GENET-news

 Below you find the postings of the last seven days.

 

2009-02-05 |

Two studies show that a mother’s early environment can be passed on to the next generation

The effects of an animal’s environment during adolescence can be passed down to future offspring, according to two new studies. If applicable to humans, the research, done on rodents, suggests that the impact of both childhood education and early abuse could span generations. The findings provide support for a 200-year-old theory of evolution that has been largely dismissed: Lamarckian evolution, which states that acquired characteristics can be passed on to offspring. ”The results are extremely surprising and unexpected,” says Li-Huei Tsai, a neuroscientist at MIT who was not involved in the research. Indeed, one of the studies found that a boost in the brain’s ability to rewire itself and a corresponding improvement in memory could be passed on.

2009-02-05 |

Hungry insects crowd GE cotton’s table in the USA

The rapid decline in U.S. cotton acreage means one thing to Mid-South entomologists and producers — the cotton dinner table is even more crowded with sucking insects. [...] ” [Glyphosate] Resistant Palmer pigweed is part of the driving force for our cotton acres decreasing in my part of the Mid-South. Ninety percent control is not adequate anymore. Yield reductions will occur and revenues will be lost. The spread of resistance was almost overnight. Many suspicious plants in the 2006 growing season in isolated areas were almost field-wide in 2007, in cotton and every other crop we grow.”

2009-02-05 |

Bt maize fields in Wales (UK) - Farmer or faker?

Now it appears that Mr Harrington himself may not be all he claims to be. He lives so high up a mountain that even conventional fodder maize (let alone a Mediterranean GM hybrid) would not produce a decent crop. And as he is also sadly disabled, he cannot have planted or harvested the crop himself. It makes you wonder whether the whole episode was a con by Harrington and CropGen, in order to embarrass the Welsh Government. Has Mr Harrington actually grown GM plants at all? His neighbours think not.

2009-02-05 |

GM faces unfair regulation in Europe

Trials completed in 2003 showed that two herbicide-resistant GM crops were worse for farmland wildlife than their conventional counterparts. The most damaging aspect of growing these varieties was not the genetic modification itself, but the way farmers applied weedkillers. Now, as we report on page 10, a similar crop has been developed without the use of GM - yet it won’t have to undergo special trials to test the effects growing it will have on wildlife. This is illogical. Why not regulate all crops the same way?

2009-02-04 |

India needs to change policies to stop invasion of GM products

India needs changes in existing policies and a political will to stop the invasion of genetically modified (GM) products, said Fellow from the World Health Organisation (WHO), Canada in Ahmedabad on Monday. Dr Shiv Chopra, former scientific advisor to the Candian Ministry of Health said that the option of not to utilize GM products cannot be left solely with the farmers, with multi national companies knocking at their doors with lucrative profit-making offers.

2009-02-04 |

On the development of Golden Rice in India

If Syngenta is serious about giving away Golden Rice for free, Swaminathan says it should drop its patents. Syngenta says poor farmers in India will never have to pay for Golden Rice, but the company may want to use the technology elsewhere. So it’s holding on to its patents. There are also questions about how much it will cost to complete development, to distribute seeds, to ensure children actually eat it, and that it provides enough Vitamin A.

2009-02-04 |

Indian scientists inspect damaged Bt cotton crop

A team of scientists from Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU) and Central Research Institute of Cotton (ICAR) visited Gobi and Perundurai areas on Tuesday to inspect the damaged cotton crop raised from Bt cottonseeds. The visit was made after a complaint by the Tamil Nadu Farmers Association leaders M Kannayan and Selvam in the farmers’ grievance redress meeting that the Bt cotton crop withered in many areas across the district.

2009-02-04 |

USDA-ARS researchers identify drought-hardy non-GE soybean line

Carter, a plant geneticist with USDA-ARS located at North Carolina State University, began his quest for drought-tolerant soybeans some 25 years ago. Over the past 11 years, the soybean checkoff has expanded this work, providing Carter and his team a total of over $7 million. Over that time, the project has utilized an average of just under $650,000 per year in checkoff funding, which is used strictly as funding for research. Checkoff funds do not compensate researchers.

2009-02-04 |

Korean processors won’t import GMO corn in 2009

Corn processors in South Korea will not import genetically modified corn for food use this year after grain prices fell and as consumers shun gene-modified foods, Bloomberg said, quoting the Seoul Economic Daily as reporting. Companies including Samyang Genex Co. and ShinDongBang CP Corp., which last year imported gene-altered corn, will not purchase the modified grain this year, the Korean-language newspaper reported, citing unidentified industry officials.

