Talk:FAQ on genetically modified food

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What is a GMO?[edit]

Does anybody outside of RationalWiki actually use this ad hoc definition of GMO (any organism that has its genetic makeup intentionally altered from its "wild" cousins)? I've not seen any credible discussions of the subject which define GMO any other way than organisms which have been directly genetically engineered through biotechnology. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:19, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

Feel free to alter the article as appropriate. CorruptUser (talk) 00:52, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
That would mean renaming it to "FAQ on selective breeding and genetically modified food" or better splitting it into two articles on the two subjects covered here. It's disingenuous to pretend they're the same subject. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 01:11, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

The article here states "Simply put, a Genetically Modified Organism is an organism that has its genetic makeup intentionally altered from its "wild" cousins"

Its introduction to "History of genetic engineering" WP states: Genetic modification caused by human activity has been occurring since around 12,000 BC, when humans first began to domesticate organisms. Genetic engineering as the direct transfer of DNA from one organism to another was first accomplished by Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen in 1973.

So WP certainly uses "Genetic modification" to refer to domestication.--Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 18:19, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

Not really. WP:Genetic engineering states: "Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct manipulation of an organism's genome using biotechnology." WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:09, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Ok so there are different ways of emphasising it. You asked if anybody used this definition and, yes, WP uses it. Genetic modification caused by human activity has been occurring since around 12,000 BC, when humans first began to domesticate organisms."--Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 19:22, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Here is the Richard dawkins foundation. Humans have been manipulating the genes of crops for millennia by selectively breeding plants with desirable traits. (A perfect example: the thousands of apple varieties.) Virtually all of our food crops have been genetically modified in some way. In that sense, GMOs are not radical at all. But the technique does differ dramatically from traditional plant breeding. That took me about ten seconds. So sure people say use that definition.--Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 19:30, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
You're using a source which says GMO "differs dramatically" from traditional breeding to suggest they're synonymous? ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:05, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
The Line to which you object is: "Simply put, a Genetically Modified Organism is an organism that has its genetic makeup intentionally altered from its "wild" cousins". You asked if anybody else used this definition or it is only used here. The very simple answer to your question is "yes, it is often used."
Which does not interfere with the fact that GMO is a new concept, and therefore Dawkins and RationalWiki are overexerting themselves to try and pass GMOs as the equivalent of the inocuous products of interbreeding and selection. (talk) 09:44, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
This is Dawkins: "Almost every morsel of our food is genetically modified - admittedly by artificial selection not artificial mutation, but the end result is the same. A wheat grain is a genetically modified grass seed, just as a pekinese is a genetically modified wolf. Playing God? We've been playing God for centuries!"
If I were to say that finding examples of people making this point is trivial then I would be overstating the difficulty of the task.--Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 06:14, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
All examples of people saying that there are other ways of modifying organisms' genetic makeup as well as GMO techniques. But I've yet to see any other sources defining the specific term "Genetic Modified Organism" (GMO) and its derivative terms as meaning anything other than organisms modified through biotechnology. That's how our article on GMO defines it, as does WP:GMO. The definition given on this page suggests that GMO refers to all organisms produced through selective breeding as well as biotechnology. I don't think this is an accurate or honest definition, and its likely to be confusing in a FAQ. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:14, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
Here is Neil deGrasse Tyson "What most people don't know, but they should, is that practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food. There are no wild, seedless watermelons. There's no wild cows...You list all the fruit, and all the vegetables, and ask yourself, is there a wild counterpart to this?"
Now, you can disagree with these scientists, but you can not maintain that the argument is only made on RW which was your suggestion.--Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 11:25, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Bob - and Dawkins, and DeGrasse Tyson - it's the cranks that are splitting hairs and trying to portray genetic modifications as this novel frankenstein insanity. It's not. We need to be very clear on that in this exact article - it's a FAQ and that is a very frequent claim from woo-pushers and a very frequent misunderstanding among the public. Weasel, knock it off. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 11:29, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. This is University of Wyoming Associate Professor Robin Groose.
"“Genetically modified refers to a range of methods used to alter the genetic composition of a plant or animal, including traditional hybridization and breeding,” Groose explained. “Genetic engineering is one type of genetic modification that involves making an intentional targeted change in a plant or animal gene sequence to affect a specific result.”"
I don't know how many examples are needed to show that this is not just a point made at RW.--Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 12:34, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

4 R's?[edit]

The article states: "Biology students may be familiar with a concept known as the "Four R's". These are: Feeding, Fleeing, Fighting, Fu...inding a mate" ... These words do not start with a "R", so I assume the "R" refers to something else? It looks weird now... Carpetsmoker (talk) 06:09, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

F's. My mistake CorruptUser (talk) 18:32, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

Some improvements[edit]

  1. Speciation is not relevant to GMOs at all. Domestication is not speciation; all that is required for domestication is that there is a separate domesticated population with very restricted gene exchange with the wild one. It may cause speciation in the long term, but I don't think we have observed this.
  2. It should be explicitly said that the phrase "genetic modification" is never used in the sciences, since it literally means that the genome is different, and there are many imprecise ways to alter the genome with which even the organic hardliners don't take any issue. What most people mean by "genetic modification" is transgenic DNA recombination. Cisgenic recombination is a legal gray area so far.
  3. Simplot is not a big company.
  4. The 'Nobel Prize as kincker-dropper' etc. jokes are rather poor form. --Tweenk (talk) 20:32, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Kinker-dropper Knicker-dropper: Not really. It's not far from the truth.[1] Bongolian (talk) 20:38, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Was going to go with "panty remover" but since this is a British website... CorruptUser (talk) 13:24, 14 October 2015 (UTC)


Ranting is fun, but presumably this is intended to convince people who don't already agree. (A ranty version would go well in funspace.) - David Gerard (talk) 10:43, 9 November 2015 (UTC)


Belongs somewhere. CorruptUser (talk) 04:19, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

Yeh know...[edit]

...I bet a distrustful public would be more supportive of GMO if the shit holes actually producing them, made broccoli taste like strawberries instead of fucking over third world farmers. Where is my strawberry broccoli, mother fuckers? AMassiveGay (talk) 22:55, 11 January 2016 (UTC)