Open Season Is Seen in Gene Editing of Animals

Nov 27, 2015 · 211 comments
Sarah (Oregon)
Most of these negative comments are knee jerk reactions to a topic which people know next to nothing about. These people envision a sci-fi movie future in which people are bred for specific purposes and DNA is tinkered with by villainous governments who aim to create gene-edited armies.

But can't you see the beauty in what has been done here? The ability to alter the genetic code of living systems is analogous to landing on the moon, or creating clean, limitless energy. These are major technological advances. Our first reaction to an article like this should not be fear. It should be amazement.
ancient (nyc)
Whether you think this stuff is cool or not, this will not end well for humanity.
I, for one will never eat any of these genetic abominations. Say goodbye to healthy natural salmon, and several other normal dishes.
Malebranche (Ontario, NY)
The sentence that offends me the most:

“We’re going to see a stream of edited animals coming through BECAUSE IT''S SO EASY,” said Bruce Whitelaw, a professor of animal biotechnology at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh. (my caps)

Utterly revolting.
Tim Miltz (PA)
Well I for one welcome this.

I mean, really, what COULD go wrong?

Hornless calves, beakless ducks, cows with feathers, the possibilities are unlimited.

Makes me realize I can just skip the 3-d printer and go right to the home genetics modification kit, perhaps Recombinetics will get one on the market for less than $3,000.

"Chicken Tonight" can change their name brand to "Fiscken Tonight" - or would that be Chish? when we finally get that Salmon:Chicken splice working out.

I can't wait for humanity to start to be tweaked- it's like a box of chocolates, you never know what you'll get but it's probably gonna be good.
Vanessa (Portland)
Those beagles look nervous and terrified, backed into the corner in a FILTHY enclosure. All of this is just gut churning to me. Micah says, "It's pretty cool" Why don't we inject some DNA in Micah, and the others working on this to make them care?
kda (California)
A "regular" salmon. Can't wait to find out the new names for all the "regular" animals. Pretty scary that we're tinkering with so much of the food supply.
Peter Olafson (La Jolla)
Sorry, but this seems insanity to me. I concede that there are some benefits, But we don't have the ability to look into the far future and see where this may lead. Unexpected mutations. New and strange illnesses -- in the creatures and in humans.

Please leave my food alone.
Steve Fankuchen (Oakland, CA)
Apparently lacking in the education of the scientists, businessmen, and policy-makers involved in genetic modification are courses in history and humility. Instructive for these people -- and the public in general -- would be delving into the history of research in physics and subsequent application of it to nuclear energy in all its aspects.

The genuinely international community of theoretical and experimental physicists that existed in the first four decades of the 20th century rapidly evolved under the pressures of World War II and the subsequent Cold War into a highly controlled national weapons policy and profit oriented paradigm. In the process, scientists had to, for the first time, consider and then face the consequences of their own actions as scientists. That history is replete with lessons that would be hugely helpful in informing current discussions about genetic modification.

An excellent, informed volume on the subject is "Lawrence and Oppenheimer", by Nuel Pharr Davis. A broader, equally interesting read is "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns", by Robert Jungk. The Davis book, especially, gives a sense of how the science has changed dramatically from a model primarily based on the joy and wonder of discovery to one based on profit and weapons. Note that these books were written a half century ago, not as part of any current advocacy.

The issues faced by the public with genetic modification are much the same as those faced in the development of nuclear energy.
thomas bishop (LA)
“People should stop consuming dairy or meat or eggs, not further manipulate animals by playing with their DNA,” Mr. Byer added.

people should also stop killing each other in wars and civil violence, raping each other, imprisoning each other for political speech and drug use,... but i don't foresee that happening in my lifetime. second best is better than an unattainable utopia. don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Judith Antonelli (Brookline, MA)
It minimizes the frankensteinish nature of this process to refer to it as "editing," as though it's simply akin to fixing a dangling modifier!
GBrown (Rochester Hills, MI)
Maybe this is too simplistic but if the rational for GMO's is that the world needs more food, wouldn't it make sense to stop burning food as fuel (ethanol)?
Gert (New York)
You're absolutely right: your argument is much too simplistic. For one thing, ethanol-producing crops (sugar cane, corn, etc.) tend to be grown in countries with high fuel consumption, while food is usually needed in developing countries (often overseas). For another thing, solving the hunger problem requires more than just adding vegetables to the food supply; animals provide important nutrients that can't be found in vegetables. And so on.
Lkf (Nyc)
Obviously a fantastic and exciting discovery. One that, unfortunately, has the potential to allow elimination of entire species on a whim.

The traits induced or eliminated by crispr-cas9 and its brethren are heritable--meaning they will appear in the progeny of altered individuals. If the trait happens to bestow an advantage in some way to the altered creature, it could potentially replace the naturally occurring form. Add to this that crispr-cas9 works across most species tested so far (from the very simplest to the most complex) and one realizes that genetic editing is not the same as cross-breeding within a naturally existing species. In fact, it appears that traits from OTHER species can be easily introduced--possibly leading to all kinds of mischief and unintended consequences.

Genes which are expressed in an easily understandable form (say, horns on a cow) may also control other functions which are not readily apparent or easily known--for example resistance to a bacteria. Choosing the heritable characteristics of a living creature the way that one picks options on a car is a power we haven't proven ourselves worthy of. Giving this power to almost anyone who wants it (crispr-cas9, unlike nuclear engineering, does not require any particularly difficult qualifications to use) may lead to potential devastation of the natural order.

I would argue that humans do not have the wisdom to short-circuit millions of years of evolution in this way.
timoty (Finland)
If all this is approved and something goes spectacularly wrong, who will bear the responsibility?

To compare these new technologies to the old-fashioned way, selective mating, is missing the point. Selective mating either works, or it doesn't work. With these new technologies it can be made to work, even if nature says that it's not a good idea.

Funny that this comes from the country with the famous "No Animals Were Harmed in the Making of This Film" disclaimer. Does it apply to science as well?
grinning libbber (OKieland)
The track record is clear with other GMOs.
Without any independent long term testing they will claim that these are "just like any other animal" and that no independent long term testing is needed.

Of course they will not want required labeling either.

Using humans as guinea pigs is what they want.
JR (Bronx)
Two aspects of GMOs and gene editing that are never discussed in these 'sciency' articles are the real reasons that many oppose their use: 1) these genetic changes are legally patentable and thus allow agri-business to control life-essential commodities -- like all businesses they are about profit not rigorous environmental science; 2) people who are about rigorous environmental science know that the rapid introduction of new or altered species into a habitat can have devastating consequences even if the organism itself is not 'unsafe' in any inherent way. This is the threat of invasive species, and mono-croppping GMO soy/corn or breeding millions of domestic animals with genetic alterations that might be affecting their massively complex micro-biome, or facilitating unanticipated traits in close proximity to human communities -- what could go wrong? Literally millions of things (think resistent bacteria, insects, viruses and consequent pandemics for one very reasonable scenario). Each slight change itself is not the issue -- the problem is the volume of altered organisms interacting in unpredictable ways with our complex environmental systems.
Lisa Evers (NYC)
No matter what you eat, know where your food comes from and how it was 'raised', whether or not with pesticides, growth-hormones, needless antibiotics, in a cage or free-range, etc. Otherwise you eat at your own risk.
Tom Magnum (Texas)
This was an interesting article.Once the genie is out of the bottle there is no possibility of putting it back into the bottle. There should be an all out effort to inform in greater depth so that the public can judge what is and is not acceptable and beneficial. For instance GMO's. I have heard so many things that I can't easily verify. Then there is the extreme problems like a rogue country like North Korea building Frankenstein monster soldiers.
DD (Cincinnati, OH)
Some of you are serious hypocrites. While I agree that all studies or procedures that involve DNA manipulations in animals should proceed with caution, here are some things you can do to help in the meantime:

1-If you don't like how animals are treated in the meat and dairy industries, don't consume meat, eggs, or dairy! Or, purchase these products from small farms that use more human growing methods. Money talks; spend yours in ways that reflect the things you claim to believe.
2-If you are concerned about genetic manipulation of pigs to produce organs for human transplantation, sign your organ donor card! Be an organ and tissue donor! Donate blood.
3-If you don't want to see dogs housed in dirty cages, go to your local ASPCA or animal shelter and adopt a dog today. Ditto if you don't like the idea of creating specialty animal breeds to show or keep as pets. Spay/neuter your cats and dogs.
4-Be informed! Learn as much as you can about what molecular genetics currently has to offer, what new techniques are on the horizon, and speak to your local and federal representatives if you have concerns. Don't complain about what scientists are doing in their ivory towers if you aren't going to take the time to understand it or express your opinions in a thoughtful, meaningful way.
Keith Ferlin (Canada)
So far most of the comments seems to be based on a basic distrust of science meddling with nature. Those concerns have justification considering past practices. These comments show a knee jerk reaction rather than an intelligent evaluation of what was printed. This does not mean we should rush to develop this technique with out careful study of possible effects. My understanding is that this replicates what happens in nature but in a controlled manner. If this is proven to be safe and can be done in ethical manner rather than the model displayed by Monsanto there is great promise for grappling with food production geared towards feeding people rather than just profits.
Smitty (Atlanta GA)
Agreed, but what is the likelihood of that happening in light of the way the GMO labeling fight has proceeded?
David X (new haven ct)
As one of many victims of an experiment on humans, my hope is that genetic research will be done to find cures for us.

