GMO Labels, by Slate staff

William Saletan on GMO myths in Slate

On Wednesday, Slate published a long, in-depth feature article on GMO labeling by William Saletan called Unhealthy Fixation. It has been the talk of the week in the social media discussion about genetically engineered crops and the arguments and tactics of the organizations and individuals who oppose their use. The subtitle of the article says it all: “The war against genetically modified organisms is full of fearmongering, errors, and fraud. Labeling them will not make you safer.” If you have not yet had a chance to read this article, you owe it to yourself to read the whole thing – twice. Saletan frames the issue around the perennial political topic of GMO labeling, but the important focus is on how many groups that campaign against genetically engineered crops, such as Greenpeace, have been consistent only in their opposition to the technology. Their arguments however have been duplicitous and inconsistent with

Crop-Modification-Techniques-Vertical-HQ

Crop Modification Techniques Infographic

To help educate people about the many methods that are used to generate new traits in plants, Biology Fortified has created an infographic on six different crop modification techniques, with examples of crops generated with each method. This infographic was made by Layla Katiraee together with Karl Haro von Mogel and we hope that it will be the first of many graphics that Biology Fortified will develop to help people understand and relate to the science! This post provides the references and a brief explanation on each technique, along with downloads in multiple formats.

Construction barrel monster. Image by Eric Merrill via Flickr.

Site construction

You may have noticed a few changes here and there on the Biofortified Blog and across the website. We are hard at work making major improvements. We’re getting a much faster host, testing a responsive website design, switching comments to Disqus, moving to a better forum, developing special subscriber pages, cleaning up our about pages, and much more. There might be some growing pains, so we thank you for your patience and invite you to contact us if you notice any issues. The most important thing you may have noticed is that we have switched from the default WordPress comment system to Disqus. Our 13,000+ approved comments are currently being indexed, but should reappear on the Biofortified Blog soon. You have likely seen Disqus comments at other websites, including NPR, The Atlantic, and Grist among many others. While every tool has its drawbacks*, we believe this will give users more control over their

RNA

Dietary delivery of small RNAs: Has the worm turned?

“You are what you eat,” as the saying goes, which serves for some as a guide to healthy eating. Even the field of nutrition appreciates the literal nature of this adage: as our bodies renew aging cells, our diets provide the necessary building blocks to repair and maintain them. We need basic nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for proper development and to maintain our health, but what about small RNA molecules? There is a growing interest in small RNAs because they regulate the expression of genes in living organisms, and are not only present in our food to begin with but are also being tested in genetically engineered crops to create useful traits. While experimental biologists have used dietary small RNAs to exert regulatory changes in worms for decades, few scientists would recognize small RNAs as nutrients. Several recent reports by Baier et al. and Zhou et al. (see references 1,