lunes, noviembre 24, 2014

Charting the GMO threat


Charting the transgenic threat

Devon G. Peña | Seattle, WA | November 4, 2014

Note: In the world of seed saving and plant breeding, this is the biggest news all year. A new peer-reviewed scientific journal, Food Contamination, has just published a meta-analysis of the GM Contamination Register that was compiled over the past ten years by Genewatch and Greenpeace.  Janet Cotter (Greenpeace) and Becky Price (Genewatch) were the lead compilers of this important database. Here is my take on the significance of this sort of data mapping for  farmers concerned with protecting the genomic integrity and organic or biodynamic status of their land race and heirloom crop varieties.

Image courtesy of Transgenic Study Blog
One of the most significant issues in the debate over the environmental impacts of transgenic[1] crops is the irrefutable scientific fact posed by gene flow.  As a farmer, seed librarian, and plant breeder, I am deeply concerned with the threat of genetic contamination posed by transgenic crops to center of origin land race varieties grown across all of the indigenous First Nation territories of Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Other farmers and scientists who share this concern have been presenting evidence of this transgenic threat since 2001 when Ignacio Chapela and David Quist of the University of California-Berkeley documented introgression of transgenes in native land race populations of Zea mays (maize) in Oaxaca, Mexico.

It has been a challenge to keep track of the growing number of such events in which genetic materials from GMO/GE cropsintrogress[2] (contaminate) the native genome of land race crop varieties. Transgenic introgression is a real, verified, direct, and immediate threat to the genomic integrity of center of origin land race varieties.

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