Certain humans have a genetic predisposition to damage from statins. There is a robust association between the SLCO1B1 gene and statin induced myopathy.

Rather than creating new monsters, one hopes that scientists might focus on curing the monstrous things that have already been done to many humans. if research were being done, there would at least be some hope.

Thousands of people view the photos at the following site, and we hope that one of them might be a genetic scientist focused on cures:
fritzrxx (Portland Or)
Reading this article, my 1st thought was if this knowledge is applied to humans, then partly realizing 'Brave New World' could be a matter of time.

How far to stretch possibilities? Eliminating genes that bring birth defects or introducing genes to produce a TV-news-anchor-good-looking woman (with 135 IQ), to produce potentially Olympic-quality athletes, von Neumanns, etc.

And who would decide the possibilities to stretch? One person or a jury of qualified people from different institutions? Scarey!

Loud wails over GM-crops and -animals are, however, a puzzler. Do alarmists fear that these crops' and animal's consumption would rearrange the alarmists own genes? If so, how would that happen after crops had been milled and cooked, then subjected to the alarmists' digestive juices?

Designer-people seem the real worry. If designing physically and mentally vastly superior people is possible, then would that technology be available only to the few? In a brave new world, who would take scut jobs? Those jobs would remain even in a world of designer-people. So would some be designed to become Alphas and many more be designed to become Deltas?
Bonnie Weinstein (San Francisco)
The real problem is not the genetic alterations themselves, but the imperative of the corporate profit motive that funds this science that can't be trusted. There is innumerable examples of corporations putting profits over safety—GM, VW and Monsanto are three giant corporations that immediately come to mind. How will this genetic-altering industry be any different? And how much more harm could their greed cause?
Jeff (California)
I am appalled at the complete lack of scientific knowledge of the general population as demonstrated by the posters to this news story. You all think that our DNA is unchanged since the first primate crawled out of the primordial seas. You also don't know that almost all of the animal and vegetable products we eat are the result of gene manipulation. Most were created by cross-breeding, a slow and hit or miss proposition. Cross breeding plants in a garden modifies their DNA. When a man and a woman create a child, that child's DNA has been modified from that of its parents.
Pat (Mystic CT)
It would be wonderful if CRISPR would be used to allow dogs to live longer. It is heartbreaking to lose your best, furry friend at age 8, 9 or 10. How about 25-30 years?
Jim Waddell (Columbus, OH)
At some point the controversy over the labeling of GMO foods will end, because all food will be GMO food. We don't label food as "hybridized" today even though almost all grains used in human and animal consumption are hybrids.
Carlo 47 (Italy)
That's why Europeans don't want to enter in the TTIP.
Steve Fankuchen (Oakland, CA)
Apparently lacking in the education of the scientists, businessmen, and policy makers involved in genetic modification are courses in humility and history. Instructive for these people -- and the public in general -- would be delving into the history of the development of the physics and subsequent application of nuclear energy.

The genuinely international community of theoretical and experimental physicists that existed in the first four decades of the 20th century rapidly evolved under the pressures of World War II and the subsequent Cold War into a highly controlled national weapons policy and profit oriented paradigm. In the process, scientists had to, for the first time, consider and then face the consequences of their own actions as scientists. That history is replete with lessons that would be hugely helpful in informing current discussions about genetic modification.

An excellent, informed volume on the subject is "Lawrence and Oppenheimer", by Nuel Pharr Davis. A broader, equally interesting read is "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns", by Robert Jungk. The Davis book, especially, gives a sense of how the science has changed dramatically from a model primarily based on the joy and wonder of discovery to one based on profit and weapons. Note that these books were written a half century ago, not as part of any current advocacy.

The issues faced by the public with genetic modification are much the same as those faced in the development of nuclear energy.
Slann (CA)
So instead of "editing" mosquitoes so they cannot reproduce, they only eliminated a malarial parasite? This is one case where the "tyranny of the majority" should have been imposed.
Identity Element (Kent, OH)
If the edited mosquitos cannot reproduce, then, by definition, it will be impossible for those genes to spread throughout the mosquito population. This will in effect do absolutely nothing. The idea here is that the genes that prevent the mosquitos from hosting malaria will spread through the population through reproduction.
Gert (New York)
@Slann: So you'd rather eliminate mosquitoes from the face of the earth? Most other species would probably adapt, but mosquitoes have been integral parts of various ecosystems for tens of millions of years, and there could be significant consequences for various birds, fish, and other organisms that rely on mosquitoes as a food source. I don't think most scientists want to test that proposition.
dean (Cincinnati)
The pessimistic responses here remind me of an essay I read about the introduction of surgical anesthesia in the mid-19th century. Even then, a host of "intellectuals" responded with the typical complaints and failed entirely to recognize the spectacularly good consequences of a new technology. It is depressing how people take today's world for granted. The hardships we have been spared are so staggeringly cruel and immense, there is a dreadful irony about the continued resistance to life-improving innovations. They expect perfection, and they expect that we should magically be able to know everything that will happen in the future before we make a change that, by all reasonable standards, presents an opportunity for miraculous good. In fact, the consequences of stagnation are far more fatal. Our time is not special. New developments will be adopted, some accidents will probably happen, but overall we will see the world get a little better.
expat from L.A. (Los Angeles, CA)
"I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see, than be, one.
-- Gelett Burgess, 1895

What's to stop anyone with bad intentions from inventing anything they want?
Graham Anderson (Palo Alto, CA)
Uh, criminal justice? Your comment was equally valid when humans invented fire.
Michael N. Alexander (Lexington, MA)
Since, as the article states, gene editing sometimes alters genes other than the intended targets, perhaps companies should be required to sequence and analyze all genes of the altered plant or animal; only after rigorous and impartial analysis of the results should the altered species be permitted.
W. Ogilvie (Out West)
The Luddite reaction to genetic science is akin to those who deny climate change.
Graham Anderson (Palo Alto, CA)
I completely agree! Climate change denialists, anti-vaxers, racists, and anti-GMOers have one thing in common: They didn't pay attention in Biology class.
Charles (Florida, USA)
So, people who are concerned about man's effect on health and the environment through creation of genetically modified organisms are akin to people who have NO concern about man's effect on health and the environment through creation of greenhouse gasses? I don't think so.
George (Monterey)
Mankind has been modifying crops and farm animals for thousands of years, along with dogs, cats and rose bushes. Lots of hysterical comments here but very few seem to be fact based. Some have even accused corporations of doing this for profit. Really? That cow left the barn a while ago.

It's Black Friday, get out there and shop with the rest of the lemmings.
RQueen18 (Washington, DC)
Is anyone saving the genetic material of "unedited"animals, as is done with plants?
Graham Anderson (Palo Alto, CA)
Yes, in order to edit an animal, you must have its genome sequence. This sequence is the "unedited" material. So, by default, every edited animal has been "backed up."
David (California)
On one side this article lists very specific benefits of gene editing - mosquitoes that don't transmit disease, cattle that use less antibiotics, chicken that grow faster and meatier, on the other side the article lists vague fears (most with no known basis), the opinions of ivory tower "bioethicists," the radical views of PETA (who would ban all meat). Where is the evidence of harm?Maybe all the hand wringing will get traction in the West, but countries like China, with huge numbers of mouths to feed, is not going to slow down based on these vague fears.
John Michel (South Carolina)
Hopefully this will bring about the end of the pernicious human race but will not destroy much other life on this beautiful world.
Jeff (California)
Why do you have such self-hatred? We humans are just another animal on Planet Earth.
John Michel (South Carolina)
"We" humans are not just another animal. We are maligned and pernicious, destroying everything for our greed and self-importance. I do not hate myself like you do. I am trying to not be a part of Man's suicidal behavior by being vegan (for most of my 73 years), not consuming more than my basic needs require and being aware of reality as it pertains to human folly. But you, Goldilocks, are living in a dream world of denial.
Greenpa (MN)
"The world needs more meat."
"The world needs more milk and cheese."
"We must produce more food for the growing human population."

None of these are true. We already produce far more than humans need, and we waste half of it- and in the USA, about 40% of our corn crop is now burned as fuel. Hunger has nothing to do with food production. Obesity does, however.

"The world needs" and "We must" are not statements generated by any world council of elders; they are corporate selling points which then are repeated as religious mantras by those who live by corporate processes; grants and sales. The mantras are fed steadily to young farmers and young scientists, and become unchallengeable revealed truth.

Swapping genes is easy, fast, cheap, and generates lots of press. Actually finding ways to feed those who are hungry - is slow, difficult, and far away. Easy to decide where to invest, isn't it?
Sally Eckhoff (Philadelphia, PA)
Take a look at the photo of the beagles in this article. Hopeful, trusting animals living on dirty lab kennels, in bad light...this is science's plan for pets. What good is more muscle going to do for housepets, anyway? Shame on people who support this wasteful pursuit.
Most beagles are primarily pets who live indoors. But where I live, beagles are working dogs, carefully bred for scenting and running abilities. Yearly competitions in hunting communities have yielded famous, sought-after bloodlines with nary a scientist in the kennel.
I don't understand why the Times journalist makes no effort to distinguish among the genetic manipulations in the article. Some, like breeding cattle to be naturally "polled," have clear potential benefit (genetically polled cattle already exist, by the way). Others veer away from the paths of usefulness into exploitation and abuse...and some are just plain wasteful.
MsPea (Seattle)
There is no doubt that there is a benefit to gene editing. Breeding a mosquito that will not spread malaria could save many, many lives in countries that are still devastated by that disease. But, a faster Beagle?

