genetic engineering


Do We Need GMOs?

, senior scientist, Food and Environment

Most observers agree that we are facing big obstacles to producing enough food sustainably in coming decades. Issues of distribution and food justice remain paramount, but production must also be adequate, and the huge impact that agriculture has on the environment must be reversed. Read more >

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Monsanto Scientist Pockets “World Food Prize”…But For What, Exactly?

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

At a glitzy awards ceremony this evening at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, three individuals will be awarded the prestigious World Food Prize. To the dismay of many, all three are experts on genetic engineering and pioneers of its early use in agriculture. Two actually work for agribusiness giants—Monsanto and its Swiss rival, Syngenta—that develop and sell this technology. Read more >

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Important Reports on GE Crops Missed by the Boston Review Magazine Forum

, sr. scientist emeritus, Food & Environment

I was recently a participant in a virtual forum sponsored by the Boston Review magazine called, rather grandly, “The Truth About GMOs.” I was one of eight respondents asked to provide short comments on an article by Dr. Pamela Ronald advocating greater acceptance of genetic engineering. The forum also gave Dr. Ronald space to reply to the respondents’ comments. Read more >

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Small Insect’s Big Lessons for the Farm Bill: Agroecology and Breeding Top Monsanto’s Industrial Agriculture

, senior scientist, Food and Environment

My last post discussed the success of public sector scientists who discovered and developed genes in soybean, using conventional breeding, that confer resistance to the invasive soybean aphid. These insects cost US farmers billions of dollars per year.

In contrast, an article in the New York Times in late July used the dramatic example of citrus greening disease, which is threatening the citrus industry in the US, to tout the possibility of GE to remedy challenging pest problems. Whether these will eventually work is far from certain. But we should keep in mind that while such future promises catch the public’s eye, breeding continuously makes significant advances in crop improvement. Read more >

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Genetic Technology’s Answer to A Major Insect Pest

, senior scientist, Food and Environment

It’s a huge insect pest problem on soybeans, one of the country’s major crops. A recent paper estimates that it costs growers 2 to 5 billion dollars annually in lost productivity and insecticide use. But fortunately technology has an answer—several genes that control the pest, and can reduce or eliminate the need for chemical insecticides that harm people and the environment. Read more >

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