A good use for GM?

York Press: A good use for GM? A good use for GM?

YOUR columnist Kate Lock won’t like this, but might GM be a useful technology? For instance, mosquitoes genetically modified to be resistant to the parasite that causes malaria might help provide a solution to this disease.

The US also wants to introduce sterile GM mosquitoes to combat the spread of dengue fever in the States.

If milder winters allow the spread of insect-borne disease in the UK, then GM could be useful.

A devastating virus carried by an Asian bug threatens world citrus crops, and we are familiar with ash dieback here in the UK. Maybe GM could provide an answer.

The Rothamsted Experimental Station is carrying out useful research that can protect plants (wheat) from aphids by releasing a pheromone from their leaves which deters attack, again using GM. This reduces pesticide use.

However where I draw the line is the use of GM to turn a fast buck. For example, the GM salmon programmed to grow at a ridiculous rate, or the use of herbicide-resistant GM crops, of which the genes have now given rise to herbicide resistant super-weeds.

I think we should have a public ethics and regulatory body in place.

Chris Clayton, Hempland Drive, York.

Comments (5)

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12:24pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Zetkin says...

The problems with genetic modification go beyond turning a fast buck.

The multinational companies that produce the genetically-modified organism tend to patent it as well, meaning that they will continue to earn a fast buck from each generation of farmers who raises the plant or animal.

Furthermore, theyre quite likely to modify their high-yield plant in such a way that its seed its sterile and cannot be set aside for planting. So the pverty-stricken third world farmer may get a good harvest that he can sell, but is obliged to go back to the multi-national in order to buy next year's seeds at whatever price the company dictates.

Yields may rise but farmers across the world will find themselves permanently indebted to the likes of Monsanto who care about profit, not feeding the hungry or helping farmers achieve life-long sustainability and independence.
The problems with genetic modification go beyond turning a fast buck. The multinational companies that produce the genetically-modified organism tend to patent it as well, meaning that they will continue to earn a fast buck from each generation of farmers who raises the plant or animal. Furthermore, theyre quite likely to modify their high-yield plant in such a way that its seed its sterile and cannot be set aside for planting. So the pverty-stricken third world farmer may get a good harvest that he can sell, but is obliged to go back to the multi-national in order to buy next year's seeds at whatever price the company dictates. Yields may rise but farmers across the world will find themselves permanently indebted to the likes of Monsanto who care about profit, not feeding the hungry or helping farmers achieve life-long sustainability and independence. Zetkin

5:07pm Fri 20 Dec 13

cbeebies says...

I agree with Zetkin that Monsanto, with roundup ready soy beans etc is exactly the sort of thing that gets GM a very bad name and leads to super-weeds, as the original letter states. The terminator seeds are also deplorable. However there is scope for some good work on GM that could be beneficial. As the Terminator said in Judgement Day of humans "you have it in your nature to destroy yourselves". I fear that money will talk and the human race will be poorer, but it need not be so.
I agree with Zetkin that Monsanto, with roundup ready soy beans etc is exactly the sort of thing that gets GM a very bad name and leads to super-weeds, as the original letter states. The terminator seeds are also deplorable. However there is scope for some good work on GM that could be beneficial. As the Terminator said in Judgement Day of humans "you have it in your nature to destroy yourselves". I fear that money will talk and the human race will be poorer, but it need not be so. cbeebies

4:05pm Sat 21 Dec 13

ColdAsChristmas says...

The problem is that we are still making people but not making land. The World population has doubles in my life time alone and is not going down any time soon. So, how do you achieve more yield from less space if not GM?
Stopping using land to grow bio crops will help but is not the complete answer. Protecting the green belt will help not only to preserve land for agriculture but also to help restrict population growth.
I suppose we could all eat less. That'll go down well when millions are starving. By 2030 the UK is expected to have 70 Million people (If Scotland remain) and 10 Billion in the worl perhaps only a decade after that.

So come on you PC Greenies, what is your answer to feeding the World?
The problem is that we are still making people but not making land. The World population has doubles in my life time alone and is not going down any time soon. So, how do you achieve more yield from less space if not GM? Stopping using land to grow bio crops will help but is not the complete answer. Protecting the green belt will help not only to preserve land for agriculture but also to help restrict population growth. I suppose we could all eat less. That'll go down well when millions are starving. By 2030 the UK is expected to have 70 Million people (If Scotland remain) and 10 Billion in the worl perhaps only a decade after that. So come on you PC Greenies, what is your answer to feeding the World? ColdAsChristmas

7:31pm Sat 21 Dec 13

far2bizzy says...

ColdAsChristmas wrote:
The problem is that we are still making people but not making land. The World population has doubles in my life time alone and is not going down any time soon. So, how do you achieve more yield from less space if not GM?
Stopping using land to grow bio crops will help but is not the complete answer. Protecting the green belt will help not only to preserve land for agriculture but also to help restrict population growth.
I suppose we could all eat less. That'll go down well when millions are starving. By 2030 the UK is expected to have 70 Million people (If Scotland remain) and 10 Billion in the worl perhaps only a decade after that.

So come on you PC Greenies, what is your answer to feeding the World?
Protecting the green belt will . . . . . help restrict population growth.

“No . .not tonight George”
“Oh what is it – another of your ‘heads’?”
”No, I feel fine. It’s just . .”
“But we agreed didn’t we? - the time is just right”
”But didn’t see the paper today?”
“No – what?”
“The planning permission for that new estate, it’s been turned down.”
“Oh? Why?”
“It’s on the green belt”
“Oh no! Just our luck. Oh well – what’s on the telly?”
[quote][p][bold]ColdAsChristmas[/bold] wrote: The problem is that we are still making people but not making land. The World population has doubles in my life time alone and is not going down any time soon. So, how do you achieve more yield from less space if not GM? Stopping using land to grow bio crops will help but is not the complete answer. Protecting the green belt will help not only to preserve land for agriculture but also to help restrict population growth. I suppose we could all eat less. That'll go down well when millions are starving. By 2030 the UK is expected to have 70 Million people (If Scotland remain) and 10 Billion in the worl perhaps only a decade after that. So come on you PC Greenies, what is your answer to feeding the World?[/p][/quote]Protecting the green belt will . . . . . help restrict population growth. “No . .not tonight George” “Oh what is it – another of your ‘heads’?” ”No, I feel fine. It’s just . .” “But we agreed didn’t we? - the time is just right” ”But didn’t see the paper today?” “No – what?” “The planning permission for that new estate, it’s been turned down.” “Oh? Why?” “It’s on the green belt” “Oh no! Just our luck. Oh well – what’s on the telly?” far2bizzy

2:21am Sun 22 Dec 13

ColdAsChristmas says...

Yes, building ever more houses will facilitate population growth, A bit like the fish that drank the pool! Think about it.
Yes, building ever more houses will facilitate population growth, A bit like the fish that drank the pool! Think about it. ColdAsChristmas

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