In order to make sound conclusions about different types of genetically engineered crops and to plan for the future, we’ll need to have sound data about any possible environmental effects of said crops. Researchers from a variety of institutions and disciplines* plan to collect that data. Harvesting Data from Genetically Engineered Crops**, published in the 25 April issue of Science, explains that we can use existing data about pesticide and fertilizer usage, water quality, and information about birds, amphibians, and other animals – if we can connect that data to what types of crops the farmers are planting. A news story, UA Scientists and Colleagues Call for More Access to Biotech Crop Data, has been posted by the U of Arizona. The authors conclude their proposition:
The United States has the world’s most extensive history of using GE crops and one of the world’s best continentalscale programs in environmental monitoring. Combining these two sources of information
provides an opportunity to lead the world in identifying agricultural pathways for the future that best serve people and the environment. Providing scientists access to data on GE crop use at the county scale is a small and relatively inexpensive step with enormous scientific and public benefits.
** I don’t know if it’s legal for me to post a link to the pdf here. If you know the rules, please fill me in!
Paul Gepts at UC Davis does not have a very positive opinion on GE crops, nevertheless, it is a very good idea to make this kind of data available. I wonder if this data would include the use of organic applications, too?
Yeah, I had a few doubts about the study, such as: will the data be twisted to support a predetermined conclusion? I decided to leave them out in the spirit of optimism. I just hope that they have decent controls.
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