Thoughts About Norm Borlaug for his 100th Birthday

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Norman Borlaug Congressional Medal, Wikimedia Commons. Norman Borlaug would have been 100 years old last week.  He has been called “The Man Who Fed The World,” and “The Father of The Green Revolution.”  Norm Borlaug was the first plant pathologist to be awarded a Nobel Prize (1970) – for contributions to world peace. For all of use who are fellow plant pathologists, his work has been particularly inspiring. It is a good time to look back at how the challenge of feeding the world population was met during Borlaug’s career, because we have a similar challenge ahead of us.

Only Seralini can Censor Seralini

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Supporters of Prof Seralini should stop complaining about being treated unfairly, and simply publish the work elsewhere.  If the data truly support what they claim, the work will find many excellent alternative publication venues. The 2012 work by Seralini et al has long been retracted, and months later friends and admirers of Prof Seralini still are screaming foul and injustice, even leveling claims of censorship.  In the recent online twitter rally over at #SupportSeralini, you can read claims  about how Monsanto controls all scientific journals and their editors, effectively expunging any evidence of transgenic plant product harm from the scientific

Reductionist thinking and GMOs

While the article GMOs, Silver Bullets and the Trap of Reductionist Thinking has garnered some praise, I was hoping for more here and was left unimpressed. Written by Jonathan Foley, Director of the Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, the article begins by stating that GMOs have come with “Big Problems”. He goes on to elaborate several points that are actually either old myths, untrue, or not really GE specific. In the move from “lab into the real world” he states that “they end up being very disappointing.” I wonder how many growers across the globe would agree with that.

Huber’s claims in Maui lack evidence

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Yesterday, Dr. Don Huber spoke in Maui as part of an event that kicked off a political campaign to ban genetically engineered crops from the island. The same day, a letter to the editor by Dr. Harold Keyser, a retired soil scientist from the University of Hawaii, appeared in the same paper that gave a spotlight to the Huber event. Due to a time constraint, Huber took about 10 minutes to answer a few questions, so there was not the time for Keyser to ask a question at this event.* Dr. Keyser’s letter to the editor is republished with his permission

Superfoods: GMO edition

Non-GE and GE tomatoes engineered for anthocyanins. Image from John Innes Centre.

We’ve all seen those silly lists of so-called super foods. A quick Google turned up 450,000,000 results, with the expected offenders on the first page: WebMD, Dr. Oz, Oprah, and some womens’ magazines. It’s nice to imagine that we can cure all sorts of ills if we just drink some exotic berry juice or add a certain spice to all of our meals. But the reality is that there’s usually very little scientific evidence for the claims that are being made. Instead of relying on that expensive juice 0r supplement to reverse aging, lose weight, improve memory, “cleanse”, or whatever the