Where's the GM beef?
NOTE: Prof. Jonathan Jones says affiliations aren't important. What really matters is all the benefits GM can deliver, but when asked to go beyond grandstanding”¦ The following are extracts from the discussion of the article on the Guardian website about Prof. Jones' affiliations.
Scientist leading GM crop test defends links to US biotech giant Monsanto
I would prefer to see the discussion focus on the merits of specific arguments about GM, rather than the affiliations of the proponents.
”¦ to return to the serious issue, which is whether GM crops have a role to play in addressing food security, I and the vast majority of practicing plant scientists take the view that it does, that it is safe, that it reduces pesticide (particularly insecticide) applications, that it reduces the environmental impact of agriculture and that it is a valuable way forward to increasing crop performance that it would be perverse to spurn.
Jones says GM crops "have a role to play in addressing food security" and that GM "is safe, that it reduces pesticide (particularly insecticide) applications, that it reduces the environmental impact of agriculture and that it is a valuable way forward to increasing crop performance".
Well, I am sorry, but as a scientist, you must know that you cannot just assert these things. You must show us the data. There is an awful lot of data out there showing the opposite: that GM is not safe; that (according to over 400 scientists who authored the IAASTD report) it doesn't hold promise for increasing food security; that it increases the environmental impact of agriculture by increased chemical use and other factors; and that GM crops typically create yield drags, not yield improvements.
A few of these studies have been cited in this thread, but there are many, many more. It is time that a genuinely science-based debate was held on GM crops. Unreferenced promotional pieces claiming mythical benefits for GM crops by persons with interests in the technology do not constitute science but do honest science a disservice.
btw, in the interests of transparency and openness, how come i always identify myself as jonathandgjones, and i am debating cartoon characters called things like profb, Esa666, Trog1, TeaJunkie, ancientofdays, ikesolem etc etc who can express their opinions without being held to account?
On names, that's in accord with the Guardian's comment policy, I'm sure the cartoon characters would be only too happy to identify themselves and their affiliations if Comment is Free or the BBC were to offer them a Prof Jones-type soap box. Up till now the BBC won't even publish their comments.
I can express my opinion without being held to account, because I am not claiming any particular expertise in relation to GM crops and biotechnology. However, when Professor Jones broadcasts public statements based on his academic and commercial expertise in this field, he is held to account.
Bit of a swerve there from Jonathan Jones: asked to "show us the data" to back up his assertions that GM is 'safe' or that GM 'reduces pesticide applications', he launches instead into a complaint about web identities.
Surprising though it must have been to discover, half way down a thread, that posters are using board names; I second 'Trog1''s balanced comments and ask again. Could you please, Professor Jones, show us the data for the seemingly unqualified and generalised claims you make?
technicolour; you could start by looking at this analysis from the US national research council
@ Professor Jones: Thank you: I've looked at the summary and so far found this:
"In this report, analysis of the U.S. experience with genetically engineered crops shows that they offer substantial net environmental and economic benefits compared to conventional crops; however, these benefits have not been universal, some may decline over time, and potential benefits and risks may become more numerous as the technology is applied to more crops."
So it's saying that what GM crops 'offer' is not necessarily what they deliver?
I was also surprised to read that "risks may become more numerous as the technology is applied to more crops". In what way, if one accepts this, can it be possible to call GM crops per se "safe"?
The 'key findings' listed seem vague on details - "similar to"; "many adopters"; "could help improve". Key finding no 5, however, states that "targeting specific insect pests with Bt toxins in corn and cotton has been successful, and insecticide use has decreased with the adoption of insect-resistant crops".
I've just read reports from China that the decrease in insecticide use on Bt cotton (designed with a built in insecticide against the boll weevil) has actually allowed the mirid bug to take over and infest crops of all kinds instead. Resulting in an increased use of insectides. Have you seen the reports and would you care to comment?
Otherwise am now reading the full report and so far note that in the USA two pest species (unnamed) have already become resistant to Bt crops; that nine weed species have become resistant to glyphosate, that use of glyphosate is increasing; and that "HR (herbicide resistant) crops have not substantially increased yields". And I'm only on page 9.
It's fascinating, but if you posted this to support your position, I'm a little puzzled.