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It’s All Marketing

Among my clients in Southern California I had a market research firm and a PR firm. While I didn’t get involved in the main business, but was generally concerned with their computers and accounting systems, you get a feel for how these organizations work.

Because I’m a bit weird, when I read Ellroon’s post that included Monsanto GM corn causes cancer in rats I wondered how my former clients would deal with this kind of revelation.

It came to me: Monsanto Round-up Ready Corn – now with rodent control. The weeds can’t get it in the fields, and the rats can’t get it in your silo. Improve and keep your yield. Available now from your authorized Monsanto dealer.

[Note: This is sarcasm. My clients would have been more creative.]

6 comments

1 Steve Bates { 09.28.12 at 5:42 am }

Monsanto takes a brutally direct approach: they sue anyone who opposes anything they want to do with their products. If the human world comes to an end in the next fifty years, it may be due to Exxon-Mobil… but I wouldn’t bet against Monsanto. The astonishing thing is how many countries rush headlong into Monsanto’s deadly embrace.

2 Kryten42 { 09.28.12 at 8:33 am }

Curiously, I read about this on Tripplepundit last week and was going to post a link, but there wasn’t really an appropriate thread. Now there is! 😉 😆

Scientific Study Finds Long-Term Health Impacts from GM Corn and Herbicide

This one was interesting also. 🙂

Stanford Organic Food Study Sheds Unintended Light

Steve: Yeah, Monsanto are the same here. Most farmers are disgusted.

3 hipparchia { 09.28.12 at 1:11 pm }

alas, the gmo-food-causes-cancer study was not very well done – http://mblogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2012/09/21/under-controlled-why-the-new-gmo-panic-is-more-sensational-than-sense/

the particular strain of rats used has a genetic predisposition to develop tumors/cancer already, so if eating gmo food causes an increase in cancer cases, we still don’t have a good measure of how big this increase is, because the study not only used tumor-prone rats, it is lacking some basic statistical analyses as well.

i’m opposed to gmo food, for a lot of reasons, and i’m opposed to the overuse of pesticides, for a lot of reasons, but we do need to be doing lots of good science on this. here’s hoping this particular study will spur some other groups to do more and better studies.

4 hipparchia { 09.28.12 at 1:13 pm }

small correction – i should have said this study appears to not be very well done…, since i haven’t yet read the actual paper. so far, i’ve only read what some science bloggers have said about it.

5 Steve Bates { 09.28.12 at 4:05 pm }

Another approach is to ignore this specific study and note that Monsanto is very determinedly conducting a large-scale experiment on virtually the whole population of the US (and other countries) without the consent or often even the knowledge of the experimental subjects. Their primary tool for solving all problems is the lawsuit. E.g., in cases in which adjacent Monsanto GMO crops have inadvertently pollinated nearby organic farmers’ crops, sometimes Monsanto has sued the farmers for their (involuntary) use of Monsanto’s patented genes; never mind that the pollination ruined their organic crops.

I am not a geneticist and I don’t play one on TV. But I worked as an IT guy for a group of geneticists at UT for quite a few years, some of which coincide with Monsanto’s efforts. Everything I learned in that period leads me to believe that genetic modifications even today are induced by methods equivalent to “hit it with a rock; if that doesn’t work, hit it with another rock.” The whole genomes of several species have been enumerated, but much of their content is simply not functionally well enough understood to undertake modifications with only one very predictable and desired consequence: instead, hitting them with rocks usually results in a lot of shards. Maybe Monsanto should take a step back and do some basic research on what really makes a genome tick. But they won’t do that, because there’s too much money to be made doing what they are doing right now… including filing lawsuits.

6 Bryan { 09.28.12 at 6:08 pm }

Apparently their ‘patented genes’ are generic enough that they have affected several common weeds which are now also resistant to Round-up, making the seed and the herbicide less cost effective. They have also made their seed sterile, which is even more of a danger once it is in the wild.

We now know that the seed won’t stay put where it is planted, and is polluting other people’s crops, so it needs to be halted. If it can’t be contained in the real world, it shouldn’t be in the real world.

Organic farmers need to start a class-action lawsuit against Monsanto. Their ‘patented genes’ cover traits that are harmful to organic crops and cause financial losses to those farmers. Seems like a straight-forward tort to me.