GM Foods are a tool, not a moral issue. However, they cause enough controversy to make you think they are killing people. The only valuable argument ever raised was that GMOs might trigger allergies (since the foods we eat normally have been selected for their safety, this seems reasonable). Experiments where rats were fed GM potatoes were shown to be badly designed (specifically, the potatoes were modified to produce lectin which is poisonous anyway!).

On the other hand, there may be some recent evidence that bacteria in the guts of bees take up the modified genes from GM pollen. Although this does not mean they are expressed, it does make trials more complicated. A final point to counter claims that GM foods are essential for the Third World is that improvement in crop growth can also be brought about by proper understanding of how plants find nutrients.

The Aberdeen scientist (Arpad Pusztai) who performed the lectin (I misspelt this in a previous version, thus the soft link below) experiments published some results in The Lancet. Unfortunately, press conferences somewhat biased the scientific community against him and his work. His claims that GM food is poisonous are somewhat general and largely unsupported.

I voted amoebius's writeup below down, not because I disagree about the good points made; humanitarian arguments are clearly suspect - since better effects could be produced by improving farming techniques and/or better distribution. However the long term benefits are not the issue that is usually argued, it is the dangers. I must reiterate (see: genetic pollution) that if you don't understand something don't use it in your argument. There's no particular reason you should understand genetics, but it does help.

  • Crops are not GM pathogens.
  • Ideas of 'harmony' in nature are overrated
  • 'Emergent' does not equal natural.
  • Natural does not equal 'good', necessarily.
By all means, disagree with multinationals about their seed policies - but don't condemn GM technology through ignorance of it. Yes the world is now a big laboratory, but unless you are prepared to build a second earth (Biosphere 3?) to test crops, then tough. There are much more important environmental issues (reefs dying, decreasing biodiversity...) - concentrate on those.

Formerly, referred to food by the General Mills corporation, now refers to Genetically Modified food. As a point of semantics, it is important to note that almost all food we see has been genetically modified over centuries of domestication. The current debate over GM food is related to Genetic Engineering, where transgenic material may be used. Proponents of genetically engineered food cite the many potential benefits (such as Vitamin A enhanced rice or high yield canola). Detractors refer to GM food as Frankenfood and cite potential hazards to persons eating GM food, as well as the possibility of environmental damage. Dectractors also cite philosophical or moral arguments against GM food.

The mass protests at the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Center in Seattle, Washington are considered a high point in the history of activist group power. Tens of thousands of protesters, from various activist groups, descended upon the city to demonstrate on a variety of issues, most of them relating to the environmental, health, and labor consequences of globalization and greater world trade. One of the lasting memories of these protests (at least in my mind) was the news footage of a man in a large costume that resembled a cross between Frankenstein's famous monster and the Tony the Tiger mascot of Frosted Flakes cereal. The tiger was green, complete with neck plugs and a vaguely stoned look.

He was there as part of a demonstration against genetically modified (GM) foods, or, as the demonstrators referred to them, "Frankenfoods." The connection between genetic modification of food and the Frankenstein monster in our society gives us an interesting glimpse into how many people, including nearly all environmental groups, view GM foods and other GM products. I think that genetically modifying food represents a huge potential solution for many of our health and environmental problems with minimal risks. Many people, (mostly in Europe but also many in America) are strongly in favor of banning GM foods and/or putting restrictive labels on them that would effectively drive many of the foods off the market.

In a society where people have a poor understanding of how genetics work (a recent study in the UK found that only 40 percent of people knew that ordinary vegetables contain genes), slapping a big label on a product is an effective product ban. It also needlessly promotes fears. As the recent Human Genome Project has shown us, our genetic makeup is very similar to most other animals. We even share most of our genes with plants. We do have some unique genes that only show up in our species, but we also have a unique combination of genes found in other species as well.

Nature has been practicing genetic engineering far longer than humans, as genetic material is constantly being swapped between species in the natural world. Pollen from one flower can often impregnate another flower of another species. The food chain cycles genetic material from plant to animal to bigger animal. Humans have also been genetically modifying food, in the strictest sense of the term, for thousands of years. The first farmers in ancient Mesopotamia were humanity's first true genetic engineers. They looked at various edible plants and chose which ones should be planted in the ground in neat little rows to grow more food.

