dimanche 9 octobre 2016

90- All against the genetic technology


"Genetically engineered foods have a bad reputation. Activists are fighting such projects around the world, although they could be used to combat poverty. It's fair?

Scientists who develop genetically engineered foods are not labeled as heroes. Even though they aspire to a better world. For example, the German biologist Ingo Potrycus, who had to investigate in a bombproof greenhouse to develop a rice able to eradicate vitamin A deficiency in children. According to the World Health Organization, 124 million children do not receive adequate amounts of this vitamin and each year one or two million die from it. And this is right there that intervenes the Golden Rice.

Picture: http://www.goldenrice.org/image/how_GR2.jpg

A long, hard road
In the Occident, vitamin A is consumed through dairy products or beta-carotene. Rice lacks this yellow pigment, but it is present in the leaves of the plant. So Ingo Potrycus found a way to produce a rich in beta-carotene rice, modifying the genetics of the plant and, finally in 1999, after years of hard work, grains rich in vitamin A were born. Yellow rice seemed the perfect solution and it was decided to distribute seeds among developing countries. However, for legal patent disputes and activist protests, Golden Rice has not still been successful to enter the market.
Greenpeace claimed that the product was not finished and could contaminate other rice, could affect neighboring fields and possibly was not even fit for consumption. According to the environmental organization, it was a "Trojan Horse" to open the door and allow entry of other genetically modified organisms. Greenpeace argued that, rather than promoting that action, it should be fought for access to food and organic farming. But even its former director, Stephen Tindale, says he has changed his mind about genetically modified plants. For him, the rejection is morally unacceptable, since the ideology takes priority on hunger of the poor: "I think important to say that things have changed," he said.

Banana's hope
In Uganda, the opinion on genetically modified plants is much divided. In this country of East Africa, the banana is a staple food and a source of carbohydrates. But a bacterial disease called BXW (Banana Xanthomonas Wilt) infected fields in August 2001, making bananas inedible. It spread quickly and, in some regions, 100% of the crop was lost, causing food deficiencies to 14 million Ugandans.

Picture: https://cabiplantwise.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/xanthomonas-fruit-symptoms.jpg

Scientists wanted to create resistant bananas, and immune to BXW bacteria, grafting green pepper proteins, but the law and the fear of the dangers of genetic technology, prevented it. Uganda office of the NGO Action Aid ran against this new type of banana because it could cause cancer and warned the population with radio ads. Action Aid then withdrew these claims and even denies have done them, but still, the research project is still in detention and peasants trust that, before 2020, legal barriers have been overcome to produce this type of banana.

Modified papayas
When the ringspot virus affected the fruit growing region of Puna, Hawaii, it was a nightmare for Filipino farmers in the region. Their market fell and the virus spread, forcing many to leave the land. Experts began investigating to create a new type of papaya and "vaccinate" it against the virus. This Rainbow Papaya could be the salvation for many farmers at their subsistence limit. And other scientists from Thailand, Venezuela and other countries wanted to adapt the technology to their markets.

Picture: http://67.media.tumblr.com/8924690e92ebe188075a56e28a2ac976/tumblr_nkjfebml7V1t15h2ho1_1280.jpg

However, in Venezuela not only it was protested against, but projects were also destroyed and test crop incinerated. "The papaya genetic material is closed awaiting better times," said Guido Nuñez, of the research team. Nuñez now intends to make a documentary through a crowdfunding platform, to tell their experience and problems they suffered: "In Venezuela, not only research on papaya stopped, but also all laboratories of genetically modified foods".

This article comes from a German digital magazine in its Spanish edition.

I found it interesting to the extent that it provides information on three real situations which claimed to solve very serious problems that have nothing to do with the multinationals, but with access to the local populations’ diet, face to a danger of lack of nutrients.
We must question the current state of genetic modifications blocking, given the reality of humanity, and of the poorest populations.

An ideology supposedly humanist and environmentalist,
Is it compatible with the daily death of thousands of children?
Is it compatible with the endangerment of starvation of entire populations?
Have we the moral right to let die so many innocent people only to defend a dogma?
Who are the good?, Environmentalists defending an ideology? Or scientists seeking solutions to hunger, death and climate change?
What are hiding those who claim to speak out against the multinationals?

Environmentalists lobbies are today much more dangerous, harmful and deadly as the seed industry.
In the name of what?

To go further, several articles in this blog, where you can find lots of information and references:
The revolt of science

The bluff conspiracy

GMO, why not?

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