Brazil’s approval of GM sugarcane sets off debate over country’s biodiversity

MI CL SUGARD GR

A genetically modified (GM) cane variety that can kill the sugarcane borer (Diatraea saccharalis) has been approved in Brazil,  to the delight of some scientists and the dismay of others, who say it may threaten Brazilian biodiversity.

“Breeding programmes could not produce plants resistant to this pest, and the existing chemical controls are both not effective and severely damaging to the environment,” says Adriana Hemerly, a professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, in an interview with SciDev.Net. “Therefore, the [GM variety] is a biotechnological tool that helps solve a problem that other technologies could not, and its commercial application will certainly have a positive impact on the productivity of sugarcane in the country.”

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But Valério De Patta Pillar, [a member of the Brazilian National Biosafety Technical Commission (CTNBio)] and a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, points to deficiencies in environmental risk assessment studies for the GM variety — and the absence of assessments of how consuming it might affect humans and animals.

According to Pillar, there is a lack of data about the frequency with which it breeds with wild varieties.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Brazil’s transgenic sugarcane stirs up controversy

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