Talk:Genetic engineering

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Isolation Section[edit]

This section is poorly written, it jumps from isolation to using a PCR. PCR is used to amplify pieces of genetic material and has very little to do with the isolation of genes. Then the final sentence jumps to inserting it into a bacterial plasmid, again this has nothing to do with isolation. This really needs to be re-written or removed. Chemicalsunshine (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 22:36, 12 May 2011 (UTC).


Citation 65 says "Genetic modification is evil and against god. New virus-built battery could power cars, electronic devices" The article is simply titled "New virus-built battery could power cars, electronic devices." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:51, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Well spotted. Thanks for pointing it out, I've removed it. Smartse (talk) 17:55, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Comparison with digital revolution[edit]

I would like to point out the line "Genetic engineering makes the whole digital revolution look nothing. Digital technology changes what we do. Genetic engineering has the power to change who we are." as being rather close to bias/opinion. What the digital revolution looks like in comparison is debatable, as well as digital technology being capable of altering more than "what we do". Maybe I just don't like the way it's worded, but either way, I vote bias/opinionated on it. Come to think of it, upon reading the article critically I do feel a little bias in terms of the words "immeasurably" being used, and a general positive attitude towards genetic engineering. For the most part the article is well written, and I'm for GM of organisms anyway. It would be nice to see further improvement of this article. - [User:RandomResearcher&Browser] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:39, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

I've removed that from the article as it was a copyright violation, having been copied and pasted from the reference. It didn't make much sense anyway to be honest. Feel free to work on improving the article if you can. Smartse (talk) 23:34, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

List of companies[edit]

engaged in GM would be nice. (talk) 14:21, 21 March 2010 (UTC)


Hello, biogenetics redirects here but there is not any mention of this term in this article. Could you delete redirection or only mention this term and its definition? Pamputt (talk) 07:48, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Biogenetics seems to be used to describe anything relating to genetics within biology [1] from anthropology and evolution to genetic engineering. From this it appears to describe cloning and genetic screening as well. Maybe some more information needs to be put into the biogenetics article or it could just redirect to biotechnology instead AIRcorn (talk) 07:16, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
A redirect to biotechnology is probably best as it covers the whole field. Incidentally is the bio- part of biogenetics necessary? I wasn't aware that anything outside of biology had genes! Smartse (talk) 11:06, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
Done. Only link to the redirect came from Outline of biochemistry‎ and it included Biotechnology and Genetic engineering under other branches. I therefore removed biogenetics from this article. AIRcorn (talk) 09:26, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Recent Edits[edit]

I have added quite a bit of information recently. Most of my knowledge concerns plants so the recent edits are a bit weighted towards that aspect. I will add more info on animals when I can (if no one else does).

I added some information on gene targeting and other site-directed genetic engineering techniques. I also modified the intro to be consistent with this new material. The new information doesn't fit into the current outline perfectly, but I'll leave any major rearrangements to the people that contributed the majority of the material since this is my first edit of this article. I'll also try to expand the somewhat stub-like "opposition and criticism" section when I find the time. ScienceGeekling (talk) 18:11, 6 November 2010 (UTC)


eg For information about the products of genetic engineering see genetically modified organism
Added GMO's early in lead, might not need the hatnote AIRcorn (talk) 04:28, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I think the advantages and opposition and criticism sections should be removed. Advantages refers just to GM food, while there is currently no information within the opposition and criticism section. Advantages could be copy/pasted to Genetically Modified food if necessary. There is already an article titled Genetically modified food controversies and the GMO article is half controversy already. I think the broad criticisms could be dealt with in the body of the article and linked where appropriate.
AIRcorn (talk) 07:45, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
  • The news external links probably do not need to be there either. They only refer to a single event, many are out of date and they can be used as inline citations if appropriate. AIRcorn (talk) 08:05, 9 July 2010 (UTC) Not sure about the Greenpeace petition either, a link to their page on genetics would be better.
Trimmed AIRcorn (talk) 04:28, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
The edits look good and I agree that the ELs could be trimmed. Looking at the advantages section, everything after what is currently reference 41 looks to be extremely theoretical - e.g "Genetic engineering can also increase the genetic diversity of species populations, especially those that are classified as being endangered" - I've never heard of this before and it seems pretty unlikely - where are the new genes going to come from? Likewise "the modification of a tree's genes could perhaps increase the root systems of these organisms reduce the damage produced by flood phenomena through flood mitigation." AFAIK the only GEd trees were poplar that were engineered to be easier to process into paper and these were uprooted by protestors. I think there definitely needs to be a mention of the potential benefits and problems of using GE - although most are related to GM foods, there are other things like the ethics of designer babies that should really be included in this article. Like you I'm more knowledgable about the plant side of things, so can't be of much use. Smartse (talk) 10:58, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

The benefits and problems should be mentioned, but I think that should be in their particular section. Designer babies under the Human subsection and GM foods under Agriculture. The only problem might be where to fit in criticism of genetic engineering as a whole, but the only one I can think of at the moment is 'whether humans have the right to interfere with nature'. The opposition and criticism section has been here for over a year now and nothing has been added except see alsos and like Smartse points out the advantages section contains a lot of theory and opinion. AIRcorn (talk) 23:23, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
Intellectual property arguments could also fit in the opposition and criticism section. Maybe it should stay. AIRcorn (talk) 09:15, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

See also trimming[edit]

