GMOs

Spot the difference! Golden rice and ordinary rice. Photo: International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

Pro-GMO campaign exploits Nobel laureates in 'Golden Rice' Greenpeace attack

Claire Robinson
| 4th July 2016
Greenpeace is being attacked for 'crimes against humanity' by 100 Nobel laureates for blocking GMO 'golden' rice, reports Claire Robinson. But the low-yielding crop is years away from going on sale, and there is no proof of any nutritional benefit to the malnourished children it's meant to benefit. Could the distinguished prize-winners have fallen for slick pro-GMO PR and spin?

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Viscount Matt Ridley at a book signing in Washington DC, 11th November 2016. Photo: ehpien via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Matt Ridley's pro-GMO blunders and ignorance

Colin Todhunter
| 3rd June 2016
The mainstream British media have long acted as cheerleaders for GMOs, but none quite so much as The Times and its disgraced correspondent Matt Ridley, writes Colin Todhunter. His most recent article on the topic is a strange concoction of misrepresentations, falsehoods and blunders dressed up as science, and reflects both his ignorance of the real facts and his deep ideological commitment to corporate profit and power.

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Cover image for 'Monsanto Years' by Neil Young.

The Monsanto Years: Neil Young rocking for a greener world

Pat Thomas
| 31st May 2016
Celebrities have a unique ability to engage people in environmental campaigns, writes Pat Thomas. Neil Young is a case in point: his latest album, The Monsanto Years, conveys an eloquent message of the dangers of GMOs and corporate power, and his upcoming European tour offers green campaigners a unique opportunity to engage a broader public in the fight for a green future.

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Red clover cover crop at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire: it may not be high-tech, but that's not to say it's anti-science! Photo: Sandy Lane Farm via Facebook.

Organic farmers are not anti-science - we leave that to the genetic engineers

Elizabeth Henderson
| 24th May 2016
Those opposed to the mass release of GM crops and foods inadequately tested for health and ecological safety are routinely accused of being anti-science, writes Elizabeth Henderson. But it's the GM corporations and their academic allies that are suppressing scientific research, and organic farmers that are building alliances with independent scientists for a future of safe, healthy food.

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Cabbage white butterflies eating the leaves, flowers and pods of a plant similar to Camelina, together with a deformed butterfly that been fed a diet rich in long chain n-3 fatty acids. Compound image by GMWatch & edited by The Ecologist.

GMO lobby's false claims to defend GM oilseed against deformed butterfly findings

Claire Robinson
GMWatch
| 9th May 2016
A recent scientific study found the same long-chain omega-3 oils that are engineered into a new GM Camelina oilseed variety make butterflies grow up with deformed wings, writes Claire Robinson. Attempts by the 'pro-science' non-scientist Mark Lynas to discredit the study are a mixture of ignorance, research failures, 'straw man' arguments and outright errors.

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Germans protest against the TTIP in Hannover on April 23 as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama confer. Photo: Bernd Schwabe in Hannover via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Goodbye to democracy if TTIP is passed

Pete Dolack
| 5th May 2016
The leaked chapters of the EU-US TTIP 'free trade' deal reveal a shredding of health, environmental and other protections for consumers and citizens, writes Pete Dolack. It's a wet dream for corporate monopolists and profiteers, and the elite bureaucrats that serve them. But for civil society it represents an irreversible destruction of democracy itself.

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The soil fungus Aspergillus nidulans on lactophenol cotton blue wet preparation. Photo: Iqbal Osman via Flickr (CC BY).

Monsanto's Roundup toxic to soil fungus at ultra-low doses

Claire Robinson
GMWatch
| 5th May 2016
A new study shows that the market-leading Roundup herbicide kills soil microbiota at concentrations 50 times lower than used in agriculture, writes Claire Robinson. The findings raise serious new concerns about the environmental impacts of glyphosate herbicides.

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Female Aedes aegypti mosquito filled up on human blood. Photo: Stephen Ausmus / USDA via Flickr (CC BY).

Analysts slate GM mosquito firm, shares plummet

Claire Robinson
GMWatch
| 28th April 2016
Investment analysts say Oxitec's GM mosquito technology 'won't work, is way too expensive, and is many years from generating even minuscule revenue', writes Claire Robinson. As shares in its owner, Intrexon, slump, three law firms have announced they are investigating.

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How CRISPR works: what could possibly go wrong? In fact, an awful lot, as it turns out. Image: James atmos via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

CRISPR and the three myths of precise genome editing

Jonathan Latham
Independent Science News
| 25th April 2016
The very term 'genetic engineering' implies high precision in the alterations made to genes and deep understanding of their consequences, writes Jonathan Latham. In fact, we have never had either. And even with the arrival of CRISPR and other 'gene editing' systems, that remains the case: technologists are thrashing about in a perilous sea of unfathomable complexities and unknowable outcomes.

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Ben & Jerry's GMO Labeling poster in Portland, Oregon, 15th October 2014. Photo: anna Hanks via Flickr (CC BY).

Flawed US GMO labeling will damage the anti-GM movement on both sides of the Atlantic

Lawrence Woodward
Beyond GM
| 22nd April 2016
Little Vermont is having a big impact on GMO food labeling across the US, writes Lawrence Woodward. And with 'regulatory cooperation' under TTIP that influence could reach into the EU. Trouble is, Vermont's labeling law contains major exemptions - on meat products, take-aways and restaurant food, as well as products from animals fed GM feeds. The US, and the EU, deserve better.