The next year, they took the plants that produced the most food and replanted them. In that way they changed the genetic makeup of a species. If Greenpeace claims that genetic modification is a recent development, they should travel to remote farming villages in the Andes and eat what passes there for a potato. The uniformity, large size, good taste, and natural resistances to chemicals, pests and frost are all genetic traits of modern vegetables that have been carefully nurtured over generations of farming selection. For hundreds of years we have been genetically altering plants and animals through various breeding and mutation process.

The new "genetic engineering" recombinant DNA technology is simply doing the same thing we have always done in a more efficient manner. Instead of madly cross-breeding species in order to produce new genetic traits, the new genetic engineering simply inserts the DNA directly into the cell. It's a new twist on an old theme. The public is misinformed on these issues, and has little conception of the true health and environmental risks involved. Genetic scientist Alan McHughen, in his book on the subject, recounts a meeting on GM food where the leader of a large group of anti-GM activists stormed out of the room saying, "I will never eat DNA!"

The issues involving GM foods relate mostly to health and the environment. Health concerns are chief and foremost in most peoples' minds. What are genetically engineered foods going to do to our bodies? We cannot prove that genetically altered food will not have negative health consequence or, for that matter, that it will not have negative environmental consequences. Science cannot offer us concrete, 100 percent proof of something like that. What we can prove is that these products are basically no more harmful to us than any other food we eat.

There has been no reputable scientific study that has proved that any genetically modified food is any more harmful to our health or the environment than a conventional counterpart. Certain highly publicized reports to the contrary have been proven wrong or focus on the wrong things. And we already do have a large system in place for regulating the safety, health and environmental consequences of all new cultivars of crops and new species of livestock. The Food and Drug Administration, together with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency combine to give us a complicated regulatory framework that keeps unsafe or environmentally unsound products out of production. Some genetically modified foods do produce health risks.

But no more so than normal foods do. We trust the government to keep unsafe products off the shelves. Why should genetically modified foods be any different? The potential environmental benefits are enormous. Genetic engineering is already allowing us to increase crop yields. This means less of our land is devoted to agriculture and more can be reclaimed for forests or other conservation purposes. They also allow us to use less pesticides, which helps wildlife living in proximity to agricultural fields and promotes healthier crops. Stopping plant diseases through genetics allows us to save local farming economies, like the disease-threatened papaya culture in the South Pacific.

Health benefits are huge as well. New "golden rice" may solve many of the problems of famine and malnutrition in developing countries. Vitamin A deficiency is one of the leading causes of sickness and death in the world, and new strains of genetically engineered food can make all that go away. Are there potential environmental problems? Of course. One of the foremost among the potential problems is the possibility of creating superweeds that will overwhelm an ecosystem. I think, though, that such risks are manageable with a smart policy, one that the current administration should work hard to formulate. They are also outweighed by the huge benefits to both farmers and consumers offered by the prospect of genetically engineered food.

Many anti-GM activist groups prey upon people's fears of new technologies and the new issues that they bring. The truth is, though, that new science frequently solves environmental problems faster than it creates them. A rapidly growing population demands more food, and that demands more land. Using more land for agriculture means razing more wilderness. How much Brazilian rain forest could be saved if we gave them genetic crops that took less land to grow? Or how many lumber needs could be met with fast-growing trees, grown in tree farms that allow our beautiful forests to remain untouched? Genetic engineering will change everything. It will change the way we relate to the Earth and the way we live. I think that those changes will be for the better.

GM foods might be good for you, they might be bad for you. I don't know. But I do know that concentrating the issue on the health hazards of GM foods is a feat of spin fit for the US presidential election.

The anti-GM/pro-organic movement is not a health craze. It's political backlash. As such, it's no coincidence that the first and biggest uproar against it was in evidence in Seattle. That was political protest, not a paranoid dieticians' convention, you know.

One of the things that are often swept under the carpet about GM crops is the the genetically modified seeds have to be purchased from the pharmaceutical company that produces them for every new crop. A farmer cannot grow his own seeds - he is entirely dependant on massive multinationals who are outside of normal market competition because their product is patented. A reassuring prospect for small, struggling European farmers, I think not.

To say that GM crops will reduce famine in developing countries is the most cynical of lies. If African farmers are entirely at the mercy of Western market forces now, how much worse will it be when they need to pay a premium for the priviledge of growing cash crops, which they then sell for a pittance insufficient to feed their families?