Removed some links from the see also. AIRcorn (talk) 00:12, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Removed some more that were included in the template. Added some info to the others. Not sure what to do about Biological engineering and Paratransgenesis. Leave as is or put in template? AIRcorn (talk) 04:36, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Removed these ELs as being out of date. Put here in case anyone wants to use them as inline citations AIRcorn (talk) 04:32, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

Hi, I want to see a link to current issues with GM or a summery. Monsanto genetically modified corn harvest fails massively in South Africa The researchers discovered that animals that eat GM foodstuffs lose their ability to reproduce. Monsanto's genetically engineered (GE) cotton varieties sold to Colombian farmer failed in 2008-9, A 43-page study released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) reveals that since the inception of genetically modified (GM or GMO) crops, no significant increases in crop yields can be attributed to them. GENETICALLY MODIFIED (GM) CROPS INCREASE PESTICIDE USE AND FAIL TO ALLEVIATE POVERTY, REVEALS NEW REPORT In the experiment that went wrong, an engineered mousepox virus acquired the capacity to damage the immune system and killed all the mice involved.

I want to see a balanced wikipedia. I think this deserves it's on wikipedia page with links from other pages on GM foods and animals. My bias is even if it was totally safe it would take the control of our food supply out of the hands of farmers and put it in the hands of corporations who's main concern is to make money, not our health and well being. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:46, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Hi I'm sorry no one responded to your request. I think this is a good idea? Do we all agree to add all of these articles to the page? David Tornheim (talk) 08:43, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
Most sources on that list are not considered reliable at all (e.g., Natural News). It's been over 4 years since this post, so there hasn't been any agreement or consensus to add them. Kingofaces43 (talk) 09:34, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

More even-handed treatment required[edit]

I feel that the article, while generally well-written, is mild boosterism of GMO and genetic modification/engineering. There have been some outstanding failures and that should be mentioned:

  • Calgene's Flavr Savr tomatoes were withdrawn from the market for a variety of reasons, including expression of unwanted compounds not found in naturally bred tomatoes, poor flavour which was rejected by consumers, and low yields;
  • The transgenic potatoe in the UK that caused a number of lethal changes in the internal organs of test rats;
  • The high incidence of insertion of genes in incorrect locations by the gene gun approach which, while producing the desired protein, also produce other known or completely new proteins with known or unknown unwanted effects.

Owing to the rather loose certification procedures of the FDA, where manufacturer's test results are over-relied on, many questionable organisms have been released, for example, transgenic cotton seed expressing undesirable proteins which is used primarily for animal meal.

I am not a biologist and am not competent to edit the article itself, but I refer an editor who is competent to Marie-Monique Robin, The world according to Monsanto: pollution, politics and power (Original French title: Monde selon Monsanto), New Press, New York, 2009. A page that could almost be cut and pasted into this article exists at 'Genetically modified foods'.

Hedley (talk) 08:53, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments, it looks like they would apply more to genetically modified food though rather than this article. Responding to your points, 1 - no it was because calgene did not have experience in selling tomatoes, they where accepted by consumers until the transgenic potato study you cite scaremongered people into thinking they weren't safe - see Flavr_Savr#Tomato_paste. The potato study discussed at Árpád_Pusztai#GM_potato_controversy is not sufficient to say that all GM food is dangerous. Lastly things have moved on a lot in from using the gene gun, and even if genes are inserted with it, breeders will only grow on specimens where they have checked that it doesn't interfere with other processes. The book you cite doesn't sound particularly neutral and I'm not going to go and buy a copy. The info in the link is probably already covered in the GM food article. The most recent scientific review in this field is this. I think it is free, but if it isn't register an email address and I can send you a copy. Smartse (talk) 11:40, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Actually the argument that it was because calgene did not have experience selling tomatoes is not completely invalid. I would recommend reading an account from one of the researchers who worked at calgene entitled "First Fruit" (Which the author admits her position as being pro genetic engineering). Obviously that is not the only reason but it was a component. Second with what you said about the potato study, determining something is dangerous is pretty vague and any study would be hard pressed to resolve such a question. Now if the question was more specific such as would it have undesirable environmental effects, which could also be considered dangerous, is more easily resolvable. Which is why I don't think the intention of that study was ever to determine if ALL GM food is dangerous but rather a single food. What you are doing is attempting a straw man argument, the research never made the claim you are saying it doesn't meet so of course it doesn't meet your arbitrary requirements. Organisms produced with the gene gun are actually being grown and sold so your claim is invalid because it does not matter if new technology has been developed if the older technology is still in use. For example the Papaya being grown in Hawaii that is resistant to spotted ringspot virus was produced using the gene gun. Also your claim that breeders grow crops is absurd, as breeders produce crops which seed companies sell to growers. The amount of testing required to check safety is arguable, and even under contention between geneticist. What are your credentials to make the claim that there has been enough testing? Chemicalsunshine (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 22:48, 12 May 2011 (UTC).

Just a typo[edit]

In reference #1, "The European Parliament an the council of the" should read "The European Parliament and the Council of the".

STeamTraen (talk) 19:48, 24 February 2011 (UTC) Nick

Yes check.svg Done Thanks AIRcorn (talk) 20:07, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Multilateral Agreements[edit]

Examples of multilateral Agreements —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:37, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Updated url for Zaid, A; H.G. Hughes, E. Porceddu, F. Nicholas[edit]

Under 'Further reading', the glossary by Zaid, A; H.G. Hughes, E. Porceddu, F. Nicholas (2001) is provided. The URL for the glossary was recently changed from and is now Also, translations of 5 other languages are now available at that site, so the text could read Available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Polish, Serbian and Vietnamese.

