Expert Analysis:
Agriculture & Environment

July 1, 2015

Education and age, not political ideology, divide US attitudes on GE foods and biomedicine

American public attitudes about the safety of eating genetically engineered foods and the safety of childhood vaccines do not split down party political lines, unlike attitudes to climate change and energy, according to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center. Factors like education, gender and age were found to be more divisive on attitudes to food safety and biomedical topics. Continue reading

June 16, 2015

Jurassic World: Can geneticists really resurrect dead species?

The filmmakers behind Jurassic World have updated the franchise’s plot line, with scientists creating a new genetically enhanced dinosaur that (predictably) goes on a rampage. We asked animal biotechnology experts to comment on whether the idea of bringing back and genetically engineering prehistoric species is grounded in reality. Continue reading

May 28, 2015

Gene editing crops to reintroduce benefits from wild relatives: an organic conundrum?

Reintroducing beneficial properties found in wild plants but missing from their domesticated cousins could strengthen crop varieties and reduce the need for chemical inputs, which would benefit organic farmers looking to increase yields. A paper in Trends in Plant Science argues there is a place in organic agriculture for crops whose genome has been edited to make precise mutations which reintroduce wild-type properties, but where no foreign DNA is inserted. Continue reading

May 19, 2015

White House publishes plan to protect vital pollinators

The White House has laid out its long-awaited strategy to improve pollinator health in the US, aiming to reduce honeybee losses, increase monarch butterfly numbers and restore or enhance millions of acres of pollinator habitat. Continue reading

May 15, 2015

33.5 million birds and rising, why is avian flu so hard to stop?

Avian flu has been confirmed on poultry farms in fifteen U.S. states, with over 33.5 million birds infected and numbers continuing to rise. Destroying infected flocks to eradicate the highly pathogenic viruses presents a significant biosecurity challenge, and researchers are scrambling to understand how the viruses move between wild species and domestic birds. Continue reading

May 11, 2015

EPA green lights spinach genes for genetically engineered orange trees

The Environmental Protection Agency has granted a temporary exemption for two spinach genes to be used in developing transgenic orange trees resistant to citrus greening disease, a bacterial infection currently sweeping through US orange crops. Continue reading

April 30, 2015

What does it mean for food to be ‘GMO-free’?

The mexican food chain Chipotle recently announced that they have removed genetically engineered ingredients from their menu, but will still serve meat and dairy from animals fed on GE feed, and drinks sweetened with GE corn syrup, raising the question of what it really means for food to be ‘GMO-free’. Continue reading

April 21, 2015

What do we know about the bird flu infecting US farms?

Bird flu has been infecting poultry farms in the West and Midwest. With large scale chicken farms affected and increasing numbers of birds being destroyed to contain the spread, GENeS has reached out to experts to find out what we know about current strains of the virus. Continue reading

April 10, 2015

European group says neonicotinoid use can’t be sustainable

A European expert group looked at the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on the benefits that ecosystems provide for agriculture, broadening their focus beyond honeybees. Continue reading

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