Some of this stuff appears to still be in the "just because we can" stage, and has no real purpose. It's just tinkering with nature for the fun of it. Anyone who has ever watched a science fiction movie knows that almost always the crazy professor will pay for meddling where he doesn't belong.
JJ (Bangor, ME)
The fear of this form of genetic engineering of farm animals comes from the misconception of the lay person thinking that we can design traits ad libitum. That's not the case. What these techniques allow us to do is simply accelerate natural selection or selection through breeding (already the ancients where highly accomplished genetic engineers!). We cannot really (yet) predict reliably how to change the DNA of an animal to produce a certain trait, unless nature has already done it for us in the same or another species and now we use CRISPR to transpose that information on a new species or breed.

Essentially, what CRISPR allows us to do is speed selection by producing "speed congenics". It allows us to link desirable traits in the same anmal faster than through traditional selection methods that take decades or centuries.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
When these sorcerer's apprentices knock out the aging self-desruction genes from the human genome, extinction will be nigh.
nonster (bay area, ca)
NO way, No how, will I ever support in any way, shape or form the genetic manipulation of life. I sincerely wish these talented and well-funded scientists would turn their attention to more affordable access to health care--including promoting vegetarian/veganism & birth control. Due respect to the intelligence of the parties involved, but you forgot the most important part of our species--the HEART!
David (California)
If you own a dog you support genetic manipulation.
Jeff (California)
nonster: Well, you will have to just quit eating and starve to death. Ever hear of Gregor Mendle? Human beings have been manipulating genes since time immemorial. Take corn for example. Take corn for example. Originally it was very small, about the size of a finger. We used cross breeding, a crude form of gene manipulation, to create the corn we have now. Everything we eat has been improved with gene manipulation.

In reality, you support and approve of gene manipulation every time you eat.
Gatrell (Kentucky)
How does genetically modifying an animal to make more meat create less suffering for the animal?
David (California)
As long as it doesn't cause more suffering what's the harm? More meat is sounds better than less meat.
Harry (Michigan)
If the definition of God for ancient humans was to create life than what are we? Given time humans will not just manipulate genes but go a lot further and create new species. Maybe even seed life on other worlds?
Emile (New York)
It's easy to get in line with the chirpy and optimistic proponents of gene manipulation. After all, who wouldn't want to reduce animal suffering, or increase the food supply for an out-of-control human population? Until, that is, you remember the law of unintended consequences.

Or until you remember Horace's words, "You can drive Nature out with a pitchfork, but she keeps on coming back in."
Nathan Reigner (Barre, VT)
The moral and ethical questions posed by these new technologies need far more consideration before "scientists" plunge ahead. And the FDA certainly is not the appropriate regulatory body.

To what extent are manipulated genetic products "animals"? If it is possible to create a cow that cannot feel pain, what does that mean for animal cruelty laws? If we can produce cows without sight, can we keep them in the dark continuously, or constantly under fluourescent lights? If pigs can't get sick, do we need to keep their pens clean? If they can't develop infections, do we need to treat wounds?

Just a few questions of the many that are posed by these new technologies, which must be fully addressed before proceeding.
SKM (Texas)
I suspect we've already seen the results of humankind's genetic manipulation in purebred bulldogs bred to have chests so wide they must be born via C-section and Persian cats bred for flat faces who then suffer chronic sinus infections.

When we pick and choose the traits we want our fellow animals to have, we seem to have a habit of seeing only what we want to see: the "perfect" bulldog and the "perfect" Persian. Or in the case of this article, the "more useful" cow and the "more useful" salmon. Little attention is paid to the downstream consequences -- unless they benefit us in some way.

In all of this picking and choosing, we tend not to imagine the broader impacts. The earth and all its flora and fauna comprise a massive organism. We all know how an earthquake in one area can result in tsunamis in another. Nature is constantly teaching us about itself, if we care to pay attention.

But we seem to be a self-interested species, with short memories and a drive to "have dominion" over all we survey. So while I hope scientists and geneticists remember that a tweak to a gene here might have unintended consequences elsewhere, I'm not holding my breath.
Francas (Florida)
seems that these firms start the so called problem and then come up with the so called solution . Like a crime organization who sends thugs to bully U and then the other fraction come in and says they will protect U for a price , same group and pocket just a different face . Here U state that farmers embrace GMO's in 1 statement then U say they won't use GMO's, , ???? Frankenfish , Frankencows Frankenpigs Frankenmosquitoes most of the environment now has been effected by uncontrolled species that have mysteriously escaped or a plant or tree that planted for 1 reason or another creating an unforeseen problem because of no foresight . You don't have enough of information to do this stuff You use us so many scientist are on big corporate payrolls with grants or indirect monies , Who do U trust ? Government officials gets paid under the table , they have packs that allow the funneling of monies to them undetected . this is a unnatural thats all there is to it. Our salmon are an endangered species already the nature of the natural is threatened day after day man screwing up but making us believe it is for the better . Let nature be natural , it has been the way of the world for millions of years and it's been pretty darn good so far.
John Brady (Canterbury, CT.)
I can see using genetic modification on plants and vegetables or on insects to thwart diseases. I mean a worthy project might be the developing of a potato with healthy nutrients and the taste of a cheese burger. But modifying animals for the butcher shop? Not so much.
DD (Cincinnati, OH)
If you can modify animals so that each animal produces more meat, milk, or eggs, fewer animals overall will be needed to supply the same amount of food. Hence, fewer animal lives needed to achieve the same results.
Arnab Sarkar (NYC)
The moment someone creates a house, he or she uproots the natural habitat of a lot of worms, bacteria, ants etc. Now to argue that we shouldn't alter the ecosystem of beings that we can't really see to make a house is silly (in my opinion).

Every new scientific endeavor has opportunities and threats. If we weigh in the opportunities and take necessary prevention against the threats, human ingenuity will win out.

And so goes with Gene Editing. I'm all for it.
At this time, its a necessity to feed the World.

PS: I am an omnivorous but have tried vegetarian and remained vegan occasionally. I see the issue with people getting freaky about Gene Editing as not being able to see all the harm that they have done to their environment all these years. My heart goes out for all the worms and ants they have replaced from their natural habitats. And for the vegans, plants do feel pain when we grow them and then finally uproot them and eat them. I still prefer being a vegan, mostly for staying healthy.
Matty (Boston, MA)
This IS the beginning of the end of the road.
Deliberately messing with DNA (I'm sure some regressive wingnut will suggest that culling herds or putting down sick or defective ANIMALS (not people, wingnuts) is "deliberately messing with DNA and it's been going on for eons), but deliberately messing with it at the molecular level, for good reasons (to cure debilitating diseases, not just in people, but in things like honey bees, and flora) or for other reasons such as making a better cow, sheep, or a better, faster, stronger, human being, it is the slow, sure road to irrevocably screwing up genomes that have been evolving naturally since time began. Once these modifications get out and are let loose in the general population, either deliberately or by mistake, there's no going back. No, this isn't a "Dr. Moreau" doomsday scenario, but the natural state of everything stands to be altered, in ways it never has been, and this probably isn't a good thing.
wfisher1 (fairfield, ia)
It's about balance and it's about nature. I understand the reasons the supporters claim will help animals and humans. I can even see some benefits. But I also understand unintended consequences. The modified genes will get out and will be let loose into the general population. The balance nature has achieved over millions of years of evolution will be broken. Who really knows what will happen then. Who is to say we really understand all the there is to know about changing genes and DNA?
Jeff (California)
"Deliberately messing with DNA" is what plant and animal breeding is about. Luther Burbank did it by cross breeding plants. Everything raised for food is the result of genetic breeding. The only difference between doing it in the lab and in the field of farm is that doing it in the lab is much more precise.
Jeff (California)
We deliberately "messed with DNA" when we created the food we eat by crude DNA manipulation called "cross breeding."
Fred (Kansas)
The ability to change DNA can help improvements of farm animals efficiency. We should require proof that DNA change was not more aboard than needed. The people must concern what is more important DNA changing used to provide better and more food or less food or higher cost resulting in more with lack of food to eat?
Slann (CA)
Requiring "proof" is certainly sensible, but to do that, multiple (at least two) generations of the organism need to happen for us to accept that proof, and even then there may be aberrations that only happen after two generations.
No transnational corporation in the food/agro business wants to wait that long, do they? We may be seeing more and more odd and unanticipated mutations as we go down this road, especially as this technology is so easily disseminated.
Charles - Clifton, NJ (<br/>)
We're in a brave, new world, but with a quandary. While there is an optimistic desire for progress, there is equal, if not more, skepticism of genetic engineering. There appear to be big benefits, but there is also a possibly threatening unknown.

Some of the problem with genetic engineering is that it is driven by science and economics. I think it was Polanyi who proffered that science was amoral. So with economics. Either can be used to benefit people or be destructive. The argument of detractors is that a few people could benefit at the possible deterioration of humankind by something yet unknown.

Bhanu Telugu of Maryland also brings a moral take to the amorality: “If we know we can eliminate the disease and we don’t, it is in my mind animal cruelty,” The problem with this is, suppose that in eliminating a specific disease we alter organisms in some deleterious way over time. That is to say, the philosophy that altering genes to prevent disease is beneficial could lead to destructive consequences for humankind, in general, on an evolutionary scale..

It's easy to see where this is all headed. People will genetically engineer their offspring for sports or academic capability. They compete to get their kids into the best elementary schools today.

