Saturday, January 16, 2016

Natural GMO: Should Olivia Farnsworth Be Banned From Having Children?

Okay, anti-GMOers, if all genetic modifications are bad, what are you going to do with Olivia Farnsworth?-RW

Mystery of BIONIC GIRL who doesn't eat, sleep or feel pain - even when hit by a CAR
By Zoie O'Brien

Unique Olivia Farnsworth stunned medics when they discovered she has a rare chromosome condition stopping her from feeling hunger, fatigue or pain.

It is thought she could be the only person in the world to exhibit the three symptoms together.

When she was diagnosed, the consultant geneticist told mum Niki Trepak, 32, she had never seen the disorder before which allows the youngster to go THREE DAYS without sleeping.

Little Olivia's condition is described as chromosome 6 deletion but the mix of super-human abilities has never been reported before.

People with chromosome disorders suffer from missing or re-arranged genetic material - one common disorder being Down’s Syndrome.

Mum-of-five Ms Trepak, of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, said: "Doctors have called her the bionic girl, she's made of steel. She's got no sense of danger.

"She was dragged about 10 car lengths down the road. It was horrendous, I don't think it's something I will never get over.

"I was screaming and all my other children were screaming as she ran out.

"But Olivia was just like, 'What's going on?'. She just got up and started walking back to me.

"Because of the impact she should have had severe injuries. She had a tyre mark on her chest. But her only injuries were she had no skin on her toe or her hip.

"The doctors think what saved her from injury was she didn't tense up."

Full-time single mum Ms Trepak said she knew she was different to her other children, especially when she stopped napping during the day at nine-months-old.

She did not sleep and would make up excuses not to go to bed and the first time she ever yawned, her mum recalled, was when she started school.

Ms Trepak said: ”As a baby I always said she was made of steel as she never cried.

”I never thought she'd feel no pain, it was just a joke.

"I remember when she was at nursery, once day the rang me and told me she'd fallen and her bottom teeth had gone through her bottom lip.

"She had to have plastic surgery and when the surgeon was examining her, he was pulling her lip and she wasn't even flinching.

"He said to me, there's something not right about her."

(via The Daily Express)

Also see: Is the Failure to Label Foods That are GMO Produced Fraud?


  1. I don't get it. What is the argument?

    This smells of straw.

  2. I'm assuming your argument is that a naturally occurring genetic disorder is the same as inserting genes from bacteria into plants, or inserting fish genes into tomatoes. One of these things is not like the other thing.

    1. I’m bemused by those who feel if a chromosomal alteration happens randomly it must be good, but if a chromosomal alteration happens deliberately it must be bad. Or maybe they feel if the alteration manifests as a “small” change as measured by some criteria it's good, if as a “large” change it's bad.

      I can't see the sense behind such positions. A change is a change, regardless of how it occurred or why it occurred. Whether it's good or bad to me depends only on whether it alters the outcome in a direction I value vs. a direction I don’t value. Random natural variation is a firehose, relying on natural selection to weed out the less fit genes as organisms suffer and die out over multiple generations. Intentional genetic manipulation just deliberately goes straight toward a desirable result, skipping most of the random trial and error time and expense.

      Or maybe the attitude is humankind is not wise enough to know what it wants. Well, speaking for myself I know what I want for myself. If going straight toward that saves me money and gains me quality of life, I'll do that. I’ll take the resulting benefits and let them compound for me over time. I’ll genetically modify organisms to get superior products. I’ll take the better, cheaper food, the life-saving medicines, cheap energy, etc.

      I’ll let others suffer the price for disdaining products produced by genetic modification. I’ll let others hope and pray nature eventually randomly produces a more nutritious tomato, bacteria excreting human insulin for diabetics, or algae cranking out cheap biofuels. I’ll let others pay more, suffer more, and die sooner for lack of all such things while I enjoy them. I’ll leave the caveman method and associated burdens to those who want that for themselves.

    2. The problem is that genes do not have linear effects. Changing one gene does not change one outcome. Genes interact with each other in ways that are not well understood. When nature alters genes those alterations are almost always detrimental, i.e. cancer, genetic disorders, congenital diseases. Even this little girl must have profound lifestyle limitations due to her inability to feel pain or fatigue. If nature produces almost exclusively negative consequences to genetic manipulation, it seems to me we should be more cautious when tampering with genes. Especially when considering the modifications we make are cross species, even cross kingdom in some cases. There is no president for that in nature.