10 October 2011 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ggggggggggbbbb (talkcontribs) 08:01, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Edit request on 14 March 2012[edit]

Genetic engineering is a relatively new and expanding field of technology. Because it is so unfamiliar to many, there are a number of moral issues that arise when considering genetic engineering procedures. Different religions, mothers, scientists, a variety of political parties, and everyday people all have a wide array of views on the rights and wrongs of this technology. Genetic engineering brings up debates over individual autonomy, moral obligation, savior siblings, and pre-human versus human. The argument concerning autonomy focuses on the child being born. Some believe that the individual merely knowing the fact that they are a genetically engineered child will effect their freedom and view of themselves later on in life. Others feel there is no such thing as self-causation and that said child will not change their autonomy solely due to the fact that they’ve been genetically engineered. Moral obligation is a rather complex argument that comes about. There are people who believe that if genetic engineering will help the unborn child, improve its life in any way, then it is our responsibility as humans to help another life. Some feel it should be government regulated, others, such as liberals, believe the government should not be involved at all because it violates our freedoms. Because it is our responsibility as humans to help another human, when does one life become more important than another? What if while performing one of these genetic engineering procedures it puts the mother at risk. Who is the most vital to save, the mother or the child? When is the child considered to be a “living being?” These are the types of questions that arise when addressing pre-human versus human. One must decide whether putting another life at risk is worth saving the other life. Another issue that comes up with similar questions is savior siblings. Savior siblings are those genetically engineered with a certain blood type or genes that can be donated to their sibling. Typical this occurs in families that have a sick child, they decide to have another one that can donate blood, marrow, and organs to their sick sibling. At this point there is a concern for the safety, well being, and overall lifestyle of the savior sibling. Is it fair to them to be brought into this world solely to go to surgery after surgery to save their brother or sister? But at the same time is it right to just let the sick child die when there is something that can be done to save them? One must decide which life has more value. Though genetic engineering itself seems complex the argument surrounding it are even more. With this growing field it will be a long time, if ever, before the morality of genetic engineering is settled, how much of it is right and which parts of it are wrong. Haleshelton (talk) 21:00, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

It would be great to include that! What's the reference? Dru of Id (talk) 21:19, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Please reactivate the request when you answer Dru of Id's question. Thanks, Celestra (talk) 23:41, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Opposition/Criticism Rebuttal[edit]

In the example of GM plants (herbicide resistant) spread in the wild in North Dakota, the original article notes that most GM plants were near the side of highways. The high level of GM plants found may be a sampling error, that is herbicide resistant plants will only have a selective advantage near roads where herbicides are sprayed. The study may have overestimated the incidence of GM canola in the wild by only sampling the roadside, where GM seeds can fall off trucks and may not necessarily spread in the wild. In the absence of herbicides the wild-type plants will outcompete GM varieties.

However, of course, some GMOs are harmful to the environment and should be considered on a case-by-case basis. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:26, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

Comment on lead[edit]

The second sentence of the article says, "[Genetic engineering] involves the introduction of foreign DNA or synthetic genes into the organism of interest." This seems overly specific - first, I think it is misleading since it implicitly excludes the removal or modifications of existing genes (while this often involves the insertion of some kind of DNA I don't think that's what most people will think of when they read that statement). Besides, removal of genes can be accomplished by protein transduction of zinc finger nucleases or similar proteins without using any DNA at all. (I'm writing this here because I'm not sure what specific changes I would make to address this.) Arc de Ciel (talk) 08:56, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Great point! addressed.Jytdog (talk) 02:54, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Genetically modified organisms-related articles[edit]

The articles this discussion should concern:

The concept of genetically modifying organisms (especially crops/food) is a fairly controversial topic, so I would imagine that the articles get a fair amount of visitors. That said, I want to point out some issues to the articles that could be fixed. I've assigned numbers to each suggestion/issue, so that they can be discussed in separate sections.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Yutsi (talkcontribs)