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Intensive arable farming in England: no space for people or wildlife. Photo: Peter Roworth / Natural England via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Six steps back to the land: an agricultural revolution for people and countryside

Colin Tudge
| 22nd April 2016
What's the point of farming? To produce an abundance of wholesome food, writes Colin Tudge, while supporting a flourishing rural economy and a sustainable, biodiverse countryside. Yet the powers that be, determined to advance industrial agriculture at all costs, are achieving the precise opposite. It's time for a revolution in our food and farming culture, led by the people at large.

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Image of CRISPR / Cas9. Image: NHGRI. via ja.wikimedia.org (Public Domain).

New GMOs are 'not GM' - EU folds under US pressure

Oliver Tickell
| 21st April 2016
The EU Commission has caved in to US pressure in TTIP trade talks by deciding to consider organisms modified by new 'gene editing' techniques as non-GM - in violation of the EU's own laws. The move could make the 'new GMOs' exempt from labeling and from health and environmental testing.

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Cabbage white butterfly with deformed wings (pinned to an insect board) that was fed an experimental diet enriched with long chain omega-3 fatty acids, 48 hours after emergence. Photo: PLOS One.

Nutritionally-enhanced GM crops? Too bad about the deformed butterflies

Claire Robinson
GMWatch
| 18th April 2016
It looked like such a good idea: take the pressure off wild fish stocks by growing GM oilseeds that produce health-enhancing long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, writes Claire Robinson. But as a new study has established, those fish oils, novel in terrestrial ecosystems, cause wing deformities in cabbage white butterflies. Yet a third open field trial of these GM crops could soon be under way.

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It took centuries of smoking before tobacco's link to cancer was proven - so how come 20 years of eating GMO's 'proves' they are safe? Photo: Ximena Salazar via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The Precautionary Principle: the basis of a post-GMO ethic

Rupert Read
| 18th April 2016
GMOs have been in our diets for about 20 years, writes Rupert Read. Proof that they are safe? No way - it took much, much longer to discover the dangers of cigarettes and transfats, dangers that are far more visible than those of GMOs. On the scale of nature and ecology, 20 years is a pitifully short time. To sustain our human future, we have to think long term.

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Failed Bt Brinjal crop in Bangladesh, afflicted by the bacterial wilt to which the variety is highly prone, resulting in near total crop loss for many farmers in 2015. Photo: UBINIG.

BBC's GMO coverage 'fair and accurate'? You decide

Claire Robinson
GMWatch
| 14th April 2016
There's absolutely no evidence for BBC Panorama's claim of 90% success for Bt brinjal in Bangladesh, writes Claire Robinson. But that has not stopped the BBC Trust from dismissing all complaints against its monstrously dishonest report. Nor has it diminished the jubilation of GMO cheerleaders.

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It's our future! Photomontage: Beyond GM.

Opening up the debate on GMOs to the voices of the future

Pat Thomas
| 13th April 2016
An exciting new project has been launched to give children a chance to join in the GMO debate, writes Pat Thomas. With young people speaking up and becoming more aware of food, health and environmental issues, they deserve the platform to voice their concerns and join in a wider global network of youth working for positive change in the world they will inherit.

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First know the land. Countryside near Welwyn, England. Photo: Greg Knapp via Flickr (CC BY)

Farmers would do better to understand the land than grow GM crops

Julia Wright
Coventry University
| 11th April 2016
GMO crops are marketed as providing quick fixes to complex problems, writes Julia Wright. But they only perpetuate 'business as usual' farming that's depleting soils, water and biodiversity, and entrench unsustainable models of agriculture in place of agroecological systems that work with, not against, nature.

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A farmer stands amidst a rice farm in Burundi, Africa. Photo: IRRI via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Philanthropic colonialism: embedding agribusiness and GMOs into African agriculture

Colin Todhunter
| 8th April 2016
Perhaps all the 'do gooders' busy forcing industrial models of agriculture onto poor but independent African farmers really do think they are helping them, writes Colin Todhunter. But if so they are deeply deluded. All they will achieve is the takeover of export-oriented agribusiness and GMOs, the destruction of agroecological farming systems, and a future of debt and landlessness.

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Late blight is a serious disease - but there are already dozens of conventionally-bred potato varieties with much stronger resistance than the 'new improved' GM version. Photo: Graham Rawlings via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Campaigners' No to UK field trials of GM potatoes, oilseeds

The Ecologist
| 7th April 2016
British NGOs have objected to two applications for open-air field trials to grow GM crops. One is for a blight-resistant potato that is much less resistant than existing non-GM varieties. The other is an oilseed to be used as fish food whose fatty acid profile has been subject to only 'rudimentary analysis'.

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Breakfast at McDonalds in Maddur, Karnataka, India. Photo: Harsha K R via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

India: obesity, malnutrition and the globalisation of bad food

Colin Todhunter
| 4th April 2016
India's food system, essentially clean just a generation ago, has been comprehensively contaminated with sugar, bad fats, synthetic additives, GMOs and pesticides under the country's neoliberal 'great leap forwards', writes Colin Todhunter. The result? a surge in obesity, diabetes and cancer incidence, but no let-up in the under-nutrition of those too poor to join in the over-consumption.

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Male Atlantic salmon showing the kype (hook) in the lower jaw, used in battle with rival mates during the spawning season. Photo: E. Peter Steenstra / US Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region via Flickr (CC BY).

FDA sued for 'unlawful' approval of GMO salmon

The Ecologist
| 1st April 2016
A coalition of fishing, consumer, and environmental groups are suing the FDA for its 'unlawful' approval of Aquabounty's GM salmon, as it relied on treating the fish as an 'animal drug' under a 1938 law, and ignored serious risks to wild salmon and fishing communities.

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