I suppose few have stood next to a Texas longhorn. We won't lose this breed; indeed, a geneticist might say, "If you are impressed by those horns, we can make them even bigger!"
Susan (New York, NY)
The writer Margaret Atwood touched on this subject in her book "Oryx and Crake." That said, this article just illustrated why I no longer eat beef or pork.
Wow, did my trips to the grocery store just get more complicated. Have I missed the long term studies that show that these edited genes are a non issue for humans?
Genes to eliminate horns? Sounds benign enough, I don't have horns. Keep on the grocery list.
Genes that edit: growth/disease resistance/egg production/muscle mass/longer hair/production of only male offspring/production of only female offspring? Hmmm, I think I have some of those gene sequences myself. Keep on the grocery list?
If I assume that long term exposure to edited genes has no impact, grocery shopping done. If I want to make an informed choice(not based on wild assumptions) and analyze the studies that show these edited genes have little to no impact on humans over time....I guess I'm part of that study. Your welcome.
Graham Anderson (Palo Alto, CA)
Or you could take an introductory biology class. Do you honestly believe that consuming a gene causes you to take on the effects of that gene? Do you begin to oink when you eat bacon? Do you give birth to calfs when you drink milk? Why do you think that a human-edited gene would behave any differently than a nature-edited gene?

The long-term health study to show that edited genes are safe is called Evolution. It has been running for about 4 billion years. Every gene is edited. Every organism is modified. You will need to define your concerns a bit more precisely for anyone who knows biology to take them seriously.

You can start with Wikipedia. It's free, and it will teach you most everything you need to know. Or, if you prefer to be more structured, why not check out Khan Academy?
Ed (Clifton Park, NY)
Until recently I was worried about artificial intelligence or AI for short. Now I see those who are going to make our lives better by gene editing will finish us off perhaps quicker than AI of Global Warming. The fundamental problems with humans is there is a scant supply of really smart ones and then there are the rest off us. The Smart ones invent some good things and some very bad things. The trouble begins when the knowledge spreads and governments don't regulate. Or in this case a technology becomes common enough that many can use it. Perhaps this is what happens over and over in the universe intelligent beings unlock knowledge that destroys them. That's why we may never hear any replies to our search for life outside our solar system. These tools for change are wrong and I believe will eventually have a disastrous effect on this planet.
DD (Cincinnati, OH)
Yet so many politicians (and the general public) bemoan government regulation of industry, and detest the thought of tax increases that are needed to prevent further cuts to critical government functions. You can't always have your cake and eat it too.
Anony (Not in NY)
Jevon's Paradox is at play. "Advocates of the technology argue that it can make farming more efficient to help feed a growing world population with less of a toll on the environment" In the 19th century, the English economist perceived that the emergence of more efficient engines did not lead to less use of coal, but more and hence, the paradox. Similarly, farming will become more efficient with gene editing, but unregulated growth in the whole system will lead to a greater toll on the environment. The expansion of technologies which enhance efficiency must be accompanied by overall limits to the economy.
ELB (New York, NY)
Evolution sees to it that organisms are expertly matched with their environment. The more we monkey with both and alter that critical symbiotic relationship we were designed for and are dependent on, the greater the danger to that balance and to our survival. How much of earth's living organisms have we already destroyed? How much longer before it is us?
Dan (Texas)
Humans and domesticated animals make up the vast majority of mammalian biomass on Earth. Natural evolution of mammals ended decades ago.
bro (houston)
Evolution sees to it that organisms are matched with their environment slightly better that other organisms. There are numerous imperfections in the human body alone. A blind spot in the eye, a back bone that is no good for walking on two legs, appendix etc. etc.
Wallace Dickson (Washington, DC)
With Japan dumping 400 tons of nuclear waste in the Pacific Ocean every day, it won't be very long, ELB. Already the radioactive fish, from sardines to salmon to the sea birds who eat them, are dying on the Japanese and California shores.
trblmkr (NYC)
As an aside, why can't bulls horns be dulled by filing or having rubber caps placed on their tips? I'll bet it's because it costs a few dollars more than the one-off cruel procedure of de-horning.

I would gladly pay a few pennies more for my steak and we wouldn't have to de-horn or "edit."
Who's with me?
Shelley (St. Louis)
What the article doesn't seem to explore is the fact that supposedly improving animals in one direction typically opens up new negative consequences not necessarily envisioned by the scientists.

Take our modern turkeys, for instance. Using rigorous natural selection, which bred for larger breast meat, the turkeys are now so deformed, they can barely walk without falling over. And this is using traditional, albeit rather fanatical, natural breeding.

Breeding mosquitoes that kill Malaria seems a win/win, but will they transmit other diseases instead, in five years? We don't know. We've not had the time to see how the mosquitoes will mutate, or what will happen to them once they're no longer contained in the lab.

We've seen the negative consequences with plants. Super weeds now flourish, requiring farmers to spread even more herbicide, or companies like Monsanto to develop even more deadly herbicides. Single crop farms less able to adapt to new challenges, butterfly and bee kill-off, and polluted lakes and streams.

And what happens when the genetically modified genes contaminate native plants and animals? Oh we're told, no worries, won't happen. That genetically modified salmon won't escape into the wild.

But what if it does?

How about those genetically modified animals engineered to only have male or female offspring?
Christopher (Mexico)
The horse (or cow, or pig, or chicken) is already out of the barn on the matter of gene editing to better mass produce animals for human consumption. The next step, already underway, is selling it to the general public. Yet I find it curious that the objective isn't something more useful, such as gene editing humans to reproduce less, or be less predatory and aggressive, or more rational, or just less self-centered. But oh, we wouldn't want to mess with human nature, it being so sacrosanct. We really have no idea what we are doing. But we do it anyway.
Eric Jackson (Juán Díaz de Antón, Panama)
Doesn't it ultimately matter who gains control of this as a business, and for what purposes the technology is employed? The trouble with most gene-edited food crops is not the genetics or the food values per se, but that they have been designed to be grown in a broth of toxic chemicals. This has happened because the companies doing this have bought too much influence over governments that are supposed to protect us from carcniogens like glyphosate. So what risks will companies pass on to us via THIS set of technologies, all the while calling anyone who asks a question a neo-Luddite?
DD (Cincinnati, OH)
The rationale for many genetically modified crops is to reduce, not increase, the amount of toxic chemicals required to efficiently grow them.

If you fear being labeled a "neo-Luddite," make sure you are fully informed before asking your questions. But by all means, ask away! Taxpayers have funded much of the research that has led to this point in technological history; we have the right to ask questions and demand answers.
Dr. Marcia Sherman (Santa Barbara)
When human beings begin to act as if they think they are God, obviously the whole world of the human race will have to account for our incredible arrogance. It's almost as bad as the discovery and use of nuclear energy that will contaminate our world for thousands of years. What, exactly, is the definition of the word, stupid?
Coolhunter (New Jersey)
When we imagine that we are in control of life – our own or someone else’s – we have fallen prey to the ancient whisper in the Garden: “You shall be like gods.”
Harvey Wachtel (Kew Gardens)
If you consider that "falling prey". The tree of knowledge fable always struck me as an allegory for the human condition. It’s what we are.
LEVAS (Hunt Valley, Maryland)
I would like to know if gene editing could be applied to antibiotic resistant bacteria to cause the bacteria to not develop resistance to antibiotics? Could it be used to go one step further to shorten the replication abilities of bacteria? If it is not possible, please explain why not?
Dan (Texas)
not possible, for quite a few reasons. There are a number of reasons why this isn't possible, primarily related to genetic diversity and lack of requirement for recombination.
bro (houston)
It would be tricky to develop bacteria that can't develop antibiotic resistance by any technique as long as you want to keep using antibiotics. Supposed we did develop bacteria that don't develop antibiotic resistance. If we then used antibiotics to kill them, the bacteria that were not engineered would be free to take over.
DD (Cincinnati, OH)
It's complicated, and not completely understood. Scientists are just now beginning to understand how important bacteria are, not just in causing disease but in helping to maintain health (e.g., probiotics). That is not to say new types of antibiotics couldn't be developed. One major problem, however, is incentive. What is the incentive for a pharmaceutical company to invest in research and development of drugs to cure acute diseases--drugs that will only be required in limited doses, vs. drugs to treat chronic diseases that patients will need to take for a whole lifetime?!
But, that is another can of worms...
gardener (Ca &amp; NM)
These animal deforming genetic experiments are targeted to relative short term, huge profits in mass production, rather than long term, quality, animal husbandry and agricultural health and safety of animals, plants and, "we the people," who serve corporate science as "lab rats" in America.

Grow a garden if you have the space at home, in your community, and insist upon knowing where your food comes from and who grows it if you live in an area where this is possible.
Evelyn (Vancouver)
Please, have a heart. "Grow a garden" is not going to feed 7 billion people or reduce the incidence of malaria.
Gordon (Michigan)
I mourn for the changes and loss that we humans inflict on the Earth and the plant and animal kingdoms for the sake of profit. I feel helpless watching these changes being made at a rapid pace without coordination or discussion across nations and among scientists. I strongly suspect that these changes will ultimately effect our health and that of future generations.
Dan (Texas)
Scientists and countries to talk about this quite a bit but these discussions are not reported in the media because of lack of interest by the general public (I guess). I am sure those discussion are reported in the NY Times, but probably not front page news.
DD (Cincinnati, OH)
Don't feel helpless. Speak up, and not just here on these pages--get involved! You are not alone, and there is power in numbers. Be informed, and make sure your elected officials know what you think.
Jim Waddell (Columbus, OH)
At one point there was widespread belief that the world was headed for mass starvation. Remember "The Population Bomb?" Then came the Green Revolution. Gene editing has the potential to be as dramatic as the Green Revolution in providing more and cheaper food for a growing world population.

