Joined: 03 Jun 2005
|Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:19 pm Post subject: THEY ARE TESTING GM CROPS IN THE UK, ARE THESE PEOPLE NUTS
|GM wheat that fends off greenfly could affect humans
Crop has been modified to give off a pheromone that leaves pests 'terrified'
By Tamara Cohen
PUBLISHED: 22:55, 28 March 2012 | UPDATED: 23:55, 28 March 2012
A GM wheat that sends greenfly packing has been developed by British scientists.
But environmental groups fear that the new crop could damage eco- systems and might affect humans.
Aphids – greenfly and blackfly – are the bane of gardeners’ and farmers’ lives because of the damage they do to plants by feasting on the sugars in their leaves.
Concerns: Environmental groups fear that the new GM wheat could damage eco-systems and might affect humans
In a world first, the scientists have genetically modified wheat so that it disperses aphids by giving off a scent that makes them ‘terrified’.
The wheat releases a chemical that greenfly already produce naturally to alert each other to imminent danger, such as marauding wasps.
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During a trial at the Rothamsted Research laboratory in Hertfordshire, the wheat produced enough of the chemical to repel around 80 per cent of the parasites.
It is the first time a pheromone has been used for this purpose. The scientists say it is a ‘natural’ form of GM, which could stop farmers having to use toxic pesticides and could also be used in other plants.
Pest: Greenfly do a huge amount of damage to plants by damage they do to plants by feasting on the sugars in their leaves
The gene that produces the chemical, called A. farnasene, was taken from a peppermint plant and inserted into the wheat crops.
Professor John Pickett, of Rothamsted Research, said: ‘Aphids use an alarm pheromone, which when they are attacked by predators like ladybirds or parasitic wasps, causes them to disperse.
‘That dispersal activity can be used to repel them from the crop. It’s a natural product which we breathe and eat every day, which does not rely on toxic pesticides. We hope it will be good for farming.’
He said initial results had been ‘better than our wildest dreams’. The wheat is being tested this year and next year in a £900,000 government-funded trial.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said an independent group had found the trial would not damage human health or the environment.
But environmental groups have campaigned against the trial. Peter Riley, of GM Freeze, said the aphids would just head to the field next door.
‘They have done this in a laboratory,’ he said. ‘In the field it’s different. The history of GM crops demonstrates that contamination can occur.
'It can interfere with the ecosystem and send aphids on to other plants. There are a lot of unanswered questions.’
The USA is facing terrible problems from the GMOs it farms but is still approving more. Super weeds, super bugs and cross pollination. Once those GMO pollens are out there they can't be recalled. These crops affect all the bugs, so no point trying to defend our bee colonies if we are going to grow plant crops that kill them. It was a terrible decision to grow this wheat. Caroline Spelman, head of DEFRA, needs to be replaced. For those saying we have had these for decades ... no we have not. The crops we have had are hybrids these are genetically altered. There is a vast difference. GMOs are dangerous, to humans. animals, insects and the whole environment.
The ecosystem depends on insects like greenflies as a source of food for numerous other insects, like ladybirds and hover flies, as well as birds, which in turn carry out vital operations like pollination. Tampering with something as basic as wheat, which is simply a form of grass, with wind borne pollens, means the pheromone could be spread into the natural environment and change the genetic structure of natural grass. The potential for real disaster is there and I'm amazed that anybody has authorised this dangerous experiment.