The biofuels of the future will depend on microbes, writes Almuth Ernsting: algae to produce the biomass, and fungi or bacteria to break cellulose down into useful molecules. Just one problem: wild strains aren't up to the job. So scientists are trying to genetically engineer supercharged 'synthetic biology' variants - which will inevitably enter the environment. What could possibly go wrong?
Forty years ago Monsanto carried out detailed studies of glyphosate and Roundup toxicity, write Richard Gale & Gary Null. But they have remained buried in filing cabinets ever since. Now a determined scientist has breached the wall of secrecy - and all the evidence is that Monsanto knew just how toxic its products were all along, while claiming they were 'safe as lemonade'.
India's decision to release GMO cotton seeds that incorporate genes for Bt toxins into indigenous 'desi' varieties threatens disaster for the country's small and organic cotton farmers, writes Vandana Shiva. The danger is that the GMO characteristics will spread rapidly into the gene pool, contaminating India's unique heritage of cotton seed diversity.
The NYT's expose of Kevin Folta's PR role as a pro-GMO shill in the employ of Monsanto barely scratched the surface of a huge web of corporate money, influence and intrigue that permeates the US's premier universities and scientific institutions, writes Jonathan Latham - from Harvard and Cornell to the AAAS. Why the reticence to name all the names?
The 'Kevin Folta affair' has cast the hard light of day into the dubious PR tactics of the GMO industry, writes Claire Robinson - recruiting and paying scientists as secret shills to promulgate a pro-GM message without revealing their funding sources.
Scotland's decision to maintain its GM-free status is in the best interests of the country, its people and its farmers, 30 scientists write to Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead. It is abundantly justified by the scientific evidence and will support the sustainable, agroecological farming systems of the future.
Golden rice was once hailed as the wonder crop that 'could save a million kids year', writes Glenn Stone. But in the 15 years since that bold prediction, the carotene enhanced GMO has been held back by persistent 'yield drag' and inconclusive nutrition outcomes. It now appears unlikely ever to fulfill its early promise.
Are GMOs safe? Up to a point, writes Jonathan Latham - provided you're not eating them. That's certainly not proven to be safe, indeed the hazards are numerous: protein encoding viral DNA fragments, herbicide metabolites, biotoxins whose operation is not understood, poorly conducted experiments ... and those are just the ones we know about.
A new study finds that the Roundup herbicide disrupts the hormonal system of rats at low levels at which it's meant to produce no adverse effects. By the same mechanism It may be causing the potentially fatal condition of 'adrenal insufficiency' in humans.
A new study finds that Indian farmers in rain-fed areas are being driven to suicide from the increased cost of growing Bt GMO cotton varieties that confer no benefits to them, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji. The extra expenses arise from buying new seeds each year, along with increased chemical inputs, while suffering inadequate access to agronomic information.
A key paper that's been widely cited to justify the use of GM 'Golden rice' to boost vitamin A nutrition has been withdrawn due to ethical breaches, with no proof of consent by parents of the children taking part in trials. But that's not the only objection.
A BBC documentary claimed 90% success for a controversial GM crop in Bangladesh, Bt brinjal, writes Claire Robinson. But as journalist Faisal Rahman discovered, there's no evidence to support the claim, the BBC relied on biased sources, and its journalists failed to investigate reports of widespread crop failure. Was it all an exercise in pro-GMO propaganda?
The US Congress votes this Thursday on the infamous 'DARK Act' that would abolish states' right to label GM foods, writes Katherine Paul. This 'Mother of all Monsanto Protection Acts' would also outlaw state GMO bans and even prevent the FDA from pre-market safety-testing GM ingredients. Send a clear message now to your member of Congress.
Three in one: EFSA set to re-licence glyphosate based on secret industry studies; Monsanto moves against IARC verdict that glyphosate is a 'probable carcinogen'; and new science shows that FDA principle of GMO 'substantial equivalence' is bunk.
A new biosafety report for the Norwegian Environment Agency says GM foods cannot be declared safe due to major gaps in the science, writes Nafeez Ahmed. Indeed research clearly indicates harmful and adverse impacts to both health and environment. But Monsanto insists that GMOs are just as safe as, or even safer than, conventional crops.
The Council of Monte Maiz, a small town in Argentina surrounded by intensive GMO soya farms, has enacted a law that forbids the spraying and storage of pesticides and other agrochemicals after severe health impacts were detected.
In her new book The Vandana Shiva Reader, the celebrated campaigner and scientist deplores the way in which the Green Revolution forced India's poorest farmers off their land, writes Colin Tudge. Now she fears even worse outcomes in Africa where a GMO-fuelled farming revolution is under way.
A new scientific study has found that laboratory rats used in health and toxicity studies are routinely given feeds contaminated with herbicides, pesticides and GMOs, writes Pat Thomas, potentially invalidating the results of crucial safety tests on GMOs, agrochemicals, medical drugs and other substances, on which health and environmental regulators base critical decisions.
The EU Parliament is voting tomorrow on the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated between the USA and the EU. But do MEPs realise that the agreement could force European markets open to 'new biotech' foods and crops using advanced GM technologies that do not meet current definitions of 'GMO' within the EU?
Research by GM-Free Cymru shows that studies carried out for Monsanto and submitted to the US's Environmental Protection Agency in 1981 provided ample evidence that glyphosate caused cancer and other health problems. But the key documents were classed as 'trade secrets' and never published.
Nineteen African nations meet today in Arusha, Tanzania, to finalise a 'plant protection' protocol that would open up the continent's seeds to corporate interests, taking away farmers' rights to grow, improve, sell and exchange their traditional seeds, while allowing commercial breeders to make free use of the biodiversity they embody, to sell them back to farmers in 'improved' form.
The Royal Society wants us to take its word that GM crops are safe and healthy, writes Steven Druker. But it refuses to retract its errors, apologise to those whose reputations it has impugned, or enter into constructive debate on the issue. To restore its scientific integrity, it must abide by its own motto.
The Panorama programme on GM foods and crops last Monday was a masterpiece of spin, bluster, misrepresentation and outright deceit, write Lawrence Woodward & Pat Thomas, with the BBC's top investigatory strand hijacked to force feed the UK population with the purest of pro-GMO propaganda.