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(Daily Mail)   Scientists to release thousands of genetically modified moths into the wild, because what could possibly go wrong?   (dailymail.co.uk) divider line 23
    More: Scary, chemicals, agricultural pests, insects, visual field test, eu regulations, caterpillars, maggots, canopy  
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5685 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Sep 2013 at 2:09 AM (32 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
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2013-09-04 11:37:19 AM
2 votes:

abmoraz: This same company has been using this same technology to combat mosquitoes and Dengue Fever.  The BBC2 show "Dara O'Briain's Science Club" had a real good expose on how it works.  Basically, the insects (mosquitoes, or in this case, moths) die in the larval stage unless they are fed a specific chemical that suppresses the gene.  This gene suppressant is not found anywhere in the wild.  This allows them breed the insects with the built in kill-switch in a lab, but as soon as they release them, they die off.

They have seen upwards of an 80% reduction in mosquito population in the areas they have used the mosquitoes, so I have some faith that it may work here as well.  My only concern is that insects are at the bottom of the good chain for a lot of animals.  Reducing their numbers could have a negative reaction farther up the chain, but that is just my gut reaction, not based in fact.


It appears they've changed their method since the mosquitos.  The latest several bugs have only the females dependent on tetracycline, rather than releasing males that will be shortly doomed.  It means they do not have to release as many but it doesn't seem quite as self-limiting as the old version. It seems like as soon as they release them without a net, they'd spread wherever they could, as long as there were wild populations they could reach.

Further details:  http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/10/51
2013-09-04 11:20:54 AM
2 votes:

Vlad_the_Inaner: The image of science has been invoked.  We all should all trust things we are told are scientific, all the time. Nobody would ever try to use science to mislead people when money was on the line.


That's actually one of the easiest ways for people to get sucked into pseudoscience. Con men love to use science-y sounding words to convince people to purchase their product, usually at the same time they are disparaging real science.

The key is to understand not only how science works, but also to have a strong understanding of the things science has taught us in the past, including basic biology, chemistry, and physics. One of the biggest pseudoscientific ideas that has spread widely and is very popuar is this naturallistic fallacy - the idea that "nature" and "natural" is automatically better than "synthetic" or "man made," as if man was somehow outside of nature. It shows a complete misunderstanding of what nature is, and how the world works.

Trusting this GM item is not a blind faith in science or some corporation. Trusting it is based on an understanding of basic science with the knowledge of how this type of GM actually works compared to other "natural" ways of GM (like crossbreeding). While some synthetic GM can be bad (such as modifying a food item to be resistant to a pesticide, which can encourage increased use of said pesticide, thereby creating greater environmental harm), not all GM is bad and some is down right good (such as adding nutrients to a food item). One just simply has to pay attention to the science and be intellectually honest with how it works, all the while trying not to get suckered in to con men's pseudoscientific lies.

Unfortunately, that last part is the hardest; I've even seen some of my felloe scientists get sucked into it. Confirmation bias mixed with a few desirable or fear-based lies can be a biatch.
2013-09-04 09:06:11 AM
2 votes:
The image of science has been invoked.  We all should all trust things we are told are scientific, all the time. Nobody would ever try to use science to mislead people when money was on the line.

i.imgur.com

i.imgur.com
2013-09-04 09:03:25 AM
2 votes:
If a farmer gets caught with one in his field, will he be sued?
2013-09-04 02:15:49 AM
2 votes:
I think this could really be a huge boon to farmers and consumers. It reduces the amount of pesticide necessary to keep these caterpillars at bay, and that's good for our health. Especially so, as the number of autoimmune diseases increases due to the use of pesticides and anti-biotics in our food sources. If we can limit genetic engineering to the methods used to minimize pest harm and not in the foods themselves, I think it's an overall win for everyone.
2013-09-03 10:56:36 PM
2 votes:
www.hairballmedia.com
2013-09-04 06:32:05 PM
1 votes:

mgshamster: Vlad_the_Inaner: Fano: I feel like the "tell" was the use of the word toxic.

