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Thread: Ah The Power of Science

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    Thumbs up Ah The Power of Science

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...+-+Business%29

    Reporting from Washington —
    With a global population pressing against food supplies and vast areas of the ocean swept clean of fish, tiny AquaBounty Technologies Inc. of Waltham, Mass., says it can help feed the world.

    The firm has developed genetically engineered salmon that reach market weight in half the usual time. What's more, it hopes to avoid the pollution, disease and other problems associated with saltwater fish farms by having its salmon raised in inland facilities.

    The Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve what would be the nation's first commercial genetically modified food animal.

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    "This is the threshold case. If it's approved, there will be others," said Eric Hallerman, head of the fisheries and wildlife sciences department at Virginia Tech University. "If it's not, it'll have a chilling effect for years."

    Some in the fish farming industry are leery of the move toward engineered fish.

    "No! It is not even up for discussion," Jorgen Christiansen, director of communications for Oslo-based Marine Harvest, one of the world's largest salmon producers, wrote in an e-mail.

    Christiansen said his company worries "that consumers would be reluctant to buy genetically modified fish, regardless of good food quality and food safety."

    Some critics call AquaBounty's salmon "Frankenfish." Others say the effort is pointless.

    "I don't see the necessity of it," said Casson Trenor of Greenpeace USA — which opposes all genetically modified organisms, including plants. "We don't need to build a new fish."

    The FDA has completed its review of key portions of AquaBounty's application, according to Chief Executive Ronald Stotish. Within weeks, the company expects the agency to convene an advisory committee of outside experts to weigh evidence, collect public testimony and issue a recommendation about the fish's fitness for human consumption.

    The process could take months or more — which still sounds like progress to the company after its 14-year, $50-million investment.

    Manipulating natural processes is a fact of life in most of the world's food supplies. Cattle, hogs, poultry and most grain and vegetable crops have been extensively altered through selective breeding and hybridization — including turkeys with so much white meat they can barely stand, drought- and disease-resistant wheat, and fruits and vegetables that resist bruising or spoiling.

    But genetic engineering — especially perhaps of animals — is different, at least in the public mind.

    "The thought of genetic engineering sort of excites the idea that there might be a kind of boundary-crossing going on that might be yucky," said Paul Thompson, an agricultural ethicist at Michigan State University.

    Unlike ordinary salmon, AquaBounty's genetically modified fish grows during the winter as well as the summer, so it reaches an 8-pound market weight in 18 months instead of 36. That's accomplished by inserting part of a gene from an eel-like creature called the ocean pout into the growth gene of a Chinook salmon, then injecting the blended genetic material into the fertilized eggs of a North Atlantic salmon.

    "This is a single gene and it's a salmon gene in a salmon," said Stotish, a biochemist and pharmaceutical researcher who joined AquaBounty in 2006 and became CEO two years later.

    The salmon is identical in taste, color, protein and other attributes of a non-engineered North Atlantic salmon, he said, and consumes up to 25% less food over its lifetime. The AquaBounty salmon don't get bigger than other salmon; they just grow to full size faster.

    Christiansen isn't the only person in the industry to recoil.

    "We do not support it.… We wouldn't consider changing that unless the market demanded it and all government regulators say it's safe," said Nell Halse, president of the International Salmon Farmers Assn.

    On the other hand, the National Fisheries Institute, the main trade association of U.S. seafood producers, supports "the use of biotechnology in the production of genetically engineered fish," subject to FDA safety assessments, spokesman Gavin Gibbons said.

    AquaBounty, which would sell genetically altered eggs, says its fish would be sterile and it intends to require producers to raise its salmon inland.

    The idea is to prevent cross-breeding with wild fish. Most farmed salmon are kept in ocean pens, where wild and confined fish can infect each other with disease — and where escapees can join the gene pool, producing offspring less suited to the open ocean.

    If AquaBounty's fish are raised in inland tanks, wild populations should be protected.

    But an FDA advisory panel may be forced to consider the effect of the fish on wild populations nonetheless, because of the possibility of escapes, failed sterilization of eggs and sales to producers overseas, out of reach of U.S. regulators.

    Opponents point to a 1999 study suggesting that genetically modified salmon could lead to less hardy hybrids. But the study's co-author, William Muir, an animal science professor at Purdue University, said the findings did not apply to the AquaBounty fish.

