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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.

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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Is the Long-Term Safety of Genetically Engineered Food Settled? Not by a Long Shot.

One of the most contentious issues surrounding the controversy about genetically engineered (GE) foods is whether there may be long-term safety risks, and whether current regulations are sufficient to prevent such risks from occurring. Read More

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A Contrary Perspective on the AAAS Board Statement Against Labeling of Engineered Foods

As a long-time member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and as a scientist, I was disappointed at the inaccurate information in the statement by the Board against labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Read More

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This Happy Hour, How About Pesticide Cocktails?

A recent blog post by Tom Philpott pointed to growing evidence that neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments of corn are harming bees. There is new evidence that combining several common insecticides, a “pesticide cocktail” in the jargon, may increase harm. Read More

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More Reasons for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

As I noted yesterday, the cost to consumers from labeling the processed foods that contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients is likely to be very small. In most cases a few percent or less. As I also wrote, the right to know what is in our food is probably the most compelling reason for labeling GE foods. But there are other reasons why some may want to know whether our food contains GE ingredients. Two common reasons are concerns about health and environmental risks from GE food and crops. Read More

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Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods—Let’s Count the Reasons (Part 1)

As several recent articles, such as by Daniel Imhoff and Michael Dimrock, have clearly articulated, the most compelling reason to support labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods is simply the right to know and control what we put into our bodies. We should not have to provide reasons or justifications to food companies, politicians, or scientists for our personal choices. Read More

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A Less Thirsty Future Through Engineered Crops?

An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal sees a bright future for crops engineered for drought tolerance, water use efficiency, and other useful traits. The author, R. Paul Thompson, criticizes our recent report, “High and Dry,” for expressing too little faith in the ability of science and technology to make good on its unmet promises about genetic engineering. Read More

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Resilience to Drought Can be Improved…Within Limits

The terrible drought that is wringing the life out of crops over a large swath of the country, especially in the Midwest, has understandably been in the news. There have been warnings about rising food prices, and the cost to taxpayers for disaster relief to farmers and big insurance companies that are subsidized by the federal government. And as with rising energy prices in the past, rising food prices could be another unwanted burden on a fragile U.S. economy. Read More

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GMO Industry All Wet about Drought Tolerant Engineered Crops, But You Can Help Turn the Tide

On Tuesday, June 5, UCS released a report, “High and Dry,” that analyzes the prospects of genetic engineering to reduce crop losses to drought, and to develop crops that use less water. How we deal with losses from drought—the single largest cause of crop loss—and the growing and unsustainable demand for clean fresh water, of which agriculture uses the largest share, are important questions for the coming century. In parts of China, India and the U.S., groundwater sources used to grow our crops are already disappearing or becoming more expensive to tap. Read More

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Midwest Farms: Too Big to Be Sustainable?

On May 10 the National Academy of Sciences sponsored a “weed summit,” to address the threat from weeds resistant to the herbicides used to control them. The immediate motivation for this meeting was the dramatic rise of weeds resistant to the herbicide glyphosate—used in herbicide-resistant GE crops such as soybeans, corn, and cotton that are grown mainly in the Midwest and Southeast. Read More

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