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Corn Fakes

November 2, 2007 Biotechnology, Health, News Comments Off on Corn Fakes

The article below is reprinted from the British magazine Private Eye, No. 1194, 28 September-11 October 2007. The ‘heavy-handed’ libel threats referred to below temporarily closed the GM Watch website this summer.

Heavy-handed libel threats on the part of a biotech researcher have done little to silence criticism of a scientific paper claiming that shoppers prefer GM produce.
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Effects of GMO Pollen in Waterways

November 2, 2007 Biotechnology, Environment, News Comments Off on Effects of GMO Pollen in Waterways

Toxins in transgenic crop byproducts may affect headwater stream ecosystems E. J. Rosi-Marshall, J. L. Tank, T. V. Royer, M. R. Whiles, M. Evans-White, C. Chambers, N. A. Griffiths, J. Pokelsek, and M. L. Stephen PNAS 2007 104: 16204-16208

PNAS Press Release :
Ecological impacts of genetically engineered corn are particularly important because of increased corn demand created by biofuels production

A new study indicates that a popular type of genetically engineered corn–called Bt corn–may damage the ecology of streams draining Bt corn fields in ways that have not been previously considered by regulators. The study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, appears in the Oct. 8 edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Does the Bio-Economy Add Up?

June 10, 2007 (Un)Sustainable Farming, Biotechnology, Commentaries Comments Off on Does the Bio-Economy Add Up?

Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson

Experts do not have an entirely unblemished record of predicting the future of agriculture. In the 1950s it was envisioned that farms would be irrigated with water from icecaps that had been melted by nuclear explosions, this water (naturally) would be stored in ponds, also ‘dug’ by nuclear explosions. In the 1970s another generation of experts was predicting an era of remote control tractors and multi-story farms. Electromagnetic ploughing would prepare the soil for crops that would require only half an inch of recycled water per year and specially coated seeds would be blasted from pipes into crop-specific patterns channelled by underground magnetism (1).

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Goodbye Dolly….Hello Synthia

June 8, 2007 Biotechnology, News Comments Off on Goodbye Dolly….Hello Synthia

Below is a press release of the ETC (Ethics, Technology and Concentration) Group

J. Craig Venter Institute Seeks Monopoly Patents on the World’s First-Ever Human-Made Life Form

ETC Group Will Challenge Patents on “Synthia” – Original Syn Organism Created in Laboratory
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GMO Safety and LL601 Rice

April 14, 2007 Biotechnology, Commentaries, Health Comments Off on GMO Safety and LL601 Rice

Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson

LL601, the genetically engineered rice variety that has contaminated the US rice supply, is safe. The USDA says so. The UK Food Standards Agency says so. The US Food and Drug Administration, on 12 Sept, stated that: “LL601 rice poses no risk to human health and does not raise any food, feed safety or environmental concerns.” These assertions have been echoed by other organisations such as the USA Rice Federation: “We understand the EU sensibilities are a little different than the United States but nonetheless the product is a safe one”.
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FOE Report Criticises EU Biotechnology Strategy as ill-focussed and not evidence-based

March 20, 2007 (Un)Sustainable Farming, Biotechnology, Environment, Health, News Comments Off on FOE Report Criticises EU Biotechnology Strategy as ill-focussed and not evidence-based

Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson

A major stated goal of the European Union is to integrate and support ecological sustainability, job creation and competitiveness as stated in the form of the Lisbon objectives. These goals are supposed to be reached by means of research programmes and incentives, including programmes on biotechnology, but how plausibly does research in fact support these objectives? The EU biotech strategy is due for review in 2007, and to coincide with this Friends of The Earth (FOE Europe) has published a new report: The EU’s Biotechnology Strategy: mid-term review or mid-life crisis? which questions the likely contribution of EU biotech programmes to the Lisbon objectives.
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Contaminated Rice Cultivar Banned in Arkansas

March 20, 2007 (Un)Sustainable Farming, Biotechnology, News Comments Off on Contaminated Rice Cultivar Banned in Arkansas

Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson

As part of an ongoing US effort to purge contaminating transgenic traits from rice varieties, the state plant board of Arkansas has banned the BASF rice variety Clearfield 131. Clearfield 131, which is a popular variety with non-GM tolerance to Newpath Herbicide is a popular variety for growers with red rice problems and its loss is likely to be a major setback for many growers.
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Cisgenic Plants: Just Schouten from the Hip?

February 23, 2007 Biotechnology, Commentaries, Environment, Health Comments Off on Cisgenic Plants: Just Schouten from the Hip?

Allison Wilson and Jonathan Latham

Many genetic engineers have long resented the regulatory procedures imposed on transgenic crop plants, often arguing that there is no difference between the risks arising from transgenic plants and plants bred using ‘conventional’ methods. A recent proposal calls for complete deregulation of transgenic plants which have only plant DNA inserted into their genomes (Schouten et al., 2006a,b). The term cisgenic has been coined for such plants in order to highlight the origins of the transferred DNA. Other terms for plant-derived transgenes include ‘all-native DNA’ and ‘P-DNA’ (Rommens, 2004).

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Commentaries

The Meaning of Life (Part I)

DNA double helix

by Jonathan Latham, PhD Many people date the DNA revolution to the discovery of its structure by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953. But really it began thirty years before, conceived by the mind of John D Rockefeller, Sr. Thus it is fitting that DNA is named after him. …

The War Over Mangoes

Mangoes from Mexico

by Meredith Rector (Committee on U.S.-Latin American Relations (CUSLAR)) Growing mangoes in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca has racked up an enormous socio-political expense for the region far greater than the price tag on the fruit in the supermarket. For a Mexican drug cartel desperate to move product, hiding …

Gene Drives: A Scientific Case for a Complete and Perpetual Ban

Mosquito and DNA

by Jonathan Latham, PhD One of the central issues of our day is how to safely manage the outputs of industrial innovation. Novel products incorporating nanotechnology, biotechnology, rare metals, microwaves, novel chemicals, and more, enter the market on a daily basis. Yet none of these products come with an adequate …

Genetics Is Giving Way to a New Science of Life

Phytoplankton

by Jonathan Latham, PhD Test your understanding of the living world with this simple question. What kind of biomolecule is found in all living organisms? If your answer is “DNA”, you are incorrect. The mistake is very forgiveable though. The standard English-language biology education casts DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid) as the …

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Reviews

Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA

Poison Spring Evaggelos Valllianatos

Book Author: Evaggelos Vallianatos with McKay Jenkins Reviewed by: Carol Van Strum “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts,” Richard Feynman famously declared in 1966. Ever quick to challenge accepted wisdom, he distinguished the laudable ignorance of science, forever seeking unattainable certainties, from the dangerous ignorance of experts …

The Real Cost of Fracking: How America’s Shale Gas Boom Is Threatening Our Families, Pets, and Food

The Real Cost of Fracking book cover

Book Authors: Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald Reviewed by Allison Wilson (The Bioscience Resource Project) The first researchers to systematically document ill health in livestock, pets, and people living near fracking drill sites were Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald. Bamberger, a veterinarian, and Oswald, a professor of molecular medicine at …

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