GM Crops (again)

The 12 June 2014 issue of Nature has, as its first article, an editorial on genetically engineered crops. I have mentioned this before. I feel like saying, I told you so, because I did. The article in nature specifically mentions glyphosphate, which this Wikipedia article will inform you, is Roundup™.

The article sounds a warning: genetically modified crops resistant to herbicides have contributed that trait to noxious weeds, such as palmer pigweed. Please click on the hotlink above, it’s a short editorial. Resistance will soon be common in many weeds.

Like antibiotics, over-prescribing leads to resistance faster. Planting half a world’s cropland with GM crops resistant to herbicide is, simply put, a fast course to disaster.

The article also mentions the idea of creating ‘refuges’ which will, supposedly, provide non-resistant insects to outbreed any resistant ones that develop against the bacterial toxin. There is a Wikipedia article on this here. This isn’t going to work for very long either.

((As an aside, I’m pretty sure this is the same bacterium [Bacillus thuringiensis] used to spray against the gypsy moth, both up North and here in Toronto golf courses and parks. I recall being assured that the toxin only is active in alkaline pH, and so we humans with acid stomaches were safe. Of course this is only partly correct and deliberately misleading, as our intestinal tract is alkaline. This fact is used to make a special aspirin coating that does not dissolve in the stomach, for arthritis sufferers.

One wonderful side effect of spraying a few years in a row up North was the effect on the ecosystem. No orioles. No grasshoppers. No frogs. No garter snakes. No bats. Few swallows. Insects that develop in water seemed to be immune: mosquitoes, tabanids, black flies were still everywhere.

This year, for the first time in about ten, we have bats in our bat house again, and the odd frog can occasionally be seen. So much for ‘targeted intervention.’ Back to GM crops.))

Once again, I refer you to my earlier blog post. GM crops are an insidious threat, in more ways than just leading to resistance. They will likely lead to monopolies in crop seed. Click here for the earlier rant/post.

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