Iowa State students protest trials of GMO banana developed to combat Vitamin A deficiency

Screen Shot at AM

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

On [February 15], a group of well-fed students and jumpers-on will march with signs. In a world full of actionable atrocities, these folks have centered their time and energies on a scourge that threatens bananassssthe progress of mankind.

A dozen [Iowa State University] students will be paid to eat bananas that carry a banana gene that allows the fruit to produce beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A.  The orange stuff in carrots. . .

. . . . Twelve lucky students would get $900 to eat bananas and then have their blood monitored for Vitamin A bioavailability. Five-hundred students answered the solicitation. . .

The bananas make more beta-carotene because of the installation of a banana gene. Dr. James Dale from Queensland University of Technology developed the new banana, transferring a gene from a wild banana from Fiji to the bananas consumed as daily food in Uganda and other parts of Africa. There they might represent 70 percent of the dietary calories. You can hear Dr. Dale talk about it on my podcast, here.

The news says that protesters have a petition with over 57,000 signatures condemning this test.

Someday when health problems are solved with a banana that delivers the nutrition of a carrot, I’d like to send them a note reminding them that their privilege stood in the way of progress that saved lives.

Read full, original post: A Protest Over Bananas in Iowa

NOTE: Dr. Folta followed up his original post with a new one, posted, February 15, titled Answering Students’ Questions about Bananas. He addressed the following issues:

Ugandan researcher Stephen Buah and Professor James Dale hold bananas bred to be rich in vitamin A at Queensland University of Technology
Ugandan researcher Stephen Buah and Professor James Dale hold bananas bred to be rich in vitamin A at Queensland University of Technology

Give a brief explanation of why you are here, your area of expertise, and how you can apply your expertise to this critical dialogue.

Do you think this banana will impact the issue of malnutrition, and the connected issue of hunger, in Uganda and East Africa? If so, how? If not, what alternative solutions might help address these issues?

There are concerns that the design of this study is inadequate, particularly testing these bananas on female ISU students who are not the intended target of these Vitamin A enriched bananas. Given this critique, how was the research designed and how have safety concerns been addressed? (If you are not involved in the research process for these bananas, what concerns, if any, do you have concerning the safety or validity of the testing procedure or the potential impacts on the intended recipients in Eastern Africa?)

Ideally, how should public universities be involved in GM biofortification and human testing? And to what extent is transparency, particularly regarding control or ownership of these technologies, important, particularly when dealing with staple food crops?

Finally,  what critical issue or issues concerning this study have been left unaddressed or inadequately discussed thus far in our conversation? Perhaps consider your closing perspective on the issue.

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Nigeriacotton

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 ...
cow global warming

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