Because a chemical product with a name ending "-icide" is rarely toxic?

You must be an awesome poker player.

Nuances required:

1) Toxic to which species?
2) What dose is toxic?
3) What is the route of exposure?
3) What is the physiological pathway for toxicity?
4) How does the chemical decompose?

/Everything is toxic; it all depends on the dose and the route of administration.


Yep, so I'm not sure what the whinge about the term is.  Roundup definitly toxic to broadleaf plants.  Its EPA rates it as a Class III Toxic (slightly toxic), not IV (practically non-toxic), the safest.  And that evaluation was made with 1993 pre-RoundUpReady dosage use in mind.

As to nuance, do we know everything?  Are all interactions scientifically studied? Would we be told if things were found?  (rhetoricals) So given that there will always be unknowns, it comes down to risk management.

And, unless you are an ironic believer in homeopathy, the risk probably increases with dose.  A roundup ready planting methodology means a higher dose.  It also leads to evolution of roundup resistant weeds, so farmer will need to return to more classical methods of weed control eventually, Meaning high dose for little practical gain, long term.  1996 from Roundup Ready Soybeans to 2005, the first noted resistant weed.   Less than a decade.

But it makes Monsanto money in the short term, so fark any risk.
2013-09-04 04:27:34 PM
1 votes:

Fano: I feel like the "tell" was the use of the word toxic.


Because a chemical product with a name ending "-icide" is rarely toxic?

You must be an awesome poker player.
2013-09-04 03:17:38 PM
1 votes:

mgshamster: modern bananas (which was developed via cross breeding);


But don't mention that the problems are coming from its monoculture by using extensive vegetative propagation.  Its a similar case to the irish potato famine, which I reference visually earlier.

That is NOT breeding, and you should know it.  Yet another example of disingenuous conflation "see we're just doing the same-old just like before.

If the Irish were growing from seed, it is less likely one blight would have wiped out the whole crop.  Ditto with Dwarf Cavendish's current problems .You'd have thought they'd learned from Gros Michel, but bananas are just too easy to clone rather than breed.
2013-09-04 11:58:24 AM
1 votes:

ruta: Advertisers are not scientists


And the Daily Mail is?

Science works great when people don't lie.   People often lie for money.

The ads are illustrative of history.  A visual cue to the reader to remind them lof that sort of tactic being used..

Yes, The tobacco industry funded studies, not just ads:

'Astroturfing is the modern approach.
2013-09-04 11:26:10 AM
1 votes:

abmoraz: This gene suppressant is not found anywhere in the wild.


From what I read, its a repressor of the toxic protein made by the gene, which when fed to the bugs,allows the females to survive to reproduce.  Tetracycline

And 'not found in nature' maybe not true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streptomyces_aureofaciens

/also beer
2013-09-04 10:48:48 AM
1 votes:
This same company has been using this same technology to combat mosquitoes and Dengue Fever.  The BBC2 show "Dara O'Briain's Science Club" had a real good expose on how it works.  Basically, the insects (mosquitoes, or in this case, moths) die in the larval stage unless they are fed a specific chemical that suppresses the gene.  This gene suppressant is not found anywhere in the wild.  This allows them breed the insects with the built in kill-switch in a lab, but as soon as they release them, they die off.

They have seen upwards of an 80% reduction in mosquito population in the areas they have used the mosquitoes, so I have some faith that it may work here as well.  My only concern is that insects are at the bottom of the good chain for a lot of animals.  Reducing their numbers could have a negative reaction farther up the chain, but that is just my gut reaction, not based in fact.
2013-09-04 10:32:36 AM
1 votes:
paranormalknowledge.com
2013-09-04 09:58:36 AM
1 votes:

gmpilot: Oh my god the comments on the article are so stupid.  I try to keep optimistic, but are western education systems really this awful?