Neither will "our beautiful forests" be assured safety by the spread of GM crops. There are too many people on this planet. There are more and more of them all the time. To feed them all, we need to exploit larger and larger tracts of land. No amount of fancy labeling will get around the math of that one, unless we descend into the mass produced dry food hells of Soylent Green. Which is exactly what a lot of people are afraid of - that today's GM seeds will open the door to tomorrow's synthetic nutro-biscuits.

We all eat genetically modified food. Every day. Do you think that anything like a cow, an ear of wheat, a head of corn occurs naturally? No. All of them are the result of thousands of years of selective breeding by human beings. Not decades, thousands of years. This has being going on ever since the species were domesticated. Do you think that a lapdog occurs in the wild?

Many of our vegetable and animal crops are unable to even survive or reproduce any more without our assistance.

What we are doing now with direct access to the DNA is the same as we have always been doing, only faster. Naturally, it's like driving a car: the faster you go, the quicker you get there, but the more potential there is for people to get hurt when you make mistakes. That’s "progress" for you.

Labeling genetically modified food as such is useless: it's about as interesting a category as "books written using the help of a word processor instead of a typewriter". It won't tell you if the book is worthwhile.

We should be asking: modified how? Is this particular modification a good thing? We should be interested in the details and effects of the end-product, not a detail of the process that produced it. By all means, test new genetic modifications with a skeptical eye. As usual, the public debate is centered on grossly oversimplified versions of the real issues.

There is a huge difference between naturally crossing plant genes through selection and breeding and gene splicing. Frankly, I'm sick of hearing this "we've been doing genetic engineering through agriculture for decades, this is no different" bullshit. Whether you like it or not, there is a huge difference between crossing genes that have long (I formerly said "always" here but that's a bit extreme considering evolution) been present in a particular species the "natural" way and injecting foreign genes the artificial way.

When breeding plants through crossing, you are dealing with a gene pool, that, through millions of years of natural selection, has been selected to work for that particular species. There is always a slight risk of genetic defect during reproduction, but for the most part, we are dealing with genes that "nature intended" to be there.

When one artificially splices DNA, we are dealing with genes that were never there to begin with. What's the difference? WE DON'T KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT GENES! In fact, the very definition of a "gene" is still something that we debate today. There is a world of difference between looking at the finished product and saying "this plant must have good genes, let's make sure we use them again," and specifically picking out certain chunks of DNA from one species and plopping them into another. Let me say it again; there is a WORLD OF DIFFERENCE. Sexual reproduction is natural, and involves genes that are known to work correctly for their purpose.

Did you know that, depending on where you begin decoding, a single "gene" can represent more than one protein? DNA is not as simple as we think it is. In many cases it is redundant, in others, it seems compressed. We don't know all there is to know about DNA, despite the fact that we know how to make copies of it. This is the problem with gene splicing. We could be inserting a gene that codes for a certain antibody in one species, yet is completely worthless in another, depending on where it's spliced in. We could insert a gene that not only does what it's supposed to do, but something else that we never intended. Genes code for proteins. Many lethal poisons are proteins. Many proteins provoke allergic reactions. So if we're coding for proteins we aren't even aware of, there is plenty of room for negative side effects, like food allergies we didn't even know existed (until we created them).

When you breed plants, you're taking a gene pool that has been suitable FOR THAT SPECIES for millenia. Adding genes from an external source is in no way the same thing.

And if it's a death sentence to label food as "genetically modified," then so be it. If the public is afraid, educate them...but at least let them know what they're eating. The biggest problem with this genetically modified food bullshit is that genetically modified pollen can easily spread and reproduce with non-modified plants, making it nearly impossible for anyone to claim "not genetically modified." Doesn't anybody remember the precautionary principle, for cryin' out loud? I think mother nature has given us some good genes to work with, and I'm sick and tired of companies like Monsanto trying to solve the very problems they've created by creating new potential problems...for example, "RoundUp Ready" soybeans.

