Wednesday, July 2, 2014

GM Potato & Bananas... Famine Lies... A Right of Decision Makers to Decide For "OUR OWN GOOD?" ?

Two-Gene vs. Multi-Gene Approach
The two gene approach taken by the UK scientists has a high chance of resulting in late blight resistance. The real question however, is how long this resistance will last.
The argument of course, is when the resistance of this variety is no longer adequate, they will look for more genes in wild potato relatives and create a new GM variety. If necessary, they can use more than two genes. This approach however looks an awful lot like the fungicides now being used. As these scientists move from one gene to the next, work their way through all the combinations they think of, eventually they will reach the end when it no longer works.
In a case like this, the interactions between all the genes are not likely to ever be fully understood. The UK scientists will only be working with genes or combinations of genes they can single out as being important in existing varieties, and they won’t see everything.
Tom’s multi gene approach on the other hand is much more likely to be sustainable, and is more likely to show functional resistance on farms.
By using Tom’s approach an unknown number of genes will be involved in the resistance. By taking existing resistant varieties, using the combinations of their genes in their entirety, all genes involved in that resistance can be used, not just the ones that can be specifically identified. In addition, by creating crosses with several different resistant varieties, all the genes from all the varieties can be used in their totality and in different combinations.
By creating a number of resistant varieties in this way, then growing them in different places and continuing the process of crossing new resistant varieties as they appear, new resistant genes will be discovered. This is in part because there will be natural mutations in the plants themselves creating new genes, but also previously unknown ones will be found. This ongoing process is much more likely to produce late blight resistance in the long run, and the chance of ‘running out of genes’ like what will happen eventually with the GM approach is significantly reduced.
In addition by working with a number of different varieties resistant to late blight in different ways, all at the same time, the chance of losing the entire season’s potato harvest like what happened during the Irish Potato Famine is significantly reduced.
Other Benefits of Biodiversity
Kimberly Usher's photo.

The genetically engineered (or GMO) potato: it's virtually indistinguishable from normal potatoes, except that it bruises less easily... and that its long-term health effects are completely unknown.
The potato was created by biotech company J.R. Simplot, who intends to use it in a variety of fried foods like french fries, and may even market the crop as a "healthier alternative". But the real story is that this crop has yet to be thoroughly tested for human health risks. Plus, altering enzymes in crops like the potato can unintentionally affect other characteristics of the crop, meaning it could have negative side effects that we haven't discovered yet.

These GMO potatoes would be sold unlabeled in supermarkets and restaurants, which means consumers won't even be able to decide for themselves whether to puchase them.

This is our final chance to weigh in — submit your public comment below to tell the USDA to stop the approval of the GMO potato.
As a result, they recommended that all developers and marketers manage the varieties to avoid market disruptions.

The delegates also recommended that developers and marketers adopt identify preservation systems. But they didn’t go so far as to recommend the potatoes be labeled at the consumer level.

John Keeling, executive vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based NPC, said the Food and Drug Administration continues to study the acrylamide issue. But based on current scientific knowledge, he said consumers shouldn’t change their potato consumption patterns.

“It’s under study, and it’s something that people want to figure out whether there are impacts on human health,” he said. “It’s a possible carcinogen in lab rats, but we don’t know what happens in the human gut and what impacts it has on humans.”

Innate Technology involves inserting genes from potatoes that quiet specific functions, such as bruising or asparagine production.

Asparagine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in potatoes. When mixed with sugars ― such as those also found naturally in potatoes ― and then subjected to high temperatures, asparagine forms acrylamide.

Those high temperatures may occur during frying, baking or roasting.

Acrylamide also is found in other foods, such as roasted coffee, cereals, breads and many baked goods.

During the past decade, the compound has come under scrutiny as a possible carcinogen.

Acrylamide production can be reduced to some extent by potato variety selection, cultural practices in the field, storage practices and cooking temperatures, Baker said.

By adding the Innate technology, he said acrylamide levels could be reduced an additional 50%-80%, which would bring them under the target.

The first three varieties scheduled for release are russet burbank, a baking potato; ranger russet, a french fry variety; and atlantic, a chipping variety.

J.R. Simplot hopes to have USDA approval by 2014, which would allow it to have a limited amount of Innate potatoes on the market by 2015, Baker said.

In years to come, the company plans to release snowden, yukon, pike and russet norkotah varieties with the reduced black spot/acrylamide traits.

Actually the "potato famine" in Ireland was caused by the British taking all their food in Ireland and putting it on ships away from the people they could starve!

