August 30, 2013 |
Americans might soon need to get used to apple or grape juice as their breakfast drink of choice - unless, that is, they're willing to pay exorbitant prices for orange juice. Or maybe scientists, plant breeders and farmers will manage to save the day, using two critical but often-disparaged technologies: chemical pesticides in the short run and genetic engineering in the longer term. The pestilence that is devastating Florida citrus is a disease called citrus greening. It is caused by a bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus , which is spread by small insects called psyllids.
June 17, 2013 |
There's a dearth of evidence that genetically engineered food is dangerous to human health - but that doesn't mean consumers are wrong to have concerns about its effect on the environment and on non-bioengineered crops. U.S. agribusiness has rushed to embrace the GMO (for genetically modified organism, though genetically engineered is a more accurate term) possibilities, with almost all of our corn, soy and canola now featuring genes that have been tinkered with, usually to make them resistant to certain herbicides.
May 24, 2013 |
The movement to force the labeling of genetically engineered food is gaining momentum. In November 2012, an initiative to require the labels in California was on the ballot; it was defeated. Now, federal legislation carried by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) would mandate labeling most bioengineered food nationwide. Yet the movement's argument is weakened by the lack of evidence that inserting fragments of DNA into crops harms our health. Pro-labeling activists - who also tend to be anti-Monsanto activists - point to polls finding that most Americans want the information labeled.
March 23, 2013 |
When is a fish not a fish but a drug? When government regulators take old laws and twist themselves into knots trying to apply them to new technology. In the emotionally charged battle over the safety and appropriateness of genetically modified foods, people on both sides agree that the way the government oversees genetically modified plants and animals is patchy, inconsistent and at times just plain bizarre. Soon, analysts say, the system may be stretched to the breaking point.
March 20, 2013 |
Researchers at UCLA have genetically engineered tomatoes that, when fed to mice, mimic the beneficial qualities of good cholesterol, according to a new study. In a paper published Tuesday in the Journal of Lipid Research, authors used bacteria to insert genes into the cells of tomato plants, so that they would produce a peptide that mimics the actions of HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Later generations of those genetically engineered tomatoes were frozen, ground up and then fed to female mice who were themselves bred to be highly susceptible to LDL, or "bad" cholesterol.
February 23, 2013 |
Consumers who believe they have a right to know whether their food contains genetically modified ingredients are pressing lawmakers, regulators and voters to require labels on altered foods. But even if they succeed, experts say there's no guarantee that labels identifying genetically engineered foods would ever appear on packages. "People are usually surprised to learn that there is no legal right to know," said Michael Rodemeyer, an expert on biotechnology policy at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.