No Bt soya for US farmers

July 2018

After spending more than a decade testing the performance of its GM 'Intacta 2 Xtend' soya in preparation for US commercialisation in 2021, Monsanto has pulled the plug.

The dicamba conundrum

July 2018

Despite the host of problems presented by the expanded use of dicamba herbicide last year [1], the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cut a deal to allow the chemical's continued application. Monsanto was "very excited" by the EPA's decision.

This excitement isn't surprising because dicamba is vital to the Company's next generation of GM soya. Now that weed resistance to Roundup is rendering Monsanto's Roundup Ready GM soya obsolete, future fortunes are depending on dicamba tolerance technology as a replacement.

The greening of unsold GM papaya?

July 2018

Shoe-horning your agriculture into the modern high-input, energy-hungry globalised system is particularly problematic for remote areas. Even Hawaii - American soil but a long way from the mainland - has realised it has an economic imperative for self-sufficient and sustainable resource management.

Knotty DNA

July 2018

When you think of 'DNA', the odds are you picture the famous double helix: a neat ladder-like structure made of two strings of nucleic acid (NA) molecules each holding hands with its partner on the opposite string, and elegantly twisted like a corkscrew. Extending this ladder with an extra section, chopping out a bit, changing rung or two, or even adding in a whole extra ladder, is proving increasingly easy to engineer.

At the same time, it's becoming increasingly clear that DNA doesn't always sit in the form of a pretty helix.

Living DNA is a highly responsive and dynamic structure [1,2]. The ladder is stable, but to transition to an active form, the two halves come apart. The strings of nucleic acids can then hold hands in all different ways to form hair-pins or even three- or four-stranded pleats, with bulges and loops.

Too much trade is bad for you

July 2018

Once upon a time, trade was a mutual give-and-take which promised lasting prosperity for both partners; and with prosperity would come well-being.

The modern way redefines 'prosperity' in terms of ever-expanding trade whose boundaries are global. Now, 'trade' has winners and losers, and the 'well-being' part is nowhere.

Let there BE labels on genetically modified food

July 2018
'Genetically engineered food' has never sounded like something anyone would rush to eat, and frankly "If you put a label on (it) you might as well put a skull-and-crossbones on it" (Asgrow Seed Company President 1994).
So, how do you sell genetically engineered food to the public?