Ask Us Anything About GMOs!
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Q: We've been told time and time again by various biotech companies that GM crops can be contained to a specific area. How is it that more and more fields of heirloom Maize in Mexico have been contaminated with GMO corn? What are you doing to...
Posted On: Thursday, 8/08/2013 10:10 am
Answered By: on Friday, 1/31/2014 4:17 pm
A: I’m not aware of the situation you reference in your first question. But I do know that cross-pollination between commercial hybrids and native varieties has occurred since the advent of commercial hybrids and is a natural process. Mexican growers have improved native varieties by selecting traits best suited to their production requirements, including traits introduced through commercial maize hybrids. However, native seed varieties also are preserved and stored both internationally and at... Continue Reading
Q: Regarding sustainability, I was hoping you could address the findings in the research study conducted by Canterbury University Professor Jack Heinemann, based on an analysis of data on agricultural productivity in north America and Western Europe...
Posted On: Monday, 8/05/2013 11:56 am
Answered By: Janet Carpenter, Owner, J E Carpenter Consulting LLC M.S. Agricultural and Resource Economics on Friday, 1/17/2014 6:21 pm
A: I would encourage a critical read of the paper that you reference, as the conclusions are not based on any careful analysis of the similarities and differences between North American and European production systems. As I indicated in a response to an earlier question about the Heinemann paper, I believe the authors’ “conclusions” are better characterized as assertions. First of all, it is important to recognize the multitude of factors that influence yields and pesticide use, such... Continue Reading
Posted On: Thursday, 8/01/2013 9:35 am
Answered By: David Shaw, Giles Distinguished Professor of Weed Science at Mississippi State University on Friday, 1/03/2014 6:24 pm
A: The short answer is no - there is no impact of the GMO crops on soil. More specifically, this can be viewed from three perspectives: 1. The genetically modified crops themselves break down in exactly the same manner as non-GMO crops. The genetic composition is organic in nature, and is quickly broken down by the soil microbial community. The genes themselves are no different than the genes for flowering characteristics, seed production, or chorophyll synthesis, they... Continue Reading
Q: What influence do the Bt genes and the substances that they generate have on other insects and microorganisms in the soil? There's a great deal of controversy on the subject and I would love to learn the truth.
Posted On: Wednesday, 8/14/2013 3:02 pm
Answered By: Tony Shelton, Professor on Tuesday, 12/24/2013 2:25 pm
A: Strains of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are commonly found in soil. The genes within Bt produce many different proteins in the soil and there are thousands of different arthropods, nematodes and microorganisms in the soil. There are books written about their potential or actual interactions, however, it should be remembered that these interactions are a natural part of the soil ecosystem. Briefly, insecticidally active Bt proteins generally interact only with insects that have... Continue Reading
Q: Having researched the topic, I don't believe there are any immediate health problems associated with consuming GMOs. However, what worries me is the potential repercussions on the environment and the gene pool. How can companies such as...
Posted On: Wednesday, 7/31/2013 3:36 am
Answered By: Ray Dobert, Ph.D., Biotech Regulatory Policy Lead, Monsanto on Friday, 12/20/2013 3:13 pm
A: Thanks for your question regarding potential long-term impacts of GMO crops on the environment. We are getting close to having 20 years of commercial experience with the first GM crops, and to date there have not been any notable negative environmental impacts associated with these products. GMO crops have been integrated into existing agricultural systems and in many instances have prompted a reduction in the impacts that agriculture can have on the environment. For additional... Continue Reading