GM Rice

It seems that the article is not in public domain. Based on the abstract, I have a few questions about this “unprecedented push” towards GM rice.

1. Were there any physiologic studies on human beings? What genetic changes were made? Does it have human DNA in it?

2. The UN Environment Programme study indicates that organic farming can feed Africa. What is the need for GM-rice other than ownership of it? … 68641.html

3. Rice is basic food in the world. What corporations are pushing this? Why put such a staple of human kind into few corporate hands?

I wouldn’t depend on Nature to give us the answers to these though. It’s record of scientific integrity where biotechnology is concerned has some serious blots.

When Berkeley researchers, Ignacio Chapela and David Quist published a paper on Mexican maize contamination (Nature, Nov 2001), there was a huge backlash from the Biotech Industry and the magazine bent over backwards to take it back.

Monsanto’s Dirty Tricks Campaign Against Fired Berkeley Professor Ignacio Chapela
Corporate skepticism: Turning doubt into dollars
Rampant Conflict of Interest in Mexican Corn Controversy
Worthy’s ‘Responses to Metz, Fütterer and Kaplinsky’s Correspondences in Nature, 27 June 2002’

John Paull, who has posted a comment on this article, has reported on China’s drive towards organic agriculture:

I would not necessarily depend on China to safeguard our food safety either. What do we learn from the ongoing melamine disaster?

When possible I will try to get the full text of this from a library.

Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:07 am

Agriculture: Is China ready for GM rice?

In an effort to avoid a food crisis as the population grows, China is putting its weight behind genetically modified strains of the country’s staple food crop. Jane Qiu explores the reasons for the unprecedented push.

Jane Qiu

In a paddy field 30 kilometres south of Fuzhou, the capital of China’s Fujian province, Wang Feng is surveying a massive green and yellow chessboard before him. Wang, a rice researcher at the Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and his colleagues have been developing genetically modified (GM) rice strains to resist pest infestation, and have been testing in these plots for a decade. Two strains from Wang’s team are now awaiting regulatory approval by the agricultural ministry for commercial growth. It could represent the largest commercialization of a GM foodcrop. Rice is a staple for most of the country’s 1.3 billion people and a primary source of calories for more than half the world’s population.

other comment

True, we need to look at more than only the science. Still on the science of GMOs, here are some talks on its flaws:

We also have to be concerned about the economics and injustice that is being promoted in the name of science. Even if the science were ok we’d need to be concerned about it. The monopolistic actions, anti-trust violations and complete control over seeds. Why would we expect a corporation like Monsanto to care about farmers and food security? Even in the US Monsanto is actively putting seed cleaners (the people who help farmers save their seeds) out of business.
Agricultural Giant Battles Small Farmers This CBS News report is subtitled: Monsanto Goes To Great Lengths To Protect Its Patents On Genetically Modified Crops