Argentina developing eagerly anticipated drought tolerant GMOs

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

Sunflowers are hardy, tolerating heat and poor soils that would kill other plants. Raquel Chan, a biochemist at the National University of Litoral in Argentina, thought it would be great if other plants—particularly food crops—could do the same. So she started sifting through the sunflower’s genes, looking for the source of its strength.

Chan’s work culminated in October 2015 when Argentina approved a drought-tolerant soybean based on her research. And the path Chan’s research took from lab to field hints at a new way of understanding transgenic crops—not as corporatized invaders, but as a tool to help farmers cope with the stresses of a warming world.

Luis Herrera-Estrella, director of Mexico’s National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity, has been developing transgenic crops for decades. Herrera-Estrella’s latest work are plants that convert phosphite, a plentiful component of soil they normally can’t use, to phosphate, a chemical they require. That would mean farmers wouldn’t have to add as much phosphate fertilizer to their fields, reducing costs, runoff and competition from weeds. But due to opposition in Mexico, “we can’t do the field trials,” Herrera-Estrella says.

Herrera-Estrella wishes Mexico had started planting GM crops before the rhetoric around them became so toxic. Today, he says, the costs of doing field trials of GM crops are prohibitive. That leaves GM applications that could help poor farmers, like disease resistance and drought tolerance—in limbo. They aren’t profitable enough for multinationals; they’re too expensive for everyone else.

Meanwhile Chan’s soybean, developed in a publically-funded lab and commercialized by a national company, could be a model for getting ethical transgenic crops onto people’s plates.

Read full, original post: Argentina May Have Figured Out How to Get GMOs Right

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped

Video: We can ‘finally’ grow GMOs—Nigerian farmer explains why developing countries need biotech crops

Nigerian farmer Patience Koku discusses the GMO crop trials she is conducting on her farm, and why growers can "rise ...
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 ...

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