Off-patent GMO soybeans: What happens now?

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Farmers can save these Roundup Ready seeds The development, testing, and regulation of genetically engineered crops usually takes a significant investment of time and resources, and it comes as no surprise that these crops are patented so that their developers can recoup their investments. Farmers who grow these crops usually pay licensing fees for the use of the technology, and sign license agreements that restrict their ability to save the seeds. Now, a variety of GMO herbicide-tolerant soybeans has been released by the University of Arkansas with no technology fees, and no license agreements to sign. The farmers are free

A Misplaced Concern about an Apple

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Apples growing in British Columbia As a consumer and as an agricultural scientist, I’m looking forward to the introduction of the Arctic® apple. It is possibly nearing approval by regulators in the US and Canada which could mean that supplies might finally be available in a few more years.  These apples could give consumers the possibility of buying apples that maintain their flavor, appearance and vitamin content after cutting, and which can also be used to make beautiful dried apple slices without the need for sulfites (something that can be a problem for some people).  This is an excellent example

A feminist mother and science advocate’s response to Vani Hari, the “Food Babe”

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Originally published on the Genetic Literacy Project. Vani Hari, better known as “Food Babe,” is a self-proclaimed investigator of food and consumer advocate. Yet, some of her so-called investigations have been based in little to no evidence, while most of the rest of her claims are outright drivel. She has made her mark in an all-too-easy exploitation of public fear of the “unnatural,” distrust of establishment and love for fads. As expected, her opposition has been growing. Scientists and skeptics have begun criticizing Hari’s assertions. Within the last several months, the frequency of articles, blog posts and social media opposition has

Watch the Intelligence Squared GMO Debate

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The Intelligence Squared debate logo Update: Watch the Debate Live Here. Tune in Wednesday, December 3rd for a debate on GMOs. Intelligence Squared is hosting a debate between four individuals from two opposing camps, addressing the question of whether or not we should grow genetically engineered foods. Arguing the positive are Robert Fraley from Monsanto and Alison Van Eenennaam from UC Davis, and arguing the negative are Margaret Mellon, formerly of the Union of Concerned Scientists and currently a consultant for the Center for Food Safety, and Charles Benbrook, who is currently at Washington State University. The debate starts at

The Return of a King – The American Chestnut

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Two Chestnut burrs. Credit: KJHvM When European settlers came to America, they found vast forests in the Appalachian mountains, dominated by the American chestnut. The chestnut quickly worked its way into the lives and culture of our country, and was used for lumber, food, forage, and fuel. But today, the chestnut is nearly gone – almost completely wiped out by a blight that was accidentally imported on a Chinese chestnut tree. The impacts of this loss have been felt across the Appalachians, and even to parts of the Midwest. But today there is a concerted effort to bring it back