For Biology students in the College of Creative Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
GMO Wheat Found in Oregon Field... Wait What?!?!?
Not quite 'amber waves of grain' anymore
Genetically modified organisms (GMO) have taken center-stage on many debate fronts. A couple of days ago, an article came up called GMO Wheat Found in Oregon Field. How Did It Get There? The article focuses on a biotech company called Monsanto who has already created Roundup-resistant corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. Monsanto proposed Roundup-resistant wheat to U.S Wheat Associates but were turned down and their field trials were discontinued. "'We are not in favor of commercializing any biotech trait unless it's gone through regulatory approvals in the U.S. and in other countries.' says Steve Mercer, vice president of communications for U.S. Wheat Associates." Basically, U.S. Wheat Associates were not interested in the GMO wheat because of the possibility of wheat exports to decrease with the addition of GMO wheat to their exports. Eight months later, a farmer noticed a patch of wheat that was apart from his acreage of wheat and when sprayed with Roundup, it didn't die. Samples of the wheat were sent to a scientist at Oregon State University, who found that the wheat was genetically engineered, later confirmed by the USDA. So, how did the wheat get there in the first place? Was the wheat leftover from Monsanto's field trials even though trials in Oregon ended in 2001? Nobody knows for sure where the wheat came from. But wheat farmers are afraid of wheat prices dropping because of this case. So, who's to blame?