Viewpoint: Dissecting the fear-based case against gene-edited crops in organic farming

For nearly 25 years, an allianceof high-profile environmental groups and organic food proponents have waged an effective scare campaign against transgenic (GMO) crops. Foods derived from these crops, the public was told, could cause food allergies, sterility, liver problems and even cancer. A 2016 report by the US National Academy of Sciences conclusively debunked such speculation, finding there is “no substantiated evidence of a[Read More…]

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Farmer’s open letter to skeptical consumers: ‘We know glyphosate and GMOs are safe, and we need both to fight climate change’

Despite repeated assurances from the mainstream science community that our food supply is safe, many consumers remain highly skeptical of conventional agriculture, mostly due to misinformation about GMO crops and pesticides perpetuated on social media. Farmers recognize how controversial their profession has become and have attempted to dialogue with consumers and assuage their concerns.  On June 10, South Australian farmer John[Read[Read More…]

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Speeding up potato cultivation by using new methods

There are several thousand different varieties of Solanum tuberosum, commonly known as the potato around the world. But this diversity obscures the fact that various genetic and biological factors make improvement by means of traditional breeding difficult. One of the reasons is that cultivated potatoes are tetraploid, meaning that their DNA contains four sets of chromosomes. By contrast, humans are[Read[Read More…]

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Plans for GM potato trial in the UK under fire

Thirty-one organic and environmental organisations have urged Michael Gove to reject plans by Cambridge scientists for a new open-air field trial of GM potatoes. Groups such as GM Freeze, Organic Research Centre and the Soil Association, are fighting the trial proposal, which they say could risk off-target effects and unintended impacts, such as the accidental spread of the GM crop[Read[Read More…]

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Commercial production of high-yielding GMO potato and jute varieties coming soon in Bangladesh

High yielding varieties of potato and ‘tosha paat (jute)’ will be introduced soon for commercial production as the National Seed Board (NSB) in Bangladesh has given its approval in this regard. According to sources, the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) has developed the high yield potato variety ‘BARI Alu-81’, while the Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI) has developed the high[Read[Read More…]

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Consent sought to release GM potatoes for UK trials work on blight

The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, has applied to Defra for consent to release genetically modified potatoes for trials work. According to a document submitted by the applicant and published on the Defra website, entitled ‘Part B Information about the release application to be included on the public register’, the potato plants have been genetically modified to improve different traits including resistance[Read[Read More…]

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Dietitian: How genetically modified foods fit into a healthful diet

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Molly Knudsen examines the disconnect between what science says and what people believe about GMO’s in a recent article titled GMOs are NOT ‘as seen on social media’. Knudsen writes that in the food world, GMOs (aka genetically modified organisms) are often depicted as the Mean Girls character Regina George. Claims appear on websites, blogs, social media,[Read[Read More…]

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Sugarbeet exclusion from GMO labeling law in the US ‘ensures sustainable future,’ industry expert says

In December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that sugar and other highly refined products would not be subject to a mandatory genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling law, which caused a sigh of relief among those in the sugarbeet industry. “Because the beet is so heavily processed to be turned into pure sucrose, there’s no protein left,” said Rebecca Larson,[Read[Read More…]

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Study: To convince Americans GMOs are safe, stakeholders must first convince them to open their minds

Despite widespread scientific agreement that genetically modified foods are safe to consume, the vast majority of Americans disagree and are unlikely to change their opinions unless they can first be convinced to open their minds, according to new research. A study published Jan. 17 in Nature Human Behavior revealed that more than 90% of the 2,000-plus US and European adults[Read[Read More…]

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Potatoes have a form of ‘depression’

Scientists are trying to revolutionise potatoes and, in the process, cure the tubers’ depression, the result of generations of in-breeding. Potato depression is obviously nothing like human depression, of course. Potatoes reproduce through cloning, so their genome is laden with mutations. Those mutations could result in things such as stunted growth or shorter lifespans. A team of Chinese scientists looked[Read[Read More…]

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GMO-free marketing is deliberately misleading consumers

This article was originally published January 4 on the Missouri Farm Bureau website. Food marketing claims have always stretched the truth. How many “miracle cures” or “superfoods” have been pitched to us over the years? But some recent trends are taking dishonest marketing tactics to a whole new level. Most people have heard of Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs. Although[Read[Read More…]

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New Peruvian potato variety to help in fight against child anemia

This past Tuesday, the Agriculture Minister in Peru publicly presented a new purple flesh potato variety with higher than normal concentrations of iron and zinc. The potato is believe to become an important help in the fight against child anemia in the Andes. Agriculture Minister Gustavo Mostajo told Peruvian radio station RPP that the new potato was bred and developed[Read[Read More…]

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GMOs 101: MSU researchers explain the basics of genetically modified organisms

An online search for “GMO” returns more than 88 million results — a tangled mess of frightening images, dense data, skepticism, insulting comments and conflicting claims and counterclaims. For the average consumer, separating reputable sources from propaganda is tough, if not impossible. What is a genetically modified organism, or GMO? Even the answer to the question can be controversial. At[Read[Read More…]

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The Crispr debate: Irish farmers could miss out on gene editing potential, says crop scientist

Gene editing is exciting crop scientists and breeders. It allows the DNA of a crop to be precisely tweaked to improve them. Enthusiasm is mounting around its potential to boost resistance to pests and diseases in crops. Irish farmers, however, could miss out because of a European Court of Justice ruling earlier this summer. Invented by Jennifer Doudna, the power of[Read[Read More…]

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GMO potato creator now fears its impact on human health

Of all the genetic engineers who have renounced the technology—Arpad Pusztai, Belinda Martineau, Thierry Vrain, John Fagan and Michael Antoniou, among others—Caius Rommens’ story may be the most compelling. Rommens was director of research at Simplot Plant Sciences from 2000 to 2013 where he led development of the company’s genetically engineered Innate potato. But over time, Rommens started to have serious doubts[Read[Read More…]

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Non-GMO Project organization adds Simplot potato to its “High-Risk” list

The so-called Non-GMO Project in North America yesterday (Oct 31, 2018) added the Innate potato developed by J.R. Simplot Company to its list of “High-Risk” crops. In a press release, the organization says the potato has been added to the High-Risk list of the Non-GMO Project Standard because a GMO potato variety is now “widely commercially available” in the United States. In the press[Read[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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