    Based on current knowledge, AquaBounty salmon "don't pose any more of a threat to wild salmon than other farmed salmon," Muir said.

    But there are unknowns, he acknowledged. Muir likened it to the introduction of a drug, which may show side effects in the general population that didn't arise in clinical trials.

    "The disadvantage is that recalling a drug is a lot easier than recapturing a fish," Muir said.

    One key to consumer acceptance may be whether the salmon is labeled as genetically modified.

    Stotish says he'd have no problem with a voluntary label affixed by salmon producers, but fears a mandatory label would look like a warning. In the past, the FDA has taken the position that required labeling should contain only information on content, not how an item was produced.

    If the project gets the FDA's blessing, bioethicist Gregory Kaebnick of the nonprofit Hastings Center thinks the transition may be fairly easy for consumers.

    "It's not putting a jellyfish gene into a tomato. It's not giving it a radically new property, like making it glow," he said. "In the long run, I think people are going to get used to this kind of thing."


    ************************************************** ***********

    See this is the kind of stuff that makes liberal concerns about max population sustainability silly. As we improve in our technology problems of food supply can be easily solved. Every so often there is someone who says "its impossible to feed the world, population must stop growing... limited resources... blah blah blah." It happened with the Population Bomb book and other environmentalist alarmists.

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    God, they better be careful not to let that thing into the wild. (maybe... it is sterile....) (I wonder why it consumes 25% less food???)
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    A food source that competes againist humans for a fresh water supply...is the answer to population sustainability?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    A food source that competes againist humans for a fresh water supply...is the answer to population sustainability?
    Sure. It provides more food for those that don't die due to lack of fresh water. On a serious note, what kind of competition are you thinking about? You think it would be worse than lawn sprinklers and water bottlers?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    A food source that competes againist humans for a fresh water supply...is the answer to population sustainability?
    This is just an example of one way science is solving food issues. The great part about technology is that it impacts different issues in thousands of different ways. More effective means of purifying water will come to. As will better crops, energy efficient stuff, better everything. Technological progress is the key to solving environmental concerns... NOT innovation stifling regulation and oppressive taxation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    Sure. It provides more food for those that don't die due to lack of fresh water. On a serious note, what kind of competition are you thinking about? You think it would be worse than lawn sprinklers and water bottlers?
    I don't think anything can be worse than bottled water in this context.

    I just pointed out how Lewk, in his usual style, can take something cool, and retard it up real good with short-sightedness. This isn't a solution to population sustainability, this is a solution to our current food problems, and the fear that the world's fish populations won't last till the end our of generation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    NOT innovation stifling regulation ...
    Like trying to ban stem cell and cloning research and requiring grade schools to teach mythology as if it were science? I agree.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    I don't think anything can be worse than bottle water in this context.

    I just pointed out how Lewk, in his usual style, can take something cool, and retard it up real good with short-sightedness. This isn't a solution to population sustainability, this is a solution to our current food problems, and the fear that the world's fish population won't last till the end our of generation.
    Got it. I don't think we can say the population is sustainable while it continues to grow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    Like trying to ban stem cell and cloning research and requiring grade schools to teach mythology as if it were science? I agree.
    You'll note that already there's a bridge present in his posts to separate infidel "science" and the Technology which is worthy of praise. It's a fairly common Creation Science propaganda tool.
    In the future, the Berlin wall will be a mile high, and made of steel. You too will be made to crawl, to lick children's blood from jackboots. There will be no creativity, only productivity. Instead of love there will be fear and distrust, instead of surrender there will be submission. Contact will be replaced with isolation, and joy with shame. Hope will cease to exist as a concept. The Earth will be covered with steel and concrete. There will be an electronic policeman in every head. Your children will be born in chains, live only to serve, and die in anguish and ignorance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessus View Post
    You'll note that already there's a bridge present in his posts to separate infidel "science" and the Technology which is worthy of praise. It's a fairly common Creation Science propaganda tool.
    I missed his commentary in the OP.... funny stuff. "Limited resources... blah blah blah..." lol. If you're thinking "space, energy, and food are unlimited and science will prove it!" then you're missing a point or two about science I think. (and reality, for that matter)
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    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    I missed his commentary in the OP.... funny stuff. "Limited resources... blah blah blah..." lol. If you're thinking "space, energy, and food are unlimited and science will prove it!" then you're missing a point or two about science I think. (and reality, for that matter)
    It's just Science (technology) proving what YHWH promised, the Evil Science (science) is that which goes against scripture and free market economics.
    In the future, the Berlin wall will be a mile high, and made of steel. You too will be made to crawl, to lick children's blood from jackboots. There will be no creativity, only productivity. Instead of love there will be fear and distrust, instead of surrender there will be submission. Contact will be replaced with isolation, and joy with shame. Hope will cease to exist as a concept. The Earth will be covered with steel and concrete. There will be an electronic policeman in every head. Your children will be born in chains, live only to serve, and die in anguish and ignorance.
    The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessus View Post
    It's just Science (technology) proving what YHWH promised, the Evil Science (science) is that which goes against scripture and free market economics.
    But Jesus was a socialist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    Like trying to ban stem cell and cloning research and requiring grade schools to teach mythology as if it were science? I agree.
    Oh there was a ban on stem cell research? I don't think that there ever was. In fact adult stem cell research was find and dandy. If you mean embryonic stem cell research, yup that was fine too as long as it wasn't supported by federal funds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    God, they better be careful not to let that thing into the wild. (maybe... it is sterile....) (I wonder why it consumes 25% less food???)
    I'm struggling to imagine a reworking of Jurassic park, with the Velociraptors replaced with salmon

