Roundup Ready Wheat

argylesock says… This bad news isn’t a surprise. People have been concerned about escaping transgenes for several years by now. For example, rapeseed (Brassica napus, also called oilseed rape or canola) modified to resist glyphosate (Roundup) escaped and crossed with B. napus modified to resist gluphosinate (Liberty). I like what Global Food Politics says in the post I’m reblogging: who is held responsible when transgenes escape? That’s when, not if. It’s been happening for years already, even in countries such as mine (Britain) where GM crops are permitted only in field trials.

[Edit] Here’s what my fellow blogger at Climate Connections said about the escaped GM wheat.

Global Food Politics

wheatIt was reported last week that genetically modified wheat never approved for sale had been discovered in a farmer’s field in Oregon. The wheat had been developed by Monsanto to express glyphosate resistance (Roundup Ready). While test fields of the wheat had been planted in 16 states between 1998 and 2005, the product was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Given the resistance among wheat farmers concerned that GM wheat would be rejected by European and Asian consumers, Monsanto announced it had shelved Roundup Ready wheat.

While it was not clear how widespread the GM wheat had become, the US Department of Agriculture announced investigators were looking into the incident. The Japanese government announced it was suspending some wheat shipments from the United States over fear of contamination. Japan is one of the largest importers of US wheat.

It’s too early to know how the GM wheat made…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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12 Responses to Roundup Ready Wheat

  1. EqFe says:

    And at some point, in the near future, I’m expecting the argument to be made that since GMO crops are so widespread, and their hasn’t been a “proven” negative health effect, their is no need to lable these products, and the are perfectly safe.

    • argylesock says:

      You may be right. I’m frustrated by emphasis on whether it’s safe to eat GM foods. There’s little evidence of that particular risk. But there’s LOTS of evidence about other kinds of risk.

      • EqFe says:

        There is no evidence either way which is why wise nations are delaying allowing them into the food supply.

        • argylesock says:

          I agree that nations which hold back on GM crops are ‘wise nations’. My reasons for holding that opinion are here in this blog under my ‘genetic modification’ tag.

          But I don’t agree with you about GM food safety. There’s a strong body of evidence that GM crops don’t directly harm consumers. In science, nothing is ‘proven’, just disproven, but all attempts so far to find evidence of harm from eating GM have shown no such evidence.

          In my opinion the question of GM food safety is a smokescreen, used to distract people from the real issues about GM.

  2. EqFe says:

    Actually, I don’t believe that GMO foods are dangerous per se. I’m concerned about Roundup Residue in Roundup Ready crops.

  3. Tony says:

    I’m curious too as to the effect of public opinion, had the original trial been broadcasted. The Rothamstead research trial into aphid-resistant wheat only last year being a case in point. The fact remains, that until we as humans, adopt a tolerance for things we don’t especially like, the human race is doomed. We are living beyond our means in so many ways that GMO will have to become the norm, like it or not? Yes, unbiased scientific research should be where this process starts but big business still does and will ultimately get the final nod and a wink.

    • argylesock says:

      I see what you’re saying. But I don’t entirely agree: I think the final decision about GM will depend on organisms, geological systems, climate and ecosystems. Those are bigger than any company.

      As you know I keep an open mind about GM. It’s a fascinating topic and a complex one.

      • Tony says:

        Sam, you do indeed possess an open mind on much of the hotly debated topics which appear on your wonderful blog. Maybe, I’m personally too sceptical when scientific discussion is brought to the table. Especially so, when I feel, final decisions will lie at the hands of the big conglomerates.

        • argylesock says:

          Oh thanks Tony, what a lovely thing to say. I pride myself on being a half-decent scientist 🙂 which does include being open to new data.

          Often when the topic is a controversial one, such as GM, I’m very glad to be a scientist and not a politician, businesswoman or lawyer! Horses for courses. Science is like digging with a teaspoon – doesn’t suit everybody, but it suits me.

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