2014-07-29 |

Gene for salt-tolerant soybeans discovered by Hong Kong professor

After identifying one gene that manifested itself in all the salt-tolerant beans yet mutated in all the salt-sensitive ones, they inserted it into salt-sensitive soybean roots and tobacco cells and found that the gene caused them to become more tolerant to salt. Lam said it would be much quicker to genetically modify the soybeans to make them salt tolerant, but the regulatory process for approving genetic modification in China was still "unclear". "There is too much controversy about GM technology today, so we [are] taking a longer route," Lam said, adding that he wanted to work with as many farmers as possible to begin cultivating salt-tolerant soybeans. Two institutions - in northeast and northwest China - have expressed interest in using Lam's methods.

2014-07-29 |

USA Wasted $34 Million on Soybeans in Afghanistan

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forking over millions of dollars for a soybean program in Afghanistan that's running into major problems, with Afghan farmers slow to embrace a product that few Afghans ate before. The findings were included in a scathing new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), on the $34 million program. It found the program has been marked by mismanagement, poor government oversight and financial waste. Part of the problem is that Afghans don’t really like how soybean products taste and past measures to push the super-food onto the culture have tanked.

2014-07-28 |

EU: Beware the omniscient scientific adviser

Are Europe’s polluters demanding more scrutiny of their operations? Well, unsurprisingly, no, but industry lobbyists putting pressure on the European Commission to increase the power of its chief scientific adviser does sound topsy-turvy. What the lobbyists have realised is that the more you concentrate scientific advice into the hands of one person, the easier it is to control the science. If on top of this that person is unaccountable and allowed to keep any advice secret, then that makes the job of anyone who wants to manipulate science even easier.
(.....) The situation in Brussels is no different. In the face of strong public opposition to GM crops and a divided scientific community, the Commission’s scientific adviser has repeatedly claimed that GM crops have no adverse effects on the environment. (.....) Scientific scrutiny in policy-making is essential. The question is how to ensure that policy-makers receive the best representation of wide-ranging and transparent scientific advice.

2014-07-26 |

Weed killer Glyphosate found in malformed piglets, breast milk, dairy cows, people's urine...

The more glyphosate in the feed, the higher the number of birth defects in the herd

Glyphosate has been found in malformed piglets. The research study was conducted by a team of researchers from Germany and Egypt in collaboration with the Danish pig farmer Ib Pedersen, whose pigs were analysed for glyphosate content.

The rate of malformations increased to one out of 260 born piglets if sow feeds contained 0.87-1.13 ppm glyphosate in the first 40 days of pregnancy. In the case of 0.25 ppm glyphosate in sow feeds, one out of 1432 piglets was malformed. In this case, therefore, a higher dose of glyphosate led to more malformations.

2014-07-25 |

EFSA plays down risks of Monsanto´s GMO oilseed rape MON88302

Testbiotech demands application for the placing on the market to be refused
Friday, 25. July 2014
Testbiotech is accusing the European Food Safety Authority EFSA of deliberately playing down the risks of an uncontrolled spread of genetically modified oilseed rape. The cause for concern is an application filed by Monsanto for the import into the EU of viable transgenic oilseed rape MON88302 kernels, which are to be processed to oil and feed in Europe. Similar rape plants have already spread far beyond the fields in various regions of the world, for example along transport routes. EFSA actually assumes in its opinion that seeds will be lost during transport within the EU, and that the genetically engineered plants will grow in the environment. Nevertheless, EFSA came to the conclusion that the risk of transgenes spreading into the environment is low.

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