View from the fence

Social, environmental and economic issues surrounding GM foods, and the latest news

Genetically modified maize crop USA agriculture

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News – April 2016

A few items have caught my attention recently:

‘Monsanto has infiltrated governments’ is a standard claim , and now we have the reverse: there’s a claim that scientific bodies have been ‘infected’ by environmental activists. The classification of glyphosate (the herbicide most widely associated with herbicide-tollerant crops) as ‘probably carcinogenic’ has certainly been controversial, although I enjoyed this analysis on why it isn’t a conspiracy.

An annual report on GM crops in 2015 has been launched. Globally 179.7 million hectares of GM crops were planted by 28 countries, a decrease of 1% (1.8 million hectares) from the 181.5 million hectares in 2014. This decrease is likely related to the current low prices of commodity crops such as soybean and cotton.

The US has decided that a non-browning mushroom developed using genome editing (CRISPRwon’t be regulated as a GMO.

And there’s another role reversal. Anti-GM petitions seem to be common, but a signatures are being collected for a petition calling on the Canadian government to continue its investment in biotech research.


Words of caution from Boaty McBoatface

When scientists ran a public poll to determine the name of their new £200 million polar research vessel, they probably hadn’t considered the possibility of the winner being Boaty McBoatface. If they’d realised this in advance, there might have been a better get-out clause.

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