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2009-04-14 |

A seed of doubt - GE crops on Hawai’i (USA)

With thousands of acres of farmland across the Islands already devoted to genetically modified seeds, there are few signs that Hawai’i is ready to get serious about regulation. Ask folks to name Hawai’i’s most valuable farm crop and they’ll likely say sugar or pineapple, maybe hazard a guess at macadamia nuts. Few will answer correctly–seeds–and even fewer will know that at least half that industry is devoted to growing genetically-modified organisms, or GMOs.

2009-04-14 |

Bayer CropScience to consolidate European Plant Biotechnology Research in Ghent

Bayer CropScience AG intends to consolidate its European research activities in the field of plant biotechnology at its Innovation Center in Ghent, Belgium and further extend its activities in the main research fields of stress tolerance and increasing yields. [...] Bayer CropScience has decided to no longer pursue its research into nutrition specialty ingredients at its site in Potsdam, Germany in future.

2009-04-09 |

Long-term feed trials with genetically modified Bt maize: no influence on cows’ milk in German study

Genetically modified Bt maize in feed has no influence on the health of cows or on their milk production. The results of a two-year feed trial were presented by the Bavarian Agricultural Ministry at a committee meeting of the Bavarian Parliament on 25 March. Even with the latest analysis techniques, it was confirmed that there was no transfer of transgenic components to the milk.

2009-04-09 |

Ben & Jerry’s stunt highlights concern over clones in food chain

Ben & Jerry’s has fessed up to creating an online presence for a fictitious company selling cloned milk as a publicity stunt, as campaigners believe that the offspring of cloned animals have already entered the food chain. [...] It launched a website for a fictitious company called Cyclone Dairy last month, at www.cyclonedairy.com. It also conducted street sampling in Manhattan.

2009-04-09 |

Tamil Nadu (India) farmers organisations demand immediate destruction field trial of GM crops

Heads of Farmers organisations in Tamil Nadu today demanded the immediate destruction of the ongoing field trial of Genetically Modified (GM) crops within the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University here. Leaders of various farmers organisations were here to participate in the conference, organised to discuss the looming threat of GM crops and possible loss of livelihood and health risks among the farmer community.

2009-04-09 |

Biotech animals case goes to High Court in New Zealand

The High Court case taken by GE Free NZ in food and environment against the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) and AgResearch a Crown Research Institute (CRI) is being heard on Monday 9th March, 2009. GE Free NZ took the action after AgResearch made a series of four applications that seek to develop, import and commercialise genetically modified animals from nine species of animals (alpacas, buffalo, cows, deer, goats, horses and donkeys, sheep, pigs). The generic applications seek approval at any location and for an indefinite period to allow commercial production of biopharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and diseased animals for research.

2009-04-09 |

U.S.-Brazilian research team to tackle deadly intestinal diseases with GE goats’ milk

Scientists in Brazil and at the University of California, Davis, are teaming up to develop a herd of genetically modified dairy goats, whose milk is expected to protect against the types of diarrheal diseases that each year claim the lives of more than 2 million children around the world. The team plans to have a milk-producing herd of these goats established in Brazil within two years and hopes to begin human trials with the genetically enhanced goats’ milk within three to five years. The milk will carry increased levels of the human enzyme lysozyme.

2009-04-09 |

Allerca’s shady past and questionable science raise doubts about promises on GE hypoallergenic cats

A company’s shady past and questionable science raise doubts on their promises of a $4,000 hypoallergenic cat. [...] Knowing the address gives little insight into the secretive company that claims to have bred the ”world’s first scientifically-proven hypoallergenic cats.” There are no laboratories or scientists, no cats or kittens on the second floor of 11400 Olympic Avenue. Suite 200 is a shared office, leased to a number of companies to use for meetings and telephone answering services.

2009-04-08 |

Intensification of agriculture blaimed for increasing health problems in Argentina

A report by the Rural Reflection Group (GRR), a local environmental organisation, points to an increase in health problems in the countryside, such as cases of cancer at early ages, birth defects, lupus, kidney problems, respiratory ailments and dermatitis, based on the accounts of rural doctors, experts and the residents of dozens of farming towns. The GRR has been carrying out a campaign since 2006 to identify towns affected by the spraying of glyphosate, the herbicide tolerated by the genetically modified (GM) soybeans planted in Argentina, which kills all plants other than the crop itself.

2009-04-08 |

Pesticide use on GE crops and resistant weeds increase in the U.S.

Patrick Kirchhofer, manager of the Peoria County Farm Bureau, said the high price of corn last year, wet fields and corn hybrids that can often be 8 to 10 feet in height all played a role. [...] ”In my opinion, it’s ironic we’re seeing such an increase in pesticide use on genetically modified crops supposed to need less pesticides. It’s obvious more is being used,” he said.

2009-04-08 |

Resistance to GE rice in Brazil

The public hearing on GM rice held on March 18th in Brasilia clearly showed the almost unanimous resistance to introducing Bayer’s transgenic seed into Brazil. Embrapa (the largest state agricultural research company), IRGA (the Rice Research Institute of Rio Grande do Sul, a state responsible for 70% of Brazilian production of rice), Federarroz and Farsul (Rio Grande do Sul’s main producer organizations) officially opposed the release of the Liberty Link rice, genetically modified for tolerance to application of the glufosinate ammonium herbicide, also produced by Bayer.

2009-04-08 |

Biotech enzymes crucial to solving the climate crisis say Novozymes and WWF

New initiative by Novozymes and WWF sets out to map how and where low carbon biosolutions can eliminate the first billion tonnes of CO 2 and pave the way to a green economy. [...] The biotechnology industry is such an opportunity because the reductions secured by biotech solutions greatly outnumbers the emissions from its production.

2009-04-08 |

Mexico City vows to protect historic maize varieties and bans GE maize

The first announcement was made by Marcelo Ebrard, mayor of Mexico City, in regulations known as the ’Declaration of Protection of the Maize Breeds of the Mexico Altiplano’. [...] The declaration says that a research programme will be established with the aim of improving local maize breeds. There will also be funds to support farmers who sow only native seeds and to promote the use of organic fertiliser and pesticides. The purchase and distribution of transgenic maize in Mexico City is now banned.

2009-04-08 |

Negros (Philippines) firm agrees to ship out banned corn

Bounty Agro Ventures, the consignee of a shipment of genetically modified corn, has agreed to ship the commodity of Negros Occidental where genetically modified agricultural crops were banned, Gov. Isidro Zayco said on Tuesday. However, National Federation of Hog Farmers president Albert Lim warned that Negros Occidental would face a shortage in corn for processing into animal feeds if the seized corn is shipped out.

2009-04-07 |

Bioscientists focus on the new, vast potential of epigenetics

The human genome is an indisputably stunning piece of work: 25,000 or so genes containing all of the essential instructions for building a being. Still, it’s only a guide. Alone, the genome cannot construct a person. The ”book of life” requires a vocabulary of attendant molecules, compounds and chemicals – a biochemical language, so to speak – to help genes write the individual story of you. Altogether, this phenomenon is called epigenetics. Its study represents one of the cutting edges of bioscience, offering the possibility of not just curing diseases like cancer and diabetes, but preventing them altogether.

2009-04-07 |

U.S. drug firm drops GE safflower insulin option offered by SemBioSys

A Los Angeles-area drug company that paid for a year-long option to license the rights to [SemBioSys’] plant-produced insulin has let the option lapse. [...] MannKind’s decision follows its announcement March 9 that it would buy drug giant Pfizer’s insulin facility at Frankfurt, Germany for US$33 million, including a license to make bulk insulin there for its rapid-acting pulmonary insulin product, Afresa.

2009-04-07 |

Bill banning GMO taro introduced in Maui County (USA)

County Council Member Bill Medeiros has introduced a bill banning genetically engineered or modified taro in Maui County. The proposal received strong support Friday from Native Hawaiians, taro farmers and critics of GMO technology when it was introduced at the regular Maui County Council meeting. It was referred to committee for future discussion.

2009-04-07 |

Ugandan scientist announce development of wilt resistant non-GE coffee varieties

TWELVE years ago, Coffee Research Centre (COREC) scientists embarked on developing a coffee variety resistant to the Coffee Wilt Disease (CWD), which attacks Robusta coffee. Today, they report a major breakthrough in the variety’s development. A total of 24 lines of Curtimors (dwarf coffee) are now under final field tests before they are released to farmers.

2009-04-07 |

Non-GE corn offers solution to modern climate challenges

One solution to the challenges of feeding the world may come—not from the labs of genetic engineers—but from the timeless wisdom of Native Americans and a dedicated corn breeder from Montana. [...] ”Mandan Maize” seed produced corn that withstood the harsh, dry, and cold climate of the Plains.

2009-04-07 |

Market for non-GE tofu soybean from Canada growing

”Canadian soybeans are considered a premium soybean in the eyes of the Japanese because our growers take that extra effort to produce them,” [Huron Commodities president Martin VanderLoo] said. [...] He said the acreage of food-grade soybeans is declining in the United States because growers there are moving into genetically-modified feed-grade varieties.

