Shawn Mehlenbacher, the Oregon State University hazelnut breeder who developed varieties resistant to deadly Eastern Filbert Blight, says a Benton County ballot measure to prohibit genetically engineered organisms would restrict his research.
Joseph Beckman, an OSU biochemistry and biophysics professor, believes he is closing in on a treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, the fatal and incurable nervous system disorder more commonly known at Lou Gehrig’s disease. He says the ballot measure would force him to close down his research or somehow move it off campus and out of Benton County.
An OSU evaluation of Measure 2-89, which is on the May 19 ballot in Benton County, says they aren’t alone. The university said the measure might effect 120 or more faculty and stop research projects that have attracted about $18.3 million in outside funding.
Backers of the measure strongly disagree, and describe the measure as protecting the local food system from “international food corporations whose profit motives limit what you eat and the quality of your life.”
Nonetheless, the Oregon State analysis says the measure would stop research on cancer, bioenergy, wood crops, agricultural diseases and any other work that involves genetically engineered material. The Benton County voters’ pamphlet says the measure requires all GE organisms in the county to be harvested, removed or destroyed within 90 days of the measure taking effect. The measure applies to corporations or governmental entities, according to the voters’ pamphlet.
Read full original article: University says local GMO ban would hamper researchers