EE: Even though Everything is not a BBS, I will take a moment to respond. What you are basically saying is that, because retroviruses are known to randomly move genes around (between different species) with little apparent consequence, deliberate attempts by humans to most intentionally create consequences won't pose any more significant of a risk. While retroviruses may indeed be facilitating inter-species sex on a regular basis, that is no justification for us to do the same, mass produce it, and base our very existence on it. I'm not saying that every set of genes is written in stone and will never change, but human efforts to make intentional changes must be done so with caution, since the changes can easily manifest themselves in the wild, and can spread throughout a species without our consent or control.

You bet your ass I'm afraid of genetically altered foods.

Anyone who dismisses the possibility of problems with genetically altered food is an idiot. There's really no other way to put it. Case in point:

British scientist Dr. Arpad Pusztai spliced DNA from the snowdrop plant and the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus into potatoes, and subsequently fed them to lab rats. The rats who were fed these potatoes suffered a significant reduction in the weight of many organs, impairment of immunological responsiveness, and had signs suggestive of viral infection.

The Cauliflower Mosaic Virus cannot enter mammalian cells because its protein coat is specific to plant cells. And yet here it is, fucking around with the livelihood of lab rats, now that it's been spliced into a potato. I think I might want to know about something like that the next time I pick up a sack of spuds at the local supermarket.

Or how about this: Monarch butterflies will eat only one thing: milkweed. In a study done by Cornell University, 44% of monarch butterfly larvae who feasted on milkweed that had been dusted with pollen for genetically altered corn DIED within four days. ALL of the larvae who ate milkweed dusted with normal corn pollen survived. 100% versus 56%. Gee, there might just be something going on here. And that's just the bottom of the food chain.

And then there's the subject of allergic reactions. If you're allergic to certain proteins in peanuts or soy, and you're eating, say, an aspargus spear, or an ear of corn that's been spliced with peanut or soy DNA, you can suffer an allergic reaction. I think people who are in the die-if-I-eat-peanuts category MIGHT want a heads-up when they're buying non-peanut-related foods.

And then there's one last thing, and that is that genetically altered products have already caused one health disaster. A genetically altered L-tryptophan supplement is linked to 37 deaths, 1500 permanent disabilities, and 5000 cases of Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome in Japan in 1989.# Just for the record, supplements are not regulated as drugs in most countries.

I'm not saying that genetically altered food can't be safe, and can't help solve hunger problems in the world. I'm just saying that we might want to err on the side of caution before fucking up the world worse than we already have.

The killer bees were just the beginning....

‡ - Leake, C. and Fraser, L. "Scientist in Frankenstein food alert is proved right". UK Mail, Sunday, Jan. 31, 1999
† - Losey, John, et al. "Transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae". Nature 399: 214, May 20, 1999.
# - L.A. Love, et al. "Pathological and immunological effects of ingesting l-tryptophan and 1,1'-ethylidenebis", Journal of Clinical Investigation, Vol 91, March 1993, pp. 804-811.

Perhaps we should be afraid not of Genetically Modified Foods, but instead of unscrupulous uses of genetic engineering technology.

Messing about with viruses without testing could lead to bad things. Equally, Golden Rice seems like a very Good Thing. GM produces both. Should we sacrifice a perfectly safe, useful product because the same techniques have been used in negative ways?

Like Cloning, Genetic Engineering is going to happen, whether or not we want it to. It's much better to have a legal, well-regulated GM industry than an underground one without mandated product testing.

What worries me is people that are biased against GM. GM should undergo the same testing procedure as other foods. Sure, no one has proved that Genetically Modified Organisms are 100% safe. No one's proved that Broccoli is 100% safe, either. I don't see the problem with having GMOs tested like any other food. If they pass the tests, then they are fit for consumption. GM foods are Innocent until Proven Guilty. I haven't been able to find any documented reports of scientific demonstrations of danger from GMOs. It's entirely possible that they're dangerous. It's also entirely possible that widespread exposure to AC for a hundred years will render a species infertile. We can't prove a negative like that.

I do have qualms with Gene patents. Life isn't intellectual property. But that's a social and legal problem, not an engineering one.

Caution is good. The problem is that the sentiment of a large portion of the population goes beyond rational caution. It becomes bias. Caution is assuming that something could be dangerous, and not risking consumption without evidence of its safety. Bias is assuming that it is dangerous, regardless of what evidence is produced either way. GMF should be treated like regular foods, as far as testing goes. If GMFs should undergo more strenuous testing, then public safety would benefit for greater examination of all foods.