2009-04-06 |

U.S. Global Food Security Act aims at starting the GE crop revolution

The world is not producing enough food, and many poor families cannot afford to buy the food that is available. As a result, nearly a billion people, a sixth of the Earth’s population, do not have enough to eat. [...] The world needs a new green revolution. The Lugar-Casey Global Food Security Act, S. 384, introduced in February, could help launch one. [...] This new revolution won’t succeed without new tools, namely biotechnology and genetically modified (GM) seeds, to meet the enormous demands for increased production.

2009-04-06 |

New breakthrough in global warming plant production

Researchers at the universities of Leicester and Oxford have made a discovery about plant growth which could potentially have an enormous impact on crop production as global warming increases. Dr Kerry Franklin, from the University of Leicester Department of Biology led the study which has identified a single gene responsible for controlling plant growth responses to elevated temperature. Dr Franklin said: ”Exposure of plants to high temperature results in the rapid elongation of stems and a dramatic upwards elevation of leaves”.

2009-04-06 |

Coming to the market soon in the USA: Genetically modified soybeans for ”health-conscious consumers”

A new type of genetically modified soybean should be on the market sometime this year in the USA. It has a higher oleic acid content than conventional soybeans, which means that when heated, it gives off fewer harmful substances. The new soybean will be launched first in a few small, regional test markets. ”This year we hope to bring to market the first product from a genetically engineered plant designed to deliver health benefits to consumers,” said Jim Borel, DuPont group vice-president, at an agricultural convention in Chicago.

2009-04-06 |

U.S. Court rules that dairies can’t label milk ”hormone-free”

Agrichemical businesses win in court, but consumers can still find hormone-free milk by looking for the USDA Organic label. A federal court in Ohio has ruled that dairies cannot legally label their milk ”hormone free” ”rBST-free” or otherwise clearly tell consumers that they aren’t pumping up their cows with synthetic hormones.

2009-04-06 |

Obama administration upholds GM sugarbeet deregulation

The USDA has chosen not to change laws on genetically engineered sugarbeets in a lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice requesting a review of deregulation for the beets last month. [...] the plaintiffs argued that Monsanto, currently the sole supplier of GM sugarbeets, should be required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement before its GM beets are allowed to be grown without restriction.

2009-04-03 |

Monsanto pays South African farmers over GE corn problems

Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company and a purveyor of genetically altered crops, said on Thursday it recorded a $42 million pre-tax charge because of problems with corn grown in South Africa. Monsanto made payments to South Afrucab growers after ”pollination and yield concerns” arose with three white corn hybrids grown solely in that country, said Monsanto vice president for investor relations Scarlett Foster.

2009-04-03 |

Germany: Regions are to decide on GM planting, says Minister Aigner

German agriculture minister Ilse Aigner (CSU) wants to leave the decision up to the regions about planting genetically modified crops. ”The German states as well as the administrative districts should decide themselves if they want to have green gene technology or not,” said the minister in an interview with the Reuters news agency. Aigner had previously announced that the authorisation for MON810 Bt maize, the only genetically modified crop grown in the EU, would be reevaluated before sowing begins mid-April.

2009-04-03 |

European Commission publishes new report on national strategies to ensure coexistence of GM crops with conventional and organic farming

Member States have made significant progress in developing coexistence legislation during the last years. This development of the legislative framework has gone hand in hand with a moderate expansion of the cultivation of GM crops. At the present time there is no indication of the need to deviate from the subsidiarity-based approach on coexistence.

2009-04-03 |

GM crop not yet a foolproof technology, admits All India Crop Biotechnology Association

The All India Crop Biotechnology Association (AICBA), an industry association of the major companies engaged in agricultural bio-technology in the country, has admitted that the genetically modified (GM) crop is not a foolproof technology as yet. It is still at an evolving stage, according to the association. R K Sinha, Executive Director, AICBA, who was in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, said, ”The mealybug infestation on Bt Cotton in Gujarat clearly proves the same.”

2009-04-03 |

GM corn trials in Kolhapur (India) stopped after farmer protest

The Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (MPKV) said it has decided to stop genetically modified (GM) crop trials for corn at its fields in Kolhapur. The trails began in December 2008 and MPKV land in Kolhapur was one of the three plots for GM corn, selected by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and sponsored by the US-based Monsanto. The other two locations are Samasvati (Bihar) and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) and field trials are continuing in these locations.

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