BIO Convention panel says biotech regulations harm American competitiveness
Regulatory hurdles for biotech crop approval could harm America’s competitiveness in the global market, BNA reports from a CBI-sponsored panel at the BIO International Convention. “Requiring genetically modified crops to be approved by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture Department drives up the cost of production,” said Dr. Roger Beachy, president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and former Chief Scientist at the USDA. Read more.
Author Stewart Brand: Environmentalists should support biotech
In Dr. Pamela Ronald’s science blog Tomorrow’s Table, eminent author and well-known environmental leader Stewart Brand discusses why environmentalists should consider biotech to help feed the world. Mr. Brand reviews a seminar given by Peter Kareiva, the chief scientist of the Nature Conservancy. Read more.
Kenya plans to approve GM maize to mitigate food shortages
According to Reuters, Kenya plans to approve genetically modified (GM) maize to alleviate food shortages. “The maize shortage threatens to cripple the supply of flour in the country after six major millers closed their main plants, and millers said GM would curb future shortfalls,” the article points out. Read more.
Scientist says ag biotech is necessary for food security
According to the science blog Tomorrow’s Table, ag technology is a solution for helping to reduce global poverty and enables farmers, especially in low-income countries, to produce more crops on less land.
Dr. Robert L. Thompson, senior fellow for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, points out, “Tools available today, including plant breeding and biotechnology, can make presently unusable soils productive and increase the genetic potential of individual crops - enhancing drought and stress tolerance, for example - while also producing gains in yields.” Read more.
Field trials of drought-resistant GM corn show yield increases in drier U.S. regions
Scientific American says GM corn with drought resistance could help the crop to thrive in low-water conditions. The article points out that the technology could be a solution for addressing the challenges of increasing global temperatures, which could impact food and fuel prices worldwide.
In field trials in some of the drier regions of the U.S., GM corn produced seven to 10 extra bushels per acre—a significant increase considering USDA estimates showing the average annual global corn crop losses due to “moderate drought” are 15 percent per year. Read more.
Dr. Mehmet Oz
On December 7 CBI Expert Dr. Pamela Ronald will be a featured guest on “The Dr. Oz Show” for a discussion on the safety of GMOs. Dr. Ronald is a Professor of Plant Pathology at UC-Davis and the author of Tomorrow’s Table, a book she co-wrote with her husband, an organic farmer, about the benefits of both GM crops and organic farming.
Dr. Oz directs the Cardiovascular Institute at New York Presbyterian Hospital and has served as a health expert on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” since 2004. “The Dr. Oz Show” debuted in 2009 and focuses on medical issues and personal health.
Joining Dr. Ronald in the discussion will be Jeffrey Smith from the Institute of Responsible Technology (read a review of his report about GMOs by the scientists at Academics Review) and Dr. Michael Hansen of the Consumers Union.
Be sure to tune in December 7 at 3:00 PM EST to watch Dr. Pamela Ronald. For more information and to find your local station broadcasting “The Dr. Oz Show,” visit: http://www.doctoroz.com/. They’ll also include Dr. Ronald on “The Dr. Oz Show” website on the 7th.
Be sure to Tweet, blog and share this with your friends, family and colleagues.
Tues., December 7
3:00 PM EST (the discussion will air at the beginning of the show)
Dr. Pamela Ronald with her best-selling book "Tomorrow's Table"
CBI Expert Dr. Pamela Ronald, Professor of Plant Pathology at Univ. of California- Davis, along with James McWilliams, fellow in the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University, penned an op-ed in the New York Times that discusses a National Research Council (NRC) report about biotech crops that was recently released. The scientists write that many people who reported on the study overlooked or dismissed the findings in the report that acknowledge genetic engineering’s (GE) positive contributions to society and the opportunity for GE crops to help farmers in the developing world achieve greater yields despite difficult growing conditions.
Dr. Ronald and Dr. McWilliams write,
Lost in the din is the potential role this technology could play in the poorest regions of the world - areas that will bear the brunt of climate change and the difficult growing conditions it will bring. Indeed, buried deep in the council’s report is an appeal to apply genetic engineering to a greater number of crops, and for a greater diversity of purposes.
What do you think of the argument Ronald and McWilliams put forth in this New York Times op-ed? Do you agree that opponents to the technology have hindered the advancement of crops that can save lives and access to this technology for those who need help most?
Forbes Magazine published an article titled Green Genes this month featuring CBI Expert Dr. Pamela Ronald. The article describes her work bridging the gap between genetic engineering and organic farming with her husband, organic farmer Raoul Adamchak. Dr. Ronald and Raoul hope to feed the world in a sustainable manner through “crops that limit the use of pesticides and fertilizers while delivering more food per acre planted.”
Dr. Ronald has developed rice that can resist the floods in India and Bangladesh that continue to destroy 4 million tons of crops each year. She also sees the value of genetically engineered rice that contains the vitamin A because this rice can reduce the number of children who die each year from vitamin deficiency (this rice was created by Syngenta and academic researchers).
In addition to Dr. Ronald, the article also features Karl Haro Von Mogel, a graduate student studying agricultural biotechnology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Karl writes Biofortified, a blog about the technology and the promise it holds for the future of agriculture.