Sugar Beets pulled out of the ground, by Curious Cook

GMO crops vandalized in Oregon

On the night of June 8 this year, vandals broke into a field of genetically engineered sugar beets in Oregon owned by Syngenta, a Swiss company, and destroyed about 1,000 plants. Then three days later, a second such incident occurred, this time destroying about 5,500 plants. Federal investigators are seeking information about these incidents, and Oregonians for Food & Shelter have offered a reward of $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of the individuals responsible for these acts of vandalism. Both incidents occurred in rural Jackson County, on the Southern border of Oregon. The beets were genetically engineered to resist the herbicide Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, which is a common trait for many genetically engineered crops currently on the market. This trait is desired by sugar beet farmers because it can improve their weed control, which currently requires multiple different herbicides to accomplish. The destruction

GM debate: scientists and protesters aren’t polar opposites

Editor’s note: Republished with permission from The Birds, the Bees, and Feeding the World. By Rebecca Nesbit My excitement of today was to attend the anti-GM protest organised by Take the Flour Back, joining the group of bystanders wearing ‘Don’t Destroy Research’ badges. Take the Flour Back (I don’t get the name – apparently it’s something to do with Rage Against the Machine) objects to a trial of GM wheat, and they organised a day to do some ‘decontamination’. That’s vandalism to you and me. The trial at Rothamsted Research is of genetically-modified wheat which contains an aphid-repelling gene normally found in peppermint plants. The aim is to reduce the use of pesticides. Take the Flour Back say it is too risky to do the trial in the great outdoors. However, trials in the lab have been very promising and the necessary lab tests have been completed to ensure it is ready

Newsnight on the Rothamsted Wheat

Yesterday, Newsnight on BBC2 hosted a discussion about the genetically engineered possibly-aphid-repelling wheat underway at the Rothamsted Station in the UK. It featured John Pickett from Rothamsted, Tracey Brown from Sense About Science, Lawrence Woodward who is a former head of the Soil Association, and Jyoti Fernandes representing the protest group, Take the Flour Back. Have a watch while it is still up on YouTube:

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 you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to work at Rothamsted and on this project? What is your role in the project? GA: I’m the newest member of the GM wheat team, I joined the E-β-farnesene project a year and a half ago. I did my

What do you want to know about GE wheat?

This year and next, an important and interesting trial of genetically engineered wheat is underway. At the Rothamsted research station in the UK, they are testing the ability of this wheat to ward off aphids by emitting an odorless pheromone. If successful, it could mean that wheat farmers will have a non-insecticide option for prevent losses to this harmful herbivore. This field trial has gotten a lot of press and attention, and the UK’s chief scientific adviser called it amazing. However, a group calling themselves Take The Flour Back, is protesting the trial, and through their website are threatening to vandalize and remove the wheat plants before they flower. (No April Fools, folks.) Well you are in for a treat! We have arranged an interview with Gia Aradottir, who is a biologist involved in the project. Here is a story that focused on her work. Is there anything you want