When the fresh wheat samples arrived at her lab this spring, Carol Mallory-Smith, a weed scientist, didn’t know what to expect.
The concerned farmer who sent them had contacted her because a patch of wheat had refused to die after being treated with a powerful herbicide called Roundup. “The farmer asked me if the wheat could have evolved a natural resistance to the herbicide,” says Mallory-Smith, “but I said that that wasn’t possible because of the way wheat is exposed to Roundup.” Then the grower mentioned the possibility that Monsanto’s genetically modified wheat seeds might have made their way into the field somehow. “I thought that was extremely unlikely,” she adds. “Obviously, I was wrong.”
On May 1, with GMO-positive test results in hand, Mallory-Smith contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to tell them that unapproved seeds which had been engineered 14 years beforehand by one of the biggest agricultural companies in the world, Monsanto, had somehow found their way into a wheat field in Oregon.
Now, more than two months after its discovery, the USDA still hasn’t released any information on the wheat’s origins. And although we may never find out how those seeds made it to that particular field, we can at least explain what makes these seeds so special in the first place.
Read the full story here: Mystery Lingers around Origin of GM Wheat in Oregon