coding genes. A variety of enzymes slice up and process the transcript, releasing miRNAs of 20-odd nucleotides which then bind to complementary sequences on mRNAs, suppressing transcription of the proteins that those mRNAs code for. Since complementary sequences are usually found on genes similar to the one from which the mRNA was made, mRNAs tend to silence copies of the gene from which they stem. This has the effect of regulating gene dosage; if a gene has too many copies in a cell, its expression will be lowered. This seems to protect against certain kinds of virus.
Since miRNAs are fairly specific, this is pretty much a non-issue. They won't regulate the expression of just any gene, you know.
Basically, the primary pathway is least harmful, the secondary (or backup) pathway is slightly harmful (e.g. emergency, or used to deal with certain environmental conditions), the tertiary pathway is an evolutionary conservation pathway (e.g. from when we were dinosaurs or fish or whatever) and can be harmful.
If the miRNA shifted this on (the third pathway) it wouldn't be pleasant, sometimes.
I'd be far more concerned about contaminated food (e.g. from China) than about this risk factor, however.
Hey, did you guys catch the article on salmon gene computer devices?
@28: I'm a double major in the biological and geophysical sciences. I graduate in spring of 2013, God willing.
That being said, I'm convinced that GM is, in the balance, a very good thing. GM offers a partial solution to our current intensive reliance on irrigation, pesticides, and fertilizers. More importantly, the world population is seven billion and climbing rapidly. Organic farming couldn't feed much more than half of that, even if we farmed every last square inch of arable land on the planet.