    I wonder about the cost of their egg production process - they'll need a vast number of modified eggs if they really intend to take this to market.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    Oh there was a ban on stem cell research? I don't think that there ever was. In fact adult stem cell research was find and dandy. If you mean embryonic stem cell research, yup that was fine too as long as it wasn't supported by federal funds.
    "Trying." Duh. Banning any federal money from being associated with the research is a pretty damn good attempt at banning it altogether since most labs in America have equipment that was purchased at least in part by Federal dollars. By the ban, none of that equipment could be associated with stem cell research or the lab could lose its funding, meaning, effectively most labs wouldn't even try because it would be too difficult and risky to seperate out what could and could not be used. And what about requiring public schools to teach creation myths as science? Bad regulation, no? Surely you oppose it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unheard Of View Post
    I wonder about the cost of their egg production process - they'll need a vast number of modified eggs if they really intend to take this to market.
    Yeah, I hadn't thought of that. They'd have to come up with a way to automate it, technology which will come in handy, with some modification, when the time comes to create human clone armies. . . .
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    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    Sure. It provides more food for those that don't die due to lack of fresh water. On a serious note, what kind of competition are you thinking about? You think it would be worse than lawn sprinklers and water bottlers?
    The areas in which food is scarce, usually also have slight problems with the amount of fresh water available. Because otherwise food wouldn't be scarce there in the first place...

    In short: This solves nothing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    A food source that competes againist humans for a fresh water supply...is the answer to population sustainability?
    So then the next step is to engineer a saltwater salmon?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khendraja'aro View Post
    The areas in which food is scarce, usually also have slight problems with the amount of fresh water available. Because otherwise food wouldn't be scarce there in the first place...

    In short: This solves nothing.
    But this venture is in the US, not where food is scarce.

    And the conflict between drinking water and food supply always exists. You would have to examine water usage by raising fish vs irrigation or land animals before the complaint, ah, holds water.
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    Lewk praises Science
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  20. #20
    Let sleeping tigers lie Khendraja'aro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    But this venture is in the US, not where food is scarce.
    You need to produce the food where it's scarce not where it's already abundant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khendraja'aro View Post
    You need to produce the food where it's scarce not where it's already abundant.
    Uh, this is patently absurd. Many regions are going to be low-yielding for the same input of energy/water/etc. compared to other areas irrespective of population or hunger. The solution is not necessarily to increase local production but to improve distribution. Now, of course the third world can drastically increase crop yields from current levels (though I'm skeptical they could reach the US' rather absurd yields, especially per capita), but there comes a point of diminishing returns. Lands blessed with an abundance of freshwater, fertile soil, and decent climate should naturally produce more of the food (just like it makes no sense for a country with minimal mineral deposits spend vast amounts of money trying to extract what they have when they could just import it from a mineral-rich country).