Quick comment. I have been checking page hits
First as a reality check
the Katy Perry article avg is about 17,000 hits per day
More seriously the article on China has about 20,000 hits a day
Of the articles you mention....
GM foods is highest ballpark avg 2200
GM organisms avg is about 2000
genetic engineering is about 2000 as well
GM food controversies has been big of late but still avg only about 1000 hits (recent increase may be Seralini press release, California referendum.. I'd like to think it is because I have concentrated information there
GM crops is pretty small, maybe 500 average. As I note below, I don't think people actually care about agriculture.
They care about food and the contoversies. Right?
Regulation of the release of genetic modified organisms is the smallest, maybe 70. I think the title of this article is terrible but have not tackled renaming it.
The title name is fine. There are regulations that govern approval to work with GM organisms and regulations that set the protocols and restrictions while they are being developed and tested. This article is about the regulations governing the release of these organism into the environment. I was working on a parent article and will release it (unfinished most likely) to mainspace soon. AIRcorn (talk) 02:15, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
So.. not sure if that meets your idea of "fair number of visitors". :) Jytdog (talk) 17:56, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Frankly my dear... If an article gets 10 hits a day on average IMO it earns its place in WP. This is supposed to be an encyclopaedia, not a tabloid rag. Not every word in a dictionary gets looked up every single day, and some of the most valuable entries are exactly the entries that one has difficulty finding anywhere else, sometimes because nowhere else bothers to publish them. Let's not fall into the trap of "I wish people would stop pestering us for X; we don't stock X; there is no demand for it!" As long as we can produce articles with intrinsic substance and significance and with a decent presentation of information and relevance, our only reaction to a low hit count should be to check whether it could be better presented to strike the eye of potential readers. JonRichfield (talk) 08:28, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
sarcasm my dear! I think you misunderstood my point. I have spent hours working on these pages - I want them to accurate because I believe wikipedia should always be excellent, regardless of whether the topic is "popular". You got more to my point with your last remark - and that is, how used are these pages? Relative to "popular" topics, and relevant to each other? Why is the regulation article - the one I would hope people read and learn about a lot, so rarely consulted? And my comment about "not sure if that meets you definition of fair number" - I really meant that - I have no idea what Yutsi had in mind when he said that. I like data and hard numbers so I put them out there.Jytdog (talk) 01:23, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Crossed wires my dear, I suspect. The nearest I came to deliberate acerbity was in rejecting any idea that a low hit rate was a priori a basis for questioning the justification for an article's existence. Sure, if large numbers of people read important topics, that looks good and we should aim for it, but for a lot of really vital technical topics it is fashionable to raise Cain chanting meaningless slogans in the streets, but God forbid that anyone should actually take time learning what it really is all about. (GMO-hatred is not the only such topic, mind you!)

Issue 1[edit]

hi read this — Preceding unsigned comment added by Purebuzzin (talkcontribs) 11:56, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Additional note. I just read the WP:SELFREF and I don't agree that anything here violates it. It is 100% OK to say "this article refers to X" What is not OK, is to write, "This Wikipedia article refers to X". That does not occur. The policy also teaches away from self-references that would not work in other media, for instance, in print. None of the instances do that either. So I disagree that anything violates WP:SELFREF. Jytdog (talk) 00:13, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Thanks for raising these issues. I have done a lot of work on this suite of articles over the past few months. When I came upon them, they were a real mess. By "mess" I mean things like:
(i) the same matter was discussed across all these pages. At great length, sometimes verbatim but often one stretching out randomly in X direction and another in Y direction. Most of the overlapping material concerned the controversy - namely, people emphasizing studies, especially from the Seralini group, that endeavored to show that GM food is very risky and regulators as not being strict enough.
(ii) the same study would be cited three or more times in a given article, described differently and with the reference formatted differently, making it appear that there were many more studies than there actually were.
(iii) there was not a lot of actual content. For instance there was really nothing about how farmers use GM crops or why they matter to farmers. But farmers are the ones actually buying the GM seed and using them. And the GM food article, remarkably, said almost nothing about what food you find in the store is GM. Again, remarkable.
I think that the articles were messy for three reasons:
a) fact: there is a set of people, anti-GM people, who are emotional about these issues. They are worried and angry and want other people to be motivated to help change the current system. (I still don't know much about the demographics or size of that group. Something on my "to-research" list)
b) fact: There are a few "segments" of material, each of which is fairly complex in and of itself, that read on each other, again in complex ways. The 'segments' can be divided up as the articles are -- the underlying science (genetic engineering article); broad examples of application of genetic enginering (GMO article); agriculture (GM Crops); what you actually might eat (GM Food), regulation of GMOs and food (regulation), and the whole controversy (which touches on all those and more).
c) judgement by me: a lot of the people (not all!) who are the most emotional, and most motivated to edit wikipedia, especially in what I call 'drive by" editing (don't have a logon but edit from an IP address, one or two times maybe) are also (gulp) ignorant about a lot of the complex matter. I don't mean "ignorant" pejoratively, just that they don't know stuff and I don't think they care to know. (see iii above) There is also a lot of half truth "information" about these matters that is passed around in that community. For example, much online discussion of Monsanto vs Schmeiser is wrong - and was wrong in several places in Wikipedia.
Therefore, when I cleaned these articles up by separating matter, getting NPOV sources, editing POV text to make it NPOV, etc, I tried to also signal very very explicitly to readers and editors what they could expect to find in a given article. This is to try to help prevent readers from expecting to find -- or wanting to add -- something about environmental damage from GM Crops in the article on GM Foods. The way things are configured now, nothing about environmental pros or cons of GM crops belongs in the GM food article, because that article is about actual GM food - the stuff you eat. What is GM food, exactly? That is what you should have learned after reading the GM article. And you should know that there are articles on other, complicated matters, that you need to read as well if you want to understand the whole picture.
I realize that this explicit guiding language is not normal wiki style. But because of the above, I think is essential to retain these explicit guideposts. Otherwise the articles will moosh back together again.
Two regular wiki editors, arc de ciel, and aircorn, have also raised concerns about this as well -- see User_talk:Jytdog#CommentJytdog (talk) 17:20, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
  • As I stated at Jytdogs talk page, I would prefer hatnotes to refer to different articles on similar topics. AIRcorn (talk) 01:50, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
Another user, Semitransgenic has objected to this paragraph - deleting it and noting "remove editorial remarks, use dablinks at the top of the page to tell readers of other relevant content". Happy to see a proposed example!Jytdog (talk) 15:39, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't support this kind of in-article editorialising, dablinks (hatnotes), or an infobox would be a better method, the tone of the lead in general needs addressing. Semitransgenic talk. 15:47, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
It is not editorializing in the sense of giving an opinion. If you want to provide sample hatnotes I would be very interested to see them! What do you mean by "tone"?Jytdog (talk) 15:52, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
starting a paragraph with words like "nonetheless" etc. veers towards WP:OPED. Lead prose should ideally be pragmatic, just provide an accurate summary of the key/notable content found in the main body of text. Semitransgenic talk. 16:19, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

