Success of independently funded GMO papaya confounds anti-tech ideologues

Hawaii’s Big Island has banned or severely limited the farming of genetically engineered (GE or GM) crops, including a papaya developed by a native Hawaiian to resist a devastating virus disease. The battle over GE crops and the law enacted in Hawaii is a microcosm of the global fight determining the future of GE crops.

alberto-belmes-papaya-fieldThis 12-part series by entomologist Anthony Shelton is the first comprehensive article about a genetically engineered crop, in this case, GE papaya in Hawaii. The story describes the virus disease outbreak, the development of virus-resistant GE papaya, small-scale farmers who adopted it, the emergence of the opposition and their takeover of the democratic process, the scientist who developed the technology, and the future of GE crops.

Click on chapters below to start reading the article:

  1. Tropical hurricane ‘Anti-GE Papaya’ hits Hawaii
  2. Storm victims, Ross Sibucao and other smallholder farmers
  3. Enter Hawaiian papaya scientist, Dennis Gonsalves
  4. BB guns, intellectual property and the road to commercialization 
  5. When local politics trumps science and farmers
  6. The organized but ill-informed opposition
  7. The hurricane gathers force
  8. Where’s the science?
  9. GE facts, fiction and fear
  10. Few win, many lose
  11. Path of destruction and collateral damage
  12. A ‘Rainbow’ ending?
  13. Current update on the status of GM papaya in Hawaii

Read full, original article: Hawaiian Papaya: Collateral Damage in the Global Debate on Biotechnology

  • Good4U

    This is an excellent anthology. Please keep up the excellent work pertaining to the science of genetic modification of food crops to prevent diseases. These are excellent topics from which the anti-GMO faction, however small yet vocal, could learn some valuable lessons….if only they could stop their petulant childlike whinings for just a minute.

  • First Officer

    I wonder if companies should refuse to sell their products where ever they are made illegal to produce, such as the ebola cure.

  • Ironically, anti GMO activists do not realize that in certain occasions genetically engineered crops may be the alternative to growing organic and this virus-resistant GE papaya is a perfect example as it translates into less use of chemical pesticides for controlling pests and diseases, as well as a way of reducing costs. It is good news to know that people are trying to take advantage of these technologies for their specific requirements.