Friday, July 20, 2012
GM animals coming soon to Europe despite public distaste
By Mute Schimpf
Public Service Europe
July 20, 2012
There is one thing genetically modified foods always bring to the table - controversy. And there is one thing European Union authorities and biotech companies seem intent on ignoring: the fact that nobody wants GM crops or animals on their plates. Last month, European food authorities took steps to open our markets to genetically modified animals, by publishing guidelines for their introduction. The guidelines, commissioned by the European Commission on behalf of the European Food Safety Authority give biotech companies the capability to seek permission to develop GM animals like salmon, pig, sheep and chicken.
This move by the commission comes even though there is no appetite among consumers for GM milk or meat, and no appetite from food processors or retailers to sell them - and for good reason. Nowhere in the world is any GM animal authorised for food production. Even in the United States, where there is less resistance to GM than in Europe, the planned introduction of the first GM animal - a salmon - caused widespread concern. Environmental, human health and economic problems have been identified with GM salmon.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Malaria parasite killed by gene-modified germs in study
By Kristen Hallam
July 16, 2012
Benign bacteria residing in mosquitoes’ guts can be recruited to destroy the parasite that causes malaria, offering a potential way to prevent infections, according to U.S. researchers.
Genetically modifying the germ enabled it to produce proteins toxic to the parasite without harming the insects, scientists from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh wrote today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. The proportion of mosquitoes carrying the parasite fell by as much as 84 percent, the researchers said.
Malaria kills a child in Africa every minute, and about half the world’s population is at risk of infection, according to the Geneva-based World Health Organization. New ways of stopping the disease are needed as genetic mutations in parasites make them resistant to medicines, and as mosquitoes become less vulnerable to insecticides, the researchers said.
”These findings provide the foundation for the use of genetically modified symbiotic bacteria as a powerful tool to combat malaria,” the study’s authors wrote.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Ocean-farmed fish, brought to you by Monsanto and Cargill
Food & Water Watch
July 07, 2012
Soy Industry Stands to Gain Hundreds of Millions Annually from Open Ocean Aquaculture
Washington, D.C. and Brussels - If proponents of soy in aquaculture have it their way, soy will be used to feed fish in open ocean pens in federal waters, a move that would negatively impact the marine environment as well as the diets of both fish and consumers.
Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Europe’s new report, ”Factory-Fed Fish: How the Soy Industry is Expanding Into the Sea,” shows how a collaboration between two of the most environmentally damaging industries on land and sea —the soy and open ocean aquaculture industries, respectively—could be devastating to ocean life and consumer health. And since much of the soy produced in the United States is genetically engineered (GE), consuming farmed fish would likely mean eating fish that are fed GE soy.
”Our seas are not Roundup ready,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. ”Soy is being promoted as a better alternative to feed made from wild fish, but this model will not help the environment, and it will transfer massive industrial farming models into our oceans and further exacerbate the havoc wreaked by the soy industry on land—including massive amounts of dangerous herbicide use and massive deforestation.”
Monday, May 28, 2012
Conservation bodies alarm at US Senate failure over genetically engineered salmon
May 28, 2012
In a move that has alarmed a number of conservation bodies, the US senate failed at the end of last week to approve an amendment that could have stopped genetically engineered salmon from being available for human consumption in the United States.
In response to the proposed amendment Matt Tinning, Executive Director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network, said: “Today, forty six Senators stood with our nation’s fishermen and seafood lovers and opposed the precipitous approval of Frankenfish.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Company is already growing other medicinal plants in mine
By Paul Egan
Detroit Free Press
April 22, 2012
WHITE PINE — In a brightly lit chamber 250 feet below the earth’s surface, where hard-rock miners once blasted for copper, no marijuana is growing, but two other types of plants are.
SubTerra is using genetically modified forms of a legume called tarwi and a tuber called oca to produce an enzyme needed to fight Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, commonly known as bubble boy disease.
If successful, physicians say the research could mark significant advances in treatment for a disease that affects about one in every 100,000 births.
Children born with SCID have immune systems so compromised that some must live behind plastic to protect them from germs.
The disease takes several forms. The second most common type results from a genetic defect that results in too little of a germ-fighting enzyme called adenosine deaminase, or ADA.
The tightly controlled chamber in the former White Pine Mine — where the tarwi and oca grow — is lit by 64 specially designed 1,000-watt bulbs and serviced by an automated system for delivering water and nutrients. The two types of plants have been modified to produce the human form of ADA.