|· Bad science, screwed-up research and the real story behind GMOs
· A brand-new “super rice” for the super poor
· Why the media are completely wrong about GMOs, and what it means for you.
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Editor’s note: Last, Friday we wrote you about GoPro, which is shaping up to be the worst investment of 2015. As Ray Blanco said: GoPro is a No-Go. Looks like he was right.
Check out what Chris Mayer had to say in Mayer’s Special Situations today:
“Finally, I can’t help but share a note on GoPro. I panned the shares in an email to you on Oct. 13 of last year. I mocked the company’s product and called the stock ‘poison.’ In particular, I wrote about the ridiculous valuation. I wrote: ‘GoPro is not worth 10 times sales. (See, there is this thing called competition…)’
“And competition soon arrived in the form of Apple, which announced it would create a line of cameras to compete with GoPro’s. Down went GoPro’s shares last week.
“The shares closed at $76.67 per share on the day of my October warning. Today, the shares are $47.51 — a 38% drop. The fundamentals eventually win. Always.”
And Chris would know. He’s unofficially tied for the No 1 spot in Hulbert Financial Digest for best investment returns over a 10-year period (Chris has been writing his investment letter for only nine years, so he can’t officially qualify to be ranked).
Today, we jump from the world of tech investing to the mixed-up science of GMO. Here’s what you need to know.
With full bellies but empty brains, protesters are lining up in numbers to stop GMO food production.
According to them, GMOs have been shown to harm animals in scientific studies.
In fact, according to consumer advocate Jeffrey Smith in The Huffington Post, “Virtually every animal feeding study that looked for immune changes from GMOs found them. GM-fed animals had sluggish immune responses, damaged organs associated with immunity, altered parameters in the blood and dangerous inflammatory and immune reactions.”
And protesters believe the same effects could be showing up in our immune systems.
But there’s a story about GMOs no one is telling…
It has to do with bad science and screwed-up research that not only make you paranoid over what you eat, but block our ability to feed more of the world’s hungry people.
Take a look at these protesters.
They hate GMOs — genetically modified organisms. In the United States, GMOs have been part of our food supply for nearly 20 years. The majority of certain important crops planted today, like corn and soybeans, use genetically modified seed.
People against GMO crops, however, claim they aren’t safe to eat or use as feed for livestock.
They are wrong.
And the scientific evidence proves it.
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100 Billion Animals, Trillions of Meals and Three Decades
Genetically engineered crop organisms are tested for safety for years, at great cost, and are only brought into commercial production after regulatory review. And even afterward, they are carefully studied further to determine any health impacts.
One exhaustive large-scale study, published last September analyzed nearly 30 years of available data across two time sets. The first set, from 1983-1996, was for a period when GMO feed wasn’t available for livestock such as chickens, pigs and cattle. The second, from 1996-2011, was for when livestock received GMO feed.
All told, the study spans over 100 billion animals, and trillions of meals, over nearly three decades.
The conclusion? “The introduction of GE crops did not reveal unfavorable or perturbed trends in livestock health and productivity.No study has revealed any differences in the nutritional profile of animal products derived from GE-fed animals.”
But what about allergic reactions?
The FDA focuses on allergy issues with GMOs to make sure the changes don’t produce new allergens. The process of making sure a new food is safe takes years to complete, and there is no evidence that any currently marketed GMO crops create new allergens that aren’t already present. In fact, the AllergenOnline database, maintained by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, tracks food allergens and “lists every known protein that has been shown to cause an allergy and/or even might be suspected of possibly causing a reaction.”
It does not list one single allergen caused by GMOs.
Thousands of studies have been undertaken, and the conclusion of major scientific organizations is unanimous: GMOs are safe.
There has been no credible scientific evidence that GMO-based foods are harmful to humans in any way.
Despite the research on GMO safety, some people still stridently oppose it, and they spread misinformation that can make you paranoid about your food.
This isn’t just bad for you. It’s bad for people in impoverished regions who desperately need abundant food at low prices to survive.
It’s also bad for the environment.
Crops with improved genes can produce more food per acre. They can also allow us to eventually use less land. That means we can preserve more land in its natural state.
What most of us don’t realize is nature’s been genetically modifying organisms for us since the beginning of time. Nearly everything you eat has been selected for certain genetic traits in order to be a better food source. By selecting for favorable traits, humans have been genetic engineers since the time they first started agriculture.
And there’s a brand-new GMO discovery that could change the world as we know it forever.
It has to do with rice.
Three billion people depend on rice as a staple every day, and a pound of rice offers four times the food energy of a pound of potatoes or a pound of pasta. That makes it even more important in the developing world as a source of calories.
But there’s a problem.
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What do authorities know that we don’t? And why aren’t they alerting everyday Americans like you and me?
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We’re Running out of Rice
Climate change is wreaking havoc on rice production.
The crop is highly dependent on water, and many traditional growing regions around the world are experiencing a drought cycle.
Enter “super rice.”
Just in time, researchers at the University of Arkansas have found a protein that controls the process by which rice plants convert sunlight into food, offering a new genetically modified plant that requires less water to produce even more rice.
The protein serves as a genetic master regulator by interacting with DNA sequences, in this case the ones that control photosynthesis.
By studying stressed-out plants, the researchers noticed the protein slows down or shuts down photosynthesis in difficult conditions.
In the wild, that process may have an important role, but on a farm, it’s a disaster.
The scientists attempted to genetically modify a strain of rice so that the gene that controlled the protein production was more active. Such plants had more photosynthetic organelles in their cells, called chloroplasts, which made them greener. They produced more sugars, starches and biomass.
Researchers found the genetically modified rice strain grew better with less water yet retained more water internally.
The modified rice has more vigorous root systems under both drought and well-watered conditions, and it produces more grain. Under drought conditions, it yields 14-40% more grain. Under well-watered conditions, it increases yields as much as 29%.
Although developing this “super-rice” could prove to be a boon to poor people in the developing world, and could lead to lower food prices for you, you can expect stiff resistance from a misinformed bunch who oppose technological progress that benefits humanity.
They are part of a movement of scientifically ignorant people peddling dubious claims.
Are you for or against GMOs?
Vote here. I’ll release the results of the poll in Wednesday’s issue.
Ad lucrum per scientia (toward wealth through science),
P.S. Don’t know anything about the GMO argument? Get informed.