A fantastic science project for the holidays

Now you can become a citizen scientist, and test the hypothesis that animals won’t eat genetically modified food.

Anti-GMOers have been reporting that farm (or wild) animals avoid GM grain in favor of eating grain the way the Lord (or conventional hybridizers) intended.

Now the organization BiologyFortified is offering to send out test kits so you can set up a corn feeding stand in your backyard (or school), with barcoded ears of corn (GMO or non-GMO). Will your squirrels/chipmunks/deer/other pest animals eat only the natural, non gene-scrambled corn, or not notice a difference? Results will be compiled at HQ and announced when complete.

To be guaranteed of receiving a test kit, a donation of $25 is required (otherwise you wind up on a waiting list).

Cynics/paranoiacs who suspect Monsatan might be mixing up the corn in the test kits to provide spurious results, can run their own parallel survey using the same high-tech equipment (a board with embedded nails to hold the ears of corn), and sweet corn obtained from a trustworthy non-GMO source like Whole Paycheck Supermarket and conventional (almost certainly GMO) corn from your regular Corporate Apologist Supermarket.

Don’t forget to set up a camera to photograph the wildlife enjoying (or keeling over) from your test corn!

With your title and today’s date I thought you’d be discussing Thanksgiving leftovers found in the back of the fridge in about April.
As to your actual topic … gathering evidence is pretty useless as a means of impressing people who already have decided that evidence is not part of their thought processes. But it can be fun to feed the wildlife.

By that token, we should halt all research dealing with climate change, evolution, immunization, and all other “controversial” science topics.

I am looking forward to seeing motion-detecting camera images of creatures in my backyard, barfing after accidentally consuming GM corn.

I think it’s a great idea. I don’s think it will persuade anyone who isn’t open to persuasion (the group did work with Monsanto to obtain the GMO! It could be tampered with! It might not actually be really GMO! etc.) but I like seeing projects that encourage scientific thought.

I am on the waitlist. I will update this thread if I ever receive the kit.

It seems I didn’t express myself very well.

I’m all for research. And this sounds like a fun home science project whether sanctioned by the organizing body or just as a DIY effort. And I have no doubt it’d be effective at changing the attitude of kids who’re being fed the anti-GMO Kool-Aid by goofy parents. Kids seem to see through BS when presented with tangible evidence more readily than do their supposedly more sophisticated elders.

But I hold little or no hope that the project will result in a collective Ah ha! moment where unreasoning resistance to GMO tech melts before the awesome power of incorruptible grassroots SCIENCE!!1!

I don’t know what kind of corn I use in my Critter Cam thread here in MPSIMS but the deer, Blondie, crows & squirrels eat it just fine.

What always amazes me is how many different animals eat sunflower seeds.

Just about anything could potentially feed on corn in our backyard.

On the Biofortified form, I checked off all the potential creatures and added several more (forgot to include coyotes, which would be more likely to lie in wait for whatever comes for the corn).

I may also put out regular GM salt and non-GM Himalayan rock salt (certified by the Non-GMO Project).

Cool idea! My current Environmental Sciences professor is very anti-GMO - yesterday he implied that the reason the US’s average life expectancy is below Japan’s is because of a recently FDA approved variety of genetically modified salmon. :dubious: Obesity, heart disease, nope, it’s all in the GMOs. I just try to take deep breaths . . .

This would be a neat trick, since the company involved has yet to ship any of its salmon.

Maybe he’d be interested in a class project involving GM corn…

I just got an ominous message in my e-mail box.

“Karl Haro Von Mogel has sent you a package.” No other explanation.

I don’t know any such person. Who could he possibly be? Someone affiliated with the Baader-Meinhof Gang who doesn’t like my posts on the Dope? Did I offend Angela Merkel?


I googled the name. He’s a plant geneticist at the University of Wisconsin and affiliated with biofortified.com, which means I will soon be receiving my GMO corn experimental kit, and will be able to post motion-detected photos of what creatures come to my GM and non-GM corn feeding station and have graphic proof of their feeding preferences.

Holiday fun awaits.

For extra fun, publish photos showing that both kinds of corn have been eaten equally, but scatter dead squirrels and birds under the GMO side.

I like this idea, sounds cool. I’m gonna look into doing it.

But, sigh, really wish people would bother doing a little…well I hesitate to even call it research it’s so easy…self education. On a superficial and stupid level, I myself am a wild creature that came from farm stock, I like watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, rice, apples, cherries, almonds and bananas just to name a few…:rolleyes:

Updating the GMO Corn Experiment:

My first go-around was disappointing - when I put out the first set of ears of corn last fall, apparently it was too late in the season or the critters were disdainful of corn - very little was nibbled from either the GMO or non-GMO ear.

Different story today. I had placed a stand with a second set of ears of corn in the backyard, again labeled only by number and barcode so I couldn’t tell which was GMO. When I looked out the window, a squirrel was enthusiastically chowing down on the corn (pausing only to chase off another squirrel). As of this afternoon, one ear was almost completely consumed, while the other ear was only about 10% eaten.

I have submitted my results to Biofortified. I anxiously await the conclusion of the experiment and published results. Will wholesome non-GMO corn win the affections of our varmint brethren, or will Monsatan triumph?

I fear the voluntary citizen participants will be of a strong sentiment for the anti-GMO faction, and there is plenty of room to fudge the results.

Unlikely for two reasons:

  1. No participant knows which ear is GMO and which isn’t. Only the project organizers have that information. If you turned in a fake report that one ear was eaten and the other wasn’t, you’d have a 50-50 chance of skewing results toward the anti-GMO side (the only way around this would be to have the ears sampled for DNA testing, and I don’t see most people ponying up the dough for that).

  2. People who visit the Biofortified website are highly likely to be science-oriented and rational folk who would most probably be pro-GMO. They would not be able to “fudge” results any more easily than anti-GMOers.

Unless the ears were otherwise identical, this experiment proves nothing. Perhaps one is a modern sweet hybrid and the other field corn. I don’t trust the results at all.

Wouldn’t it be more fun to scatter those carcasses under the non-GMO side?

It’s ALWAYS fun to scatter carcasses! Fun for the whole family year round!

I’m going to express a great deal of mistrust for the organization conducting the trial as well. I went to the website to look around and found this article on their homepage about the recent allegations of research fraud and misconduct raised against Dr. Federico Infascelli, one of the big names in the GMO=BAD crowd.

Credibility is our currency: conflicts of interest and research misconduct

Where I found these gems.