Genetic engineering

Ralph Turchiano – New study: Consumers don’t view GMO labels as negative ‘warnings’

July 28, 2015

Results from 5 years of polling data released as US Senate considers controversial GMO labeling law University of Vermont A new study released just days after the U.S. House passed a bill that would prevent states from requiring labels on genetically modified foods reveals that GMO labeling would not act as warning labels and scare consumers away from buying products with GMO ingredients. The study, presented at the annual conference of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, held in San Francisco on July 27, relies on five years of data (2003, 2004, 2008, 2014 and 2015) and includes 2,012 responses to a representative, statewide survey of Vermont residents. It focuses on the relationship between two primary questions: whether Vermonters are opposed to GMO’s in commercially available food products; and if respondents thought products containing GMO’s should be labeled. Read More

GMO Bacon? ‘Genetically Modified’ Pigs on the Horizon – Christina Sarich

July 8, 2015

Are you ready for modern-made ‘GMO’ bacon? With the near-future possibility of gene-modified pigs coming to your local grocery store, this may be yet another biotech reality. Molecular biologist Jin-Soo Kim at Seoul National University showed off pictures of hogs in the publication Nature just weeks ago. These genetically modified pigs were made to have bizarrely large backsides, considered the most edible part of the pig. In the article, Kim’s team, from Korea and China, looked at a mutation in an extremely muscular variety of cattle called the Belgian Blue wherein a gene that ordinarily inhibits muscle growth gets switched off. Using a gene-editing technique called TALEN, the researchers induced a similar mutation in their pigs to make them, well, porkier. It stands to note that gene-editing is already bypassing many regulatory checkpoints because it isn’t considered genetic engineering. Though, clearly it smacks of it in every conceivable way. Cyranoski from Nature explains: “Key to creating the double-muscled pigs is a mutation in the myostatin gene (MSTN). MSTN inhibits the growth of muscle cells, keeping muscle size in check. But in some cattle, dogs and humans, MSTN is disrupted and the muscle cells proliferate, creating an abnormal bulk of muscle fibres. To introduce this mutation in pigs, Kim

“I Love GMO”: The Warped World Of The Pro-GMO Lobbyist By Colin Todhunter

July 8, 2015

There’s a massive spike in cancer cases in Argentina that is strongly associated with glyphosate-based herbicides. These herbicides are a huge earner for agribusiness. But don’t worry, Patrick Moore says you can drink a whole quart and it won’t harm you. Who needs independent testing?  Anyway, all that scare mongering about GMOs and glyphosate is a conspiracy by a bunch of whinging lavishly funded green-blob types. Former UK environment minister Owen Paterson said as much. He says those self-serving anti-GMO people are damaging the interests of the poor and are profiting handsomely. They are condemning “billions” to lives of poverty. He voted for the illegal invasion of Iraq, which has led to the death of almost 1.5 million Iraqis. His government has plunged millions into poverty and food insecurity in the UK. He now wants to help the poor by giving them GM courtesy of self-interested, corporations and their lavishly paid executives. What was that about self-serving, lavishly funded groups? As a staunch believer in doublespeak, hypocrisy and baseless claims by self-appointed humanitarians with awful track records, Paterson’s sound-bite smears and speeches are good enough for me. So with that cleared up, hopefully we can move on. Then there’s all that ‘anti-capitalist twaddle’ (another pearl of wisdom from Patrick

Pope Francis Is on a Roll — Brings Sanity to the GMO Debate By Jill Richardson

June 30, 2015

Does genetically engineering crops — creating seeds with the DNA of other species inserted in them, like a tomato with DNA that includes genes from a fish — violate religious principles? People with a vested interest have tried for years to speak on the Vatican’s behalf on this question. Now, Pope Francis has weighed in. Using plain and forceful language, the Catholic leader has made it clear that he’s against this kind of agricultural tinkering. In speaking out on what he sees as a question tied to the sanctity of life in his new environmental encyclical, he’s also defied U.S. foreign policy. The State Department dispatched its diplomats to lobby [2] Pope Benedict, Francis’s predecessor, on genetic engineering just months after he took office. Diplomats cast embracing the technology as a “moral imperative,” WikiLeaks revealed when it published State Department cables. A year later, the diplomats reported [3] that the Vatican was “cautiously optimistic” about the newfangled foods. Yet in 2010, the Vatican clarified [4] that it hadn’t come out in favor of genetic engineering. Not surprisingly, the Vatican’s concern all along — whether defined by Pope Benedict or Pope Francis — has been how the technology will impact the poor, as well as all of God’s Creation. Pope

GM wheat crop fails to repel bugs, £3m trial branded ‘a waste’

June 29, 2015

A controversial trial of genetically modified (GM) wheat has failed to repel pests any more effectively than ordinary crops, scientists have found. Researchers attempted to engineer a variety of wheat to emit an odor that deters aphids in the hope of reducing the amount of pesticides required by plants. The crops, nicknamed “whiffy wheat,” were successful in lab tests, but succumbed to aphids when trialed in the field. The experiment cost £3m, some £2.2m of which was spent on fencing and other security measures to protect the trial from animals and saboteurs. Campaign group GM Freeze said the experiment was a waste of money and further evidence of the “folly” of investing in GM technology. Agricultural institution Rothamsted Research ran the trial in Hertfordshire from 2012 to 2013. Scientists had hoped to create a strain of wheat capable of deterring aphids – such as greenfly and blackly – from eating the crops and spreading infections. They changed the structure of the plants to produce a natural pheromone – commonly found in peppermint – which aphids release when attacked by predators. Researchers hoped the modified plants would no longer need to be sprayed with insecticides. While lab tests found the pheromone