What became known as the great famine occurred between 1845 and 52 and was one of the greatest catastrophies of the nineteenth century. It resulted in the deaths of millions of people from starvation and disease and a decline in Irelands population through emigration. It was thought by many to be an English induced famine used by a greedy government to solve the Irish question. The potato failed from blight but the country was full of food, which was taken away from those who grew it, to be consumed by the expanding workforce of the industrial boom in England or by its army overseas. The English hid behind the fact that they were the constitutional government for the Irish people pretending to be concerned by begging food for her people abroad while at the same time by constitutional policies taking the food from the people. They were ruthless in putting down all attempts by the Irish for self-government and all attempts of resistance. They passed laws that made it a crime for a father to protect his children or his home from destruction. They passed coercion laws that made it a crime for the Irish to leave their homes between sunrise and sunset or to hold arms. They had a well-fed armed guard of military and police watch over them while they starved. Never in the history of mankind was there a government who acted so cruelly to its people. Ireland never needed the begging bowl it had its own food grown in its own land and only needed its own concerned legislatures to pass laws to save her people. The constitutional Government of England was then the most powerful in the world and had the ear of the world through its influence and press. They manipulated the facts to cover up the real truth of what was happening in Ireland the mass murder of its people and the destruction of Ireland. An English induced constitutional famine.

I am not sure why it is but so many people, myself included, have an incredibly strong emotional attachment to bananas.
This love for bananas extends to all parts of the world, and I saw this first-hand when I visited a banana plantation in Costa Rica. In fact, people who dedicate their life’s work to bananas are affectionately called bananeros.
So, when I heard the news that the world’s richest man and noted GMO-advocate, Bill Gates, is funding a human trial of genetically-modified bananas, I got absolutely sick to my stomach.
James Dale, Director of the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, announced that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had donated close to $10M to finance this project and that human trials would take place over a six-week period in the U.S.
The results are expected to be revealed by the end of 2014, and the bananas used for the trials have been grown in Australia and are now being shipped to America. The bananas have already been tested on Mongolian gerbils.
While these FrankenBananas may look like ordinary bananas on the outside, on the inside it is a completely different story. The flesh has a strong orange color to it, instead of a pale one.

The ultimate goal is to have these bananas growing in Uganda and other African countries sometime within the next decade. It has been reported the approval for full-scale commercialization of genetically-modified crops in Uganda is expected by 2020.

While saving kids from malnutrition in Africa makes for great headlines and is a very noble cause, the attempt to alleviate this problem through increased nutrition via the genetic-modification of one food, also known as biofortification, is just a horrible idea.

Here’s why:
- As we have seen, there are SERIOUS health risks associated with all genetically-modified foods.

- If adopted, these GM-bananas will be grown as one large monoculture, which will kill all biodiversity.

- This is just one more way for Dale and other holders of the patents of these GM-bananas to control the food supply in and extract royalties from very poor countries in Africa.

- The GM-bananas could cross-contaminate other native plant species in Uganda and other African countries. A perfect example of this is what has happened with GM-maize in Mexico.

Bob Phelps, Director and Founder of Gene Ethics, believes that biofortification is an obstacle to food justice and is not the solution.

He says that “most malnutrition and starvation are really the food access disasters of poverty, inequity and social injustice. Thus, the challenge to feed everyone well is much more than adding one or two key nutrients to an impoverished diet dominated by a staple food or two. Yet biofortification enthusiasts such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation do not intend to redress the lack of access to diverse healthy foods for all. They merely propose to add one or two micronutrients to fortify the same few staple foods that most poor people now have to rely on.”

These same groups, Bill Gates et al, are also trying to introduce GM-bananas into India where iron deficiency is a problem. Famed environmentalist and food activist Vandana Shiva has started a campaign called No to GMO Bananas to fight against this plan.

Poverty and malnutrition throughout the world are very serious issues but are largely political ones. We have enough food to feed everyone but the resources are not being directed in the correct manner.
As we have seen so far in history, GMOs have been nothing but empty promises.

In its study Failure to Yield, the Union of Concerned Scientists reported that the biotech industry has been carrying out gene field trials to increase yields for 20 years, all without significant results.

GMOs have caused a massive, massive problem of superweeds and have resulted in ahuge increase of pesticide use.

As such, there is no reason to believe that GM-bananas in Africa will deliver any different of an outcome.

This is just one big disaster waiting to happen.
Bunch Of Organic Ripe Bananas


When Public Relations replaces Science

by Dr. Vandana Shiva

It appears as if the world’s top scientists suffer a more severe form of blindness than children in poor countries. The statement that "traditional breeding has been unsuccessful in producing crops high in vitamin A" is not true given the diversity of plants and crops that Third World farmers, especially women have bred and used which are rich sources of vitamin A such as coriander, amaranth, carrot, pumpkin, mango, jackfruit.

It is also untrue that vitamin A rice will lead to increased production of betacarotene. Even if the target of 33.3 microgram of vitamin A in 100g of rice is achieved, it will be only 2.8% of betacarotene we can obtain from amaranth leaves 2.4% of betacarotene obtained from coriander leaves, curry leaves and drumstick leaves.

