Genetically modified crops - February issue

Nick Maclaren nmm1 at cus.cam.ac.uk
Sun Feb 7 16:07:26 EST 1999


In article <36BDC28C.C4CF596F at uga.cc.uga.edu>,
Wayne Parrott  <wparrott at uga.cc.uga.edu> wrote:
>
>> >Now come transgenic crops, tailored for a new generation of herbicides.
>> >Compared to original herbicides, today's lack, carbon-chlorine bonds, are
>> >effective in far far smaller doses, are much more target-specific, and have
>> >short residuals.
>>
>> You are missing the point.  The intention is to use much higher levels
>> of herbicides,
>
>Actually, no.  Check out the herbicide spray recommendations.  We have gone from
>pounds per acre to ounces per acre.

Yes, I know.  But the intention is to use herbicides on crops that
that not currently sprayed with them, because there are no appropriate
ones that leave the crop alone and kill the most serious weeds.  If
I remember correctly, sugar beet is one such crop.

>There are lots of studies showing that Roundup does not persist elsewhere.  In fact,
>this is Roundup's Achilles heel, from a farming point of view.  Late-germinating
>weeds are not affected by Roundup, as its activity is so short-lived.
>
>Finally, Roundup contains 'carriers' in it, in addition to the active ingredient,
>glyphosate.  My understanding is that one of these carriers can be detrimental to
>fish if it gets into waterways.  Hence, alternative formulations of glyphosate
>exist.

The papers that I have seen indicated that it was the glyphosate
decomposition products and not the additives that accumulated in mud.
It is quite possible that the difference is that soil is an aerobic
environment, and aquatic mud usually isn't.

>I am not aware of any scorpion toxin genes actually put into plants, but that does
>not mean it has not been done.  I am aware of scorpion toxin genes placed into
>baculoviruses which are then sprayed onto plants, and which subsequently makes the
>virus more effective at killing caterpillars.  This work is being done in another
>department here on campus, and I can assure you that the investigators have spent
>more time investigating possible side effects than anything else.

There was an application for a field trial for some such variety,
but I can't remember in which country.  I think that it was the UK,
and so the MAFF almost certainly approved it on the nod :-(


Regards,
Nick Maclaren,
University of Cambridge Computing Service,
New Museums Site, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QG, England.
Email:  nmm1 at cam.ac.uk
Tel.:  +44 1223 334761    Fax:  +44 1223 334679



More information about the Plantbio mailing list