viernes, octubre 31, 2014

What is Synthetic Biology?: Engineering Life and Livelihoods

"Smart" breeding, where science and farmers' knowledge meet

Plant breeding is the key to providing us with varied and better quality foods. Although conventional plant breeding has existed for hundreds of years, it was often time-consuming and labour-intensive. But, breeding methods have come a long way – it's becoming faster and more effective.
MAS, or marker-assisted selection, is a biotechnology that uses a traditional breeding approach. It's about finding genetic markers that are linked to the qualities you want; like disease resistance or climate adaptation which then enables plant breeders to breed plants with these desired traits. Through this approach, MAS is an excellent tool for accelerating conventional breeding efforts by increasing speed and accuracy. Smart Breeding: The Next Generation (authored by Benno Vogel, an independent scientist) is a new report that reviews the growing list of traits produced by MAS in an increasingly diverse array of crops across continents.

Dr. Janet Cotter - 28 October, 2014


Etiquetas: , , , ,

New study shows honeybees harmed by herbicide used on GMO crops

21 October 2014.

Glyphosate herbicide can disrupt learning behaviour in honeybees and severely impair long-term colony performance

EXCERPT: The scientists who conducted the new study used field-realistic levels of glyphosate, similar to what honeybees may encounter on a farm growing GMOs. They found that learning behavior and short-term memory retention decreased significantly compared with the control groups.

1. New study shows honeybees harmed by herbicide used on GMO crops

2. Effects of field-realistic doses of glyphosate on honeybee appetitive behaviour

1. New study shows honeybees harmed by herbicide used on GMO crops

Judson Parker, 15 Oct 2014

One of every three bites of food we eat is from a crop pollinated by honeybees.

2. Effects of field-realistic doses of glyphosate on honeybee appetitive behaviour

Herbert LT, Vázquez DE, Arenas A, Farina WM

J Exp Biol. 2014 Oct 1;217(Pt 19):3457-64. doi: 10.1242/jeb.109520. Epub 2014 Jul 25.


Glyphosate (GLY) is a broad-spectrum herbicide used for weed control. The sub-lethal impact of GLY on non-target organisms such as insect pollinators has not yet been evaluated. Apis mellifera is the main pollinator in agricultural environments and is a well-known model for behavioural research. Honeybees are also accurate biosensors of environmental pollutants and their appetitive behavioural response is a suitable tool with which to test sub-lethal effects of agrochemicals. We studied the effects of field-realistic doses of GLY on honeybees exposed chronically or acutely to the herbicide. We focused on sucrose sensitivity, elemental and non-elemental associative olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension response (PER), and foraging-related behaviour. We found a reduced sensitivity to sucrose and learning performance for the groups chronically exposed to GLY concentrations within the range of recommended doses. When olfactory PER conditioning was performed with sucrose reward with the same GLY concentrations (acute exposure), elemental learning and short-term memory retention decreased significantly compared with controls. Non-elemental associative learning was also impaired by an acute exposure to GLY traces. Altogether, these results imply that GLY at concentrations found in agro-ecosystems as a result of standard spraying can reduce sensitivity to nectar reward and impair associative learning in honeybees. However, no effect on foraging-related behaviour was found. Therefore, we speculate that successful forager bees could become a source of constant inflow of nectar with GLY traces that could then be distributed among nestmates, stored in the hive and have long-term negative consequences on colony performance.

Etiquetas: , ,

jueves, octubre 30, 2014

Patrick Moore, Ambassador for EXPO 2015?

Patrick Moore, Ambassador for EXPO 2015?

on .

Is Patrick Moore fit to represent science?
GMO supporters promote climate denialist and corporate front man as champion of science*
GMO supporters are campaigning to have climate science denialist and GMO promoter Patrick Moore adopted as an Ambassador for the EXPO 2015 exhibition in Milan, where the theme will be "Feeding the planet, energy for life".

1. Patrick Moore, Ambassador for EXPO 2015?
2. Climate science denialist Patrick Moore tours Australia after comparing students to the Taliban

1. Patrick Moore, Ambassador for EXPO 2015?

Jonathan Matthews
GMWatch, 27 Oct 2014

2. Climate science denialist Patrick Moore tours Australia after comparing students to the Taliban

Graham Readfearn, 23 Oct 2014

Canadian climate science denialist Patrick Moore is at the beginning of a tour around Australia speaking to audiences across the country.

Etiquetas: , ,

Toward the agro-police state


Toward the Agro-Police State

Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero | 09.20.2014
Welcome to the brave new world of precision farming, in which every farmer will need a wifi connection and an iPad. 

Etiquetas: ,

miércoles, octubre 29, 2014

Chile: denuncian proyecto que haría a empresas dueñas de las semillas

Ultimate experts?


Regulators rely on poor quality studies and often no detailed studies at all to assess the safety of GMOs, writes Prof Jack Heinemann
GMWatch reported on the review on which this article is based here:
EXCERPT: The authors identified 47 GM crop plants that were approved by at least one food safety regulator somewhere… For these 47 approved products, only 18 published, peer-reviewed studies could be found. These studies were restricted to only 9 of the 47 approved GM food crops. The lack of studies isn’t the only interesting finding. Critically, many of this small number of studies also failed to adequately describe the methodology, other basic information needed to determine the level of confidence in the results, or even the results!

Ultimate experts

Do regulators rely on quality scientific information when they assess the safety of genetically engineered plants intended for use as food or animal feed?
I addressed this question in a recent blog on The Conversation. The short answer is that they don’t routinely rely upon sources of evidence that have been through a process of blind peer-review at the time that they make their conclusions about the safety of these products. This isn’t to say that their conclusions are necessarily wrong as a result. However, where the ultimate product is trust, it is relevant how society views sources of information.

Etiquetas: , ,

martes, octubre 28, 2014

Herbicides Used with GM Crops Cause Steep Monarch Butterfly Decline in North America


A news report cites an alarming 90% drop in the Monarch butterfly population in North America, attributed to the decline in milkweed, which is the only food the caterpillars eat. The Monarch (Danaus plexippus) is one of the world’s greatest insect migrators; it flies some 4,800 km from Canada to Mexico over four generations.
The huge reduction in milkweed is attributed by scientists to the widespread cultivation of Roundup Ready GM crops in the U.S., which uses massive amounts of the herbicide, glyphosate. Monarch numbers have dropped from one billion in the mid-90s to only 35 million in 2013-2014.
Organizations including the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Food Safety, and the Xerces Society have filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Monarch as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
“The monarch is the canary in the cornfield,” says Lincoln Brower, a Monarch expert, “a harbinger of environmental change that we’ve brought about on such a broad scale that many species of pollinators are now at risk if we don’t take action to protect them.”
With best wishes 
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
10400 Penang
Website: and
To unsubscribe: reply ‘unsubscribe’ to
To subscribe to other TWN information services:
Morgan Erickson-Davis,
Monarch butterflies were once a common sight throughout the North American heartland. In Mexico, where they overwinter, single trees would often be covered in thousands. But declines in milkweed – their caterpillars’ only source of food – have led to a 90 percent decline in monarch numbers. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is reviewing a petition that would grant the iconic species protection through the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

Etiquetas: , , ,

Expediente: (Monsanto ,la guerra por la semilla)- 22/07/2014 -TeleSUR

Transgénicos, agroindustria y soberanía alimentaria, Por Xavier Alejandro León Vega

La Soberanía Alimentaría ha sido implementada constitucionalmente en el Ecuador, sin embargo muchas de las acciones y políticas apuntan a beneficiar al modelo dominante de producción de alimentos, basado en la agroindustria, monocultivos intensivos, agroquímicos y transgénicos.
En este artículo se reflexiona sobre el papel de la agricultura familiar campesina como generador de Soberanía Alimentaria, y por otro lado la amenaza a los mismos por parte de la agricultura agroindustrial basada en transgénicos. Se analiza también el papel que ha tenido la ayuda alimentaria en la introducción de transgénicos en Latinoamérica y otras regiones del mundo.

Por Xavier Alejandro León Vega

Para acceder al documento (PDF) haga clic en el enlace a continuación y descargue el archivo:

Etiquetas: ,

lunes, octubre 27, 2014

The post-normal science of precaution, by Jerry Ravetz


Science now finds itself in a new and troubled situation. The traditional optimistic picture is problematic and compromised at every turn. The scientific system now faces a crisis of confidence, of legitimacy and ultimately of power. We can usefully distinguish two sorts of science. The ‘mainstream’ is reductionist in style, and increasingly linked to industry. By contrast, the ‘post-normal’ approach embodies the precautionary principle. It depends on public debate, and involves an essential role for the ‘extended peer community’. It is based on the recent recognition of the influence of values on all research, even including the basic statistical tests of significance. It is the appropriate methodology when either systems uncertainties or decision stakes are high; under those conditions the puzzle-solving approach of ‘normal science’ is obsolete. This is a drastic cultural change for science, which many scientists will difficult to accept. But there is no turning back; we can understand post-normal science as the extension of democracy appropriate to the conditions of our age.

Etiquetas: , ,

Patent industry selling out future of our food

New report published about patents on seeds and call for a public protest

23 October 2014 Munich

The international coalition of No Patents on Seeds! today published a report on patents on seeds. The report was prompted by the fact that the European Patent Office (EPO) has already granted several thousand patents on plants and seeds, with a steadily increasing number of patents on plants and seeds derived from conventional breeding. Around 2400 patents on plants and 1400 patents on animals have been granted in Europe since the 1980s. More than 7500 patent applications for plants and around 5000 patents for animals are pending. Amongst others, the EPO has already granted more than 120 patents on conventional breeding and about 1000 such patent applications are pending. The scope of many of the patents is extremely broad and very often covers the whole food chain from production to consumption.

Amongst the patents granted recently, are 'inventions' such as peppers bred from wild varieties originating from Jamaica, tomatoes that were developed through sourcing the international gene bank in Germany, sunflowers from random mutagenesis and a selection of wild relatives of soybeans found in Asia and Australia.

“Industry together with the EPO are the driving factors turning the patent system into an instrument for misappropriation of basic resources needed to produce our daily food. They are selling out future of our food”, warns Christoph Then, one of the authors of the report. “By restricting access to genetic resources, EPO patent practice is severely hampering innovation and breeding. Furthermore, it is endangering agro-biodiversity and adaptability in food production systems needed to react to the challenges of climate change. As a consequence, we are putting our global food security as well as regional food sovereignty at risk.”

According to European patent law, plant and animal varieties as well as processes for breeding plants and animals cannot be patented. Nevertheless, decision-making at the EPO has, in fact, intentionally created a situation full of legal absurdities that allows prohibitions to be circumvented, and serves the interests of multinationals such as Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta, who already control around 50 percent of the international commercial seed market. Apart from the EPO, patent attorneys are amongst those that benefit financially from an increasing number of patents. In 2013, the EPO made a profit of 1.5 Billion € from patent and procedural fees.

The new report has been published just a few days ahead of a crucial hearing at the EPO on 27 October. Many observers expect the EPO to make a landmark decision on these cases within the next few months. However, as the report shows, it is highly unlikely that the EPO will stop patents on plants and animals, no matter how currently pending cases are decided. For this reason, the international coalition of No Patents on Seeds!, together with many other organisations, calls for a public demonstration outside the EPO on the day of the hearing, where it will demand that European governments take action to stop patents on plants and animals. Included in the coalition of No Patents on Seeds! are Bionext (Netherlands), The Berne Declaration (Switzerland), GeneWatch (UK), Greenpeace, Misereor (Germany), Development Fund (Norway), No Patents on Life (Germany), Red de Semillas (Spain), Rete Semi Rurali (Italy), Reseau Semences Paysannes (France) and Swissaid (Switzerland). No Patents on Seeds! is calling for a revision of European Patent Law to exclude breeding material, plants and animals and food derived thereof from patentability. The coalition is supported by several hundred other organisations.

Christoph Then, Tel 0049 151 54638040,
More information:
The Report

Etiquetas: , ,

Review Finds GM Herbicide-Resistant Crops Will Bring About Further Loss of Biodiversity

October 21, 2014

First introduced in the 1990s, 84.6% of all genetically modified (GM) crops worldwide carried herbicide resistance traits (144 mil. ha) by 2012. Herbicide-resistant (HR) crops occupy about 59% of the 170.3 million hectares under GM cultivation globally, with GM crops with stacked traits (basically herbicide and insect resistance) covering 25.6%.
Many studies have been done on HR crop use patterns and impacts. A review of these studies has been jointly conducted by three government agencies from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, to extract the lessons learnt, paying particular attention to the impact on biodiversity.
Scientific studies have established that agricultural intensification and pesticide use are among the main drivers of biodiversity loss. There are concerns that HR crops will help to further intensify farming and may therefore increase pressure on biodiversity. The review finds evidence to conclude that HR crops cannot reduce herbicide use in the longer term, and will in fact be associated with a further loss of biodiversity including whole food webs, wild flora, seeds, and ecosystem functions in agricultural fields.
Other concerns raised include observations that in regions where HR crops are widely adopted, less crop rotation and crop diversification takes place, with a clear trend towards monoculture; the development of herbicide resistant weeds, resulting in farmers resorting to higher herbicide doses and the use of other herbicides; and the spatial and temporal spread of the HR trait, which is a particular concern in centres of crop origin and regions where interfertile and weedy hybrids occur. In addition, there has been little, if any, contribution of HR crops to increase crop yields.
According to the review, “…herbicide resistant crops are not part of the solution, but part of the problem”. It makes a call to stop the loss of biodiversity, reverse the current development trend in agriculture, and increase biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems with more environmentally friendly practices and less dependence on pesticides.
The Executive Summary of the paper and the link to the full paper are given below.
With best wishes
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
10400 Penang
Website: and
To unsubscribe: reply ‘unsubscribe’ to
To subscribe to other TWN information services:
- A joint paper of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) Germany, Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) Switzerland and Environment Agency Austria. Edited by Tappeser, B., Reichenbecher, W., & Teichmann, H. BfN (2014).

Conservation of biodiversity is high on the agenda of international and national environmental policies though not very present in public awareness. The need to protect biodiversity and stop the loss was acknowledged in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), internationally agreed on in 1992, and underscored by relevant decisions since then. It has been known for some time that intensive high input farming is one of the main drivers of ongoing biodiversity losses in agricultural landscapes. An indicator for such losses is the diversity and abundance of weed flora. Transgenic crops resistant to the herbicides glyphosate (accounting for the great majority) and glufosinate have first been cultivated commercially in the nineties of the last century. Since then, a wealth of information has been collected on use patterns and on impacts of herbicide-resistant (HR) crops. There are concerns that HR crops will help to further intensify farming and may therefore increase pressure on biodiversity. The need to study potential environmental consequences of changes in herbicide usage due to transgenic HR plants has recently been underlined by the Council (of Environment Ministers) of the European Union (EU). This paper summarizes the lessons that can be learned from the experience up to now.

Etiquetas: ,

domingo, octubre 26, 2014

Ciencia posnormal

Ciencia posnormal (Postnormal Science) es un concepto desarrollado por Funtowicz y Ravetz (1993), tratando de caracterizar una metodología de investigación que sea apropiada para las condiciones contemporáneas. El caso típico es cuando «los factores son inciertos, hay valores en disputa, los riesgos son altos y las decisiones urgentes». En tales circunstancias, tenemos una inversión de la distinción tradicional entre hechos científicos objetivos, duros, y valores subjetivos, blandos. Ahora nos encontramos con decisiones políticas conducidas por valores que son duras en varios sentidos, y para las cuales los aportes científicos son irremediablementeblandos.
Podemos entender la Ciencia Postnormal por medio de un diagrama, donde los ejes son «incertidumbres del sistema» y «riesgos de la decisión». Cuando ambos sonbajos, nos encontramos con la Ciencia Aplicada, la rutina solucionadora de problemas como la ciencia Normal descrita por T. S. Kuhn en su libro La Estructura de las Revoluciones Científicas. Cuando son medios, tenemos la consultoría profesional, cuyos ejemplos son el caso del ingeniero veterano: aunque su trabajo está basado en la ciencia, siempre deben tratar con incertidumbres, y sus errores pueden ser costosos o incluso letales. Se ha creído alguna vez que los problemas ambientales y políticos en general podían ser gestionados a este nivel, pero los grandes temas del cambio climático o las diversas formas de polución muestran que el diseño de marcos normativos y la implementación de políticas debe con frecuencia ser realizado antes de que todos los hechos que se prevén se hayan manifestado.
Esta es la razón por la que debe existir una «comunidad extendida de iguales» compuesta por todos aquellos afectados por un tema en concreto, que estén preparados para entrar en un diálogo sobre él. Sus miembros aportan sus «hechos extendidos», que incluirán conocimiento local y materiales que no estaban originariamente destinados a su publicación, tales como información oficial filtrada. Hay implicaciones políticas para esta extensión de la patente de corso de la Ciencia; pero el argumento en la Ciencia Postnormal es que esta extensión es necesaria para asegurar la calidad del proceso y del producto. En años recientes los principios y las prácticas de la Ciencia Postnormal han sido ampliamente adoptadas bajo el título de Participación.

