Rainbow papayas: First GM fruit to resist virus- now on sale in Japan

papaya
A breakthrough in Japan, which has been historically precautionary about GM foods: “Rainbow” papayas–genetically modified to withstand the deadly ringspot virus and the first GM food Japan has approved for commercial release, are now on sale. The story of the use of transgenic technology is particularly compelling as it defeated the ringspot virus that had devastated the conventional crop, literally saving the papaya industry in Hawaii. It offers an object lesson in the future potential for GM 2.0–the incipient revolution of GM foods–and the dangers of simplistic anti-GM activism.
In the middle of the 20th century, as Hawaiian papaya farmers started to enjoy commercial success, the ringspot virus appeared almost out of nowhere. The high rate of crop failures made it economically pointless to raise the the crop, and it was on the verge of dying off, with sales dwindling to less than $1 million. Dennis Gonsalves, then of Cornell University, learned how to take a piece of the ringspot virus and use it to “inoculate” trees, much as vaccines can improve immunity against diseases in people. In 1998, farmers began raising  GM papayas, which are just as nutritious and delicious as the conventional ones they replaced. The ringspot virus is still out there, ready to wreak havoc–but it won’t infect any of the trees that descend from the innovation of Gonsalves.. It was a huge defeat for anti-GM ideologues and a real life demonstration of the potential for GM technology.
Additional Resources:
Related article:  Anti-GMO leaders withdraw from ‘Great Biotech Debate’ -- Forum will go on
Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend