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China Science

China May Restrict Genetically Engineered Rice 183

An anonymous reader writes "China's State Council has released a proposal for a grain law that establishes legislation restricting research, field trials, production, sale, import and export of genetically engineered grain seeds, the first initiative in the world that deals with GE food legislation at state law level. Monsanto had tried and failed to commercialize GE wheat in Canada. Now they were hoping China would become the first guinea pig, opening the gate to genetic experiments with staple crops."
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China May Restrict Genetically Engineered Rice

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  • Re:Greenpeace. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:46PM (#39204151)
    Check out a documentary called The Future of Food [thefutureoffood.com]. I won't claim that it's completely unbiased, but it features commentary from a number of small family farmers and does explain some of the science behind genetically modified food crops. I grew up on a farm myself and my parents still farm and the stuff that Monsanto is doing makes me mad as hell, both as a consumer and for what they're doing to the little guys (family farmers). IMHO Monsanto is a shining example of corporate greed and massive corruption. They aren't even all that bashful about it.
  • GM crops in the US (Score:5, Informative)

    by rgbrenner ( 317308 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:48PM (#39204169)

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/BiotechCrops/ [usda.gov]

    Soybeans: 94%
    Corn: 72%

    The first GM crop was planted in the US in 1996

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:51PM (#39204195)

    I'm no expert, but I can tell you aren't either.

    1) Growing Food crops that are 100% genetically identical is so stupid, it borders on idiocy.

    Who is talking about that? You can still have a mix of crops: genetically modified from several suppliers and conventional from several suppliers. There is even the potential for genetically modified crops to only fill in where conventional crops fail (such as saline environments), thus displacing no conventional crops.

    but if you want to wipe out native species of grains and destroy the gene pool,

    Native species of grains? What agriculturally useful grain is this you see growing out in the wild? Rice, wheat, and especially corn are all dependent on man to cultivate the soil and plant them.

    I think it is perfectly reasonable to have reservations about GMOs, but the discussion should be based on some form of reality.

  • Re:Hillarious Bias (Score:5, Informative)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:01PM (#39204259) Homepage

    I was thinking the same thing. Corn is a staple in the U.S... though it doesn't hold my papers together very well.

    China is wise and correct in this case to block Monsanto and their monkey business. As the Monsanto story unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that Monsanto's crap is needless at the very least and is dangerous at worst. I say dangerous in the same way that the over-use and improper use of anti-biotics have resulted in the creation (dare I say selective breeding) of "super-bugs" Monsanto's insecticide foods are creating super-insects which can eat their poisonous plants and survive. I don't think the planet needs swarms of insects which have adapted to survive insecticide.

    Meanwhile, Monsanto only has interest in getting GM seed spread across the planet so they can later sue for ownership of wherever the seeds find themselves.

    By making Monsanto's crap illegal in their nation, they are closing the doors on Monsanto's game. It would be pretty hard for Monsanto to make claims against Chinese farmers when their product is illegal. On the other hand, Chinese farmers might find themselves in a hell of a lot of trouble should Monsanto's crap end up in their crops. Kind of frightening if you think about it.

  • by andydread ( 758754 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:53PM (#39204547)

    I'm no expert, but I can tell you aren't either.

    Troy Roush a 5th generation farmer and Vice President of the American Corn Growers Association is the expert look him up.

    Who is talking about that? You can still have a mix of crops: genetically modified from several suppliers and conventional from several suppliers. There is even the potential for genetically modified crops to only fill in where conventional crops fail (such as saline environments), thus displacing no conventional crops.

    Actually no you cannot. The GMO stuff you have License from Monsanto and they have special rules about what you are supposed to do in the license agreement. Also in practice the GM Corn and Soy are dominant and they cross-pollinate the conventional corn and soy. If your corn or soy gets contaminated by GM corn or soy then you have to pay for a license from Monsanto plus purchase seed from them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:15PM (#39204651)

    Those evil communists are just jealous of the freedoms in the US.

  • by bjpowers39 ( 768740 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:18PM (#39204665)
    I have actually done some work for major seed companies. There is no danger of the crops being "100% genetically identical." The industry is very good at protecting their underlying crop lines, the licenses are only for the particular traits. The company which licenses the traits then incorporates it into their own plant lines. Most of the major plant companies have a wide variety (hundreds or thousands) of different plant lines from a wide variety of regions with a pretty complete breeding and growth history-they are very aware of the problems involved with monocultures and work very hard to avoid that. The plant company then picks the seed lines where they think the trait will have the most impact/greatest demand and then they incorporate the trait (and the trait only) into that line. The technical term for this is "introgressing" the trait and they have worked for a long time to develop techniques which are very specific for individual stretches of DNA.

    Sometimes (and this is getting more frequent now) they will incorporate more than one trait in a particular plant line. This is a major issue for things like glyphosate tolerant plants. By incorporating multiple modes of herbicide tolerance into a single plant line, the farmer can use a mix of herbicides on the field to make sure that the weeds do not become tolerant to a specific type of herbicide. Similarly, extensive studies are done to make sure that insects do not become resistant to certain traits. One of the primary approaches for this is the use of "refuge" which consists of planting non-insect resistant crop with the insect resistant crop. By having the appropriate mix of the two, you can manage the tolerant insects to prevent losing the effectiveness of the trait. This is also important to the plant company because nobody will purchase the trait if it no longer works. The refuge requirements for a particular trait have a pretty good safety margin included as well to make sure that the trait will continue to be effective.

    I respect individual decisions to eat modified crops or not, my family generally eats organic primarily to benefit local growers and give them a better margin in return for a product which is not mass-produced. We like meeting and knowing the farmers who grow our food. Whatever your opinion might be, disinformation and conspiracy theories is not the way to have an intelligent debate. The plant companies are well aware of the risks and it is in their best interest to mitigate them. Having worked with a number of employees from plant companies, all that I have met take their responsibility for feeding the world very seriously and want to do what they can to increase yields, decrease pesticide/herbicide use and protect the food supply.
  • Re:Hillarious Bias (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:37PM (#39205073)

    Yes let me know if you want your children to eat this corn

    Even people with problems growing their own crops won't touch the garbage

    And finally:

    new study by Indiana’s University of Notre Dame has revealed that streams across the U.S. Midwest contain insecticides from adjacent fields of genetically engineered corn, even well after harvest. The transgenic maize (GE corn) in question has been engineered to produce the insecticidal protein Cry1Ab. Pollen, leaves and cobs from those plants enter streams bordering on the cornfields, where they are said to release Cry1Ab into the water.

    Notre Dame ecologist Jennifer Tank and colleagues conducted a field survey of 217 stream sites in northwestern Indiana, six months after the corn harvest. 86 percent of those sites contained corn crop debris, and Cry1Ab was detected in the debris at 13 percent of those sites. That said, Cry1Ab that had presumably leached out of corn debris was detected in the water itself at 23 percent of the original 217 sites. The concentrations were not provided.

    "Our study demonstrates the persistence and dispersal of crop byproducts and associated transgenic material in streams throughout a corn belt landscape even long after crop harvest," Tank stated.

    The study also concluded that 91 percent of the 200,000 km (124,274 miles) of streams and rivers in Indiana, Iowa and Illinois are located within 500 meters (547 yards) of corn fields. Cry1Ab, a byproduct of the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, does already occur naturally in the environment – expansive crops of corn that produce it, needless to say, do not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:46PM (#39205139)
    I believe the word you're looking for is "Whooosh"... you know, the sound a facetious comment makes as it's flying over your head? (spelled it out for you just in case). Your sig might have Super Cow Powers but you sure as hell don't. Lighten up.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?