Could GMO corn be responsible for increasing childrens’ IQ?

This is a follow-up to my last post on the recent New York Times article written by Danny Hakim. A small but very important section of the NYT article has been bothering me ever since I read it, but it took me a while to find the time to actually find the data to explain why it bothered me. In my last post, I mostly looked at herbicide use; I’m a weed scientist so I already had that data downloaded and analyzed. …

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The tiresome discussion of initial GMO expectations

A new article in the New York Times has questioned the benefits associated with genetically engineered crops (which I’ll call GMOs for brevity). The response to the article has been pretty predictable; folks who don’t like GMOs are circulating it to say “I told you so.” And ag-twitter has exploded with claims that the New York Times is biased against the technology. The article makes some reasonable points that GMO crops are not a ‘silver bullet’ cure all technology. But almost any …

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New study confirms herbicide use changed after adoption of GMO corn and soybean 

But, once again, we are left to wonder whether that’s good or bad.  A new paper was just published in the journal Science Advances that analyzes pesticide use data for farmers in the U.S. between 1998 and 2011. The authors (Edward Perry et al.) are currently agricultural economists at four different universities (Kansas State, Virginia, Michigan State, and Iowa State). Their goal was to determine if pesticide use differed between farmers using GMO varieties and farmers who did not use GMO varieties. Overall, …

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As consumers shift to non-GMO sugar, farmers may be forced to abandon environmental and social gains

Dan Charles at NPR has recently done two interesting pieces about sugar production. In the first, he uses sugar as a proxy to look at the environmental costs and trade-offs of growing food in different places. It makes for an interesting comparison because there are two completely different crops (sugarcane and sugarbeet) that can be grown to produce the exact same product, refined sugar. The two crops have very different climatic needs, pest management requirements, and growing seasons. It is an …

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Seralini Rat Study Revisited

Anyone interested in the GMO debate has probably heard about the Seralini paper that I criticized a while back. That paper was eventually retracted by the original journal, and it has now been re-published in a different journal. There are quite a few articles describing the background, so I won’t get into those details. I suggest reading recent pieces at Retraction Watch or Grist if you want to get the background information. The Seralini press release for the re-published article states “The raw …

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Glyphosate resistant wheat found in Oregon

USDA-APHIS announced recently that volunteer wheat growing in an Oregon field has been confirmed to be resistant to glyphosate. Reports indicate the glyphosate resistance is due to the same transgenic event that was used in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready wheat. More information from the National Association of Wheat Growers and Agri-Pulse. The good news is that this wheat event has already been reviewed by the FDA (back in 2004) and found to be as safe as conventional wheat for food and …

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Why I think the Seralini GM feeding trial is bogus

UPDATE: If you’re looking for information on the ‘republished’ version of this manuscript, a full statistical analysis of the released data can be found here. If you’re following the news about the French GM maize feeding trial, you’ve probably heard: (A) we need to pull GMO crops off the market immediately; or (B) that the study is flawed and is basically meaningless. I guess I find myself leaning toward the second group on this one. Here is why I think the …

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EIS for Roundup Ready sugarbeet released

In 2012, at least 95% of sugarbeet acres in the U.S. were planted to Roundup Ready varieties, meaning they are resistant to glyphosate. Growers have overwhelmingly adopted this technology for a variety of reasons. Due to some recent litigation, however, sugarbeet growers have been required to follow some very strict guidelines on how these varieties can be grown and handled. These requirements stem from the USDA’s decision to “partially deregulate” Roundup Ready sugarbeet while a full environmental impact statement (EIS) …

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