If nothing else could we get an answer to this issue. The paragraphs that this concerns are these ones. AIRcorn (talk) 21:01, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

I am OK with how this was handled at Genetically modified food controversies if you want to implement, aircornJytdog (talk) 22:21, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
No problem. It is not looking like this is going to be closed soon. AIRcorn (talk) 00:07, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Issue 2[edit]

  • To the extent that these sections remain, I agree that they could be sorted that way - it would be better. In general I have tried to eliminate these sections, slowly, making sure that the matter is incorporated into the suite of articles. I understand that this is best under the MOS.Jytdog (talk) 17:21, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
  • The external links sections should be trimmed to just websites that contain an overview of the whole topic (i.e a website about GM mice should be on the GM mouse page, but is not needed on the GM organism one) but are not suitable for inclusion in the page itself (i.e a large list of GM crops like here. The less the better in my opinion and would be more than happy to see them trimmed. I however do not think that they should be separated based on their alignment. AIRcorn (talk) 01:57, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Issue 3[edit]

  • I don't really understand this point. Perhaps you could explain better. My POV: People's concerns about GM food are what drove the mess and what drives a lot of the ongoing editing. I have done my best to carefully sort things out. In my mind, GM food per se (what is it?) should be handled in the GM food article, and controversy around it (and many other surrounding issues), in the controversy article. Regulation of it and GMOs that produce it, in the regulation article. Crops that produce it (and other things) in the GM crops article. GMOs in general, and genetic engineering in general, in those articles. These topics are inter-related, for sure. They need to mention and reference each other. But the topics are separable. Jytdog (talk) 17:25, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Some overlap is inevitable, but it should be reduced as much as is practicably possible. I don't particularly like controversy sections in articles and would rather see the issues mentioned in the appropriate section. Although I concede that this might be hard to maintain in these articles. What should happen if we have a controversy article is that the GM food should have a controversies section linked with a main template to the controversies article. It should include a couple of paragraphs outlining or summarising the main points associated with food. The GM crops should have the same except its paragraphs should focus more on crops and so on. AIRcorn (talk) 02:05, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
The hard thing about your proposal, aircorn, is that opponents of GM food very rarely have a single focus and it is very hard to sort out the "heart" of many objections. Many seem to care most about industrial agriculture (many angles on this... so-called "corporate control of the food supply", messing with "nature", chemical use, etc. Others really seem to care about riskiness of the food they eat. Others seem more focused on corruption of regulatory agencies. And all those issues very much overlap and feed into each other. And there are problems that touch on everything. The key issue can be broadly captured under the rubric of gene flow/contamination. People worry about gene flow from GM crops to other crops and to weeds (environmental concerns and food-safety concerns, especially with pharming crops, and economic concerns for organic farmers); people worry about harvested crops being mixed (a la starlink); people worry about litigation from gene flow or contamination (mostly based on misunderstandings of Monsanto v Schmeiser). So I ended up with one big honking controversies article. Happy to hear thoughts about how to rationally separate!!13:55, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
Answered below AIRcorn (talk) 00:21, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Issue 4[edit]

  • No objection! Except that no article exists on genetically modified animals. Your link above points to an external links section in the GMO article.. strange. Jytdog (talk) 17:25, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
  • I would not move that article, if any should be move it is Genetically modified mammals with fish, insects, etc added as sub sections. AIRcorn (talk) 02:07, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
  • All this points, to me, to one article one main article on GMOs with subarticles to the various ... biological kingdoms maybe?? Jytdog (talk) 13:56, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Issue 5[edit]

