The disease that sours oranges and leaves them half green, already ravaging citrus crops across the world, had reached the state’s storied groves. To slow the spread of the bacterium that causes the scourge, they chopped down hundreds of thousands of infected trees and sprayed an expanding array of pesticides on the winged insect that carries it. But the contagion could not be contained.
With a precipitous decline in Florida’s harvest predicted within the decade, the only chance left to save it, Mr. Kress believed, was one that his industry and others had long avoided for fear of consumer rejection.
They would have to alter the orange’s DNA — with a gene from a different species
posted by yeoz
on Jul 28, 2013 -
Some of My Best Friends Are Germs
It is a striking idea that one of the keys to good health may turn out to involve managing our internal fermentation. Having recently learned to manage several external fermentations — of bread and kimchi and beer — I know a little about the vagaries of that process. You depend on the microbes, and you do your best to align their interests with yours, mainly by feeding them the kinds of things they like to eat — good “substrate.” But absolute control of the process is too much to hope for. It’s a lot more like gardening than governing.
The successful gardener has always known you don’t need to master the science of the soil, which is yet another hotbed of microbial fermentation, in order to nourish and nurture it. You just need to know what it likes to eat — basically, organic matter — and how, in a general way, to align your interests with the interests of the microbes and the plants. The gardener also discovers that, when pathogens or pests appear, chemical interventions “work,” that is, solve the immediate problem, but at a cost to the long-term health of the soil and the whole garden. The drive for absolute control leads to unanticipated forms of disorder. [more inside]
posted by ninjew
on Jun 1, 2013 -
Mark Lynas, author of several
books on climate change
and once a leading figurehead of the anti-GMO movement, has made an about turn on his opinions regarding GM crops
. In an address to the Oxford Farming Conference
, he stated:
"For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment. As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely. So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist." [more inside]
posted by rattleandhum
on Jan 4, 2013 -
Greenpeace activists, following through on Greenpeace's opposition of Genetically Modified Organisms, have dismayed Australian scientists by raiding a CSIRO
experimental farm in Canberra and destroying
the station's entire experimental crop of genetically modified wheat.
posted by Silverdragonanon
on Jul 14, 2011 -
Produced and recorded in the studios of Kootenay Co-op Radio in Nelson, British Columbia, Deconstructing Dinner
has been designed to dispense and discuss current food issues.
This weekly radio show hosted by Jon Steinman features a wide range of topics revolving around food security
. [more inside]
posted by utsutsu
on Nov 27, 2008 -
bomb sniffing flowers. Danish, Canadian and U.S. scientists are closing in on a genetically engineered plant that will send up a floral signal: “DANGER—land mines below."
Scientists in Denmark have been tinkering with Arabidopsis thaliana
[...] to produce a plant [that] will turn a warning red whenever close to a land mine.” Arabidopsis can be genetically sensitized to the nitrogen-dioxide (NO2) that leaches from buried explosives.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht
on May 15, 2006 -
Today the British government
released a major report
on the safety of genetically modified foods. According to New Scientist
, "existing genetically modified crops and foods pose a 'very low' risk to human health and are 'very unlikely' to rampage through the British countryside", but others
posted by turbodog
on Jul 21, 2003 -
Since Genetically Modified Organisms are a big no-no in Europe, some scientists
are now focusing their efforts on TILLING (Targeting Induced Local Lesions in Genomes), a novel technology for rapid selection of a mutation in any gene from mutant plant, through the use of a mutagen, Ethyl Methanesulfonate (EMS)
Will this method be seen as less dangerous than Genetic Engineering à la Monsanto?
During my search on this topic, I stumbled on this entertaining story about DIY genegeneering
posted by titboy
on Oct 9, 2002 -
Along with water, there's been increased interested in food issues lately. Probably the most controversial issue is genetically modified foods. And it looks like here in Canada, they're not going to be labelled
. The day after I read this in the paper, Steve Talbott published an issue of his superb
newsletter Netfuture, with this
thoughtful essay. [more inside]
posted by slipperywhenwet
on Aug 29, 2002 -
Glowing Pig News
Great to take to parties.....
(Hurrah for my first ever link that hasn't been found in previous threads...)
posted by Spoon
on Oct 12, 2001 -
"I think that first world environmental groups
(who oppose development of genetically modified crops) should put on the hat and shoes of farmers in Mali who are faced by repeated crop failure." -- Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, lead author of the U.N. Development Programme's annual Human Development Report. (Here's another report
on the same issue which includes a great deal of background information about the problems which still need to be solved, and why genetic modification of food crops is an essential part of the solution.)
posted by Steven Den Beste
on Jul 12, 2001 -
Love to argue about Genetically Modified Foods?
Hate to be under-informed? The Science Controversies On-line: Partnerships in Education (SCOPE) project has a huge database of resources and links to commentaries on various issues, one of which is genetically modified foods and covers both (all?) side of the issue. The site is still in the works, it looks like it is (and will be) a useful resource.
posted by iceberg273
on Feb 22, 2001 -