The Potato Controversy


Genetically Modified food has been controversial for many years now, and has a long history of arguments between food manufacturing companies and people against ‘unnatural’ food. The new chapter in this story involves none other than a potato.

Simplot, a company known for its normal and genetically modified potatoes, has created a new product which they call ‘the Innate Potato’, because of how natural it is compared to other GM crops.

To make this potato novel and unique in the GM market, Simplot has created it using RNA interference technology. This method uses RNA strands from other potatoes with different characteristics and mashes them together, to create a sort of Frankenstein Monster potato. The result is much more appealing than the name suggests. By combining many positive qualities from different potatoes, you end up with a potato with numerous benefits. This particular potato, for example, has proven resistant to bruises, and produces fewer carcinogens when fried. Usually, when normal potatoes are fried, the amino acid asparagine can react to form acrylamide, a suspected carcinogen. When tested, Innate Potato produced up to 75% less acrylamide when heated.

mcfries

Someday in the future, it is possible that McDonalds fries are made from genetically modified potatoes

Not only that, but since it only uses genes from natural potatoes, and doesn’t use genetic material from other species like bacteria, it is immune to many of the usual complaints of GM-haters, which dislike the idea of mixing genes between two opposite species.

In spite of the strong opposition, the Innate Potato has already been approved by the USDA, (the Unites States Department of Agriculture), so it could potentially be sold to customers anytime now. In fact, rumour has it that McDonalds, one of Simplot’s biggest customers, might use the potato in the near future to make their well-known McFries. This, of course, has caused a heated debate where some opposers of these potatoes are pressuring the fast food company to reject them. McDonalds’ decision concerning this matter is still unknown.

However, Simplot only plans to grow a limited number of these super potatoes for now, so regardless of McDonalds’ decision we’ll probably have to wait quite some time to taste them.

Until then, McFries are still delicious.

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The Scientific Event of the Year: Debate: Darwin vs. God: Part 2


Dawkins and Williams after the debate

Dawkins and Williams after the debate

Yesterday, people from all around the world were able to watch one of the most important events of the year at Oxford University or by the Internet.

At Sheldonian Theatre, zoologist Richard Dawkins debated about the origin of human nature and the universe with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. The debate, considered as a battle between science and religion, was calm and polite, but with some sense of humour of the debaters.

Each debater respected and admired each other’s arguments, although after they had to argue it.

Anthony Kenny

The debate started with the philosopher Anthony Kenny asking for no applauses, and continued with the funny comment ‘I come representing ignorance’.

He actively collaborated in the debate, sometimes looking as a third debater. He gave the debate a relaxed but formal atmosphere, and asked new discussions to both debators.

Rowan Williams

One of the head of the Anglican Church’s arguments debated about conscience, and of the need of God to explain it. He also had to admit that the Bible didn’t explain scientifically the creation of the Universe, but he argued that the Bible’s authors just wrote what God told them to.

Richard Dawkins

The biologist occupied the major part of the debate, defending Darwin’s ideas about evolutionism and stating that humans are a product of only evolution, with no intervention by God.

He was sarcastic about the existence of God, but had to admit he can’t disprove the existence of God, and once, he even had to admit he did not disbelief in God totally, but thought the chances of it existing were very, very low.

If you weren’t able to see the debate, you can watch it again at http://fsmevents.com/sophiaeuropa/

The Scientific Event of the Year: Debate: Darwin vs. God


Today’s special report is dedicated to Richard Dawkins and the archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Richard Dawkins is one of the world’s most known biologists and one of the major supporters of Darwinism. Studying zoology at Oxford, he then moved to teaching at California University. His known books, The Selfish Genes and The Extended Phenotype, have given him the title of Darwin’s Bulldog, due to its fierce defence of Darwin’s ideas.

On the other side, there is the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. He is also worldwide known as one of the most passionate teologists, defender of the Anglican Church, and is the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury. As Dawkins, he studied at Oxford, but theology. He’s done lectures in numerous universities, specially in Cambridge, where he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity, in 1989.

Returning to the news, today, Thursday the 23rd, Oxford University holds one of the most interesting and passionate debate of the year, the eternal debate of Darwin and God, at the Sheldonian Theatre.

In this debate, being the theme the nature of human beings and their origin, the biologist will defend Darwin’s ideas of evolutionism and natural selection, whilst the Archbishop will state the Church’s point of view, debating about creationism and Adam and Eve.

The tickets to this outstanding event, organised by the University Of Oxford Theology Department have already been sold out, being chaired by philosopher Anthony Kenny.

At 16:00 and until 17:30 (London UTC), people without tickets will be able to watch it live at www.originsofnature.com