I read an article yesterday comparing the costs of Thanksgiving dinner items today to what they were 50 years ago. In inflation adjusted terms, costs were less than half. If you are against genetic engineering you have to be in favor of letting billions of people in poorer countries starve.
Graham Anderson (Palo Alto, CA)
In general, I agree. Golden rice is a recent example of how genetic engineering could help people in developing countries. Though, I have to say, the planet currently has enough agricultural capacity (thanks to Normal Borlaug and the Green Revolution as you point out) to feed everyone. These days, the problem is often getting the food to the people who need it, a problem genetic technology unfortunately can't help with.

But your sentiment is right on! Why are every opposed to technology? Every technology has good uses and bad uses. Why focus on the negative before it's even a problem, when there is so much good? Bring on the regulation! Give us oversight! We want a safe, regulated industry. Just don't wring your hands over something you haven't even bothered to understand.
Howard G (New York)
One wonders what the comments reaction would be if - instead of genetically removing horns from farm animals - the article announced that scientists - via "genetic manipulation" - had managed to eliminate the gene which causes Cystic Fibrosis -or Tay-Sachs disease - ?

Would the same people then be screaming about the profit-driven "Big-Pharma" industry and exclaiming that such genetic manipulations are a crime...?
dean (cincinnati)
Yeah, I reckon they sadly would.
bro (houston)
Probably not. Nobody scream about GMO insulin.
Graham Anderson (Palo Alto, CA)
Indeed! It seems that most people are not actually opposed to the technology, but the corporation behind it. Some people see technology as a "sin against nature," but these are the same people who didn't like electricity in the 1800s or, presumably, steel in the Industrial Revolution. What can you do with them other than marvel at their thoughts?
Sally Eckhoff (Philadelphia, PA)
The Times displays its usual gee-whiz response in the face of radical (and mostly clandestine) experimentation with domestic animals. "Meatier" chickens with the same skeletons of the old variety? Pigs with human organs? Years from now, we'll read that the bulkier chickens couldn't walk, and that the human organs in pigs have mired their caretakers in ethics controversies. The article even suggests, approvingly, that the same number of chickens might be grown on half the land if they had more meat on their already-overtaxed frames. I could go on.

Who knew? The Times did. But it passed on the potential for mayhem by quoting the approving bystander: "It's pretty cool."
Rurik Halaby (Ridgewood, NJ)
Excellent article by an accomplished jounalist. The tone of panic in many readers's comments made me think of what people would say in the 15th century: Sail too far west and you will fall off the face of the earth.
Justice Holmes (Charleston)
Bull....and pun intended.....

One diesnt have to live in the 15th century to see that big food has used good science to do bad things, dangerous things to humans. All one has to do is live in the fact based world of today.
steve sheridan (Ecuador)
The huge flaw in genetic engineering is the Law of Unintended Consequences. Somehow mankind´s knowledge always manages to exceed our wisdom--and the result is a history of disastrous unintended consequences.

Are we really better off for having discovered atomic energy, for example? Do any of its benefits out weigh the capacity to destroy civilization?

Until we have managed to eliminate human greed or corruption or megalomania, or our numerous other character flaws, how can we trust ourselves to open Pandora´s Box, and start fiddling around with the basic building blocks of the Universe?

The general public seems to understand this cautionary concern much better than "the best and the brightest," whose hubris knows no bounds.

Do we really need to continue learning about the Law of Unintended Consequences the hard way? Why don´t we put all that scientific talent to use solving the problem of Global Warming, which threatens our extinction? In the meanwhile, creating hornless cattle is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Melinda (Mueller)
Not possible to say it any better, Steve.....
Truth (Boston, MA)
I couldn't agree more. Very well said.
DD (Cincinnati, OH)
What global warming "problem"? Haven't you been listening to Republicans? That's all a myth!! No job-killing climate protections for us. Drive on, drill baby drill!!
Shabman (Cumming, Ga)
World Populations are growing. They require more food, land, water to live and sustain existence thus the quest to find a way to increase food production at an affordable price.

The problem is increased growth of the human population which in turn produces more humans with more demands and needs of food, land, medicine, water, and other material goods.

As a result of these improvements humanity will desire and demand an improved quality of life - it's natural. We see it already.

How long can this planet support such growth? At what point will scientists or a government/s decide that a more practical plan of action would be to decrease the birth rates of human populations?

It would be easy to do - get the people used to the concept of GMOs in food, animals, insects, bacteria (you get the idea) then insert a gene that limits pregnancies or produces sterility in certain populations - voila! The problem is fixed.

But how to decide? Now, there's the rub! Keep an eye on the global populations folks, the final solution may already be implemented.
Mary (Somerville)
Oh, the hornless cattle--what a great application of this technology. That's better for animal welfare in a couple of ways. Not only will it avoid dehorning (this is excruciating to watch, but you can find it on youtube), but it could also protect other animals from injury. And farm workers.

I really hope that activists can get out of their own navels and understand the animal welfare benefits of gene editing. They don't seem to appreciate technology that helps farmers and farm animals. In the case of the disease resistance traits, it may also really help poor farmers. See the article "Genetically-Modified Cattle May Help Reshape African Farms" by Tamar Haspel (links never work here, you'll have to search).
Alexander B. (Moscow)
The debate on GM fascinates me as a sociologist - it is a tiny yet very strong indicator. The crowd that opposes GMO is quite interesting collection of different kinds on ignorance:
- not letting anyone "play god" (with capital letter, obviously)
- unwillingness to educate (evolutionary biology and cell biology are new kind of "rocket science", it appears)
- failure to recognize the problem of feeding the population of the countries that haven't yet passed "demographic transision"
- failure to educate how modern agriculture works (and how much it, especially in its "organic" kind, consumes of water, land and produces of waste and greenhouse gases).
Sally Eckhoff (Philadelphia, PA)
Dear Alexander B.:
I was unaware that I'm a member of a "crowd" in my questioning the wisdom of gene editing in domestic animals. I live in a food-producing area where the fastest-growing segment of the business is local farmers who feed the populace according to its tastes, not those of scientists. It seems as though the gene editors strive to offer not healthier alternatives to crowded factory farms, but more of the same.
This new trend in food production has nothing to do with reducing world hunger. It merely aims at feeding the tastes of Americans who want meat at every meal, and damn the consequences.
Justice Holmes (Charleston)
I guess you're safe as long as you don't deny the Armenian Genocide!

Look educated people with lots of experience with big food have serious and well founded concerns. It's time to look those concerns in the face and stop demeaning them.
ddCADman (CA)
The temptation to enhance the human genome is too great. It will be done. We are part of the last few generations of the wild strain of humanity.
R. E. (Cold Spring, NY)
We now know that claims that GMO crops resistant to herbicides have no negative impacts on the environment and on human health were false. Unfortunately, it took years to recognize the resulting water contamination from carcinogenic herbicides because of the chemical industry's insistence that they were safe. We'll never know how many cancer deaths resulted. For now consumers must rely on products that are NonGMOVerified because of the success of lobbyist against GMO labeling. It took years of ecological depredation to recognize the dangers of DDT. I'd like to believe that we've learned something from that disaster, but when corporate profits are concerned it still seems that ignorance is bliss.
Stina723 (New York City)
In regards to non gmo project - its underwritten by Silk. Yes Silk, the soymilk brand that was caught using conventional soybeans when the package said organic. according to non gmo project's own guidelines, food are allowed around 7% gmo contents to be considered non gmo. so you are still eating gmo anyway!
There is only one tried and true way to NOT consume gmos - and that is to not eat anything that has been genetically modified - with corn, soy, canola and sugar beets topping my list.
Bob Burns (Oregon's Willamette Valley)
Another instance of playing with the work that nature has done over the millenia through natural selection? What worries me is the loss of the original versions of these creatures. If "edited" chinook salmon get into the gene pool of wild chinook salmon it pretty much spells the ultimate end of the creature Mother Nature handed off to us.

The ethics of this all is really very disturbing. Will any part of our food supply remain natural?
REB (Maine)
Re salmon, read the details. The engineered fish are sterile females so even if they do, they can't breed and spread the trait.
Justice Holmes (Charleston)
Ethics don't matter to big food. Neither does public health. None of it matters only $$$$$$$$$$$maters!
Alexander B. (Moscow)
Please google the photo of the wild corn (the kind our ancestors in Peru region ate 4000 years ago) and compare it to the modern kind. Note it wasn't genetically modified - just selectively bred by humans all these years. I bet you won't even consider to put it in your mouth.

