In the past 15 years, more than a billion hectares — an area greater than the land masses of China or the United States — have been cultivated with genetically engineered crops, according to an industry study. Biotech crop cultivation increased 87-fold between 1996 and 2010, making transgenic crops the fastest-adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture. Biotech advocates say it shows genetically modified agriculture is here to stay.
ST. LOUIS — In a nondescript basement lab, jeans-clad engineers clutch blueprints, scrape stepladders across the unfinished floor and chat about the Cardinals as they tighten bolts on a new prototype device. At first glance, it could be any machine shop in the country.
But then you notice the wispy strands of soybean seedlings curling to life, their root tendrils bunched into test tubes lightly packed with soil, and you remember — this place is all about seeds.
Future chicken cutlets may come from birds that have been genetically modified to resist bird flu, after a breakthrough in Britain announced this week. Researchers have produced chickens that cannot spread avian flu to other chickens, a major step toward protecting birds — and humans — from the deadly virus.
The transgenic cluckers still died from bird flu, however, so there’s still much more to be done before scientists produce a truly flu-free bird.
Since they were introduced 15 years ago, genetically modified foods have taken astonishing hold in North America. This time of year, the result is a Thanksgiving menu that may, on the surface, look much the same as the one your grandma cooked 20 years ago. But at the genetic level, it is very different, and it's a far cry from the fabled feast shared by the pilgrims and American Indians in the 17th century. In celebration of Thanksgiving, the most food-focused day of the year, here's a look at how biotechnology is changing the way we eat.
In a case with major implications for the future of food, the FDA is poised to decide this week whether it is OK to sell and eat supersalmon whose DNA has been deliberately altered. It would be the first time genetically modified animals would be legal to sell for human consumption. So in the near future, the lox on your morning bagel might be something pretty different from what nature intended — and you might never know it.
Readers with a sweet tooth had better start stockpiling candy -- first Choc Finger started hoarding all the world's chocolate, and now it seems the U.S. sugar supply may be in jeopardy. Farmers cannot plant new genetically modified sugar beets until the U.S. Department of Agriculture finishes a study about their environmental impact, a federal judge said Friday. That could take a couple years, which means sugar beet farmers and sugar processors might have trouble meeting demand after this year's harvest.
Franken-canola has been found growing along roadsides in North Dakota, in one of the first known cases of genetically modified crops taking hold in the wild. The finding shows that genetically modified canola plants can survive and thrive in the wild perhaps for decades, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America.
Meredith G. Schafer, a graduate student from the University of Arkansas, and colleagues traveled along 3,000 miles of interstate, state and county roads in North Dakota and stopped every five miles to take a sample of a canola plant. Of the 406 plants collected, 80 percent of them had at least one transgene.
Usually the enticing smell of food is associated with hunger pangs, but researchers in the Netherlands think that foods can be engineered to release satiating aromas during chewing. This would help combat obesity by stimulating areas of the brain that signal fullness.
What do you do when you're under attack? Call for help, naturally. Unfortunately, if you're an ear of corn, and you're being attacked by parasitic beetle larvae, you have nothing to call for help with. Until now.
Scientists at the University of Missouri have genetically modified corn to release a chemical distress signal when under attack from beetle larvae. The chemical 911 call attracts droves of parastitic roundworms that naturally attack the larvae. Within three days of receiving the distress signal, the worms had killed them all.