India GMO debate: Mustard poses no health or biodiversity risks

Screen Shot at AM
Woman in a field of mustard, India. Photo by Jack Wickes/Flickr

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

Since transgenic mustard began to be evaluated for commercial release in India, an acrimonious debate has broken out on the pros and cons of the technology. A major flashpoint in this debate has been biosafety. Opponents. . . insist that the new genes it brings into our food supply . . .could trigger unforeseen short- and long-term toxic reactions in the people who eat them. . Environmentalist groups have also argued that transgenic mustard is a big threat to Indian mustard biodiversity. . . .

. . . . Can it hurt human health? Will it really be the ruin of Indian mustard varieties?  The answer to both these questions is: unlikely.

One reason to expect the three genes used in transgenic mustard to be safe is that they aren’t actually new at all. Bar, barnase and barstar, as they are called, have been in the human food-chain for around two decades now. . . .

If toxicity to humans is a worry among opponents of transgenics, the fear of harm to local mustard varieties is a bigger one. Environmental groups have argued that India is a centre of diversity for mustard. . . .A transgenic crop that can cross with these local varieties could endanger them, thus hurting biodiversity, they say.

. . . .

. . . .For either possibility to occur, a number of pre-conditions have to be met: the wild and cultivated crop have to be easily crossable. . .and the cultivated crops must transfer traits that are also beneficial in the wild. These are tough conditions to fulfil.

And mustard doesn’t fulfil many of them.

Read full, original post: Why Transgenic Mustard is Unlikely to Hurt You or Your Environment

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
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 ...

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