    3. The problem with GMOS are not the intended outcomes, but the unintended consequences. Just like side effects to a medication, it takes lots of testing to determine these effects. Only with GMO the effects can potentially be on an ecological scale. Warrants caution, no?

    4. Are not unintended consequences a normal risk with all complex innovations?

      New airplane designs go through a reasonable review and testing regimen to help ensure never before tried wing configurations and engine types don't sabotage complex aerodynamics in unexpected ways. But no one for a second thinks the risk of unintended consequences should stop Boeing and Airbus from making deliberate airplane design alterations intended to improve airplane cost and performance. No one demands air travel be halted or outright banned by government because it poses some risk and it is fundamentally unnatural to ignite 50,000 gallons of fuel to propel 100 tons of metal containing 500 people 35,000 feet up into the air.

      Accordingly, can genetic engineers not, with due caution and testing, design a more nutritious, robust, and cheaper tomato without FUD mongers going apoplectic at that proposition? Is the science of molecular biology fundamentally any more dangerous or less understood than say materials science which routinely introduces novel, engineered chemical composites for automotive braking systems or building construction materials that lives depend on?

    5. GMOs come from science, airplanes come from engineering. These are two very different disciplines. Engineering has well developed methods of testing and evaluating products. Science does not.

      When I learned how scientists evaluate GMOs, vaccines, etc I became very wary about them. Their methods are shall I say, poor and underdeveloped. They will argue they aren't but more precaution goes into your cordless drill or cell phone than into a vaccine or GMO. Keep in mind an aircraft is levels above such personal tools. The most basic thing missing from science is Failure Modes and Effects Analysis. It just isn't done in products of science. But even your cellphone went through that process. Engineers have to know what the products will do out in the field. Peer review isn't even a good substitute of an engineering design review let alone everything else it's supposed to guard against.

      What is even more concerning is that medical devices (created by engineers) must go through considerably more than the latest GMO crop. If scientists adopted the engineering methods that keep everything from dialysis machines to automotive braking systems safe and reliable I would consider that FDA approval of them meaningful. But they don't. They just don't.

      You cannot compare the products of science to the products of engineering. They just don't go through the same processes.

    6. That's a lucid critique. You are simply saying the level of evaluation and testing of GMO products is low relative to what's currently done with mechanical products. Fair enough.

      If so, what will correct that? Liability. Make sure Monsanto is fully liable for any adverse effects of poorly tested GMO products they produce and we are done with having any possible basis to criticize GMO products distinctly from pharmaceuticals, hoverboards, or other engineered products.

      I don't buy your attempt to segregate GMO products as "science" and aeronautical products as "engineering." In both domains, useful products reaching the consumer are applied technologies - products engineered atop general principles and fundamental natural properties first discovered by science.

      GMO is newer on the scene than airplanes, so currently GMO is receiving the same anti-progress diatribe likely first lobbed at airplanes when they were introduced. I’m sure some people felt airplanes were unnatural abominations, saying "If man were meant to fly, he'd have wings."

    7. @ Meeker

      "The most basic thing missing from science is Failure Modes and Effects Analysis. It just isn't done in products of science."

      This is an excellent point.(we could discuss what constitutes "science", but I'm going to focus on GMO food for now)

      The counter argument is that there is SOME testing(and FDA approval, which we all know is a joke), but I agree with you Meeker that for all intents and purposes the actual "beta testing" is done on the population-

      Again I'll echo my prior concerns over property rights; there is the issue of crop pollution/mixing between naturally bred and GMO modified genetic crops- this continues to be a concern of mine because I'm not sure if the government courts are handling these issues properly.

      I myself want to make sure that GMO's are long term safe so to RW's point it's "buying beware" for me personally.

      I still think question of "when does an orange become something else?" is valid and an interesting topic to discuss.

      I also have no problem with people that want to participate in the mass "beta test" in consuming GMO foods, I just don't want to myself and as long as the property rights of growers that are using naturally bred fruits/vegetables are having their property rights respected- all should be good.

      There's room in the market place for both those who do/don't want GMO's without any needed government interference.

