The Environmental Protection Agency has refused a petition that aimed to ban the sale of a powerful pesticide linked with cancer — and while already available, a surge in sales is expected as scientists ready a new crop resistant to the chemical.
Not only has the EPA rejected a petition that sought to prohibit the domestic sale of the dangerous 2,4-D pesticide — a key ingredient in Agent Orange — but the main manufacturer of the chemical predicts that sales will skyrocket in the coming months. The reason, it would seem, is that Dow Chemicals is awaiting federal approval of a genetically engineered crop they’ve created that will be resistant to 2,4-D.
If approved, farmers will be able to plant the frankencrop corn variant and douse their fields with the pesticide to eliminate unwanted weeds with greater success. Although 2,4-D isn’t currently used to a large degree on corn fields, all that could soon change for the country’s most successful crop. Opponents argue, though, that the potential side effects of the pesticide are enough to push for a ban on 2,4-D altogether. Continue reading 'EPA approves ‘Agent Orange’ pesticide'»
The government of India was forced by an overwhelming public opinion to declare a moratorium on the release of the transgenic Brinjal (Aubergines/Egg plant) hybrid developed by Mahyco, a subsidiary of American seed giant Monsanto.
Bt brinjal is created by inserting a gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis into the brinjal cell. Monsanto claims the transgenic variety they have developed has resistance against pests such as Shoot Borer and Fruit Borer. Continue reading 'India’s democratic battle for safe food'»
An atrazine-induced female frog (a genetic male) is shown (bottom) copulating with an unexposed male sibling. This union produced viable eggs and larvae that survived to metamorphosis and adulthood. Yet, because both animals were genetic males, the offspring were all males. (Tyrone Hayes photo)
Atrazine, one of the world’s most widely used pesticides, wreaks havoc with the sex lives of adult male frogs, emasculating three-quarters of them and turning one in 10 into females, according to a new study by University of California, Berkeley, biologists.
The 75 per cent that are chemically castrated are essentially “dead” because of their inability to reproduce in the wild, reports UC Berkeley’s Tyrone B. Hayes, professor of integrative biology.
“These male frogs are missing testosterone and all the things that testosterone controls, including sperm. So their fertility is as low as 10 percent in some cases, and that is only if we isolate those animals and pair them with females,” he said. “In an environment where they are competing with unexposed animals, they have zero chance of reproducing.”
The 10 percent or more that turn from males into females – something not known to occur under natural conditions in amphibians – can successfully mate with male frogs but, because these females are genetically male, all their offspring are male.
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Frontline magazine in India has published an interview with Joan Mencher, an anthropologist who has worked in India since 1958 on issues such as agriculture, ecology and caste.
About the state of Indian agriculture, Mencher says:
There were three processes that destroyed the traditional face of Indian agriculture. First, the Green Revolution; second, the 1991 liberalisation of the Indian economy; and third, the George Bush-Manmohan Singh summit in July 2005 [U.S.-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture], which really gave free entry to large American food corporations into India.
Continue reading 'The right to food'»
It is sad to find the Editorial “Brinjal and Beyond” in your esteemed newspaper, which people like us advocate for its objective and scholarly position. But this editorial betrays that trust.
The Hindu dated May 21, 2006 reported “the mystery that surrounds death of 25 per cent of sheep and goats after open grazing on Bt cotton fields in 11 villages of Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh”. (Mortality in sheep, goat after grazing on Bt cotton fields). Continue reading 'An open letter to the editor of The Hindu'»