Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Athletic Turf - Herbicide-tolerant turfgrass gets a setback: "According to [Penn State's David] Huff, it is not the ability to develop such grasses but the problems of controlling their spread and fixing liability for any escape that are the short-term hurdles...Gene stewardship is another concern. Part of the hubbub is that grasses are vegetatively propagated and their pollen can fly in the wind. Turf grasses are perennials and often grow close to native species. They can hybridize with those native plants....A report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in October 2004 by L.S. Watrud showed that gene flow from genetically modified plants occurred up to 13 miles away — in just one year. The 300 acres for modified plants was surrounded by an 11,000 acre control area."

And then comes the real kicker and the frightening, truly frightening part. According to Huff: "NO ONE REALIZED IT COULD TRAVEL THAT FAR"!

And you know, maybe that could be chalked up to an honest mistake. But that is precisely the point: one such mistake is all it takes to wipe out a crop around the world. There seems to be just too much we do not know about how GMO works and it seems to be too volatile to play with it. And there really doesn't seem to be any societal need for the thing. It is all about greed.

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