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Old 10-28-2008, 03:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default genetically modified bananas are here

Disease-resistant banana plant developed | General | National News | thedaily.com.au

The story is:-

"Queensland scientists have developed a genetically-modified banana plant capable of resisting a devastating disease.

While the development may hold hope for poor African nations, Australia's banana growers are opposed to the commercialisation of GM bananas in this country.

Scientists at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) inserted a single gene for resistance to fusarium wilt, or Panama disease, into the banana genome.

The gene stops cells dying when attacked by the disease.

Fusarium wilt has crippled the banana industry in the Northern Territory and would do the same in Queensland and NSW if it gained a foothold, said Tony Heidrich of the Australian Banana Growers Council.

Fusarium wilt cannot be removed from soil once it is infected, and the disease is spread by water, meaning even a tiny foothold could become a devastating attack on a banana-growing region.

Unlike GM-modified grain crops, there was no chance of the new, genetically-modified banana escaping trial plots, Mr Heidrich said.

Commercial varieties are clones and the plants cannot inter-breed but this leaves bananas susceptible to disease.

Mr Heidrich said he doubted whether Australian consumers would embrace the GM bananas yet, but the research was worthwhile in case of future disease outbreaks.

"What the Australian Banana Growers Council are saying is that we recognise we've got to look to the horizon and try to anticipate the kind of threats we might face in 10 or 15 or 20 years' time," he said.

"One of those may well be an outbreak of fusarium wilt in a major production area.

"So in our view it makes sense to spend some money on research of the development of GM varieties that address that issue, so that if we ever got to the point where we needed that variety and consumers were prepared to accept it, we've got something in the bag."

Even if field trials proved successful it would be years before the GM banana was ready for commercial use, he said.

The QUT scientists are attempting to boost the fruit's nutrient content using the same technology.

While some believe this could be a boon in places like Africa where the banana remains a staple, Bob Phelps of the Gene Ethics Network said there were simpler solutions to combating malnutrition.

"Tweaking these peoples' diets doesn't make much sense," Mr Phelps said.

"It would make a lot more sense if people were empowered to build their own gardens and to produce their own fresh foods.""


I hate the thought of genetically modified anything. if they are put on the shelves here they will stay with all of hte other GM crops.

To avoid GM crops in Australia anything made in the USA is not bought because your country doesn't segregate real food and geneticall modified foods.

Any soy product is avoided because it will probably contain GM soy.
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

I am curious as to why the Australian Growers are resistant to the GM Cavendish.

I am assuming that they are afraid that people will not consume these bananas for either rational or irrational fears they may have about GM edibles.

Are there side effects to eating them? If so, what are they? Do the genetics that allow the Fusarium not to survive affect the human body?

Many of the arguments around genetic mutations surround the fact that they fear what is not understood. Mutations may have bad side effects (including death) for the species that is mutated, but there also are positive effects of mutations as well. Corn, for example, a very popular dish in this country, is highly mutated and has been for years. Milk comes from cows that have been mutated through selective breeding for centuries. We now have the technology to control the mutation and speed it up.

It is simple for someone to state "Tweaking these peoples' diets doesn't make much sense," Mr Phelps said.

"It would make a lot more sense if people were empowered to build their own gardens and to produce their own fresh foods."

Believe it or not, everyone today does not grow their own food and hunting in cities is limited.

Commercial farmers must provide for those who cannot grow their own. The agrarian/subsistance culture is long gone from most cultures in the world. Going backward to this would lessen our achievements and progress, especially in the health area. To suggest that everyone should grow their own food is, at best naive, or disingenuous in their argument.

This is a fascinating topic and should be in the Banana Economics Forum.

Jarred, does it make sense to move it?

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Old 10-28-2008, 05:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

bepah

a lot of australian consumers will not buy Gm - - the government in league with monsanto - is determined to take the choice away from consumers by refusing to mandate that GM products be labelled GM

so consumers just avoid foods that may have GM products in them.

the biggest test will come in the next two months when Austrlias first GM food crop is put onto the market - again monsanto has paid enough dollars to ensure that the GM canola isn't segregated from the normal canola seed. So will Australian consumers stop buying cnola products?

I'd like to hope so.

GM is fine if the consumer has a choice

Reports on one Australias government TV stations have shown that GM produce causes temporary sterility in cows and pigs. Once the animals are removed from GM produce they return to a normal level of fertility.

