>> What I want from you is a plausible biological argument,
>> not a political pronouncement.
> That is an interesting request. It tells me that you are assuming
> Bt corn is safe unless proven otherwise.
I tend to view it as any other new cultivar. But I GMO's in general been
evaluated pretty exhaustively from the perspective of safety.
> Nonetheless, I will give you some plausible biological arguments:
I don't have time right now to respond to the specifics of your argument. I
will get back to you.
>> There is no problem as far as I can tell, other than hysteria
>> and politicization.
> There is no problem of genetic contamination in the US? I believe this
> is now the second year that you can't export your contaminated corn
> and soya crops to Europe. Please don't bury your head in the sand.
Of course the hysteria is a problem. But the problem, at it's root, results
from peoples misplaced fears IMO. But you are right about this being a
practical problem. I hope the seed industry is not burying it's head in the
sand. Even if we think it is all bullshit, we have to respond to what
people want and feel.
> I should be awestruck at the scale of your research, and you tell me
> the problem is imaginary? All seed companies are probably scared to
> death, due to the contamination they've caused. Is Pioneer insured
> against liability? What if corn farmers whose fields are contaminated
> sue you for damages?
Like I said, this problem that people have dreamed up, is real enough in a
practical sense (but still bogus at some level IMO).
My personal sense of this, is that the industry was caught off guard. Like
I said before, the main concern was that we might accidentally sell GMO seed
with a percent or two non-GMO contaminant. In some cases this could be very
ugly in the customers field. I don't think anybody thought (at least in the
production departments) that people would care if we accidentally got a
little of the GMO pollen onto the non-GMO varieties!
In terms of liability, when I was with the University, I worked with the
vegetable seed industry in Idaho to help manage isolation among
bee-pollinated seed crops. Mostly this all functioned by informal
agreements and cooperation. But if someone planted red onions in the middle
of a white onion area, I don't think there was any legal recourse (the
fieldman might be shunned though!). I believe that if you want isolation
from someone elses genetics, then you have to arrange it. If you want to
isolate your organic corn field 660 feet from GMO varieties, you have to
deal with, and possibly pay the surrounding growers to not grow GMO corn.
If the wind blows hard during flowering, and you get a percent or two GMO
contamination anyway, then it is your problem. This is not a new issue, and
I believe there is legal precedent for all this. I will look into it.
> How do you know they're mistaken about their safety concerns,
> when Pioneer has done no research which has been published on
> peer-reviewed journals concerning the safety of Bt corn for
> animal or human consumption?
Are you sure about that? Pioneer scientists publish in peer-reviewed
journals quite often. But the main concern is meeting regulatory
>> PS: We would stand on our head and recite poetry to the seed if our
>> customers wanted that.
> That's a nice PR line. If your customers wanted you to remove any risk
> of genetic contamination by not selling Bt corn and other GE-crops,
> would you do that?
Mainly our customers have wanted to buy GMO seed. But who knows about next
spring! I don't know if our crystal ball is working that good! But
Pioneer's real strength is in elite background genetics. We will be able to
supply good varieties to our customers regardless.
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