GMO Papayas are about People

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Last August, I was invited to speak about genetically engineered crops at a GMO Summit organized by the Hawai’i Crop Improvement Association. The event was held on the big island of Hawai’i, known for its enormous volcanoes, long beaches, and coffee and papaya farms. The HCIA flew me in to speak (honorarium declined), I stayed at people’s houses, and while I was in the state I knew I really wanted to see a papaya farm and to meet Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, who developed the genetically engineered ringspot virus-resistant papayas known as SunUp and Rainbow. So I sent him an

Papaya Scientists sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow

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Last summer, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, who is the scientist behind the genetically engineered Rainbow and SunUp papayas in Hawai’i. I toured a papaya farm, and went to his house to spend the afternoon with Dennis and his wife Carol, and we talked about the development of the GMO papaya – which they were both involved in. But best of all, we shared a meal made from many different papaya dishes, all using the papaya that they developed (You will be able to see a glimpse of this food at a later date)! When we

About those industry funded GMO studies…

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Let’s talk about those industry funded studies. You know the ones. The ones you hear about from anti-GMO folks in the comment section of any story about GMOs. According to those folks, the whole scientific consensus on GMO safety is based on industry funded studies. They say that the only studies that show that GMOs pose no different risks than conventionally bred crops were all bought and paid for by Monsanto. That makes the consensus suspicious right? It would if there weren’t many independently funded studies with similar results. Complaints about industry funded studies show an ignorance of the literature

At the Vanguard

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One year ago, I was contacted by a journalist in Washington by the name of Marco who wanted to learn more about the messy biology and politics of genetically engineered crops so he could write about them in his local paper. Part of his challenge was as the State of Washington was gearing up for a mandatory GMO labeling battle and the political divide was already beginning to affect how people viewed the science. His resulting article on Arctic Apples was published and probably opened a few minds. Next, he wanted to write something about the Green Genes movement,

Political Ideologies and the Anti-GMO Movement

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The Anti-GMO movement has been around since before GM technology first walked across the world stage. The mere hint of it initiated the creation of activist groups against it, and the ideology of anti-GMO began before the public really knew anything about the science. The pervasive question here is why? It should come as no surprise that the majority of anti-GMO sentiment comes from the left portion of the political spectrum. The common thought process is that the right supports GMOs because they support big business. This may be true to some extent, but I don’t think the causation is