  • I disagree very strongly. People care about what they eat -- what goes into their bodies. GM Foods needs its own article. GM Crops are agriculture -- most of the information you need to know in order to understand them, has nothing to do with food. Much of the material now in the GM crops article was originally in the GM foods article and I pulled it out and put into the GM crops article, and then expanded it. It still needs more expansion in some sections as noted in the article. Farmers don't buy GM seed, thinking about food. They buy them because they make sense to farmers as businessmen. The companies don't make GM seed, thinking about food. They make them so that their customers --farmers -- will buy them. It's agribusiness. It's not about food. (I am not saying that is a good or bad thing -- no moral judgement - it is just the way the world is). It is absolutely true that the companies have to satisfy regulators in order to do business, because some (but not even most) of the product directly becomes food and so it must be safe enough to eat. Most of the product goes to feed livestock and poultry (which then become food). Much of the product is used industrially and never becomes food (cotton, corn for biofuel, potatoes for starch used industrially. etc). It is true that some GM crops used directly as food have failed because farmers' customers didn't want to buy it as food (the New Leaf potato failed because farmers' target customer, McDonald's, didn't want GM potatoes for french fries, even though they satisfied Americans' desire for perfect-looking, unblemished food). But GM crops is its own topic. Look how long that article is already! And the GM foods article also requires expansion itself.. not even close to describing all the food you find in the store that is GM.Jytdog (talk) 17:36, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep them separate. Not all crops are food (cotton is one of the most common GM crops and it is a stretch to label it food, plus you have Amflora and biofuels that are being developed) and with the development of the GM salmon soon not all food are not going to be crops. It still needs some work separating the two, but the crop/food split is a good one at my mind. I would bring back the GM plant article at some stage too, and make it a parent one of the crop one for much the same reasons, there are some important GM plants used in research that are not and never will be grown as crops. AIRcorn (talk) 02:12, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
I have no quarrel with most of your points and the proposed separations of topics seem reasonable to me, but I am mildly puzzled as to why you exclude cotton from food plants as a topic. I don't eat much fabric or cotton wool myself, any more than I can help anyway, but I have eaten a lot of foods prepared or canned in cottonseed oil and have probably eaten more products of cottonseed cake than I know about directly, and a good deal more meat from animals that have eaten large quantities of cottonseed cake. Once you remove the gossypol, either artificially, or genetically, cotton is quite an important food plant. And beware what you say about hemp and poppies too! Just an obiter dictum... JonRichfield (talk) 08:41, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Not too familiar with cottonseed oil, although I knew it existed. I mostly think of cotton as the fibre. Cotton would probably have to be mentioned in both articles, along with maize and the other food crops. Am working on organising a kind of heirachy now, so hopefully we can get the split better organised. There needs to be a Genetically modified cotton article created, plus one for tobacco, Arabidopsis and other important plants. AIRcorn (talk) 12:34, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Right. That is the sort of thing I had in mind in my comment below when I spoke of "adjusting or even radically changing the suite of articles in the light of matters emerging..." JonRichfield (talk) 16:25, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks John! I am very aware that cotton is used to make cottonseed oil -- in fact I have been trying to get the Andrew Weil website to change its stupid page on cottonseed oil which is not accurate. See the Cottonseed_oil#Concerns_about_fats_and_toxicity that I edited to make accurate. And I do list cottonseed oil in the Genetically modified food article. In my comments above, I was not trying to exclude the use of cottonseed oil as food; I was just making the point that the cotton from GM cotton plants -- along with many other products of GM crops -- are not used for food. Sorry to have created a misunderstanding. Jytdog (talk) 13:13, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
No problemo. All such misunderstandings should only be so easily fixable ;-) JonRichfield (talk) 17:15, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment: To forestall almost inevitable accusations of POV, if not actual corruption by evil multinationals, I have no material, contractual, or commercial interest in any form of GM that I know about. Idealistically and intellectually I am deeply interested in the matter and deeply alarmed and disgusted at such examples as I have seen so far of, for example, large scale plantings of crops with genes for defensive production of single substances for pest control; such abuses rank with the early days of misapplication of antibiotics, both in human medicine and in agricultural and veterinary practice.
Interesting comment! I like the comparison with antibiotics. GM seed with stacked traits are now 25% of the market and growing steadily (, so things are snapping into a line of intelligent use quickly....Jytdog (talk) 13:19, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I was not aware of that trend. It is encouraging, though of course it is just a hint at the depth of responsibility that we bear when tinkering with such powerful tools. If we are not careful we shall simply turn a vital biotechnological opportunity into an exercise in the fostering of super-pests. JonRichfield (talk) 19:46, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
That said however, I regard GM as a field on a par with computing, the control of fire, printing, and the development of modern science in terms of historical importance for the future. There is no way that we could rationally justify ignoring or sidelining it. The question of how to present it, including how to split the topics into manageable articles is what matters, as already indicated in several of the contributions to this RFC. I have no particular quarrel with the proposed titles as presented, as long as each is coherently written and adequately cross-linked to the others. Questions such as what readers care about putting into their bodies are far less important than questions concerning the clarity and perspective of each article. Since the articles are in inevitably not independent, there must necessarily be some overlap, but this is hardly a new problem and requires no new techniques in dealing with it. Concise cross-reference plus clear reference to the main article for each topic is naturally important, but hardly challenging.
As I said, I have no quarrel with the proposed split, but I also would have no problems with adjusting or even radically changing the suite of articles in the light of matters emerging during their authorship and editing. JonRichfield (talk) 09:05, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Principles in using subarticles[edit]


IMO, any time we have subarticles, there should be a standard, brief paragraph in the "head" article (ideally taken from the lede of the subarticle and edited for concision if necessary) and a link to "main", and then keep an eye on those standard paragraphs for changes so that they stay short and plain. Ideally, no statistics would be in those standard paragraphs, otherwise when new data emerges we have to go back and update the data in many places which will inevitably lead to missing things and the overall suite falling out of sync within itself and with reality. I feel that we should try hard to avoid having long sections in different articles that cover the same matter. This was the state in which I found articles within this suite several months ago and most of my work has been consolidating overlapping material into clear, NPOV, well sourced discussions. Having a suite of articles covering various aspects of complex matter is indeed common in WIkipedia, but it is also commonly handed badly IMO. For instance in the suite of evolution articles, the main evolution article has a history section that is very long (7 paragraphs that fill my screen)... and there is an entire much longer subarticle on the history (about 10x longer). I glanced over the two texts and they don't tell the same story or even use the same refs.... this is not a happy thing for an encyclopedia and we should avoid doing this. This is for me a very important principle and I hope we can discuss it.