Many have proposed labelling as a valid solution. The problem is that the public is not well educated on the benefits and risks of GM. As long as there are herds of activists spouting anti-"Frankenfood" propaganda, it's impossible for the general public to form the knowledge base neccessary to make informed choices regarding GM. If all information on GM was from a neutral perspective, then labeling would be effective. But as long as things are as slanted as they are, labeling would be ineffective.

Ravensong: Canola oil is not carcinogenic, despite its ancestry. Rhubarb leaves are poinsonous, but the stems are tasty, so we make pies out of them.

The general consensus is that capitalism has won and multinational corporations exercise undemocratic influence to manage international trade. For example Novartis, Monsanto, and other corporations have developed understory GM crop, such as coffee engineered to grow faster, which have indirectly contributed to the destruction of the rainforest.

One can argue that such products, say crop or fish, possess a high level of proteins capable -even when individually considered- of controlling the starvation problem. Any nutritionist, however, will tell us that the key to good nutrition is a balanced diet. Moreover, the so-called 'biopiracy' has caused, by means of shifting a few strands of DNA, a mutation of rice that has existed in India for thousands of years. And what is even more worrisome is that some countries, as occurred in Chiapas (Mexico), have sucily declared themselves biopiracy free zones.

These new high yield varieties are sold and marketed to developing countries, and the World Bank gives loans to buy these products. If one could establish some responsible limits and these corporations could be reformed, no complaints should arise. But the World Trade Organization behaves just as a puppet of multinationals because these countries have huge foreign debts they have to make interest payments on, without any possibility of generating currency. They turn their forests and fisheries into cash, what makes the third world even more dependant on the first.

Such humanitarian data could seem 'suspicious', but the above facts could advise that researches of the GM food impact on the environment should be performed at a lesser and -if possible- controlled scale. (By the way, Nature has been employing a very elapsed period of time to get a sustainable development.)

Genetically Modified Foods - A look into the lack of knowledge, and hence the need.

This node is U.S. centric. First it is important to point out that (Organic) does not mean (Not Genetically Modified). Organic means containing carbon. Any time a man sits down to eat a tomato, he doesn't want to have to think what is in his tomato. He doesn't want to wonder why it tastes good. He doesn't want to ponder what consequences it holds. If this tomato was homegrown by him, he'd get what he wanted, but it wasn't. Was this tomato genetically modified, instead of homegrown by a farmer? This man doesn't know, in fact no one does because genetically modified foods are not labeled, tested, sorted, or even regulated. Genetically Modified foods should be labeled, ought to be brought to the attention of the people by the government, and should have more explanation and testing. Genetically modified foods should have additional government regulation done by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for the protection of knowledge and health of the United States of America.

The Food and Drug Administration currently is the only governmental section in the United States to follow any information concerning genetically modified foods. They don't do much, in fact according to the FDA, they aren't even required to make any review or test on GM foods unless voluntarily requested by the company producing the GM product. This should change. The FDA is definitely the best organization to do more - they monitor our foods and drugs. Genetically modified foods are a result of drugs and foods together. People have a right to know what is in their favorite produce and foods, as little is known to the public now. This is why GM foods should be labeled, to help consumers know what is GM and what is not, as of now both are mixed together.

A genetically modified food is, essentially, a plant that has had a gene altered to a scientist's opinion or want. Ever since the latter part of the 19th century, when Gregor Mendel discovered that characteristics in pea plants could be inherited, scientists have been improving plants by changing their genetic makeup. Typically, this was done through hybridization in which two related plants were cross-fertilized and the resulting offspring had characteristics of both parent plants. Breeders then selected and reproduced the offspring that had the desired traits. This at first does not sound bad, but when taken into account what genes are being added or changed, it is.

The United States is one of the only major power countries in the world to not label their GM products. Almost all of Europe does, and as a result GM foods are minimally purchased or used. They like the homegrown idea. Nearly all the world's GM foods are distributed to the US. Today, to change a plant's traits, scientists are able to use the tools of modern biotechnology to insert a single gene, or, often, two or three genes--into the crop to give it new, "advantageous characteristics." Most genetic modifications make it easier to grow the crop. About half of the American soybean crop planted in 1999, for example, carries a gene that makes it resistant to an herbicide used to control weeds. About a quarter of U.S. corn planted in 1999 contains a gene that produces a protein toxic to certain caterpillars, eliminating the need for certain conventional pesticides. Who would want this in their food, pesticides and toxins and other chemicals? People should know not only if their food is genetically modified, but how it is modified for their health!