Etiquetas: ,

Greenpeace: This is why we stand against GM crops

This article is a response to "Climate sceptics exploit double standards of eco-warriors", by Fred Pearce, which claims that Greenpeace cherry-picks data in its campaign against genetically modified crops.
Our decision to oppose genetically modified crops is about a lot more than the science behind the technology, says Greenpeace chief scientist Doug Parr

Etiquetas: , , , ,

Study Finds that Monsanto’s GM Soybean May Increase Insect Pest

16 October 2014


Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) soybean ‘Intacta’ (MON 87701×MON 89788) has both an insect resistance trait and a herbicide (glyphosate) resistance trait. Insect resistance comes from the expression of Cry proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). 
Although the Bt soybean has been found to be effective against Lepidopteran pests, it is not effective against the southern armyworm, Spodoptera eridania, a non-target organism which feeds on soybean leaves and pods. Such organisms are becoming economically significant soybean pests. A recently published scientific study in Brazil, co-authored by Monsanto employees, has evaluated the impact of Intacta on Spodoptera eridania and on the development of Telenomus remus, which parasitizes the former’s eggs (Item 1). 
The study found that the Bt soybean reduced S. eridania’s larval development duration by two days and lengthened the adult male lifespan by three days. The researchers describe this as “favorable to pest development”. This was attributed to be a likely result of unintended changes in plant characteristics caused by the insertion of the transgene. Thus, the results represent a warning that farms planting the Intacta soybean may see an increase in S. eridania populations. However, the Bt soybean had no effect on T. remus, which can help prevent S. eridania outbreaks. 
In the European Union, Intacta soybean has been approved for import and processing of food and feed. Testbiotech and other organisations have filed a lawsuit at the European Court of Justice opposing this approval. "The EU approval for the Intacta soybean should be withdrawn, since there is an obvious need for thorough reassessment and further investigations, "says Christoph Then for Testbiotech. "The newly published findings have unknown causes and could affect food safety." (See Item 2) 
With best wishes
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
10400 Penang
To unsubscribe: reply ‘unsubscribe’ to
To subscribe to other TWN information services: 
 Item 1 
Genetically modified crops with insect resistance genes from Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bt-plants) are increasingly being cultivated worldwide. Therefore, it is critical to improve our knowledge of their direct or indirect impact not only on target pests but also on non-target arthropods. Hence, this study evaluates comparative leaf consumption and performance of Spodoptera eridania (Cramer), a species that is tolerant of the Cry1Ac protein, fed with Bt soybean, MON 87701×MON 89788 or its non-Bt isoline. We also assessed the comparative performance of the egg parasitoid Telenomus remus Nixon on eggs of S. eridania produced from individuals that fed on these two soybean isolines as larvae. Results showed that Bt soybean reduced by 2 days larval development and increased by 3 days adult male longevity. Therefore, we conclude that the effect of Bt soybean MON 87701×MON 89788 on S. eridania development and reproduction is small, and favorable to pest development. These differences are less likely to directly result from the toxin presence but indirectly from unintended changes in plant characteristics caused by the insertion of the transgene. Our results should be viewed as an alert that S. eridania populations may increase in Bt soybeans, but on the other hand, no adverse effects of this technology were observed for the egg parasitoid T. remus which can help to prevent S. eridaniaoutbreaks on these crops.
Keywords: plant resistance, non-target pests, natural enemy, egg parasitoid, genetically modified organisms (GMO) 
Item 2
by Testbiotech

A new scientific publication co-authored by Monsanto employees, is warning that the cultivation of the genetically modified soybean Intacta (MON 87701 × MON 89788) could promote the spread of specific pest insects. According to the authors, the effects are likely to be caused by unintended effects in the plants, possibly arising from the insertion of the additional DNA. The genetically engineered soybean produced by Monsanto is resistant to herbicides containing glyphosate and produces a Bt insecticide. Brazilian scientists in collaboration with Monsanto employees have discovered that certain pest insects (Spodoptera eridania, southern armyworm), which can cause considerable damage in soybean fields, develop faster and live longer if their larvae feed off the plants.

