GM Peas - Now On Our Side of the Atlantic

Green Pea Plants

Green Pea Plants

GMO Compass is reporting that German researchers have successfully isolated and transferred a fungal resisting gene found in bacteria and other plants into peas, but in a laboratory setting only. Field testing in Germany remains an elusive goal for the researchers. Citing destruction of test fields, high administrative costs and political uncertainty as the reasons, researches at The Institute for Plant Genetics of Leibniz University Hannover decided that they will continue field testing on genetically modified peas in United States and partnered with North Dakota State University to accomplish this goal.

GM peas are promised to withstand disease and be capable of producing high-yields and thereby reduce dependency on imported protein feedstuffs. Researchers are also using the claim that legumes, such as peas, enrich the supply of nitrates in the soil, and thus growing legumes should mean that less nitrogenous fertilizer is necessary the following year.

It is hard not to be a skeptic when so many other GM crops that promised to deliver higher yields at less the fertilizer have failed to achieve those promises. Additionally, many would argue that it is inappropriate to extrapolate the positive effects of gm-free peas onto their genetically modified brethren. Again, many skeptics would argue that given the many uncertainties of the process of genetic modification, the lack of long-term research into the health and environmental impact of GM crops, and in particular, given that we do not know if the presence of GM peas in the soil will have a negative effect on non-target animals, optimistically assigning to GM peas the positive traits of the non modified pea varities is premature, to say the least.

But also troublesome is the fact that America is seen by others as a Petri-dish for crop related genetic experimentation.  Troublesome because we are indeed a genetically polluted country where growing non-gmo crops is becoming harder to accomplish and we are not even having a legitimate debate on the issue.  The media’s attention can become fixated on irrelevant subjects (such as, for example, whether our President is a citizen) but not delve into issues of substance (such as, for example, whether our government sufficiently vets GMOs prior to approving their release).  Ironically, the force of public debate is pushing the German researchers out of their country but the lack of public debate on this issue here is sprouting all sorts of genetic experiments.

Read the original article here.