As for putting the GM creatures in the wild - in the case of mosquitoes I am strongly in favor of the plan to introduce the modified variety that is resistant to malaria in the wild to replace "natural" one. Or the purity of Mother Nature is more important than millions of deaths?
LeslieMcD (Minneapolis)
Haste makes waste! If there are already 4% of naturally or traditionally bred hornless Holsteins, why are we not using them to increase the population? It makes no sense, other than giant agriculture companies want to control a market segment, ownership of patented animal DNA, and control over farmers for profit. Just like GMO crops, nature will adjust, at the expense of our environment, biodiversity, and our health.
Bryan Quanbury (Walkerton, ON)
Leslie, Your comments are valid. I work with farmers who have been naturally breeding polled holsteins. They are getting closer in performance to horned holsteins. This is a dominant trait which is easy to introduce through breeding. I worry about the future of livestock breeding and biodiversity when genetics leave the hands of farmers.
REB (Maine)
Traditional breeding has only increased the percentage by one over the last few years. How long do you want to wait?
Dandy (Maine)
Don't eat meat.
Panthiest (Texas)
Does everyone recall that a mule is half horse and half donkey and that all mule's are sterile and can't reproduce? We need to tread lightly.
will duff (Tijeras, NM)
The CRSPR-Cas9 gene editing technology is simply the biggest science story of these times. Heritable human genetic manipulation is as inevitable as climate change and many times faster. Animals - as usual - are the testing grounds for human. The course change in human evolution will be like those insta-turns in the old Tron film.
sweinst254 (nyc)
As a vegan, you could say I have no dog in this hunt, but an argument can certainly be made that this is no different from what nature does according to Darwin. That is, the particular animals of a species that have an altered gene which proves more successful to its environment survives and breeds more successfully than others, i.e., natural selection.

So in that sense, gene editing, far from unnatural, is merely doing what nature does.
Justine (Wyoming)
Creating a new huge salmon by inserting a pout gene, an eel-like fish, is not what nature would have ever done.

Although I thoroughly oppose gene altering, playing with farm animals that have been domesticated for thousands of years to suit humans is vastly different than altering wild animals that depend on natural ecosystems for their survival. Soon we will be creating coyotes that can't breed because we don't like them, or grizzlies with no claws so they can't hurt us.
Jon W (Portland)
One of the harder aspects of this technology is the understanding of the end results for living creatures as we know them today and the future effects it will have on life when I am long gone.Will nature adapt to these changes and most importantly how and to what extent.

How will Mother Nature react.

Using the example of how we currently use antibiotics and nature reacts to and redefines how to combat them(antibiotics) from their perspective.How will the change in genetic make ups, change the way nature reacts to the gene changes in their bodies from their perspective,in this case a gene not to grow horns from another animals gene make up. Future Life begins today....
Elizabeth (West palm beach)
So what's the advantage of no horns? So they can cram 10 times as many of the poor animals in a smaller pen and avoid damaging the meat? Upside is maybe more people will give up beef in order to avoid consuming something they don't know the long-range effects of.
w (NH)
Speaking strictly about dehorning, it is a very painful procedure for calves. I have only know of one veterinarian in my lifetime of 62 years who had used medications to make the process more humane.
ugh (NJ)
Have a yard? Start growing your own food. It's fun, relaxing, good exercise, and if you start reducing lawn and grow organically, better for you and the environment. This year I grew almost all the vegetables I ate in a small "edible landscaping" garden around my pool...I just replaced some of the lawn with fruits, vegetables and edible annual flowers in a border that would otherwise be made up of boring shrubs and same-old decorative flowers. It looked beautiful and tasted great. I managed to grow 60 different varieties of edible plants. It's really fun to walk out the back door to go "grocery shopping" in the yard. And it's amazing to see the wide variety of bees and birds that visit. There are lots of organic, non-GMO seeds available online. Give it a whirl. Eat better, get fresh air and exercise, and hit the GMOers right in the pocketbook.
Hugh Jazz (New York, NY)
No, I don't have a yard.
Alexander B. (Moscow)
Did you consider testing your produce for the chemicals used to clean pool water, such as chlorine?

Why is it universally believed that the food grown in the backyard is by default safer to eat - opposed to the farm that gets its water and soil routinely checked?
Susan (Wisconsin)
Actually the thing I find most interesting is that we don't ask the question if it is providing a better life for the animal involved? In the case of the hornless cow the answer would be no. There is a health benefit for a cow to have and retain their horns.
sweinst254 (nyc)
Why, for an animal that spends its entire life penned up? For the domesticated cow, a horn is as unnecessary as claws on a pet cat.
MikeH (Upstate NY)
Please explain. The article indicates that dehorning is done so the cows don't gore each other. Breeding cows without horns seems like a health benefit. What is the benefit of having horns, in an environment where there are no enemies/predators to defend against?
Jim Waddell (Columbus, OH)
If you read the second paragraph, dehorning is done to prevent injuries. I would presume horns developed through evolution as a defensive mechanism against predators, but on a dairy farm, who needs horns?
Richard Morris (Stamford, CT)
Playing god is a dangerous business.
As a society we should be very wary. Scientists and companies could be engineering biological disasters. They have no idea how what they do impacts other genes. They think they can control everything. Or these assess it as a reasonable risk. They cannot control recombination once a gene is in the gene pool. When you read about it, you think, "What a great idea." Unfortunately, if it goes wrong, there is no undo.
Corporations are motivated by profit not social good.
MM (Fairfax, VA)
We've been modifying genes consciously since Mendel, and through breeding for millennia. It's not playing "god" unless you are creating the universe, and you might want to speak with the people at CERN about that.
maere forbes (new jersey. USA)
I agree.
I am appalled at the arrogance of most of humans that accept this trend to their own satisfaction and self- centrednes.
Alexander B. (Moscow)
"They cannot control recombination once a gene is in the gene pool." You can't control your genes either. Once you are walking on the street on a sunny day and heavily charged particle from a distant galaxy or from the Sun's core flies through your body it can break a few structures in your own DNA. Should you consider not having kids since mutations like this may occur every single moment in every living creature?
Farmers relied on those mutations and selected the "good" ones in lengthy and mundane process. Now we have tools to introduce change in targeted way, reducing the risk of unintended ones. Why the former is considered good and the latter - risky?
Eniko (Hungary)
I just read a book to my children about dinosaurs, about how they evolved throughout millions and millions of years. It's kind of freaky to read that the same evolution can be achieved by merely modifying a gene. We are not God, but we are playing God. And the fire might just burn us :-D.
DaveyG (Westchester, NY)
First of all the long term impact of genetically modified animals is a long way off. Will these bulls be able to breed, will the milk from GMO cows have different proteins and the list of questions goes on and on. As for the salmon? Eventually one or two of these fish will escape, or someone will deposit one into the open sea. When that happens you have an issue; a GMO fish that can out eat, out grow and out compete its natural competitors. This upset in the ecosystem should worry people. All you have to do is understand the impact of invasive plant species, feral pigs etc. to many ecosystems the world over. We are messing with stuff because there is money to be made, is it so bad to have to dehorn a bull (truthfully I don't know if this hurts the animal or not) or is it just cheaper to grow one without horns in a petri dish? Once again the pursuit of profit blinds us, many of us, to the potential risks involved when you mess with mother nature. Maybe years from now everything will be fine but there is no way of telling what the long term impact is going to be on humans, on the planet. So for this reason alone I say tread very very carefully.
fact or friction? (maryland)
One of Obama's biggest disappointments is his lack of engagement with this. Concerns about GMOs are based on informed science (and not the opposite, as GMO proponents like to claim). Obama paints himself as the objective fact-based ponderer/decision-maker. Why's he totally MIA on GMOs?
MM (Fairfax, VA)
No, really scientists are nearly as much in support of GMOs as they are about increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere. It's not that different from breeding, just more efficient.
Justice Holmes (Charleston)
Because he's a corporatist PANDERER! If it's good for corporations he's for it. Evidence: TPP.
Justice Holmes (Charleston)
Of course it's different from breeding. You have no idea what will happen when you chemical "edit" genes.
billappl (Manhattan)
Just makes me edgy, since these animal products have never, ever been part of the human diet. And the government's acquiescence, to prevent labels from demanding gene-spliced meat be identified as such, is reckless and makes a bad situation worse for anyone wanting to avoid such products.
Alexander B. (Moscow)
The whole purpose of our digestive tract is to break any protein and any long molecule, including DNA, into basic elements, such as sugars. You can't get any, say, cow's DNA in your cells by eating steak - neither "organic" nor one made from GM animal. This is how nutrition and food do work, basically. Labeling GM food will only aid ignorant crowd and dishonest politicians who prey on them.
I suggest to direct the concerns to the antibiotics used in mass food production, or known carcinogens. They are known to cause harm - but general public chooses to be scared by GMO instead.
persona (NYC)
This news makes me sad, horrified, and angry. Mankind (mostly men, I would guess) think we can be gods and magicians. We are so smart. We can perform marvelous new tricks every day. Maybe we can make cows that produce eggs. Or humans that produce milk and eggs. All this brainpower and money and resources going toward fixing what ain't broke. When there is so much that really does need fixing.
MF (Erlangen, DE)
Why "mostly men"? There is no real basis for your prejudice against men and applications of genetics. The CRISPR/Cas9 technology was developed by two excellent women scientists, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna.
Hugh Jazz (New York, NY)
You guessed wrong. CRSPR-Cas9 was developed by two women, American Jennifer Doudna and French-born Emmanuelle Charpentier. Nice that the times would "pick" a comment with a nasty and ill-informed swipe at an entire gender.
abo (Paris)
"Today’s chickens, for instance, produce nearly 80 percent more meat for the same amount of feed as the chickens of the 1950s..."

