Project News and Views
By Million Belay and Timothy Wise
Million Belay is the coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa.
Timothy A. Wise directs the Land and Food Rights Program at the U.S.-based Small Planet Institute and is a Senior Researcher at Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute. Wise is the author of Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food (The New Press).
Synopsis: Japanese researchers have discovered that standard methods of animal and plant gene-editing introduce DNA from unexpected sources. They found DNA from the E.coli genome (a bacterium) and from the cow genome, along with goat DNA, incorporated into the genomes of their edited mouse cells They traced this adventitious presence to contaminants of standard components of the gene-editing process, such as cell culture media. The discovery suggests, for example, that present methods of gene-editing can transmit genetic elements, viruses, and other pathogenic agents between species. The findings have very important implications for biosecurity and for the regulation of gene-editing.
Published on Monday, Aug 12th, 2019 by Independent Science News is a new article: FDA Finds Unexpected Antibiotic Resistance Genes in ‘Gene-Edited’ Dehorned Cattle written by Jonathan Latham, PhD and Allison Wilson, PhD.
Synopsis: New research published by officials of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has discovered that foreign DNA can become inadvertently introduced into the genomes of gene-edited animals. Gene-editing techniques are widely considered to offer substantial improvements, in terms of precision, over older genetic engineering techniques. But the new FDA research shows that foreign DNA can become inadvertently incorporated, in this case unbeknownst to the developer. The findings are a significant blow to the argument that gene-editing should not be subject to regulation and represent a vindication of the EU approach, which is to regulate gene-edited organisms as GMOs.
Published August 8, 2019, in Independent Science News:
The 9% Lie: Industrial Food and Climate Change a new article by Ronnie Cummins
Synopsis: As the result of a joint calculation, the USDA and the US EPA have begun claiming that US agricultures’ contribution to the climate crisis represents 9% of total national green house gas emissions. The size of this number is hugely important in terms of where to search for climate solutions. According to the author these estimates are smokescreens and the true number is approximately 5-6 fold higher. In other words, most US greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture and the food sector. This low-balling is very convenient for the commercial interest groups that benefit from the wasteful status quo of the US food system.
Author: Ronnie Cummins is the co-founder and International Director of the Organic Consumers Association. He is also the founder of Via Orgánica, a network of organic consumers and farmers based in Mexico.
Read the full article at: https://www.independentsciencenews.org/environment/the-9-lie-industrial-food-and-climate-change/
On July 10th, 2019, Independent Science News published an important new article written by Maywa Montenegro (UC-Davis), Annie Shattuck UC-Berkeley) and Joshua Sbicca (Colorado State University): US Agriculture Needs a 21st-Century New Deal
Synopsis: Since the mid-1930s, the number of U.S. farms has declined sharply and average farm size has greatly increased. This trend is a tale of financial hardship and corporate control. At the same time, agriculture has increasingly contributed to the ecological unsustainability of the U.S. economy. As the authors argue, remedies to both financial unsustainability and its ecological equivalent are at hand.
The Bioscience Resource Project provides scientific and intellectual resources for a healthy future. It publishes Independent Science News, a media service devoted to food and agriculture, and their impacts on health and the environment. It also offers resources for scientists and educators and internships and training for students. Through its innovative scientific journalism and original biosafety review articles, the project provides unique and revealing perspectives on issues that are fundamental to the survival of people and the planet. The project does not accept advertising or corporate funding and is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. It is completely dependent on individual donations.
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