Salient points, SVN. GEs potentially can reduce the use of pesticides (but several of the strains are designed to make them resistant against *stronger* pesticide), reduce waste, increase hardiness enabling produce to grow in and/or reach remote areas.
Your point about nature's checks and balances rings a bit hollow, though. Introducing new species has been historically catastrophic to local systems (cane toads, anyone?).
About feeding the world: right now, GEs are patented. How exactly does corporate control of seeds help third world countries? They may be able to save money by not having to physically remove weeds, but when they have to pay for new seeds every year rather than harvest their own, they'll be taking a loss. When cross-contamination can land you in a lawsuit, how is this assisting the less fortunate?
I appreciate that we need to apply human ingenuity in the pursuit of feeding the world, of which genetic engineering is surely a part. But, as with the rather questionable tactics employed by the world bank, I don't trust that the Monsantos of the world are in it to help those in need. Are these corporations going to suddenly go humanitarian?
Thank you SVN. I agree with you 100%.
Some additional thoughts: (1) Most technologies can be used for either good or evil, and GM is no exception. We should support those whose practices aim to help people (i.e., crops that will allow growth in arid climates, or deliver more nutrition) instead of those who just want to make their food look better (i.e., redder apples). (2) Isn't it better to feed a hungry person GM food than to let them starve? (3) In many cases, genetic modifications are nothing more than a streamlined form of plant breeding -- more precise and selective. In such cases, the genes are the same; you just take the best of all the strains to make a sort of "elite" corn plant, for example.
I am totally against the idea of altering the taste and quality of naturally grown foods. I am totally against GM. Take, for instance, karela, the bitter gourd, which I grow in my garden, without any pesticides. I give love and water to the plant. It grows in abundance with the sun's energy. There is no need to tamper with it. Another instance: apple. It is the dharma of the apple tree to grow apples. The apple that is naturally grown is delicious and is ready to eat. What is the necessity to make an apple pie out of it by mixing sugar and dough and altering its taste. Some foolish people put chocolate on it. We don't seem to appreciate what nature gives us. Instead, we pollute it especially when you are engaged in mass production by creating large farms with machinery. The small farmer suffers. The small farm gives delicious natural foods. Why not support the small local farmer? It is unhealthy to import food from outside and eat it. Food should be grown in your own neighborhood. Another instance: take water. We no longer have wells in each house which should provide water for the family. We have large distribution systems such as super supermarkets for food and water. We only have pipes through water is distributed. Tap water is not clear of impurities. The so-called spring water that is sold in bottles does not come from the mountains. We have to give up mass production and mass distribution.
Correct way of eating is taking fresh food, which has abundant prana, the life force, not refrigerated or stale food which is old and subject to contamination. Stale food creates lethargy, dullness and disease. When you become sick, you also have no remedy through conventional doctors, who are mostly specialists and do not treat the body, mind, and spirit as a whole entity. We have messed up our food habits and also healing practices by unnecessary surgeries and overdependence on drugs. The remedy lies in embracing a healthy lifestyle, which means incorporating yoga practices and ayurvedic eating.
Another habit I detest is to drink icecold water or putting ice in water and drinking it. There is no better way to destroy the fire in your stomach. Using room temperature water is healthy and best. Stop tampering with nature and it will reward you with joy, peace, health and happiness.
I wish as a plant breeder of many years experience and a geneticist I could tell you & the world what GM is all about. GM is about introducing a gene from a related plant into another plant with which it would be very difficult to develop progeny. Genetic modification has been goijg on ever since man became a grain grower. Todays wheat, barley,rice potato etc all have been modified through coventional means for centuries. Genetic modification is via a faster method that is all. But biology still controls that modification and nature has checks and balances. Just because a gene was introduced into a cell that does not mean to say that plant cell will take it up and be happy with it. If the plant cell cant find a relationship it needs in the DNA then it will reject it. Introduction is only one bit of GM. The delivery vehicle could be anything from a bacteria to a gene gun however what ever bit is introduced it will still get removed or rejected. What are the longer term implications? unless one is prepared to give up on all foods today then people should be asking what is the longer term implications on not having GM foods. By the way I dont belong to any company, I am a strict vegetarian and a yoga practicer, I dont smoke or drink alcohol. I am very much prepared to eat GM foods as I do not see any reason for rejection. The western world has taken yogic pratice to mean reject everything unless it is literally mentioned in Yoga. GM neither harms anything or anyone as most of the fearmongering studies have not come up with any evidence of any sort as todate. We have been tinkering with life forming mechanisms ever since each one of took medicine to ward off illnesses or bought a car or went ate food. Life forming mechanisms are being tinkered by nature everyday. So should we be stopping eating food. What are the benefits of GM? simple it could be reducing the amount of chemicals used whihc is more harmful than any GM, in the poor countries it can be a way to deliver much needed vitamins and better crops to poor farmers who cant afford to buy chemicals. I suggest that western world which has affulenza stop indulging in this opposition and start thinking how to make sure GM benefits the whole world. It is high time that people who do not have the knowledge develop the knowledge before fear mongering. If every thing has to be organic be prepared for atleast 50% of what is grown to be rottten due to fungal and bacterial plant infections. Is the western world prepared to feed rest of the world? If not stop this ill informed indulgence and start really understanding what GM is.