This is the same Europe where the energy Luddites want to replace nuclear power plants with coal-fired ones while simultaneously demanding auto makers lower the CO2 emissions per kilometer in new cars. In other words, the US Republican Party is not the only political movement suffering cognitive dissonance.
2013-09-04 05:00:11 AM
1 votes:
Mothra O Mothra
If we were to call for help
Over time
Over sea
Like a wave you'd come
Our guardian angel

Mothra O Mothra
Of forgotten kindness
And ruined spirits
We pray for the people's
Spirit as we sing
This song of love.
2013-09-04 04:40:02 AM
1 votes:
AFFLEEEEECK
upload.wikimedia.org
2013-09-04 04:11:06 AM
1 votes:

ThatDarkFellow: I say good on them. Look how well the whole killer bee thing played out.

/spiders next?


Killer bees were made with good old natural cross breeding method of genetic modification, which resulted in a good and natural randomized mixture of genes to produce completely unknown effects (which is good because it is natural); these moths were made with evil and unnatural precise gene modification to precisely control exactly what was going to happen with the newly expressed gene with no randomization and a strong likelihood of no other effects (which is evil and wrong because it is the synthetic way of modifying genes).

Both methods are technically GM (genetic modification), but one is clearly wrong and bad and should be properly labeled so people know what foods they're eating, because the good and right way of doing it never produces anything bad and doesn't even have to be labeled GM even though it is. Because natural is better than synthetic always and forever.
/Strawman? You bet your ass it ain't. I hear these exact arguments from my own family on a regular basis.
//My brother's new girlfriend believes conventional farming will destroy the planet, and she honestly fears for the survival of the earth if we don't all switch to organic soon.
///Yes, she thinks organic farming will literally (def 1) save the planet.
2013-09-04 02:53:31 AM
1 votes:

MaudlinMutantMollusk:

The Japanese are currently working hard to arouse Godzilla

I'm not sure anyone wants an aroused Godzilla. But then I am a drunk so I may be reading this incorrectly.

2013-09-04 02:51:12 AM
1 votes:
Anthracite:  Never seen by nature is a valid reason why this should be a "No".


How is that a valid reason? Are you going to turn in your computer after saying that, as those have never been seen in nature. Neither have contact lenses, toy sized dogs, the modern potato, antiperspirant, and pretty much everything we do every day.

This is quite the environmentally friendly way of dealing with pests that they're trying to kill anyway.
2013-09-04 02:47:40 AM
1 votes:

mgshamster: gmpilot: Oh my god the comments on the article are so stupid.  I try to keep optimistic, but are western education systems really this awful?  90% of the fears towards any form of GM have zero basis in any science, any incident, or any situation that has ever arisen.  Worst part is, no matter how many well documented and peer-reviewed papers get published every year, nobody complaining is ever going to read a single one.  Sometimes I wonder why my fellow scientists often seem so absorbed in their own work and tire of trying to explain it to strangers; then I see abhorrent disingenuous detritus like this.  If you are legitimately concerned by GM products, there are legitimate ways to find out many of the facts.  Reading crappy articles like this is not one of them.

The naturalistic fallacy has really dug its heels deep into American culture, unfortunately.


Never seen by nature is a valid reason why this should be a "No".
2013-09-04 02:47:24 AM
1 votes:
Why oh why oh why is there so much anti-GMO butthurt in the west? The article says that there are concerns that people could be harmed if they accidentally ate the GM pests........how? The whole point is that these flies reduce population by preventing the next generation from being born, so unless there are readers of the Daily Mail that happen to be this one species, they're pretty safe.

And fark the use of the prefix 'franken', nobody is stitching these things together from dead things.
2013-09-04 02:43:29 AM
1 votes:
animatedviews.com
2013-09-03 11:34:35 PM
1 votes:
The Japanese are currently working hard to arouse Godzilla

/I think we'll be ok if things get ugly
//Tokyo might want to watch out, though
 
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