Friday, May 25, 2012

Another inconvenient truth for Take the Flour Back. GM saved the Hawaiian papaya industry from disease

British Green politician Jenny Jones has announced that she is going to join the Take the Flour Back protest group who are threatening to vandalise a legal trial of aphid protected GM wheat that's now underway in Britain.

In her statement about this, besides announcing she joining a vandalism threat that's euphemistically termed a "decontamination", she makes a claim in justification that is simply false, and that false claim is that no successful disease resistant crops have been developed by genetic engineering methods.

She is misinformed about this.

Three virus disease resistant crops that were successfully commercialised . Slide courtesy of R. Roush
More than one virus resistant crop has been commercialised, but the most famous example is papaya that resistant to papaya ring spot virus. These crops have been in the ground in Hawaii since the mid 90s and continue to be sold. Just recently they were approved for export to Japan. Sadly, because of the activities of political Greens and antitechnology activists the diffusion of this technology to South Asia where it could improve food security has been dramatically impeded. We can thank misinformed and wrong-headed people like Jenny Jones for that.

But let's present the pictures that show how wrong Jenny Jones is.

Note disease devastation of non-GM papaya surrounding the GM papaya trial site in Hawaii.

A good source of information on crop virus resistance is a review by Dennis Gonsalves who developed the disease resistant papaya that's used by growers in Hawaii for many years. His was not a massive commercial operation and basically was an effort by scientists and papaya growers which saved the papaya industry in the islands.

He documents the success of disease resistant papaya in this review, plus giving the full story of it's safety assessment.

There is a fantastic video available where Dennis explains this remarkable development in an inimitable friendly style - link here.