Pope Francis issues cautious statements about GMOs


(Editor’s note: Introduction by Karl Haro von Mogel) On Thursday the 18th of June, the Vatican published an encyclical written by Pope Francis – an open letter addressed to “every living person on this planet.” The bulk of this encyclical focused on addressing climate change and other detrimental impacts that humans are having on the environment. Subtitled On Care for Our Common Home, it called for a revolution in how we think and act about climate change, which to this day remains a politically divided issue despite the overwhelming scientific consensus. Pope Francis blesses a sample of Golden Rice at

Thoughts About Norm Borlaug for his 100th Birthday


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.

Counting The Cost of the Anti-GMO Movement


Mark Lynas’s speech has had over a quarter of a million downloads Last week, environmentalist Mark Lynas presented an articulate and painfully honest apology for his significant role in starting the anti-GMO movement in the 1990s.  He said that it was the most successful campaign in which he has ever been involved, but after finally looking into the science, he now deeply regrets what he and others accomplished.  While it is gratifying to have a figure like Lynas make such a turn-about, it does nothing to mitigate the damage of which this anti-science movement has perpetrated on humanity and the environment.  Ideally,

Interviews: Getting the facts on Proposition 37


Three days ago, I announced that I would be interviewing the proponents and opponents of California Proposition 37, which if passed would require labels on foods made from genetically engineered crops. There has been a lot of debate about this issue, for as long as genetically engineered crops have been around. I participated in a chat last week that Mercury News put on, which had both Stacy Malkan and Kathy Fairbanks answering questions and debating each other, and it was pretty hectic, disjointed, and somewhat uncivil. It didn’t answer any of the questions that I had about the proposition –

Interview with Dr. Gia Aradottir

In England, there is an important experiment underway. A research group at the Rothamsted Research station in Harpenden, is testing a variety of wheat that has been genetically engineered to scare away aphid pests. If successful, the experiment could demonstrate the effectiveness of a novel, environmentally-friendly way to manage pests. However, a protest group is threatening the ability of the researchers to continue their project, and there have been a lot of claims made about the research. To help shed some light on this experiment, I interviewed Dr. Gia Aradottir, a biologist who is involved in the project. KJHvM: Can