Lecture 3-11-09 - Lecture Harvest of Fear Video The...

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Lecture 3/11/09 Harvest of Fear Video The following issues are raised: Role of metaphors . Opponents talk about franko foods . Role of science: both sides claim they have science on their side and the other side is in the hands of illicit interest. Environmental impact: Opponents stress dangers. Advocates stress less dangerous than pesticides. Tested or NOT? Advocates claim GMOs well tested and safe. GMOs are Genetically Modified Organisms. They are sometimes known as GMFs (Genetically Modified Foods) They are typically plants (corn, soy, potatoes, papaya) which have had genes transferred to them from another organism. The genes are added by use of either a gene gun (invented at Cornell) or by gene splicing. They can increase yields in crops by two main mechanisms: (1) Genetic modification to make plant tolerant to a herbicide. For example, Monsanto's “Roundup” soybean or corn. When crops are sprayed with herbicides the weeds are killed but the crop is unaffected. (2) Introduction of a toxin into a plant. For example a naturally occurring soil bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis , BT, as in BT-corn. This toxin kills pests such as the European Corn borer. The most important commercial use is in agriculture (foods) where genetically modified corn, cotton, soybean, and potatoes are all important.
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