But are they tastier? Quantity over quality, the modern mistake.
That has nothing to do with genetic engineering: the changes result from selective breeding to increase the frequency of "naturally" occurring traits.
Malcolm (NYC)
I am not of a rabid anti-GMO persuasion. Many of the arguments, especially taken individually, make sense to me. But if you can't perceive a Pandora's Box here then you really should put on your glasses. Many countries, and many organizations, will soon be editing genes, in many organisms. Modified species will soon be pouring out into the environment, and this going to result in some profound consequences for the natural world, and therefore for humans. I am not concerned about hornless cows, but what about those modified mosquitoes and salmon, or the modified microbes that may quickly follow, potentially altering the bases of food chains? The little campfire that warms your face can also spread and consume whole forests.
Glenn (new york)
Impressive....a shame we can't light up the research board with a cure to cancer!
anthropocene2 (Evanston)
"But the rapid advent of gene-edited animals threatens to outstrip public discussion of their risks and benefits, some scientists and bioethicists have warned."
I don't know enough about this specific topic to write about it conclusively. But if I pull back to a larger scale, put it in a larger pattern, in an evo context, that yields some perspective. "The rapid advent" is happening repeatedly in how we interface with reality, with geo eco bio cultural & tech networks. The NYT ran a recent article about hoverboards: "Laws Struggle to Keep Up as Hoverboards’ Popularity Soars"
We have the same problem (pattern) with drones, with carbon emissions, etc. We've added roughly 5.5 billion people since 1915. An increasing number of people in this exponential spike wield technology that has greater reach across the networks and across time (downstream effects). But we don't have the legal & other codes to bring order and function to all the new relationships and impacts of our new reach.
Our cultural genome, the infrastructure for how we interact with the world, has been overrun by complexity.
We don't seem to be able to get a handle on this problem, and a significant part of it is the lack of a world wide enforceable code that addresses complexity.
I argue for the creation of technological genome, one capable of processing exponentially more relationship information with greater speed, accuracy & power. Our cultural one is ineffective, & appears increasingly non-selectable.
Blank Ballot (South Texas)
This is why we need labels.

"Recorded Deaths from GM: In 1989, dozens of Americans died and several thousands were afflicted and impaired by a genetically modified version of the food supplement L-tryptophan creating a debilitating ailment known as Eosinophilia myalgia syndrome (EMS) .

"Near-deaths and Food Allergy Reactions: In 1996, Brazil nut genes were spliced into soybeans to provide the added protein methionine and by a company called Pioneer Hi-Bred. Some individuals, however, are so allergic to this nut, they can go into anaphylactic shock (similar to a severe bee sting reaction) which can cause death. Using genetic engineering, the allergens from one food can thus be transferred to another, thought to be safe to eat, and unknowingly.

This is what we need. The "source" list MUST be in common language not scientificees.

Label 1. The genetic modification of this food could have been achieved by selective breeding and/or hybridization. Then a list of the plants/animals used.

Label 2. The genetic modification of this food COULD NOT have been achieved by selective breeding. Then list the sources of the genetic material.

Label 3. The genetic modification of this food used DNA from things not normally eaten by humans. Then list the sources of the genetic material.
SecularSocialistDem (Bettendorf, IA)
When the sanctimonious animal rights type get going they should remember eating peas is like eating babies out of a mothers womb! Mowing the yard is an ISIS terrorist activity from the grasses perspective.

Committed environmentalists would commit suicide, until then they are just trying to ram their self-righteous agenda down other peoples throats. They are not materially different from religious fundamentalists and ultra nationalists who say my way or the highway.
CPBrown (Baltimore, MD)
Prudent caution is one thing, and should and usually is practiced by most scientists. But what is mostly espoused now is the Precautionary Principle something that is actually a destructive perversion of caution, and the antithesis of science.

Science & knowledge proceed using trial and error, which means that there will likely be some error. Errors that can & will be corrected. Trying to stop any progress, until we are absolutely sure that *no* risk of any unintended consequences, will create stasis & stagnation. We can never approach 100% certainty of anything, we can only get more evidence of the costs & benefits of any scientific advancements.

As the evidence for the safety & equivalency of GMO agricultural products have come closer to certainty, there are instead more & shriller voices denouncing them still. Rational caution on GMO's should have yielded to scientific consensus, as it has with climate science. Instead we have mostly intensified unreasoned hysteria.

I suspect the real problem is fears about technology & modernity. Fears of those broad concepts will never be mollified with facts or reality. And should be treated as the unthinking superstitions that they are.
trblmkr (NYC)
I think the crucial difference here is that unlike GMO plant products which, so far, are made purposely so they can NOT reproduce (new seeds needed every season) the point of these "edited" animals is that they indeed reproduce in order to increase the population of the "improved" animals.
There is inherently less control in this model. One needn't engage in "unthinking superstition" to recognize that.
Kate (Philadelphia)
No, the real problem is that these errors can't and won't be corrected.

Levels of pesticides have grown larger since the introduction of GMOs into our food, with a negative effect on humans--experience ignored, reported results by scientists from profiting companies taken as fact. The science reports rapidly while changes may not be seen for a generation or more.

If they're so harmless, what's the harm in labeling them?

Even though terminator-seed technology did get developed, it is not in any sort of commercial use. Commercially available GMO plants are not sterile. To keep people from reusing seeds, there is a licensing restriction the user signs with the seed company (which happens in both non-GMO and GMO seed business, as both are patentable).
MDMD (Baltimore, Md)
It is a brave new world , here now. I worry when I read about altering pigs to make them swine resistant: does this mean they will be more resistant to some other super-bug that they will pass on to humans? We need to move slowly in this area with over-sight by thoughtful scientists. Are all of these changes approved by the FDA?
Gatrell (Kentucky)
The FDA will approve almost anything if there is enough money in it.
MaryM (New Jersey)
Can we create hornless Rhinos and tuskless Elephants?
We could save these species from extinction.
NorthernVirginia (Falls Church, Va)
We have to, because creating more intelligent humans does not seem possible.
trblmkr (NYC)
"To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction..."
What applies to the physical world may indeed apply to bio-genetics. My admittedly limited layman's understanding is that genes act in combinations of pairs and groups when determining the existence or absence of traits in living beings. This article seems to contradict that understanding.
I am an unabashedly a pro-science person, but to my eye it seems we are always in a reactionary mode as a society when it comes to new, complicated scientific advances, especially at a molecular or genetic level. We are great at slamming barn doors too late. Scientists should eschew hubris (I detected some in a few of those quoted here) and proceed with great humility. Let's remember thalidomide and DDT!
What happens if a more buff beagle is also a biter or, worse yet, is uncontrollably incontinent?
trblmkr (NYC)
Did not receive an email notification. Please "unclog". Wish you could genetically edit your outbox!
Dave Brown (Denver, Colorado)
When an alteration is organic, if it happens through anevolutionary cause, it seems humaine. Interrupting a natural process to make money, or cuteness just seems so Koch industry-ish. Like what is best for me and never mind what might be best. This is an ugly industry.
MR (Detroit)
Not too far away from 'improving' humans via DNA editing. By 2050 we will see a race of superhumans, and the media will fawn over one named 'Khan Noonien Singh'. He will sound a lot like Trump but will tout his superior intellect and strength instead of money as his qualifications to lead.
JBS (Florida)
In thinking about science as an art form, I wonder if the people with the test tubes try to over-reach and compensate for other world citizens whose view is repeatedly demonstrating other basic human traits, like hatred and self interest. See. We are really very smart.
Rene Joseph Louis Lefebvre (Montreal)
Changing the DNA of animals should be made a crime. Scientist who approve of those manipulations in their labs are dangerous people who must be kept under surveillance by the NSA. Manipulating the bricks with which everything is made is playing with fire and constitutes reckless endangerment.
CPBrown (Baltimore, MD)
Is your sun still circling your earth ? Think about how dangerous "your" proposal would be in any reality.
gardener (Ca &amp; NM)
And patenting of life should be a crime.
JJ (Bangor, ME)
From your comment speaks the fear of not understanding what exactly CRISPR accomplishes and what it does not do. It really only accelerates natural selection in farm animals. Only beneficial traits will propagate, anything that does not help the species to survive will be selected against. Please note the examples the article gives. These are all naturally occurring mutations that have arisen in animals throughout the world. Instrad of using tradional methods to combine all the desirable traits in one animal, which would require decades of breeding, CRISPR allow us now to do this very quickly. There is nothing nefarious about it. We merely are accelerating meods that have been used for thousands of years using this new method.
As for NSA surveillance: I am sure they already keep an eye on both of us. One eye each. Do you prefer the left or the right one?
richopp (FL)
Now with CRISPR on the horizon, we will have all manner of genetic "fixing" to deal with. I suppose that as long as someone makes a dollar off it, nothing is wrong anymore.
We should simply accept that money now rules all governments, along with jesus, of course, and wouldn't jesus WANT a few people to have trillions of dollars for changing all the genes and chromosomes we are stuck with? Imagine 25,000 lb cows that are all steak, 10,000 lb chickens that are all fingers and nuggets, and crops where you plant one seed and a million whatever's grow. Think of all the people we could save and all the cash I can make if I own all this! Not only that, imagine that ALL humans were white, 6'5" tall, had blonde hair and blue eyes (both are genetically weak) and were beautiful or handsome forever. Now you're talkin'!
A "master race" is only a few generations away, and the money I can make--wow!
Bill (Ohio)
Would love to see the genetic neutering of stinkbugs. Please.
erik (new york)
The main driver behind genetic modification in agriculture is not the 'greater good' but profit. By growing bigger, faster, cheaper.

But even more important is the ability of corporation to patent the technology which prevents farmers from cross breeding at will (as farmers have done since the beginning of farming). Either because they are prohibited form doing (e.g. by contract) or by design (e.g. the AquAdvantage Salmon is sterile).