Etiquetas: , , , ,

sábado, octubre 25, 2014

Post-normal science

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Post-normal Science diagram
Post-Normal Science is a concept developed by Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz, attempting to characterise a methodology of inquiry that is appropriate for cases where "facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent" (Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1991). It is primarily applied in the context of long-term issues where there is less available information than is desired by stakeholders.
According to its advocates,[who?] "post-normal science" is simply an extension of situations routinely faced by experts such as surgeons or senior engineers on unusual projects, where the decisions being made are of great importance but where not all the factors are necessarily knowable. Although their work is based on science, such individuals must always cope with uncertainties, and their mistakes can be costly or lethal.
Because of this, advocates of post-normal science suggest that there must be an "extended peer community" consisting of all those affected by an issue who are prepared to enter into dialogue on it. These parties bring their "extended facts", that will include local knowledge and materials not originally intended for publication, such as leaked official information. A political case exists[citation needed] for this extension of the franchise of science, but Funtowicz and Ravetz also argue that this extension is necessary for assuring the quality of the process and of the product.

Etiquetas: ,

Junk science and GMO toxicity

The Van Eenennaam review of animal feeding data fails to counter primary research findings and doesn't show GMO safety

Review of paper by Alison Van Eenennaam and AE Young (2014): Prevalence of impacts of genetically engineered feedstuffs on livestock populations. J Anim Sci, 92:4255-4278 – A compilation of critiques by scientists

GMWatch, 23 October 2014

Van Eenennaam has a conflict of interest - she is at the University of California, Davis, which has a Seed Biotechnology Center which has received funding from biotech companies like Monsanto. The University runs a student Fellowship funded by Monsanto. 

Etiquetas: ,

Syngenta sued for $1 billion over China's rejection of GM corn

On Wednesday, October 15, 2014 5:24 PM, TWN Biosafety Info wrote:

Title : Syngenta Sued for $1 Billion Over China's Rejection of GM Corn
Date : 15 October 2014

London, 13 Oct (Mae-Wan Ho*) -- US corn prices plummeted as China rejected all shipments containing traces of Syngenta's MIR162. Farmers from 5 major corn growing states have filed 3 class action lawsuits against Syngenta, claiming damages of more than $1 billion**. 
[** See "Billion-dollar lawsuits claim GMO corn ‘destroyed' US export to China", RT Question More, 6 October 2014, . See also ‘Farmers Sue Syngenta'. Chemical & Engineering News, 13 October 2014,] 
Syngenta released MIR162, trade name Agrisure Vipera, in 2009. It is engineered to make a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) protein vip3Aa20 toxic to lepidopteran insect pests (butterflies and moths) [Event Name: MIR162, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, accessed 13 October 2014, EventID=130], and also has a gene pmi (phosphomannose isomerase) from E. coli to allow positive selection for the transgene. 
It was created with Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated plant transformation, a particularly hazardous vector system that risks further horizontal gene transfer (see ‘Ban GMOs Now', ISIS Special Report available at 
While MIR162 is approved for use in the US, China has not allowed its import into the country. 
Syngenta is blamed for destroying the export of US corn to China, which led to depressed prices for domestic corn, according to Volnek Farms, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in Omaha, Nebraska federal court. The two other suits were filed in Iowa and Illinois federal courts. 
None of the farmers involved in the lawsuits planted MIR162 seed in their fields in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. But their harvested crop was contaminated with traces of the transgenic trait, and hence unsalable to the Chinese market. 
Although Viptera has been planted on only about 3% of US farm acreage, it is difficult to say for sure "that any shipments of US corn will not be contaminated with trace amounts of MIR162", the Nebraska plaintiff stated. 
The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) had encouraged Syngenta to stop selling Viptera, according to the Iowa claim. The NGFA estimated that actions taken in China against US corn have caused prices to drop by 11 cents per bushel. 
The Iowa suit also claims that the release of Syngenta's Viptera caused the US-to-China export market to drop by 85%. Nebraska plaintiffs, too, accuse Syngenta of having crippled the 2013-14 corn export market to China. 
The NGFA reported in April 2014 that China had barred nearly 1.45 million tons of corn shipments since 2013. 
In 2011, Syngenta requested in federal court that a grain elevator firm, Bunge North America, to remove its signs that said it would not accept Vipera corn. The request was denied. 
Concern over the safety of GM food may have played a role in a recent decision by China's officials to move away from GM production. 
In August, China's Ministry of Agriculture announced it would not continue with GM rice and corn ["End of the line: GMO production in China halted", RT Question More, 21 August, 2014,]. 
[* Dr Mae-Wan Ho is the co-founder and director of the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS), an independent, not-for-profit organisation founded in 1999 and dedicated to providing critical public information on cutting-edge science, and to promoting social accountability and ecological sustainability in science. Since 1994, she has been scientific advisor to the Third World Network. This article was first published on the ISIS website and can be found at:$1_billion.php] +

Etiquetas: , , , , ,