Expert Analysis:
Agriculture & Environment

September 30, 2015

Is the government doing enough on the role of agriculture in antibiotic resistance?

The use of antibiotics in agriculture was a key part of first public meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. Representatives from the FDA and USDA highlighted that data about on-farm use of antibiotics was still missing, and is required before conclusions can be drawn about the role of farms in antibiotic resistance. Continue reading

September 17, 2015

Parasitic wasps made Monarch butterflies ‘natural GMOs’ through horizontal gene transfer

Genomes of several species of butterflies and moths, including the Monarch butterfly, contain genes from parasitic wasps and viruses due to naturally occurring gene transfer taking place over millions of years, according to a study in PLoS Genetics. Continue reading

September 7, 2015

Extracts from genetically engineered plants could fight food-borne E. coli

Engineering plants to produce antibacterial proteins could offer a new way to control disease-causing E. coli in fresh food, according to a study in PNAS. Researchers genetically engineered plants to produce colicins – proteins which kill or inhibit the growth of E. coli – and found that when extracted, the colicins significantly reduced bacterial populations. Continue reading

September 5, 2015

Freedom of information requests reveal how scientists interact with seed, chemical and organic companies

Publicly funded researchers have become integrated into public relations and lobbying efforts by both agricultural biotechnology and organic companies, according to a report in the New York Times. The report is based on emails between researchers and companies obtained through freedom of information requests. Continue reading

August 28, 2015

USDA approves new blight resistant, non-browning GE potato

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced they will deregulate a second genetically engineered potato by J.R. Simplot Company. In addition to reduced browning, the newly approved potato is engineered for blight resistance and a lower sugar content. Continue reading

August 25, 2015

Consumer Reports finds widespread fecal bacterial in ground beef, recommends buying antibiotic-free

A Consumer Reports investigation analyzed 300 samples of ground beef bought from food stores in the US, reporting 100% of the products tested positive for bacteria found in feces. The authors recommended consumers should buy beef from cattle raised without antibiotics, on food safety grounds. Continue reading

August 19, 2015

Researchers call for review of GE crop safety, cite public health concerns over glyphosate, 2,4-D

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Philip Landrigan and Charles Benbrook call for a reconsideration of the safety of plant biotechnology due to concern over the impact of herbicides on public health. Continue reading

August 17, 2015

Monsanto is developing ‘genetic sprays’ using RNAi to combat pests and enhance crops

Agricultural biotechnology companies are developing sprays to control weeds and insect pests by temporarily altering their genetics through RNA interference. Companies like Monsanto see the RNAi sprays as an alternative to developing new genetically engineered crops. Continue reading

July 16, 2015

Genetically modified diamondback moths reduce pest population and slow resistance to Bt crops in greenhouse trials

A genetically modified version of the diamondback moth, which can devastate cruciferous vegetables, significantly reduced pest populations and decreased spread of resistance to the Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) bacterial proteins engineered into transgenic broccoli to control pests.
Continue reading

July 2, 2015

Study from Gilles-Éric Séralini argues food safety trials undermined by chemicals in rat feed

A group of researchers has called into question the validity of rodent feeding trials, used in biomedical research and in the regulation of commercial products, by analyzing the diets of control rats. The research, published in PLOS ONE, was from the lab of Gilles-Eric Séralini. Continue reading

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