Even the World Bank has admitted that rediscovering and use of local plants and conservation of vitamin A rich green leafy vegetables and fruits have dramatically reduced VAD threatened children over the past 20 years in very cheap and efficient ways. Women in Bengal use more than 200 varieties of field greens. Over a 3 million people have benefited greatly from a food based project for removing VAD by increasing vitamin A availability through home gardens. The higher the diversity crops the better the uptake of pro-vitamin A.

Golden rice falls at first hurdle
on 13 May 2014.

GM golden rice has failed in field tests, giving lower yields than comparable local non-GM varieties and causing yet another "delay in the timeline" for release.

Golden rice falls at first hurdle

Jonathan Matthews and Claire Robinson, 13 May 2014

Yet again GMO promoters have been caught lying about GM golden rice.

A new report has just been published by authors at the University of California which is being hyped in the media as exposing the "injustice" of denying GM golden rice to the poor, causing "the death of millions of children".

The article says the University of California researchers blame "powerful forces that hide behind environmentalism" for an "international prohibition" on "producing golden rice". The implication is that golden rice has long been available for use and that it is only GM opponents who stand in the way of its use.

But this "prohibition" is entirely imaginary. GM golden rice has not been submitted to regulators anywhere in the world, as it isn't ready yet!

GMWatch has long pointed out that it isn't anti-GM activists in the West, but basic research and development problems that mean GM golden rice still isn't ready, even after swallowing millions in development funds and two decades' worth of work.
And now it seems there is going to be a further delay in releasing GM golden rice.

The most recent news from the IRRI, which is overseeing the golden rice project, shows that golden rice doesn't even pass muster in terms of the yields and agronomic performance necessary for farmers to adopt it. IRRI noted (see article below), "average yield [of GM golden rice] was unfortunately lower than that from comparable local varieties already preferred by farmers."

It is more than reprehensible that a product that doesn't yet work in the field, hasn't been proven safe, and may not even help people with malnutrition, is being promoted as a miracle cure that could already be saving millions. All this false promotion does is distract attention from the proven alternatives that are already effectively combating vitamin A deficiency in a country like the Philippines - the main target of the golden rice promoters
More here...

Golden Lies: No credibility for Golden Rice campaign
After many years of development, Golden Rice is still not on the market. Initially it was thought that the commercial cultivation of Golden Rice would start in 2012. However, in 2013 this plan was once again postponed for several years, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) coordinating the project admitted for the first time in public that crucial data for risk assessment were still missing.

The current delay might have been triggered by a scandal involving Chinese school children: Chinese scientists were sacked and families received financial compensation after neither the children nor the parents were informed about a trial in which the school children were fed with the genetically engineered rice.

Nevertheless, some well-known advocates of the Golden Rice project such as Ingo Potrykus, one of the inventors of the rice, are still pushing for immediate market authorisation. In the meantime, the advocates of this product appear to have divided opinions. Some have gone as far as to say that government agencies and critics will be complicit in instigating a “Holocaust” (Chassy, 2010) or a crime against humanity if they prevent the introduction of Golden Rice. To speed up market approval and limit expenses, they are campaigning for a general lowering of standards for the risk assessment of genetically engineered plants.

A Testbiotech background shows that those involved in the Golden Rice project have demonstrated a complete lack of regard for necessary scientific accuracy and precision. Over many years they have used propaganda which was unacceptable from an ethical point of view. In doing so, they have sought to use the project to increase the pressure on regulatory authorities and accelerate the introduction of agricultural biotechnology.

Potato Famine Story Fails To Boost Support For GMOs
June 12, 2014

“If you think genetically modified crops are dangerous ‘frankenfoods’ and/or that crop disease is best controlled with chemicals – if you suspect federal regulators care more about Big Ag’s interests than your family’s, thus the whole game is rigged – plaintive tales of historical famines won’t change your mind about genetic modification for disease resistance,” said study author Katherine A. McComas, a science communications professor at Cornell University.

In the study, which included almost 860 shoppers, researchers began by assessing their subjects’ knowledge of GMOs. Then participants were asked to self-assess their own knowledge.

Half of the participants were told to read about the potato famine and how the fungus Phytophthora infestans could devastate crops today. The other half were asked to think about plant disease in a general sense.

“Stories of the Irish Potato Famine were no more likely to boost support for disease-resistant GM crops than were our generic crop-disease descriptions,” McComas said. “Preconceived views about risks and benefits of agricultural genetic engineering – and perceptions about the fairness and legitimacy of the decision-making process – these things matter most.”

Researchers assessed the influence of perceptions of fairness and legitimacy by asking participants to agree or disagree with statements like, “Decision-makers try hard to understand the views of people like me” and “Decision-makers have a right to increase the use of biotechnology in agriculture.”

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