A while back I posted a picture on twitter of a process called the "floral dip" which is science-speak for dipping a whole dang plant in a bath of microbes to make a GMO. Someone asked in the comments if there was an explanation of this process anywhere. I couldn't find one, so I decided … Continue reading New Video: “Are GMOs Natural?”
Republicans and democrats in the Senate have reached a compromise on federal GMO labeling. The push to “just label it” has drawn on for years, but it’s not that simple. GMOs are tough to even define, and the FDA does not have the jurisdiction to mandate a label that is not relevant to health and … Continue reading GMO labeling compromise: the good, the bad, and the ugly
In the National Academy of Science's genetically engineered crop study report released a few days ago, they proposed a new regulatory framework for analyzing the safety of any crop variety that relies on a technology called "omics"? So what in the world is an omic and how is it useful? There are many different types … Continue reading Okay, so what the heck are “omics”?
This morning, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a consensus report titled “Genetically Engineered (GE) Crops: Experiences & Prospects”. You can download the full 400 page report which includes a four page summary here. The public release of the report was accompanied by a webcast including a presentation of the report followed by a … Continue reading Editorial Summary of the National Academy of Science’s Consensus Report on Genetically Engineered Foods
The lowdown: The European Union has approved the cultivation of one GMO and importation of many (with more on the horizon). The European Commission and European Academies Science Advisory Council, like other government and scientific associations around the world, supports the evidence-based conclusion that GMOs currently on the market are not any less safe than their … Continue reading So you heard GMOs are banned in Europe…
The low down: Superweed is a misleading term used to describe weeds that are resistant to an herbicide. It is conceptually possible that certain, herbicide-resistant GMOs could contribute to an increase in herbicide-resistant weeds; however, such concerns are not limited to GMOs, but are relevant for any crops used in conjunction with herbicides. The details: First of all, what is a superweed? According to the Weed Science Society of America (WSAA), there is “no science-based definition for superweed,” but the term is often used to describe herbicide-resistant weeds. Just as overuse of one particular antibiotic promotes the spread of bacteria resistant to that antibiotic, overuse of an herbicide can result in herbicide-resistant weeds. According to Rick Boydston of the USDA-ARS...
In my last “Let’s talk biotech” post, I discussed how challenging it is to define whether a genetically improved plant is technically a “GMO”. Determining if a given food item contains genetically modified ingredients is even more difficult. There has been a lot of recent discussion about GMO labeling. On one side, you’ll hear that … Continue reading If we’re going to label GMOs, let’s do it sensibly
It’s no mystery that GMO stands for genetically modified organism, but what exactly does that mean? You might have heard claims like: “we’ve been genetically modifying organisms for centuries” That's arguably true. Modern corn is about as similar to its ancestor “teosinte” as corgis are to wolves. Breeding has allowed us to select for useful … Continue reading What is a GMO? This seemingly simple question is difficult to answer, and it’s about to get a whole lot tougher.