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Food for Thought
For seven years now, OrB's Food for Thought Lecture Series has brought internationally recognized experts to OSU to speak about ways that biotechnology can support sustainable agriculture. OSU Press Release
Lectures are free and open to the public. They're held Wednesday or Thursday evenings at 7:00p in the LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU Campus.
Every talk is followed by audience discussion and a chance to mix & mingle with the speaker. Refreshments are provided!
Biotech in the news
Food For Thought Lecturer on Animal Welfare in the News
Market pressures, not laws, will dictate animal treatment
Capital Press, 14 March 2013
During her recent lecture at Oregon State University, Dr. Joy Mench of the University of California at Davis argued that market pressure from major supermarket and restaurant chains is likely to dictate the future of animal treatment. Although legislation, farm groups, and certification efforts may play a roll, large retailers drive the major changes. This is because they are acting to protect their businesses by being perceived as socially responsible.
Rootworm resistant GMO corn with improved nitrogen use
Benefits of Bt corn go beyond rootworm resistance
Crop Science Society of America, 21 February 2013
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that corn with a Bt gene for resistance to corn rootworm were able to use nitrogen more efficiently in field trials. Nitrogen is a growing cost for farmers and important source of water pollution. If this result is replicated in other studies, it should enable farmers to reduce nitrogen applications in rootworm-prone areas.
Center for Science in the Public Interest Debunks Pro- and Anti-GMO myths
What You Need to Know About Genetically Engineered Food
The Atlantic, 7 February 2013
The Center for Science in the Public Interest debunks myths that GMO food is unsafe, that labeling is beneficial, and also that herbicide tolerant crops are being sustainably managed.
Herbicide-resistant weeds spread
Nearly Half of All US Farms Now Have Superweeds
Mother Jones, 6 February 2013
The majority of corn, soy, and cotton grown in the US are now genetically modified to withstand glyphosate. Due to poor weed management herbicide-resistant weeds have spread much faster and further than expected. The author argues for more diversified management, including crop rotations, rather than reliance on more genes and herbicides to solve the problem.
India's farmer suicide epidemic not due to biotechnology
The myth of India’s ‘GM genocide’: Genetically modified cotton blamed for wave of farmer suicides
National Post, 26 January 2013
Research shows that a rising trend of suicides among rural farmers in India predates the introduction of GM crops, and is part of broader political-economic problems.
Environmental author regrets his own anti-GM activism
Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference
3 January 2013
Environmental writer Mark Lynas gave a lecture at the Oxford Farming Conference explaining why he was wrong to oppose genetically modified crop technology in agriculture, including to take part in vandalism against research. After considerable study, he has concluded that much of what he was told, and that motivated his participation in vandalism, was untrue. He believes that GM was wrongly demonized by the environmental movement, foreclosing in many countries an important technological tool for producing food and reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture.
Lynas' views are put into context in The New Yorker, An Environmentalist's Conversation.
Canola raises a tense conflict between producers of organic foods and renewable energy in a state that cherishes both
Fight Over Canola Pits Biofuels Vs. Organics
abc NEWS, 27 September 2012
The Willamette Valley of Oregon is one of the best places to grow organic broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, and now there is a push to grow another Brassica crop – Canola. Canola is used for cooking oil and biofuel, but local organic farmers fear that if it is grown in the Willamette valley it could increase crop pests, and due to cross-pollination will destroy their ability to sell into GMO-free (often organic) markets.
Greenpeace’s fear of GMOs may harm kids
Greenpeace out to sea on GM rice issue, bioethicist says
NBCNEWS, 14 September 2012
Golden rice is genetically modified to have more vitamin A; a critical nutrient lacking in the diets of many. Thousands of children die annually from vitamin A deficiency, but this number could be reduced by replacing white rice with Golden Rice in the diet. Greenpeace accuses the project of exposing children to dangerous foods without their consent, but renowned ethicist Art Kaplan argues that Greenpeace is wrong on this issue—pointing out that the study was neither risky nor lacking in prior ethical review.
Scientist question validity of study claiming GM food caused tumors
Rat study sparks GM furore
Nature, 25 September 2012
A well-known anti-GMO scientist has published an alarming study, but the raw data have not been released, and many scientists question the scientific validity and significance of the study.
GE food with health benefits
New, healthier choices for oils in our food
COSMOS Magazine, 17 August 2012
DHA Omega-3 oil, better known as fish oil, is essential to brain activity and development and provides protection against some diseases. Fish oil comes from wild ocean fish, but continued reliance on ocean fishing for Omega-3 is not sustainable. Two new approchas to providing sustainable sources of fish oil are explored in this article: genetically engineered cows that produce Omega-3 in their milk, and brewing vats of Omega-3 producing yeasts for feed in fish-farms.