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Doug Gurian-Sherman

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About the author: Doug Gurian-Sherman is a widely-cited expert on biotechnology and sustainable agriculture. He holds a Ph.D. in plant pathology. See Doug's full bio.

UCS Vision for Healthy Farms in the 21st Century: Agroecology has the Answers

Agriculture is at a crossroads. While highly productive in the U.S., it is also destructive of the environment, vulnerable to climate change, and highly resource intensive. In short, it is unsustainable. Read More

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Toxic Algae and No-Till—The Environmental Darling of Industrial Agriculture and Genetic Engineering Looks Less Attractive

Read attempts to defend the sustainability of industrial agriculture and genetic engineering, and you will soon encounter no-till, or more generally, conservation tillage. Now it appears that no-till may be contributing to some serious environmental problems. Read More

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Biotech Rider a Threat to Farmers and the Environment

A short addition to the legislation passed last week to continue the funding of the U.S. government contained a gift for the biotech industry that could hurt the very farmers that the transnational seed companies love to cozy up to. It could also hurt the environment. Read More

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The Birds and the Bees…and the Neonicotinoids

Spring has arrived. You can feel it in the air, the brighter sunlight slanting at a steeper angle, and the song of birds that have arrived from exotic winter homes. If you are not a night owl, you might wake up early enough to listen to the energy and excitement of the dawn chorus starting off the day. Read More

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We Know How to Fix Farming

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack made several recent pronouncements prompted by the growing recognition that climate change will make it harder to grow crops. It was a step in the right direction, but it will take a major shift in money and personnel to make needed changes happen. Read More

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Science, Dogma, and Mark Lynas

UPDATE: I have appended at the bottom of this post an update addressing Mark Lynas’ response to this post on his own website.

I suppose it is hard for journalists to resist a good story: Mark Lynas, former green activist, has seen the light. The pronouncements of converted GM critic Lynas have garnered coverage from several respected media sources, despite often being misleading, wrong, or questionable scientifically. Read More

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President’s Council Report on Agriculture – What About Ecology?

The new report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) addresses the state of U.S. agriculture research. The report notes that public funding for agricultural research has stagnated, while industry sources have increased greatly to 61 percent of the total—three times the amount from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Read More

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The Misguided Attack on Organically-Grown Foods – Beyond Oz and EPA

There has been a running, and often misguided, debate about the value of organic farming over the past few months. Read More

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Staff of Life Decoded: Tasty News for Bread Lovers, Food Security, and Climate Change Adaptation

A new paper in Nature magazine summarizes a project to delineate the DNA code of bread wheat. The results add to the growing number of crops and other plants whose genomes have been decoded, which facilitates genetic comparisons for evolutionary studies, crop improvement through breeding, and other biological work. Read More

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The Long and Short of Long-Term Safety Testing of GE Foods (part 2)

In my last post, I gave a general reason why the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Board was misleading in writing that a review by Snell and colleagues showed that genetically engineered (GE) foods are equivalent to non-GE counterparts.

Here, I want to discuss why the study does not lead to the conclusion that 90-day tests are generally sufficient to determine the safety of GE foods, and more reasons why the study says little about the long-term safety of engineered foods. Read More

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