1. johnhodges says

    There are some differences between “traditional” selective breeding and recent techniques of genetic modification. In particular, modern GM can add genes from entirely different species, for example when fish genes were added to a tomato plant to make it more resistant to frost damage. This raises concerns about risks to people with allergies; how can they know whether or not the food they buy is free of stuff they are allergic to, if GM adds such a wild card to the deck?
    Memes often oversimplify an argument, and I suspect they encourage oversimplifying arguments.

    • dianne says

      In general, people who are allergic to a given substance are allergic to a specific antigen, not the whole thing. It’s a problem worth considering, certainly, but it hardly seems a deal breaker. Especially given that classic methods for creating new foods often involve mutagens. One classic technique is to expose the seeds (or animals) to radiation and see what you get then pick the mutations that look profitable to breed further. How do you know that technique won’t introduce an antigen that someone would be allergic to, even though they aren’t allergic to the parent plant or animal?

  2. wereatheist says

    modern GM can add genes from entirely different species

    which doesn’t happen naturally at all, amirite?
    In fact, so far creating transgenic organisms is The Point of genetic engineering.
    Do you really believe that corporations which like to sell stuff will deliberately allow a (known) allergen to slip into one of their precious products? Making it less marketable?
    Wanna buy a bridge?

  3. says

    creating transgenic organisms

    That’s a technique for creating genetic modifications. Is your complaint about the technique or the creation?

    Put differently: if your rice plant has flounder DNA in it, and it still makes rice, who GAF?

    • YsanneI says

      In an unluvky case, the person who was allergic to the protein that the bit of flounder DNA in question makes, who knew they shouldn’t eat fish but had no idea to be careful with rice, too.
      Yes yes, gene transfer between species can happen by itself, but the chances are very low, especially with species that wouldn’t even come physically close to each other under normal circumstances.

      The rational opposite of scaremongering is not blanket endorsement without any though to possible side effects. Just like the opposite to banning knifes is not to happily run around with one without even looking.

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