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Marcel Kuntz est biologiste, directeur de recherche au CNRS et enseignant à l’Université Grenoble-Alpes, ses seules sources de revenus. Ses analyses n'engagent pas ses employeurs.


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27 juillet 2010 2 27 /07 /juillet /2010 16:36

drapeau francais Lire la version française                 Read article on vandalism against academic GMO research


Having no GM crops or trials to destroy in France (since there are almost no GMO culture any longer in this country, apart from two small field trials), anti-GMO activists have found a new enemy: on Saturday July 24 2010 at Sorigny and St. Branchs (Indre-et-Loire, France), they vandalized plots of sunflowers they termed as « mutated » and herbicide tolerant. They are not GM, but opponents call them "hidden-GMOs" to continue to use the arguments successfully developed against GMOs and to mobilize their supporters.


What the anti-GMO activists are targeting now is mutagenesis use in plant breeding and, in particular, to produce herbicide resistance, such as those of Clearfield or Express Sun sunflower varieties (the former having actually been originally obtained by a spontaneous mutation).


Actually, the destruction at Sorigny concerned a high-oleic variety of sunflower. Oleic varieties do result from mutagenesis, and some are also used in organic farming. Therefore, if one follows the anti-GMO opponents’ rhetoric, it is ironic that organic farmers are using « hidden-GMOs »!


In requesting that "the regulation on ‘transgenic GMOs’ also applies to ‘GMOs’ obtained by mutagenesis, cell fusion or other manipulations of life", opponents who are basically radical anti-capitalists hope to achieve for the entire plant breeding industry, and consequently for all major agricultural crops, the same economic sabotage as the one which has been so successful against GMOs in Europe.

The argument is the same: « against the new seed privatization thatagain represents a strategy for corporate confiscation of life ». Despite being wrong, this rhetoric is highly efficient in mobilizing anti-capitalist protesters.

Similarly, claims of « unintended effects that can cause serious damage to health ... » are without factual basis, but aims to frighten consumers (who do not realize they have always eaten « mutants »...).

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<br /> It refers to the part of text highlighted yellow. It is not "unfortunately" that organisms derived through cell fusion are being considered GMO's. It is legally stipulated so (unfortunately) by the<br /> definition of the UN's Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity.<br /> <br /> <br />
<br /> Transgenics safer than mutants<br /> It could have been pointed out that actually, the Clearfield sunflowers are dangerous - as the ALS-R gene can easily cross into weedy/feral sunflowers (a problem weed where-ever sunflowers are<br /> cultivated) abrogating the effectiveness of the herbicide technology. Indeed, the same gene ALS-R gene inserted transgenically in tandem with anti-shattering and anti-branching genes would continue<br /> to kill weedy sunflowers, as any line that introgresses the ALS-R gene introgresses the linked anti-weediness genes. Here is a case where transgenics are safer than mutants...<br /> <br /> Prof. Jonathan Gressel<br /> Plant Sciences<br /> Weizmann Institute of Science<br /> Rehovot, Israel<br /> <br /> <br />