Tag Archives: OGM

Contentious Transgenic Maize Paper Retracted

32Science – The journal Food and Chemical Toxicology has retracted a much-criticized paper that links a strain of genetically modified (GM) maize with severe diseases in rats. The paper’s author, French biologist Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen, slammed the decision, which he said is an attempt by the GM crop industry to muzzle scientists who put into question the safety of its products.

Séralini’s paper sparked a media storm when it was published in September 2012. While some commentators presented the study as proof that GM food is “poison,” many scientists dismissed the study as flawed, and several official bodies also found it wanting.

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Growers race to save orange from spreading disease

37By Heather Smith

MSN News – Increasingly, orange growers have come to believe that genetic engineering holds the only hope for developing a tree that is resistant to an incurable citrus disease.

 Guy Davies, an inspector for the Florida Division of Plant Industry, checks an orange tree for the insect Asian citrus psyllid that carries the bacterium causing disease, “citrus greening” or huanglongbing, from tree to tree on May 13, 2013 in Fort Pierce, Florida.

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Discovery of Embrapa revolutionizes transgenic

0000026354-Logo 40 anosEmbrapa Soybean – Two technologies developed by Embrapa could revolutionize the production of genetically modified organisms. The responsible for both, already patented at INPI, is a biologist Juliana Dantas de Almeida. The research, made with soy, involving the so-called “promoters” of genes, which is defined as the manifestation of the transgenic plant. One of these genes, called “specific promoter” is capable of limiting only to plant leaf presence of the transgenic protein. The second, called “constitutive promoter” allows the expression of the transgene in the whole plant but expresses intensity lower than those found in the market today, such as the RR soybean resistant to glyphosate.

In the case of “specific promoter”, relevance is restricted gene expression in transgenic plants already today on the market have modified genes that act in all parts of the plant. The main advantage of this technology, according to Juliana, is the absence of gene in the fruit or root, which may help reduce consumer rejection, especially in Europe, GM foods.

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Biotechnology: Africa and Asia need a rational debate on GM crops

39By Christopher J. M. Whitty, Monty Jones, Alan Tollervey and Tim Wheeler
Nature – In Europe, scientists, politicians, industry representatives and environmentalists often present genetically modified (GM) crops either as a key part of the solution to world hunger or as a pointless but dramatic threat to health and safety. Neither position is well founded.

Recently, the often shrill debate that has unfolded in some European countries, including France and the United Kingdom, for the past 20 years has been spilling over to developing economies. The government of India, for instance, is considering banning all field trials of GM crops for the next decade — a move that could hurt large- and small-scale farmers by blocking their access to certain crop varieties that have been modified to grow better in local conditions, including types of cotton, soya bean and tomato. Meanwhile, in Kenya, where more than one-quarter of the population is malnourished, the government chose to ban the import of GM food at the end of last year but not GM crop research1. Like similar rulings made in Europe, such decisions seem to be based in part on emotional responses to the technology.

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Chinese agriculture: An experiment for the world

37Fusuo Zhang, Xinping Chen1 and Peter Vitousek
Nature – For the past two decades, commentators have hailed genetically modified (GM) crops as the magic bullet that will solve the world’s food crisis. Yet obtaining the drastically bigger yields needed to feed a growing and increasingly wealthy global population — without further depleting soils, destroying natural habitats and polluting air and water — will demand an all-embracing approach.

China is taking steps towards such a strategy, and so offers an extraordinary laboratory for the rest of the world. In 2003–11, the country increased its cereal production by about 32% (more than double the world average1), largely by improving the performance of its least-efficient farms. Yet in the next two decades, 30–50% more food will be needed to meet China’s projected demand2. 38The country has little spare land, and water shortages are reaching crisis levels in some areas. Added to this, excessive fertilizer use is a major contributor to air pollution3 — itself a leading risk factor in hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year. The overuse of fertilizer is also causing numerous lakes, rivers and coastal regions to become clogged with algal blooms, especially in south China.

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Embrapa’s transgenic soybean produces enzyme to combat the AIDS virus

40Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology – A survey of Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology seeks the development of a variety of transgenic soybean that expressing an enzyme capable of preventing infection by the AIDS virus. Using biotechnology techniques, the legume is producing N-cianovirina enzyme with proven efficacy against the virus, which inhibit the replication of HIV by binding to their oligosaccharides (sugars).

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Pesticide makers, facing EU ban, propose plan to help bees

11MSN News – Syngenta and Bayer, top producers of the pesticides blamed for a sharp fall in bee populations around the world, have proposed a plan to support bee health to try to forestall a European Union ban on the products.

EU governments failed this month to agree a ban on three widely used pesticides linked to the decline of honeybees, but the European Commission is threatening to force one through unless member states agree a compromise. Continue reading