Monsanto and other GM manufacturers have refused to allow any independent testing of their products - because independent testing goes against their licence agreement. Even your FDA can not conduct independent safety tests on Monsantos GM corn, soya, canola etc etc etc

Until the independent tests are carried out on the safety of GM produce all GM produce should be segregated and labelled.


edit

a couple of years ago a major chicken breeder tried to import GM corn - the outcry from consumers was massive. The poultry producer had to dump (or so they said) tonnes of GM corn and buy Austrlian corn - because it is GM free.

Kentucky Fried Chicken in Australia even came out and said it is against GM feed for its chickens and won't buy chickens that have been fed GM produce
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

It is the lack of choice forced upon us when gm products are mixed with non-gm products, and the deceitful way that these amalgams are fed into our food chain. It is nearly impossible for the consumer to avoid gm products when they are not labelled as such, and when the effects of consuming them have not been honestly researched - who can have any confidence that they are fit to be eaten. The indecent haste and frantic lobbying to force them on us, makes me fear the worst! This is corporate deceit that makes the likes of Enron look like choirboys - and governments are in cahoots with these companies.

Sorry - not really nana related - but couldn't help myself!!
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

I have an incredibly long response to these posts, but I have been drinking wine with th wife and it is late.

I'll put something together tomorrow, but consider this.....

Nature gives us mutations all of the time, some of them fatal. We have the ability to stave off these organisms and keep us alive. Why would we allow nature to evolve to a point where we have no defense because of our Luddite opinions?

Talk to you tomorrow.
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

You all have been eating genetically modified foods a lot longer than you think. Consider that many variations in plants were produced in the last 150 years by irradiating seeds (treating them with radioactive materials). Among other things, this has brought you berry and pomegranate varieties without thorns -- which of course lowers the price and pain of picking the fruit. Also, many of the variegated ornamental plants you cherish were produced this way, along with countless color variations in flowers.

By the way, one of the motivations for trying seed irradiation was that botanists noted the incredible variation in plants near surface deposits of radioactive uranium ore in southern Africa and other places.
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Old 10-29-2008, 01:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

Quote:
Originally Posted by bepah View Post
I have an incredibly long response to these posts, but I have been drinking wine with th wife and it is late.

I'll put something together tomorrow, but consider this.....

Nature gives us mutations all of the time, some of them fatal. We have the ability to stave off these organisms and keep us alive. Why would we allow nature to evolve to a point where we have no defense because of our Luddite opinions?

Talk to you tomorrow.
nature does give us mutations all of the time - but those mutations aren't the result of some multinational company trying to make a profit by gene splicing from like and unalike organisms. the natural mutations do not result in a multinational company hiding their research and paying political donataions in the hundreds of millions of dollars so that no government stops them from making a profit

the natural mutations do not result in farmers not being able to keep seed from one harvest to make the next harvest.

everything about monsanot and their ilk is unnatural and to try and compare natural mutations with what they do is misguided and totally wrong
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

Quote:
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nature does give us mutations all of the time - but those mutations aren't the result of some multinational company trying to make a profit by gene splicing from like and unalike organisms.
This concept of splicing like and unlike organisms is misleading. It is false to assume that the 1st half of one organism sequence is being replaced by a half section or whatever of another organism sequence.

More accurately, a whole rRNA sequence contains 100,000 to millions of nodes or sites. The typical goal in gene splicing (e.g., wheat) is to replace molecules bonded to one or a few sites that produce undesirable traits -- such as disease susceptibility. Researchers then look in nature for an existing rRNA sequence which has a small portion that matches the target area of the gene (e.g., the few sites on the wheat) -- BUT with different or sometimes no bonded molecules that do not produce the undesirable trait.

Notice that I am not saying whether I approve or disapprove of this practice, I am simply asking for accuracy in the discussion. Agricultural GMO means replacing a very tiny portion of one sequence with a tiny, nearly identical portion of another.

