To your opinion, how is the continuing GMO-experimentings in wineproducing grapevines, (to create a possible 'beter' havest...) defendable in despite of the fact over 400.000 hactares of grapevines in Europe have to be destroyed by European government law, making -already- many, many Europeans lose their way of living ?
Thank you for answering.
Submitted by: andre van putten
Expert response from Steve Savage
Consultant, Savage & Associates
Thursday, 31/10/2013 14:42
The wine industry in the Europe has issues of over-production and challenges from competition in export markets. Certain "reforms" of the industry are being orchestrated by the EU in an attempt to address this situation (http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/capreform/wine/potential/index_en.htm). I can't really comment on the wisdom or fairness of that process, but anything that negatively impacts a grower is of concern to me. There are some ideas for transgenic traits which could help to make EU wine grape production more competitive vs. other production regions around the world. European grape growing conditions tend to be much wetter than those in California, Chile, Argentina, Australia or South Africa. Because of that, more fungicide applications are necessary to protect the crop. There could be significant cost-savings if, for instance, genes for resistance to a disease like Downey Mildew could be moved from North American grape species to Vitis vinifera. Moving those traits through conventional breeding would compromise wine quality, while a genetic engineering approach could preserve the quality traits while altering the level of disease resistance. That said, it is extremely unlikely that genetically modified grapes would be accepted in Europe as evidenced by the extreme reaction to even a small, government-run experiment with a modified rootstock in Colmar, France in 2010 (http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/296083). Whether the EU should continue research in this area is more of a political than a scientific question, and I can only address the latter (http://www.biofortified.org/2013/10/gmo-wine-grapes/).
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