We should by very wary of a handful of corporations owning the food supply and determining its future. As US regulators are already on board, we consumers are the only ones with the power to prevent that.
Tea Leaf Reader (New Mexico)
Some aqua advantage salmon may not be sterile. It is not fool proof.
Patrick Hasburgh (Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico)
I'm all for this... Heaven is in our genes.
tashmuit (Cape Cahd)
What all of these genetically altered (contaminated) animals have in common is their ability to produce money. No rational oversight, Wall Street ethics, no idea of unplanned consequences several generations down the road. This is science with selfish dirty hands. How long before transformed (warped) animals will be interbreeding in the wild? Not long. How long before some gene hacker makes a frankenbeing to indulge a need for malicious destruction? Count on it. How long before that Gotcha! You Stupid Human Beings moment?
Sherr29 (New Jersey)
"a new era of humanity’s dominion over nature" -- there is something chilling about those words considering the mess that we've created with air and water pollution and the devastation of forests and land tearing up the earth to extract carbon products and other minerals.
If calves are being "altered" to prevent them from growing horns -- something that sounds benign when attached to the idea that "dehorning" is quite painful -- what else is being "manipulated" in the animal population that isn't so benign? And, of course, the question facing all of us is when will this ability to have "dominion over nature" extend to dominion over human genetic makeup which is also part of "nature?"
janeysbaby8 (va. beach, va)
Frankenscience sure is scary.
Dan W (Florida)
Just because science is able to do something, doesn't mean we need to. I wonder how many generations of the "new" offspring have been bred successfully to produce the same constant results? Because we are modifying an animal, does that mean that the bacteria that naturally inhabit that animal are not modified because of their changing environment. Are we possibly cooking up a new generation of pathogens for which we have no cure. The implications here are infinite. Mother nature selects the healthiest of the species to continue the blood line, and become more adaptive. Man on the other hand is just monkeying around the edges of creation. We have the tools, but don't know what the final result may be. It might take 50 years for these modified organisms to become a planet wide threat. Especially splicing the genes of two different organisms together to form a newer, better species, modified for the benefit of man. We need to step very carefully and slowly in this area. Not a nutcase, just someone who knows enough genetics to be somewhat afraid of the eventual outcome.
UWSder. (NYC)
Unfounded speculation (re: bacteria, etc) is likely to die out faster than any GMO animal. Please cite the basis for your concern.
ugh (NJ)
Interesting, the ease with which the NY Times has adopted the term "editing" to describe troubling genetic manipulation. With long histories of deceiving, poisoning and experimenting on the human population, our pharmaceutical, scientific, medical and chemical communities should not be trusted with creating a and letting loose on society a new wave of frightening Frankenfoods. Let's call them what they are—GMOs—and insist on clear labeling. And put the onus and expense of testing and labeling on the peddlers of GMOs, not on the people who grow foods naturally.
Dan W (Florida)
The Trans Pacific Trade agreement would prohibit listing the source of many foods produced in the far east. It would also prohibit suits against foreign countries based on US law. If you haven't noticed, finding the country of origin and processing country is getting increasingly difficult. Try looking at many brands of tuna, and you will find there is no identification as to where the fish was caught, how it was caught, or where it was processed. This is a slow but crucial process to integrate substandard foods into the US system. Living on the US/Canadian border part of the year is an enlightening experience, just seeing the difference between US and Canadian law. They, tend to forget two countries share one bay.
Ben (NYC)
OK let's get a few things straight here. DNA is DNA - it's just chemically identical amino acids that happen to occur in a certain order. There is nothing different between the DNA of, say, a Rose versus the DNA of a cow. In fact, we share huge quantities of our DNA sequences with other organisms.

Second, transgenesis occurs in nature all the time. Viruses are constantly moving genes from one species to another. Something like 20% of the human genome is made up of retroviral DNA that was co-opted by our ancestors and repurposed. One of the genes necessary to make a placenta in mammals was taken from a viral infection. Pieces of isolated human DNA were put into a viral protein shell and behaved like ordinary viruses.

There is no evidence that human-guided transgenic organisms are dangerous PER SE. You can argue against putting in genes that code for mycotoxins on the basis of the toxicity of the mycotoxin, but that doesn't mean that GMO is dangerous because it is GMO.

That said, there are some arguments against GMO foods. They are genetically identical, and variety is good (see: Banana blight). If the intent is to combat insects or molds we're going to lose - recently a cornworm evolved around the mycotoxin in the GMO corn that was designed to thwart it. Many countries have banned GMOs for national security reasons which are perfectly rational.

Cancer-causing? Intrinsically poisonous? No, no, no. No evidence of any of that.
Pat (Mystic CT)
DNA is a polymer of nucleotides, not amino acids. Proteins are polymers of amino acids.
Truth (Boston, MA)
The difference here vs. your example of viruses, is that with a virus, oftentimes the host doesn't incorporate fragments of genes. There is a give and take relationship between the two - sometimes things are incorporated, sometimes not. And whether or not those traits are carried forth in the organism can take thousands of years. Here, when creating genetically altered genes, targeted, for a specific *human desired* trait, the host has no chance of rejecting what has been spliced or inserted. Will the trait be carried forth in it's progeny? Perhaps not. But it wasn't *selected* by the host either. That's not to say viruses are benign...but the host usually has some kind of fighting chance. The truth is, this is brand new science. We just don't know - enough. Cancer-causing? We really can't say - where are the studies done over numerous years with large sample populations to say not? Show me the studies.
George (Monterey)
Finally a voice of reason here.
JF (Wisconsin)
Impossible not to imagine this will be applied to humans, and for things other than preventing disease or disabilities.
jack (upstate ny)
As I am approaching old age, dare I say it, I wonder if we could gene edit the ability for animals to talk. I would be very interested to hear what they have to say!!
Nan Socolow (West Palm Beach, FL)
Today, another piece on tinkering with animal genes -"Open Season Is Seen in Gene Editing of Animals", by Amy Harmon - following yesterday's piece on cloning animals, vegetables, fruits and fish by Owen Guo on "The Biggest Animal Cloning Center Set for '16 in a Skeptical China". Manipulating the DNA of living things to prove humanity's dominion over nature harks back to Germany in the 1930s and 40s. There wasn't a "People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans" way back then. Eugenics and euthanasia were created by the Nazi Government based on social policies that placed biological improvement of "The Master Race" - Aryans - and the elimination (read extinction) of "untermenschen" from the chain of heredity. Not quite like gene editing calves to be hornless, salmon cloned with poutfish, beagles to be more muscular, but the worst kind of social Darwinism. The Rockefeller Foundation funded Dr. Josef Mengele before he went to work at Auschwitz "Arbeit Macht Frei". Isn't there an organization of "Luddites Against Genetic-Modifying All Humanity's Flora and Fauna"? Maybe there should be. PS Look at how the Third Reich's tinkering with eugenics and "social biology" 80 years ago has benefited today's unified Germany with the 950,000 Syrian refugees - bless them - finding new lives in Deutschland. Germany's genetically unmodified chickens coming home to roost?
Shawn (Pennsylvania)
Wow. Godwin's Law writ large.
Jamie (State College)
An element that will grow in profile as these animals are rolled out is the assessment of possible environmental risks. Interestingly enough, AquaAdvantage's operations are all out-of-country, seemingly in an attempt to avoid US laws. FDA certainly made use of that fact in its approval of the salmon last week. See our story about the National Environmental Policy Act implications (and likely lawsuit) here:
Ramki4 (Bangalore)
China plans to set up the world's largest facility.China ‘cloning factory’ to produce cattle, racehorses and pets China aims to produce a million cattle a year, along with other animals .This is the Brave New World. These are new exciting technologies and like all new technologies it has also inspired fears of its potential implications
John W Lusk (Danbury, Ct)
I agree I believe the profit motive often causes us to ignore problems made by new technology
javierg (Miami, Florida)
Now if we could only modify humans to be less aggressive, that would be great.
The unmodified, and thus more aggressive, humans would become dominant.
Impedimentus (Nuuk)
Gene editing of humans will be next.
Anthony (Sunnyside, Queens)
"Advocates of the technology argue that it can make farming more efficient to help feed a growing world population with less of a toll on the environment..."

You can't have both, but nice try. Doesn't seem that the earth nor our socio-economic systems can accommodate a growing world population in the range of 9-12 billion with "less toll to the environment" regardless of promises made by the false optimism and promises of food science industry and their well
fed advocates. Provide more questionable food schemes, surge human populations, and continue to exacerbate the impacts on finite and dwindling resources as well as exponential increase in Co2, methane, sewage, and human waste.

So long as profit and control is at the end of the genetic rainbow they won't stop
John W Lusk (Danbury, Ct)
Unfortunately wars "thin the herd" and I see another one coming.
LRW (Maryland)
While caution is always prudent, the reality of expanding population and changing climate will make these techniques essential to meeting the nutritional needs of the world in the future. Some people have the luxury of electing to reject perfectly edible protein produced with lower consumption of resources; most of the world does not.
JoeGiul (Florida)
Agree wholeheartedly. People have been modifying animals and plants for thousands of years in an hit and miss manner. The calculated means of deriving benefits should be a boon for all.
Critical Nurse (Michigan)
The core position of stopping people from consuming dairy, meat or eggs strips validity from any position PETA takes. It seems like they're advocating a return to loin cloth wearing tribes living only on fruit and vegetables that were ethically harvested from ground fall.
See also