It is also a little aggravating that she is using the videos and pictures showing increased yields of the GMO varieties compared to the conventional as evidence. Given that 40% of the food produced is wasted, larger yields probably isn't the most pragmatic method to improve food security, it is instead an issue of access and distribution. Plus, increased yield is not a fact people are contending. No one is arguing GMOs don’t work to increase yields. (Update and tangent: I suppose increased yields are important also as a source of income for these small farmers. And this is the heart of what makes me internally conflicted about GMOs, and many things about industrialized society. We have dug ourselves so deep into this giant thorn bush that untangling ourselves will be quite painful. It seems to me that an abrupt embracing of automation and an equitable sharing of the gains is the only way to quickly cut our way out without bleeding all over the place).
Golden rice for Vitamin A deficiency and the Bt eggplant (I believe it was) to reduce insecticide use are certainly better uses of Genetic Modification than some others. The former, though, like SUB1, is not addressing the root problems of malnutrition. According to this article -which seems well researched and from a good source – 300 grams of golden rice can only provide at most 20% of an adult’s daily vitamin A requirement, and 300 grams is quite a bit of rice (UPDATE: only 144 grams of Golden rice version 2 would need to be eaten to meet the USDA’s Recommended Daily Allowance of Vit A. However, as of March 2016, golden rice has not yet been grown commercially, and backcrossing is still ongoing in current varieties to reduce yield drag  Anyone know what yield drag and backcrossing are?). Furthermore, it only takes two tablespoonfuls of yellow sweet potatoes, half a cup of dark green leafy vegetables or two-thirds of a medium-sized mango in a day to meet the vitamin A requirement of a pre-school child [2 but couldn’t actually verify this source]. If it were up to me I would be looking toward agroecological methods which are what that particular article also recommends. “In the past, integrated rice-fish-duck-tree farming was a common practice in wetlands. This does not only meet peoples’ food, fodder, and fuelwood needs, but it provides superior energy-protein output to that obtained from today’s monoculture practice of growing high-yielding varieties. These fields also serve as the hatcheries for many fishes and aquatic organisms, which multipl[y] and spread to other wetlands.”
According to Dr. Ronald, in 40 years there hasn’t been a single case of harm to human health or the environment. Again, from the previous article I linked, there is some evidence that is wrong. It is correlation certainly not causation, but a point of evidence nonetheless. “IRRI says that the Green Revolution may have actually increased malnutrition among the poor . Consumption of vegetables in most Asian countries has remained stagnant since the Green Revolution and vegetable prices have increased in both real and relative terms In India, annual rice and wheat production has more than tripled from pre-Green Revolution levels. On the other hand, household consumption of vegetables has dropped 12 percent over the last two decades. Pulse and legume consumption is down even more while becoming increasingly costly, and malnutrition remains high ”
The original friend responded with:
“Cody, I appreciate the discourse. There’s certainly a lot of passion in your argument as well as a supported perspective, but perhaps your passion is coloring this perspective somewhat?
I think there is a legitimate discussion surrounding the massive and arguably corrupt global food system to be had. However, this falls within the purview of the social sciences as opposed to hard science. I’d be willing to reconsider my position if superior evidence is brought forth but, from what I’ve read on the subject, it appears GMOs are indeed safe (which was the premise of my original post).
Me: Hey (Charlie), you’re absolutely right that my argument is colored by emotion and passion here. I really believe that agroecology is a far better way forward than the system of agriculture we’ve got right now. I wrote that initial response from my phone and wasn’t able to link to anything, but see my response to Brad's link for a bit more info on my perspective that is hopefully a bit less emotional. And here’s some more evidence I stole from someone else’s post but that I hope is relevant. I honestly need to check out the links myself but I gotta run right now.
• claims about GM crops made by agri-business are overblown
• research contrary to agri-business interests is underfunded, while criticism of what research gets done is suspiciously abundant and vehement
http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090902/pdf/461027a.pdf (link not working currently)
• the technological package with which GM crops are bundled, and the policies and market mechanisms that support GM crops, have terrible consequences for the environment and for society
That being said, the *basic* science behind GM crops works. Bacterial DNA is really being transferred into corn and other crops, where it is really producing BT toxins to deter pests and conferring glyphosate resistance. It’s a bad idea, but it’s not a hoax.
BT crops and glyphosate-resistant crops are terrible in part BECAUSE the transgenes function! Continuous production of BT toxins forces the fast evolution of resistant pests. The continuous application of glyphosate (to Roundup-ready crops) forces the fast evolution of resistant weeds.
 Everding, Gerry. “Genetically modified Golden Rice falls short on lifesaving promises | The Source | Washington University in St. Louis.” The Source. 2 Jun. 2016. Web. 4 Jul. 2016. <https://source.wustl.edu/2016/06/genetically-modified-golden-rice-falls-short-lifesaving-promises/>
 Gilbert C., “Preventing blindness”, Child Health Dialogue. Appropriate Health Resources and Technologies Action Group, 1997 available at http://www.who.int/chd/publications/newslet/dialog/7/blind.htm
 IRRI, 1999, Rice: hunger or hope? IRRI Corporate Report 1998-1999, Manila.
 Email communication from Dr. Samson Tsou, Director General, Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) to GRAIN dated 16 February 2000.
 Dina Umali-Deininger and Deepak Ahluwali “Improving Household Food and Nutrition Security in India” Lnweb90.worldbank.org. 18 Dec. 2008. Web. 4 Jul. 2016. <http://lnweb90.worldbank.org/CAW/cawDoclib.nsf/vewAsiaPacific/A6D78494027FF89685256C5E0066CC86/$file/India20300Vol2.pdf>