The Global GMO Food War Against Humanity

June 24, 2015

The Global GMO Food War Against Humanity Richard Gale and Gary Null Progressive Radio Network, November 18, 2014   After decades of rearing hogs, Danish farmer IbBorup Pedersen was alarmed at the growing incidence of malformations and biological defects among his newborn piglets. Deformities included gaps in piglets’ skulls, deformed bones, missing limbs and even a female piglet with testicles. Never having witnessed such large numbers of deformed pigs before, Pedersen realized that it was after switching three years earlier to Monsanto’s GMO feed– which had been grown with glyphosate–that these birth defects began to appear. Pedersen had the piglets’ bodies sent to a Danish laboratory for analysis. The results were clear; there were high concentrations of Monsanto’s glyphosate pesticide, commonly known as Roundup, in the piglets’ organs.[1] The analyses’ findings were subsequently published in a recent Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology.[2] Pedersen’s experience is another blow against Monsanto’s public relations campaign to convince governments, farmers and consumers that Roundup is one of the world’s safest pesticides and poses no risk to animal and human health. For many years Monsanto has stood by this myth with fanatical religious fervor against all existing independent evidence to the

The Deadly Duo of Genetically Modified Food and Toxic Pesticides

June 24, 2015

The Deadly Duo of Genetically Modified Food and Toxic Pesticides Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD Progressive Radio Network, August 12, 2014     After decades of rearing hogs, Danish farmer Ib Borup Pedersen was alarmed the growing incidence of malformations and biological defects among his new born piglets. Deformities included gaps in piglets’ skulls, deformed bones, missing limbs and even a female piglet with testicles. Never having witnessed such large numbers of deformed pigs before, Pedersen realized that it was after switching three years earlier to Monsanto’s GMO feed, which had been grown with glyphosate that these birth defects began to appear. Pedersen had the piglets’ bodies sent to a Danish laboratory for analysis. The results were clear: there were high concentrations of Monsanto’s glyphosate pesticide, commonly known as Roundup, in the piglets’ organs.[1] The analyses’ findings were subsequently published in a recent Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology,[2]   Pedersen’s experience is another blow against Monsanto’s public relations campaign to convince governments, farmers and populations that Roundup is one of the world’s safest pesticides and poses no risk to animal and human health. For many years Monsanto has stood by this myth with fanatical religious fervor against all

STUDY: Farmer suicides in rained areas of India correlate with Bt cotton adoption

June 23, 2015

An important new paper by respected researchers deconstructs the false hype around Bt insecticidal cotton in India. The study shows that: * Bt cotton, introduced in 2002 to control bollworm and other pests, is grown on more than 90% of the cotton area * By 2013 insecticide use was high – back to 2000 levels (before the introduction of Bt cotton) * Yields have plateaued nationally, and farmer suicides have increased in some areas * Pink bollworm causes damage in irrigated cotton, but not in rainfed cotton unless infested from irrigated fields. Therefore use of Bt cotton seed and insecticide in rainfed cotton is questionable * Bt cotton may be economic in irrigated cotton, whereas costs of Bt seed and insecticide increase the risk of farmer bankruptcy in low-yield rainfed cotton * Inability to use saved seed and inadequate agronomic information trap cotton farmers on biotechnology and insecticide treadmills * Annual suicide rates in rainfed areas are inversely related to farm size and yield, and directly related to increases in Bt cotton adoption (i.e., costs) * High-density short-season non-GM cottons could increase yields and reduce input costs in irrigated and rainfed cotton * Policy makers need to conduct a holistic

The Crisis: Regeneration or Degeneration? Ronnie Cummins

June 19, 2015

“If governments won’t solve the climate, hunger, health, and democracy crises, then the people will.” —Dr. Vandana Shiva, speaking at the founding meeting of Regeneration International, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica, June 8, 2015 When literally billions of people, the 99 percent, are hungry or struggling to survive with justice and dignity; when the majority of the global body politic are threatened and assaulted by a toxic environment and food system; when hundreds of millions are overwhelmed with chronic health problems; battered by floods, droughts, and weather extremes; when endless wars and land grabs for water, land and strategic resources spiral out of control; When indentured politicians, corporations and the mass media conspire to stamp out the last vestiges of democracy in order to force a “Business-as-Usual” paradigm down our throats, it’s time for a change, Big Change. It’s time to move beyond degenerate ethics, farming land use, energy policies, politics and economics. It’s time to move beyond “too little, too late” mitigation and sustainability strategies. It’s time to inspire and mobilize a mighty global army of Regenerators, before it’s too late. Connecting the dots Melting polar ice caps, dying oceans, global warming? The corporate take-over of governments, commerce
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