Greenpeace Activists Destroy GM Wheat Trial

Greenpeace activists in Australia destroyed a GM wheat trial in Australia.

Late at night, three women entered a fenced-in field containing a genetically-modified strain of wheat. Dressed in hazmat gear and using whipper snippers (they look like what we call โ€œweed whackersโ€ around here), they cut the entire field of GM wheat. The wheat was not yet flowering, so there was no danger of the activists accidentally carrying pollen or seeds on their shoes or clothing.

The GM wheat had been designed to have โ€œincreased resistant starch content which in turn contributes to the total dietary fibre intake.โ€ GM proponents often claim that we will not be able to feed the world without genetic modification of common food crops, but this one seems to be a lower-calorie, higher-fiber crop. Hungry people don’t need fewer calories.

The starch content is being controlled by the insertion of genes from wheat, rice, Cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV), and Agrobacterium tumefaciens. According to the Technical Summary of the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan, โ€œAlthough some of these sequences are derived from plant pathogens (A. tumefaciens and CaMV), the regulatory sequences comprise only a small part of the pathogen’s total genome, and are not in themselves capable of causing disease.โ€

The purpose of the field trial was to produce flour to be used in food testing in rats and pigs, and eventually in a limited human feeding trial. One of the activists talks about her motivation for opposing the GM wheat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UlLh8cdawxY

Image by Ian W. Scott, used with Creative Commons license.

Written by Heather Carr

5 Comments

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  1. Heather,
    You might want to do a little more homework before publishing a post on this topic. The “genes” you thought you read about are not genes at all, but rather the “enabling technologies” which are used in the vast majority of engineered plants including the ones that have been commercial for 15 years. The “promoter sequence” from CaMV is DNA that sits in front of the gene of interest to turn it on in the cell. That is the most common promoter of all. The plant pathogen Agrobacterium is actually the way the gene was introduced . Agrobacterium is nature’s own “genetic engineer” that has the capacity to precisely insert genes into plant cells. What would have been used here is a special, no-longer pathogenic strain that has been specifically developed to be able to work on grasses like wheat.

    This is run-of-the-mill biotech, nothing scary at all. What is scary is that there are people who don’t see criminal activity and fundraising stunts for what they are

  2. Disgusting behavior. ‘going green’ and being natural wouldn’t be a problem, if people didn’t starve to death every day of the week, all around the world. This kind of behavior is that of spoiled, petulant, ignorant children, who’ve never known hardship, destroying something they don’t understand simply because they can.
    There isn’t enough arable land on the planet earth for natural farming to sustain even half of the current population. Industrial farming can’t even support the global population. Genetically modified foods save millions of lives all around the world, every year, and these pigs at greenpeace spread misinformation to developing countries, telling them complete lies like genetically modified crops are poison so that they destroy the seeds they receive instead of using them so that their people don’t STARVE TO DEATH. There’s no word for how revolting this is.

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