2009-02-04 |

5% of Australian animal feed grains come from GM source

An estimated 487,200 tonnes of genetically modified material, by weight, was used in animal feed in Australia in 2006-07, according to an Australian report. This represented about 5% of all feed grains by weight used in that year, with proportions varying across the livestock industries, depending on the feed mix used. It is estimated the chicken-meat industry on average used the largest volume of GM feed grain in 2006-07, followed by the egg and dairy industries.

2009-02-02 |

The Hawaiian Caucus supports GE taro ban

The Hawaiian Caucus unveiled other bills at its press conference, including HB 1663, which relates to taro security. The caucus hopes to pass this bill to prohibit the development, testing, propagation, release, importation, planting, or growing of genetically modified taro in Hawai’i.

2009-02-02 |

South Korean group calls for stronger GMO rules

Civic groups are renewing calls for tougher rules on the notification of products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) following the discovery of the use of powdered GMO beans in products of a leading food maker. On Monday, Green Consumer Network (GCN) said that Dongwon Home Food’s soybean powder contained minor traces of GMO beans. Its testing of 26 soy items on the market last October detected GMO beans in Dongwon’s products through a double screening process.

2009-02-02 |

Pakistan launches project on ”Environmental Aspects of Gene Technology”

Dr Yusuf Zafar, T.I Project Director of National Institute for Genomics and Advanced Biotechnology [...] highlighted the need of Environmental Risk Assessments while developing GMOs. Dr Zafar said if we have to jump on the band wagon of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, we must have highly trained manpower in the field of Environmental Risk Assessment prior to release GMOs in the market and environment a prerequisite of Cartagena Biodiversity Protocol.

2009-02-02 |

Indian Government halts marketing of Bt brinjal

With new scientific studies now finding genetically modified foods not fully safe for human consumption, the government has put a ’temporary halt’ on the commercialisation of BT brinjal, the move prompted by the Supreme Court’s special representative at the Centre’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee. Dr Pushpabhargava said, ”I have fears that there are vested interests. Any study that does not suit them are just dismissed.” However, Bhargavas intervention has not stopped biotech company Mahyco from going ahead with field trials showing here a clear clash of interests.

2009-02-02 |

It is now time to embrace GM crops

For more than a decade, Britain has turned its back on the cultivation of genetically modified crops. A climate of farmyard fear, established by eco-warriors who have trashed crop trials and campaigned to have GM products banned from stores, has ensured that a valuable technology - used widely in many other countries, including the US - has been blocked.

2009-02-02 |

BASF and Embrapa’s biotech soybeans on track for Brazilian market launch from 2011 onward

BASF and Embrapa, Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária, today announced that the organizations’ jointly developed herbicide-tolerant soybean has been submitted for regulatory approval to CTNBio – the Brazilian Biosafety Commission. Embrapa is Brazil’s public agricultural research corporation linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply. The proposed commercial release of genetically modified soybeans tolerant to herbicides was reported in the Brazilian Federal Newspaper (’Diario Oficial da União’).

2009-01-30 |

Putting soya impacts in Brazil on the map

Monitoring the effects of deforestation on the Amazon is a difficult undertaking. The Amazon is huge and it’s extremely difficult to keep tabs on what’s happening in the remote fringes of the rainforest. News of illegal logging and the spread of soya plantations can take a long time – if ever - to reach the authorities.

2009-01-30 |

Sir Gustav Nossal confident that GE canola benefit will show up

The man who headed up Victoria’s GM moratorium review, Sir Gustav Nossal, says genetically modified canola will eventually yield 20 per cent more than conventional varieties. Recent trials between GM canola and conventional varieties showed there was little yield difference between the two. [...] Sir Gustav Nossal says there’ll be more canola planted this year and the benefits will show up.

2009-01-30 |

Why I planted genetically modified maize on my Welsh farm

I find myself accused of a number of heinous acts including ”infecting” Wales with GM, acting irresponsibly and possibly of breaking the law. Not bad for a Welsh peasant who simply wishes to try – with the support of the scientific community – to facilitate the introduction of a new and valuable technology into Welsh agriculture. So what is the precise nature of my supposedly ”ill-informed”, ”illegal” and ”irresponsible” behaviour?

2009-01-30 |

GM crops’ part of food crisis solution, U.K. says

The world is facing an ”enormous” challenge to feed a growing population as temperatures warm globally and genetically-modified foods may be part of the solution, the U.K. government’s top scientist said. With worsening food shortages, governments need to increase agricultural research spending and reconsider options including genetically-modified, or GM, foods, which have been historically rejected by consumers in Europe, John Beddington told the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

2009-01-30 |

Orissa (India) Government in two minds over GM crops

Orissa has seen it all. The livestock allergy leading to serious health ailments, including deaths in Khaprakhol of Patnagarh sub-division in Balangir district where a herd of goats was affected by Bt cotton and other incidents in KBK districts and areas in Rayagada speak volumes about the effects of genetically modified (GM) crops. However, as the recent news of trials of Bt brinjal has become the talk of the town, the pertinent question is, however, should Orissa go for it?

