The media in general claimed:
'Wheat has been engineered with a gene from a peppermint plant so that it emits a particular pheromone.'
'The experimental crop of GM wheat was planted in April and is due to grow until September. It has been developed with genes from the mint plant.'
However, according to Rothamsted Research:
'The genes we inserted into the wheat plants were chemically synthesised and not taken from another plant or animal. The gene that makes (E)-β-farnesene, encodes a protein that is similar to that found in peppermint but versions of this gene are also present in many other plants. The other gene that is needed, the "farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase gene", is widespread in nature and can be found in most organisms.
We used synthetic genes which is a standard procedure for modern molecular biology. The synthetic form of the farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase gene we used encodes a protein that happens to be most similar to that found in cow but is not significantly different to the versions found in nearly all other organisms. It is not a cow gene, it just looks like one. A bit like two unrelated individuals who have an uncanny resemblance to each other.'
http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/Content.php?Section=AphidWheat&Page=QA (3) (Technical Questions)
Do you need a scientific study to tell you a 50mph wind can blow wheat pollen? Pity The Guardian's science correspondant Ian Sample:
'The campaigners fear genes from the GM wheat will escape and contaminate conventional wheat. Wheat self-pollinates, so it cannot cross with other plants. To prevent stray pollen the Rothamsted scientists have surrounded the trial plots with 10 metres of barley and three metres of conventional wheat.
No cereals or grasses are grown within 20 metres of the border. Wheat pollen is heavy and travels at most 12 metres.'
According to the study Gene Flow From Glysophate-Resistant Crops:
'Gene flow via pollen can occur in all crops, even those that are considered to be self pollinated..'
Two quotes from the study Gene Flow Between Wheat And Wild Relatives:
'With this combined approach, we detected substantial gene flow between wheat and Aegilops species.'
'Nevertheless, a several admixed individuals were observed in populations distant from wheat cultivations (i.e. the SP12, SP15 and IT8 populations, collected at 800 m, >5 km and >15 km from cultivations, respectively, Fig. 3). Because long-distance pollen dispersal of wheat has been reported (De Vries 1971; Zaharieva and Monneveux 2006; Matus-Cadiz et al. 2007), it might partly explain our results.'
Like wheat, Aegilops are 'self polinating'.
Wheat for Weetabix is sourced within a 50 mile radius of Burton Latimer http://www.weetabix.co.uk/questions (How Many Weetabix Do You Make?), and Harpenden is within that catchment.
'Gene Flow From Glysophate-Resistant Crops' warned:
'However, regulators should consider the examples of gene ﬂow from glyphosate-resistant crops when formulating rules for the release of crops with traits that could negatively impact the environment or human health.'
'It would be irresponsible of regulators not to consider the GR crop gene flow data when formulating rules for the release of GE crops in the future'
It appears the Leveson Inquiry is a charade. Also, Private Eye didn't say anything. However, in issue No 1317 of Private Eye, 'New Bio-Waste Spreader' wrote:
'In fact the public is already getting GM indirectly through much of its meat eggs, and milk products it consumes.'
That appears to be based on fact. From a study on pigs fed GM maize:
‘These results suggest that ingested corn DNA and Cry1Ab protein were not totally degraded in the gastrointestinal tract, as shown by their presence in a form detectable by PCR or immunological tests.'
Proponents of GM favour using an altered (email me) study on cows fed GM maize, but prefer not to point out:
'The rumen is one of four stomach compartments found in ruminants. Ruminants are animals such as cattle, sheep, goats and deer. (In comparison, animals such as pigs, dogs and horses have only a single stomach compartment and are called nonruminants, or monogastric animals.'
Other examples of monagastrics are poultry, mice and humans.
In the Private Eye article, 'New Bio-Waste Spreader' incredible goes on to cite an estate agent who claimed to have identified considerable savings for Argentinian farmers who grow GM crops. However:
'Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers’ near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds.
To fight them, Mr. Anderson and farmers throughout the East, Midwest and South are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more labor-intensive methods like regular plowing.
“We’re back to where we were 20 years ago,” said Mr. Anderson, who will plow about one-third of his 3,000 acres of soybean fields this spring, more than he has in years. “We’re trying to find out what works.”
Farm experts say that such efforts could lead to higher food prices, lower crop yields, rising farm costs and more pollution of land and water.
“It is the single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen,” said Andrew Wargo III, the president of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts.'
New Bio-Waste Spreader also noted:
'A two-decade study spanning 1.5 sp kms by the Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing claims to have found significant environmental benefits. Pesticide use has halved, while the number of natural insect predators which kills pests not targeted by the GM cotton has doubled. Whether such reports can be trusted is hard to determine..'
New Bio-Waste Spreader failed to notice that the study he referred to http://www.gene.ch/genet/2008/Sep/msg00096.html (11) was written of in 2008, and that in 2010 none other than Ian Sample noted:
'Scientists are calling for the long-term risks of GM crops to be reassessed after field studies revealed an explosion in pest numbers around farms growing modified strains of cotton.
The unexpected surge of infestations “highlights a critical need” for better ways of predicting the impact of GM crops and spotting potentially damaging knock-on effects arising from their cultivation, researchers said.
Millions of hectares of farmland in northern China have been struck by infestations of bugs following the widespread adoption of Bt cotton, an engineered variety made by the US biotech giant, Monsanto...
'...The findings mark the first confirmed report of mass infestations arising as an unintended consequence of farmers using less pesticide – a feature of Bt cotton that was supposed to save money and lessen the crops’ environmental impact. The research, led by Kongming Wu at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, is published in the US journal, Science.'
Bio-Waste Spreader could have alerted.
Is Alexie Surev alive and well?
1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17542627 BBC News - Anti-insect wheat trials launched
2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/9293301/Scientists-insist-GM-wheat-is-safe-as-protesters-vow-to-tear-up-crop.html The Telegraph - Scientists insist GM wheat is safe as protesters vow to tear up crop
3. http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/Content.php?Section=AphidWheat&Page=QA Rothamsted Wheat Trial (Technical Questions)
4. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/may/01/anti-gm-activists-wheat-rothamsted The Guardian - Anti-GM activists urged not to trash wheat field
5 http://www.cof.orst.edu/cof/teach/agbio2010/Readings%202010/Mallory-Smith%20and%20Zapiola%20Gene%20flow%20from%20glypho-resist%20crops%202008.pdf Carol Mallory Smith and Maria Zapiola - Gene flow from glysophate-resistant crops
6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3352535/ Gene flow between wheat and wild relatives: empirical evidence from Aegilops geniculata, Ae. neglecta and Ae. triuncialis. Nils Arrigo, Roberto Guadagnuolo, Sylvain Lappe, Sophie Pasche, Christian Parisod and Francois Felber.
7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNN8NxuIaX0 Motorhead - Another Perfect Day
8.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14552382 Detection of corn intrinsic and recombinant DNA fragments and Cry1Ab protein in the gastrointestinal contents of pigs fed genetically modified corn Bt11. E. H. Chowdhury, H. Kuribara, A. Hino, P. Sultana, O. Mikami, N. Shimada, K. S. Guruge, M. Saito and Y. Nakajima.
9. http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/farm/content/animalstructure.html Animal Structure & Function - The University of Waikato
10. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/business/energy-environment/04weed.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all U.S. Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds - NYTimes