Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Following up GMOs

This morning on the Chicken Whisperer we moved from discussing the Lamonas, which were developed by selective breeding, to the industrial methods of creating new plant varieties by introducing genetic matter from other species, Genetically Modified Organisms. Some of the most successful are Monsanto's Roundup-Ready Corn and Roundup-Ready Soybeans

Scientists under Attack shows fields choked with Roundup-resistant weeds.Somehow, Monsanto claims it didn't see the possibility, although scientists predicted that weeds would adapt and there's really no reason to think that somehow, plants wouldn't evolve to resist herbicides, just as pathogens become resistant to antibiotics.

From the film's web site: Árpád Pusztai and Ignacio Chapela have two things in common. They are distinguished scientists and their careers are in ruins. Both scientists choose to look at the phenomenon of genetic engineering. Both made important discoveries. Both of them are suffering the fate of those who criticise the powerful vested interests that now dominate big business and scientific research. Statements made by scientists themselves prove that 95% of the research in the area of genetic engineering is paid by the industry. Only 5% of the research is independent. The big danger for freedom of science and our democracy is evident. Can the public – we all – still trust our scientists?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently deciding whether or not to approve an application by Dow Chemical for its controversial genetically engineered (GE) corn crop that is resistant to the highly toxic herbicide 2,4-D, one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange.

 This tempts me to ask, What are they thinking? But their thinking is clear: they want to make money and have no concern about public health or the environment. It's profits over everything else.

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