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Old 10-29-2008, 03:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

I believe any consumer who has decided not to purposely consume a GMO product should have that choice. I don't think it's too much to ask for.
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Old 10-29-2008, 03:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

You're right, it's not too much to ask, but I don't think there is as much to fear as some seem to think. But the labeling should be there for those who don't want the GMO's.
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Old 10-29-2008, 03:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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but I don't think there is as much to fear as some seem to think. .
Do tell.....
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Old 10-29-2008, 03:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

Paradisi - Do you have something in Australian called canola which is not genetically modified??? What canola is given to us by Canada is all GM, it was an alteration of rapeseed to remove an undesirable compound (an acid, I believe), and they called that GM product "canola". There are some things I don't like about the way it was done and I've chosen to use another oil which I believe is better anyways (see another running thread).

I believe most GM products are probably okay for human consumption but there are too many unknowns that can only be resolved after many years of testing or consumption and it's probably best not to use our bodies in these tests.

As Richard states, a lot of the fear is due to misunderstandings. Centuries ago many people were also opposed to the idea of people messing around with plants and doing grafting. It sure didn't seem natural and it obviously wasn't. Today there is virtually no opposition to this practice (see my photos at Correia Chestnut Farm - American Grown Fresh Chestnuts From Our Family Farm to You; large hand-harvested Colossal chestnuts, recipes, instructions for roasting chestnuts, chestnut roasters, chestnut knives and you'll easily guess my view on the subject!).

Diversity is something that is very lacking in most large-scale farming and it's mostly driven by the fact that the vast majority of consumers want the cheapest source of food possible. You can blame Monsanto for it if you want, but it all comes back to the consumer. You vote with your pocketbook.
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Old 10-29-2008, 03:57 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

Quote:
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I believe any consumer who has decided not to purposely consume a GMO product should have that choice. I don't think it's too much to ask for.
I agree.

Also, IF any consumer chooses not to consume a GMO because a few of the millions of chemical structures in the genome have been replaced by a few different "receptor" molecules, THEN by the same logic they should not consume:
  • alcohol
  • THC (marijuana)
  • many types of pain relievers
  • SSRI antidepressants
because these all alter the body's natural function by masquerading as another chemical normally found in the body or by more aggressive substitution in chemical receptor locations.

Having said that, I believe there are better reasons not to consume some or all GMO products.

Most disgusting GMO application: Monsanto's unethical and usury production of wheat and other crops which not only have sterile seeds, but also interbreed with some natural varieties of wheat (e.g., growing wild in Canada) so that they take on the same properties. The purpose of course, is to make growers completely dependent on Monsanto for seed.

Most worthwhile GMO application I know of: My cousin would not be alive today if it were not for cultures of genetically modified cells which reversed a rare anemic disorder found in that branch of the family.
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Old 10-29-2008, 04:13 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

Harvey...if your ALA levels are high watch out for that canola oil.

" Why the interest in alpha-linolenic acid? The attention is merited. The Harvard Men's Health Watch, Jan 2002, cited the Lyon Dietary Health Study, which studied a "Mediterranean" type diet enriched with canola margarine, and showed that "Over a four-year period, the high ALA diet produced a 72% reduction in heart attacks and cardiac deaths and 56% lower risk of dying from any cause (including prostate cancer)". However, the Physicians' Health Study found that "Men with moderately high ALA blood levels were 3.4 times as likely to develop prostate cancer than men with the lowest levels"
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Old 10-29-2008, 04:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
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You can blame Monsanto for it if you want, but it all comes back to the consumer. You vote with your pocketbook.
Exactly why they don't want the public to know what they are eating. Knowledge is power.
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Old 10-29-2008, 05:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

Is everyone against genetic modification or the companies producing the products?

It doesn't make sense when you say that GM is bad because of Monsanto.

Humans have been modifying the genetics of organisms for thousands of years. Try to go out in the wild and find a product in the market that is exactly the same. When we breed plants for certain attributes, we end of with many unknown mutations that could have negative results.

With GM, you know what has been changed. With testing, you find wether or not its dangerous.

Nothing in the food market is natural. Everything has been modified by humans. GM is just a new way to do it.
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Old 10-29-2008, 05:16 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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With testing, you find wether or not its dangerous.
crickets.....chirp chirp
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Old 10-29-2008, 06:34 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

OMG, Mitch, Did you turn into a cricket?
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:18 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: genetically modified bananas are here

Mitchel, as I wrote above, I don't use canola oil. I used it until earlier this year when I replaced it with rice bran oil (but still use olive oil for some uses also). See another thread about RBO.
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:16 PM   #20 (permalink)
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...
It doesn't make sense when you say that GM is bad because of Monsanto.
...
Agreed.
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