The FDA gives the following United States figures: Since 1997 25% of all American agricultural lands, (70-80 million acres), have been converted to raise GM crops, and 77% of the worlds GM foods are grown in the United States. The USA has a large percentage of its foods Genetically Modified. Consumers ought to know this. The FDA has put concerns out for our safety, and gives these figures to show how much of our food has been altered. There should be further testing on these products to see if they are even safe for our health. GM foods are relatively new, not even a decade old in mass production. It takes many years to prove a scientific theory, or prove something is safe for the public. Time is a factor that should be played out, and used by the government under the FDA to further test foods for safety. No out of hand production of GM foods would continue if the public was involved. It ought to stop here and now, and let the FDA control it for our safety.

Another take on GM foods:

   As I see it, the real root difficulty with GM foods, as with many other technologies such as computers, medicine, and even the automobile is not just that of trust and accountability on the surface, but also of relative ignorance relating to science in general on the part of the consuming public.

   We tend as a society, to specialize. Part of this has been a result of the sudden bloom of information brought by scientific and technological advancement. The expanding foundation of general knowledge required for the average person to have a fairly solid idea of how each technological process he or she uses on a daily basis really works has left many of us in specialized niches, but with vast holes in our understanding of the modern world. So we must trust. I program computers, and have a general interest in most everything, but that doesn't mean I can (for instance) repair an engine or prune a tree with any degree of competence or efficiency, so like many others, I count on the trusted advice and services of other individuals with different specializations.

   In an ideal world, as Heitah states above, if Genetically Modified foods were to be labeled, the only sensible way to go about it would be to explain directly what aspects of the source organism had been modified, and what non-standard chemicals are present, and in what concentration. At that point the intelligent and well informed consumers comprising the Market would evaluate the labels and make their decisions based on that information and any partiuclar needs or preferences they might have.

   In our less than ideal world, most consumers either don't know enough about nutrition or biology, or couldn't be bothered to put in the effort to find out, so the labels would be meaningless to the majority of people who might encounter them. While they may be meaningless, they may still trigger an aversion response among those who know that they do not understand the technology and are therefore uncomfortable with it, or maybe have been persuaded by somebody at some point or another that GM foods are inherantly harmful. So if you have labeling without accompanying education you have catered to the small minority who understand the technology, and you have also stirred the most base instinct of fear among those who do not understand the technology. Clearly that will get you nowhere in terms of progress, and if you are in the business of distributing GM foods, it would not help your pocketbook at all.

   This puts the makers of GM foods in an interresting bind. If they do not label their product, they are accused of deception, yet if they do label these products, their market share decreases drasticly as the majority of the public will never read past the first line in the label. Ultimately this is what many opponents of GM food are reaching for, an economic disinsentive, a force to dissuade people from attempting these experiments to begin with.

   I personaly have nothing against GM foods, and on the rare occasion where I find sufficient documentation to convince myself of their safety (I will note that this case is rare not because I have found any that are unsafe, just that the documentation (for reasons described above) is rare) I experience no hesitation when buying such foods. I feel that their widespread adoption will not come until a time when the public is generally well informed enough to evaluate their safety without having to trust the word of the designer or grower. This may come in stages (first, (at least in the United States) FDA or USDA regulation and some sort of safety approval process where GM foods that have been approved will bear some stamp or label asserting that they have been evaluated and found not to be a health risk), and then maybe if that utopia ever arrives where human beings will all be well versed in the sciences and have a healthy general knowledge of the functioning of the world around them, eventually labels will only need to bear the nature of the modification, and as we now take literacy for granted, the common grocery shopper would be quite able to understand.

   Not addressed here are the economic and philosophical questions. Those are seperate debates. My feelings are that the Intellectual Property laws in general will need to change once information (be it in the DNA of a plant seed, or stored on a computer, or printed in a book) becomes better understood as an economic commodity. This will effect much more than seeds. As for the philosophic arguements, I'd rather stand clear and not muddy the scientific questions with claims and conjectures which by definition cannot be proven.

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