    That being said, I agree that this technology being some panacea for world hunger is ridiculous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tempus Vernum View Post
    So then the next step is to engineer a saltwater salmon?
    A better step would be to engineer a trout that seeks out freshwater and saltwater sources and encapsulates just enough of it to stay hydrated. It would probably be best to make sure they didn't make it into the wild otherwise there would be dire consequences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Illusions View Post
    A better step would be to engineer a trout that seeks out freshwater and saltwater sources and encapsulates just enough of it to stay hydrated. It would probably be best to make sure they didn't make it into the wild otherwise there would be dire consequences.
    Hell, as long as we're engineering organisms, might be a better idea to engineer humans to be more efficient in their use of water, nutrients and food energy. But oh no, that would be mud in God's eye, eh?
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    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    Hell, as long as we're engineering organisms, might be a better idea to engineer humans to be more efficient in their use of water, nutrients and food energy. But oh no, that would be mud in God's eye, eh?
    Bless the Maker and his works.

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    Let sleeping tigers lie Khendraja'aro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    Uh, this is patently absurd. Many regions are going to be low-yielding for the same input of energy/water/etc. compared to other areas irrespective of population or hunger. The solution is not necessarily to increase local production but to improve distribution. Now, of course the third world can drastically increase crop yields from current levels (though I'm skeptical they could reach the US' rather absurd yields, especially per capita), but there comes a point of diminishing returns. Lands blessed with an abundance of freshwater, fertile soil, and decent climate should naturally produce more of the food (just like it makes no sense for a country with minimal mineral deposits spend vast amounts of money trying to extract what they have when they could just import it from a mineral-rich country).

    That being said, I agree that this technology being some panacea for world hunger is ridiculous.
    Yeah, because we're doing soooo good with distribution right now. I mean, we're dumping all kinds of food into the ocean (or letting it rot) right now instead of shipping it somewhere where it's needed, so forgive me if I don't see the problem of distribution vanishing before capitalism vanishes.
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    Lewk, the world's problems don't stem from a lack of salmon, but I am willing to concede that GM foods may play an important role in solving food-related problems in some areas.

    Does anyone know if they've made any headway, yet? Eg. with GM rice and the like? In terms of having a practical beneficial impact on any developing economies I mean.
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  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Khendraja'aro View Post
    Yeah, because we're doing soooo good with distribution right now. I mean, we're dumping all kinds of food into the ocean (or letting it rot) right now instead of shipping it somewhere where it's needed, so forgive me if I don't see the problem of distribution vanishing before capitalism vanishes.
    Distribution has gotten a lot better in recent decades - all criticism aside, the WFP and similar organizations (e.g. USAID) do a pretty impressive job feeding people. There are difficulties, of course - intracountry distribution (Somalia, anyone?), transportation, provision of immediate aid in times of disaster, etc. But the solution to these problems isn't to waste money trying to get outsized yields from poor quality cropland - it's to improve the distribution networks, and improve the recipient economies to the point that they can afford to import food on their own.

    This isn't to argue that improving local agriculture isn't part of the solution - in some countries, they have good enough climate/water/land resources to achieve some really remarkable crop yields if given the appropriate training and technology. Yet this is by no means the rule, and giving a blanket rule of tying production to need geographically is silly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Khendraja'aro View Post
    Yeah, because we're doing soooo good with distribution right now. I mean, we're dumping all kinds of food into the ocean (or letting it rot) right now instead of shipping it somewhere where it's needed, so forgive me if I don't see the problem of distribution vanishing before capitalism vanishes.
    But this is only because nobody really cares, not because we can't get food to where its needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Lewk, the world's problems don't stem from a lack of salmon, but I am willing to concede that GM foods may play an important role in solving food-related problems in some areas.

    Does anyone know if they've made any headway, yet? Eg. with GM rice and the like? In terms of having a practical beneficial impact on any developing economies I mean.
    Hail yeah!
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    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Why waste it on salmon? Go for the chicken....save corn AND water!


    ChickieNobs = Chicken meat sliced from a transgenic organism.

    "This is the latest," said Crake.

    What they were looking at was a large bulblike object that seemed to be covered with stippled whitish-yellow skin. Out of it came twenty thick fleshy tubes, and at the end of each tube another bulb was growing.

    "What the hell is it?" said Jimmy.

    "Those are chickens," said Crake. "Chicken parts. Just the breasts, on this one. They've got ones that specialize in drumsticks too, twelve to a growth unit.

    "But there aren't any heads..."

    "That's the head in the middle," said the woman. "There's a mouth opening at the top, they dump nutrients in there. No eyes or beak or anything, they don't need those."


    http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=1559

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    Heh, did you ever read The Year of the Flood, Geegee?
    We're stuck in a bloody snowglobe.

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