Jytdog (talk) 13:58, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Organisation and consistency is the bane of Wikipedia. This seems reasonable though. AIRcorn (talk) 00:16, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
sorry you have thrown me off.. do you mean lack of organization and consistency are the bane (i.e. a source of harm) or do you mean that pursuing them is a bad thing? sorry, i don't know you that well and this was confusing...Jytdog (talk) 01:09, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
It was meant slightly tongue-in-cheek. Due to its nature Wikipedia tends toward inconsistent disorganisation (anyone can edit after all). It is amazing that it works as well as it does. Providing order is an admirable thing, and I will help out as much as possible, but at the end of the day you are going against the natural inertia of the project and no matter what you do, if you want to keep it organised it is going to take constant watching. AIRcorn (talk) 02:37, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
I totally hear you on that. :) I intend to watch for a long time. But I also want to structure things as much as possible, with explicit markers "This goes here, that goes there" - to help keep things in line.Jytdog (talk) 03:30, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't see you getting consensus for the self references (issue 1 here). I would suggest using the hidden text function. Simply type<!-- Add appropriate comment here -->. It will only be seen by editors when the click the edit button. See this for how it might work. AIRcorn (talk) 03:39, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

(starting tabs over) Hi Aircorn... so far nobody has gone to the mat on the the self references. With respect to the objection raised in Issue 1, I wrote above, that if you read Wiki's self-reference policy, it is clear that these texts do not violate that policy. Nobody has responded to that so I assume nobody disagrees. My sense is that you and arc de ciel have objected on more stylistic grounds... but neither of you has gone to the mat on this. Is this indeed important to you? But let's go back to the subject matter of this section. I have been trying to lay down a principle that sections for which we have big subarticles should just be very brief stubs - 1 paragraph taken from the lede of the subarticle, so that we don't end up with long, weedy descriptions of a given issue in different articles that extensively overlap with each other and with the main subarticle... which leads to inconsistencies and disorganization that you have described as a bane of wikipedia (and I heartily agree!). I thought we had kind of agreed on this... but you just recently expanded one of these stub sections with a bunch of material copied from a subarticle. So what gives? How shall we do this? I have been tempted to go into some of the articles you have created and apply this "stub principle" (for instance you have a section on "regulation of the release of genetically modified organisms" in your "regulation of genetic engineering" article that is my mind is waaaay too long and should be just a stub, as we have a whole article on "regulation of the release of genetically modified organisms") but i have held back from stubifying that section until (and only if) we reach consensus here.Jytdog (talk) 18:09, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

No one needs to got to the mat. We have consensus so far (me, Arc and Yutsi against you so far) not to use them. Is it important to me? No other things are more important at the moment, but one day I would like to get the articles up to Good standard and that is not going to happen with those instruction paragraphs in the lead.
I think we slightly misunderstood each other above. I agree that there should only be short summaries in the head articles, but we have a disagreement over what is short. I think that there needs to be enough information in the parent article that the reader will get a good overview of each topic, they should not be obliged to go to another article to find this. They should only have to go there if they want to find more details. Basically each article should stand on its own and stubby sections are not going to allow that. Three to four paragraphs covering the regulation and controversies should be enough, but anything less and the article is going to be incomplete. AIRcorn (talk) 21:38, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for talking! OK, on the guide paragraphs.. both Yutsi and Arc based their objection on their understanding of wiki policy, and as mentioned, I don't see how these run afoul of the self-reference policy. You seem to be basing your objection on that too, when you say that an article with these paragraphs, will never be Good. But what is the basis for that? Please explain...
Thank for zeroing in on the "stub" issue. I really appreciate it. So to you the key principle is that the article should stand on its own with respect to providing a good overview and that a compact stub is not enough. I had thought that the stub does provide an overview, but what I am hearing is that this is too high level for you -- it is not a "good" overview. So you want more of the story in all the articles. Whew that is all a tall order for complex matter like this. It helps me understand why you want longer "stubs." OK I need to think about this a bit! I will write again in a couple of days, this requires thinking and if I come into alignmnent with you, some major resetting for me. Thanks again.Jytdog (talk) 22:48, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
The Good articles have a set of simple criteria that they have to meet in order to gain that status. IMO they are a great base that every article should aspire to. One of those criteria is compliance with WP:Lead, which I don't think the navigational paragraphs meet. Another one is broadness, which is why I think we need more than one paragraph stubs in important sections. AIRcorn (talk) 16:41, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

I'm not really watching the articles right now, but I just wanted to confirm that the objections I raised were indeed answered. It doesn't "feel good" from my own style perspective, but I don't know of any style guideline that rules it out. Also, I think that the general organization Jytdog has put in place is a good one; as he said, my concerns were only about the way they were disambiguated. It seems that people adding the same citations repeatedly is common in this group of articles, and this organization would probably help a lot. Arc de Ciel (talk) 03:00, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

Overall structure[edit]

Let's have a focused discussion on overall structure. This is part of the topic mentioned above but only part. Let's map it out. It would be really great to do this with some kind of software that allowed us to draw things, but I am ignorant of how to do that. So I will take a shot at this using words alone.

