* * *
And what could possibly go wrong?
The European Court of Justice has been considering whether organisms obtained by mutagenesis are exempt from the EU’s Genetically Modified Organisms Directive.
Source: beyond-gm.org By Lawrence Woodward
That might sound esoteric or gobbledygook but both pro- and anti-GMO camps are keenly awaiting the outcome as many believe it will determine the legal status in the EU of the “new genetic engineering techniques”.
It almost certainly won’t but it might set the stage – or one of them.
These techniques are usually and erroneously lumped together and called gene (more properly genome) editing; chief of which is the much vaunted – some might say irresponsibly over hyped and promoted – CRISPR-Cas. Together with “synthetic biology” they make up what has been called GMO 2.0 and are seen by proponents and opponents as the future – direction and/or battleground – of genetic engineering in food and farming.
High stakes on all sides
A genetically modified (GM) rice product developed by a group of Chinese scientists has acquired the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, the first such Chinese product allowed to enter the US market.
However, neither China nor the US has approved mass cultivation of the rice amid low acceptance from the Chinese public for GM food.
Huahui No.1 rice, developed by the Huazhong Agricultural University, is genetically engineered to resist a wide range of insects, thus reducing the use of pesticides.
On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a new report declaring that the weed killer glyphosate does not pose any meaningful risk to humans, but the report is not likely to end the debate over the safety of the world’s most widely used pesticide. The new report from the EPA is the latest in a string of conflicting reports from various health agencies around the world. Reuters first reported on the assessment:
“The EPA, in a draft risk assessment report issued on Monday, also said it found ‘no other meaningful risks to human health’ when glyphosate, the world’s biggest-selling weed killer, is used according to its label instructions.”
The EPA’s decision conflicts with a March 2015 report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that found that glyphosate “probably” contributes to non-Hodgkin lymphoma in humans and classified it as a ‘Group 2A’ carcinogen. “There was sufficient evidence in animals, limited evidence in humans and strong supporting evidence showing DNA mutations and damaged chromosomes,” Aaron Blair, a scientist emeritus at the National Cancer Institute and lead author of the study, told Reuters at the time.
Since leaving Agriculture Canada 12 years ago, he has learned much more about the process of genetic engineering and the BT process (insect resistant) and the HT (herbicide resistant) crops that make up about 500 million acres. His primary concern at this time is the widespread use of Glyphosate which is a powerful herbicide, mineral chelator and a patented antibiotic. Dr. Vrain stated when speaking about Glyphosate:
“It’s almost as if the entire population of North American is on a low-grade antibiotic diet day in day out from birth, everyday, so this is the reality.”
H/t reader squodgy.
* * *
It seems the Department of Defense wants to get in on the GMO craziness, but not in what you would consider the normal way.
No, the Pentagon has not announced a military-wide transition to genetically modified foods; rather, DARPA— the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency — says it is working on developing a new way to collect battlefield intelligence: Genetically-modified plants.
What could go wrong?
As reported by Futurism, DARPA is calling the project the Advanced Plant Technologies program, and it seeks to transform plants into next-generation surveillance technology.
You might be aware that organic food is better for you than GMO options, but sometimes the price difference can be prohibitive. If you’ve ever stood in the produce section of the supermarket and asked yourself if the higher price tag on organic offerings is worth it, the results of a peer-reviewed study published recently in the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine will probably help make that decision a lot easier.
The survey of 3,256 people found that 28 conditions could be reversed by switching to a mostly non-GMO and organic diet. This research is consistent with physician reports that show the power of making this type of dietary improvement.
The respondents were asked, among other questions, what conditions or symptoms they have seen improve since making the switch to a GMO-free diet. For each of the 28 symptoms listed, they chose between “some mild improvement,” “moderate improvement,” “significant improvement,” “nearly gone,” “complete recovery” and “not applicable,” which was the default.
When scientists deactivated the gene responsible in part for developing and shaping the heads of scarab beetles, the insects hatched with an extra set of compound eyes in the middle of their heads, sometimes forming together into one big third eye. And now, the scientists have learned that the extra eyes actually work.
Biologists from Indiana University discovered last year how a gene called orthodenticle prevented scarab beetles from developing these extra eyes during development. When the biologists disabled the gene, the beetles developed an extra eye (or pair of eyes). It’s a common practice in science: Learn how something works, take it apart one piece at a time and see what changes.
H/t reader squodgy.
* * *
The Bulgarian Parliament has passed ammendments to the Food Act on Thursday prohibiting the promotion of unhealthy foods, including food containing GMOs, to children. 102 Bulgarian MPs voted for the changes to the law, only one voted against, and 29 abstained.
Advertisers in Bulgaria will now be stopped from targeting children in promotional material on TV and in print for foods deemed unhealthy, including those containing GMOs. The unique law also prohibits children from taking part in commercials promoting unhealthy foods.
The importance of regulating advertisements on the internet and other remote sales of food was included in the law.