2009-01-30 |

Hungary to defy European Commission call to scrap ban on GMO crops

Hungary will keep its ban on GMO (genetically modified organisms) maize imports and the planting of GMO seeds, Agriculture Ministry undersecretary Zoltán Gőgös announced. The European Commission recently called on Hungary to entirely lift its GMO ban. Last week the EU’s executive arm backed proposals that would grant standard ten-year licences for the two GMO maize types. Hungary, one of the region’s biggest grain producers, became the first country in eastern Europe to ban GMO crops and foods in 2005

2009-01-29 |

U.S. scientists bredd non-GE scab-resistant apple

A new, late-ripening apple named WineCrisp which carries the Vf gene for scab resistance was developed over the past 20 plus years through classical breeding techniques, not genetic engineering. License to propagate trees will be made available to nurseries through the University of Illinois. Being resistant to apple scab is a big plus for growers, said University of Illinois plant geneticist Schuyler Korban, as it significantly reduces the number of chemical fungicide sprays. ”Apple scab is the number one disease that growers have to spray for — 15 to 20 times per season — so not having to spray for apple scab lowers the cost for the grower and is better for the environment.”

2009-01-29 |

BASF develops alternative to GM crops

BASF expects to have its new herbicide-resistant canola crops on the market as soon as 2013, said Dale Carlson, a senior plant scientist with the company. That is much quicker than commercialising a new GM trait, because the regulatory process is less demanding. ”Even in the countries such as the US, where GM is widely accepted, the regulatory process for GM crops can take several years longer than for directed mutagenesis,” said Stephen Evans-Freke, Cibus chairman. [...] But Elise Kissling, of BASF Crop Protection, said the announcement should not be seen as a step away from GM. ”We are not against GM and will continue to develop GM traits, but we want to give growers a choice,” she said.

2009-01-29 |

Italian Agricultural Minister convinced GE crops cannot resolve hunger

The first summit of agriculture ministers from G-8 countries will be held in the northern Italian province of Treviso. Agriculture Minister Luca Zaia [...] said he is extremely convinced that the problem of world hunger cannot be resolved with genetically modified food. Often behind this there are other motivations.

2009-01-29 |

U.S.-African partnership developing drought-tolerant maize

Biotechnology is a key component of a public-private partnership that could save millions of lives by developing drought-tolerant maize for small-scale farming operations in sub-Saharan Africa. [...] ”This project, conducted mostly in Africa for Africans, will result in improved maize hybrids, yielding an additional 25 percent more grain under moderate drought conditions, compared to the best African seed currently available,” Vanessa Cook, U.S. agricultural company Monsanto’s WEMA project lead, told America.gov.

2009-01-29 |

Dow AgroSciences receives approval for cultivation of HERCULEX® I corn in Brazil

The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture has authorized Dow AgroSciences to sell its first corn hybrids with HERCULEX® I Insect Protection technology. This authorization was given for 2B710HX, 2B688HX, 2B707HX, 2C520HX and 2A525HX corn hybrids. Dow AgroSciences also announced that it plans to be able to offer the Brazilian market its full range of corn hybrids with this technology in the future.

2009-01-29 |

Deltapine Class of 09 BT cotton introduced in the USA

If the U.S. cotton industry is to survive and prosper through the current economic uncertainty, U.S. cotton producers must be able to harvest more of their crop on the same number of acres, experts say. In that respect, cotton growers got some good news during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences with the announcement by Monsanto’s Delta and Pine Land Business Unit that is introducing five new varieties that could increase yields by an average of 5 percent to 8 percent.

2009-01-28 |

Are non-target pests becoming a problem for Bt-cotton?

Bt cotton acreage decreased for the second straight year in 2008, although this is more reflective of an overall decline in cotton acreage. Around 90 percent of U.S. cotton acreage had some type of transgenic technology, according to the report. The cost of Bt cotton exceeded the cost of foliar application this year, ”and I believe that is the first year I’ve seen that happen,” Williams said.

2009-01-28 |

Trashing GM paddocks completely acceptable, say Australian activists

Leading anti-GM activists have condoned the sabotage of paddocks sown with genetically modified canola in a bid to stop WA’s planned crop trials. Greenpeace anti-GM campaigner Louise Sales said it would be ”completely acceptable” for protesters to trash crops and that such actions would be for the ”wider good”.
”I think it’s acceptable for citizens to take matters into their own hands when the Government is ignoring their wishes and releasing crops that threaten the environment,” she said.

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