Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It's happening as predicted

GE seeds are getting away. Two major incidences are now in the news:

Long Grain Rice
According to USDA Secretary Mike Johanns, domestic and export stocks of long grain rice have been contaminated by a genetically engineered variety of rice that is not approved for human consumption. Johanns says the biotech rice poses no health risks, but could damage the U.S. $1 billion rice export market, since many nations refuse to import genetically engineered rice. Japan has already announced a ban on long grain rice imports from the US. Last year, Japan and the EU banned US corn imports as a result of yet another GE contamination scandal.
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An experimental variety of genetically engineered bentgrass escaped from a test plot in Oregon. The biotech plant, designed for golf courses, has not been approved by the USDA, but has already been found among native grasses in six different locations. Scientists say they don't know how will behave in the wild but admit it may have a strong advantage over native grasses, and could therefore irreversibly damage the ecosystem as it spreads. According to Tom Stohlgren, an ecologist at the US Geological Survey's National Institute of Invasive Species Science, the experimental bentgrass "can tend to outcompete other species...It doesn't need to sexually reproduce - it's like The Blob. It could potentially hit rare species or national parks."
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