Here is my perspective

  • genetic engineering (head article; should describe history and techniques and a high level overview of uses)
  • GMOs - this should work be organized by the biological taxonomy of the kinds of organisms that have been modified and briefly state the purpose of the modification --> subarticles on various GMOs
  • GM crops - describes the agriculture and agribusiness of GM crops. Not about food, about crops. --> subarticles on various crops (many will be same subarticles of GMOs above)
  • GM foods - describes what foods we eat are GM. Not about agriculture, about food. This is by far the most trafficked article in the suite (fact), because people care about what they eat (opinion).
  • regulation - should be a brief, standard, subsection of each of the articles above, and describe the general principles of regulation, and provide an overview of each countries' current regs (right now lacks international agreements like Cartagena Protocol - needs to be added) --> subarticles on each country's history of regulations and international agreements
  • controversy - should be a brief, standard subsection of each of the articles above, and describe all the aspects of controversies around GM crops and GM food --> subarticles? I struggle with this. Part of my goal here is to give the full controversy full voice in one place, so that it is not inserted into every article on every genetic engineering topic, and gets clear, NPOV discussion someplace where everybody can find it.

All this done with the principle of subarticles mentioned above...Jytdog (talk) 14:00, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

I agree with pretty much everything here. Although I would think you would have to cross reference food in the crops article and crops in the food one. As far as the controversies go I would have a section solely on the health concerns in GM food and one solely on the environmental concerns in the crops one. Then I would have a section over-viewing the other concerns. I think the length of the controversy section should depend on the article. GE, food, crops, plants, animal, organisms should probably get their own section with a good overview of the issues relevant to each topic and a {{main}} to the controversies article. The sub-sub articles can probably just get away with a link provided in an appropriate section (e.g. in Bt brinjal it says in the first sentence of controversies "There are many controversies surrounding the development and release of genetically modified foods, ranging from human safety and environmental impacts to ethical concerns such as corporate control of the food supply and intellectual property rights" in the lead of the controversies section). The rest of the section just details the issues with the titles topic and does not dwell on the overall controversies. For the controversies article itself I would keep the public perception as the first header, then have health concerns, environmental concerns, regulatory concerns (including labeling), religious concerns and Intellectual Property concerns (including corporate control). Most should fit into one of these broad categories. It may become necessary to split health and environment to separate articles to reduce the size. AIRcorn (talk) 00:13, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Let me get this straight. You would have a pretty long section on controversies in (for example) the food article - in that one, focused on health. Then, again in the main controversies article, you would have another fairly long section on health (which is all about food)?Jytdog (talk) 01:53, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Depends what you mean by pretty/fairly long. I was thinking two to three, possibly four paragraphs (maybe a bit more in the controversies article). The health section in the GM controversies is well beyond fairly long already, especially if you add in Pusztai and Serilini. For example the GM food could be presented like:
  • History
    • [main to GM History]
  • Process
    • [main to GM Techniques]
  • Plant based
    • [main to GM Crops][see also to GM crops]
  • Animal based
    • [see also to GM animals]
  • Regulation
    • [main to GM Regulation]
  • Detection
  • Health concerns
    • [main to GM health concerns (if split from controversies)]
  • Other concerns
    • [main to GM controversies]

I like the smallification of text!! didn't know one could do that. Funny that you have "animal based" - there is no GM food from animals (yet). but in theory i see what you mean. But i disagree really really strongly that "GM crops" is main for plant-based GM food. GM crops is about agriculture. its not about food. why do you think gm crops is about food? more to say but that stopped me - one thing at a time!Jytdog (talk) 03:34, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Should have been see also like the animal one. AIRcorn (talk) 03:44, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Seems to me acceptable.Fox1942 (talk) 14:09, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

Long term Roundup herbicide or Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize extremely toxic & carcinogenic PMID 22999595[edit]

Séralini GE, Clair E, Mesnage R, Gress S, Defarge N, Malatesta M, Hennequin D, de Vendômois JS.

PMID 22999595

Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize.

Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Nov;50(11):4221-31.

doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005.

Epub 2012 Sep 19.


The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1ppb in water), were studied 2years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2-3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5-5.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3-2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls which occurred up to 600days earlier. Biochemistry data confirmed very significant kidney chronic deficiencies; for all treatments and both sexes, 76% of the altered parameters were kidney related. These results can be explained by the non linear endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, but also by the overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences.

PMID 22999595 [PubMed - in process]

Full Free Text:

--Ocdnctx (talk) 19:15, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Main discussion at Talk:Genetically modified food controversies#Long term Roundup herbicide or Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize extremely toxic & carcinogenic PMID 22999595 AIRcorn (talk) 20:39, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

improper sentence[edit]

The sentence, "He was later successful at created a recombinant ice-minus strain." should either be: He was later successful at creating a recombinant ice-minus strain. or: Later, he successfully created a recombinant ice-minus strain.

Thank you for considering my request.

--Dee Archer (talk) 19:23, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done thanks for spotting this. AIRcorn (talk) 20:39, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Regulation + Controversy Sections???[edit]

I know there are people who rage at the mention of GMO or anything genetic. I accept that but I don't think we need to pander to them. Yes there are regulation, controversy and potential problems with Genetic Modification. There are also a lot of rules and regulations on swimming pools and other things associated with water. Yet there is no regulation or controversy section on the wiki page on water. Any topic could be associated with controversy and or regulations.

The 2 paragraphs that currently exist do not provide the user with any real information, nor are they relevant to the general discussion of Genetic Engineering. There is a "see also" section of this article, we should use it to link any possibly related articles including articles about Regulation and controversy. So I suggest deleting the last 2 sections on regulation and controversy.. Mantion (talk) 07:16, 26 June 2014 (UTC)