    8. Sone: Yes, of course there is more gradation between what I am calling products of "science" and products of "engineering" with regards to what they are, but I am drawing the line with regards to development processes that are accepted industry standards, not if something is an applied technology or not. For GMO foods there are no accelerated life testing, no failure modes and effects analysis, or any of the other various development processes that keep planes from falling out of the sky and cellphones from exploding in your hand. When these processes are not followed those things can and have happened. Engineered products go through those while science relies on the peer review of papers. That's the line I am using. Did it go through engineering processes or science processes to say it's good to sell to the public?

      If it is judged safe by peer review then I consider it a product of science. That's how GMO was considered safe. Engineering processes were developed over time for a reason to prevent bad things from happening with a product out in the field. Peer review simply wasn't developed for that purpose and hasn't evolved to fit that need. It was developed ideally to insure experimental and analytical work was done correctly and so it could be repeatable. It's missing the key process of asking the questions of how the product could fail. And if we don't ask those, then we don't even know how to test it. A FMEA IMO should have flagged GMO from the get go with some very bad scores that would have halted it until the technology improved, but because it relies on peer review, well... off it went.

      But here's the rub, what does FDA approval of GMOs mean? It means their liability is either very limited or doesn't exist. It meets government minimums, the end. Unless someone can show they knew about a specific harm it could cause then it's going to be difficult to get a damage reward. They don't know by not looking. You can't say they were aware of what might happen if they never sat down to do the FMEA in the first place let alone investigate and test from there.

      On a side note, look for a talk called "science for smart people" on you tube. It's a simple layman's talk on how to understand what the processes of science are telling us and how they are used.

      Nick, I think you and I are in basic agreement. I just want to avoid being and inadvertent beta tester while the political forces want me to be exactly that.

    9. In my view the problem with GMO crops is a problem of property rights: the GMO farmer jeopardizes neighboring non-GMO farmers with his contaminant pollen. For example, the non-GMO farmer may have invested considerable effort into maintaining a genetically pure heirloom crop only to have it ruined through cross pollination with a GMO. And since there are no measures in place to guard against invasive genes from, say, a jelly fish, the heirloom variety may be at terminal risk. Moreover, we cannot preclude a contagion event where GM elements spread even beyond the nearest neighbor. Well-tested but still risky mechanical systems such aircraft do not have this dynamic ecological property. In short, GMOs are potentially a polluting agent and may thus violate property rights.

      While the points regarding the health and safety of GMOs are important, it is property rights that should concern libertarians. It is surprising to me that there has been little, if any, consideration of the GMO-pollution problem from this perspective.

  3. Lets start the insanity. Reckless science Will solve some problems and destroy some lives. It's no different from fire, guns or any other human endeavor. People are just mystified and frightened by "chemicals" and "genetics" because it is very very complicated and it FEELS like magic.

  4. I exhibit the same symptoms, but only after a bottle of Jameson.

    1. Lol! Yes, but I'll bet you don't look as healthy.

  5. According to the anti-GMO crowd, she's not human, regardless of how or where the genetic modification came from. I think that's what Bob is trying to get at.

    1. She is human because she is the product of human genes, altered or not. Is a tomato still a tomato if it has fish genes inserted into its DNA?

  6. A rare chromosome disorder is not a modification

  7. You win the argument. You are way to smart because i can't figure out what you are saying. It must be way over my head.

    This dumb guy just knows that the corn i grew up with and god created was pretty good. I'm not smart enough to know that i needed a genetic change so that more round up could be speed over our food. Im sure it great for us.

    Cheers. Fill me a glass of round up.Drink up. Im on board.

    1. Excellent point. RW and these GMO supporters whole argument is basically we are too dumb to know what's good for us. We feel like GMO is magic and our tiny brains can't comprehend it so we are against it. Enjoy the round up, what could possibly go wrong?

  8. Strawman logical fallacy. Some kinds of GMO products, properly isolated, can have useful benefits. Most GMO is not properly isolated and pollutes non-GMO fields.

  9. you know Lockhead and the others will be putting a proposal for funding from the DoD to investigate this.

  10. Strawman; GMO's,good or bad is not the argument. It is to me do I have the right to know and choose what I'm eating.

  11. Really soon their psyche jumpstarts back and that they are off and running once more. Now and then individuals use liquor and different medications to get their psyche in a state where it is doing nothing but it is accomplishing something, it is simply doing it differently.

  12. Lets start the insanity. Reckless science Will solve some problems and destroy some lives. It's no different from fire, guns or any other human endeavor. People are just mystified and frightened by "chemicals" and "genetics" because it is very very complicated and it FEELS like magic.
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