Genetically Modified Bananas Harvested In Australia


Courtesy of Keith Pomakis

Recently, Australia has made headlines when it was announced that the first harvest of genetically modified (“GM”) bananas, planted in the South Johnstone area, south of Cairns in far north Queensland, show “promise.”  The project is spearheaded by Queensland University of Technology, with $5 million grant from the Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  According to Professor James Daly, the head of the project, “[t]he trial was the first of its kind in Australia and probably one of three or four in the world.”

The stated humanitarian purpose of the GM bananas is to improve the nutritional content of bananas, as a way of combating malnutrition in Africa, particularly in Uganda, where bananas are a staple food and very low in nutrients.  And according to Professor James Daly, “[t]his first planting is demonstrating that at least one of the combinations of genes we’re putting is working really well for pro vitamin A, and we’re concentrating on that.”

Biotech supporters argue that because cultivated bananas are generally unable to reproduce from seed (i.e., they are grown from offshoots of a parent plant), there is a low-risk for crop contamination by GM varieties.  Even if that were true, the argument nonetheless fails to address all the concerns that GMOs inherently bring to the table, some of which include, but are not limited to, untested or under-tested impact on human health (some studies already suggest decline in animal health after being fed GMO diet), superweeds and superbugs, antibiotic resistance, and loss of biodiversity.  These and other unanswered questions should be answered before we begin to celebrate GM harvests.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Genetically Modified Bananas Harvested In Australia « GMO Journal --

  • sherkar harischandra D.

    we r working on micropropagation of banana variety grand naine. we need to colaborate to those who r working on gm banana. please if possible mail us parties interested which will provide tissue culture gm material with conditions etc..

    thank you

    yours truly

    sherkar H.D.

  • Linda Harris

    Now, that is pretty interesting. I began my web search for bananas simply because I wanted to find a wonderful recipe for banana pie. Some how I came across your site. Obviously there is nothing about banana pies here but I am very glad I took the time to read your page. It truly opened my eyes. Interesting how the internet can move you around and support you to learn so very easily. Thanks for the excellent insight. I

  • Nancy Forno

    I am in agreement your article points. My research has shown your points to be true, however I have also seen the opposite from different articles like this one. Do you have any ideas for getting more legitimate ideas on gardening or related topics? I would certainly appreciate it!

  • Anonymous

    i believe this is a great idea

  • christina

    If this is being funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, that scares me. It makes me think that the purpose of genetically modifying bananas is not to make them higher in nutrients but to sterilize people. It has been proven that animals fed gm feed have spontaneous abortions in huge amounts, and that the 3rd generations are sterile. Bill Gates has said that vaccinations can be used to control world population, he donates millions to vaccine programs and now to genetically modified food projects? Scarry.

  • Deniza Gertsberg

    @Christina, thanks for your interest. check out a good resource discussing Gates Foundation and its participation in the problematic Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa:

  • Taurus

    Christina I feel exactly the same way and from some of the stuff I have seen and read about the Gates foundation our instincts are telling us we are right. They are deceiving the world like they are out to help but they are really out to destroy. Don’t believe for one minute that this world needs a population reduction because it does NOT! If the Gates would donate some of that money to REALLY help people then the world would be better off and no one would be starving!

  • willie

    Always interesting to me that people who believe GMOs are bad with little real evidence other than claiming ‘a study showed….’, also tend to be the same people who believe climate change is real and accost the skeptics for clinging to the one bit of evidence that is contrary to the majority.

    Who do you think you are, claiming GM foods are bad when they will be used to deliver badly needed Vitamin A to malnourished kids. Go look at population trends and tell me the entire continent of Africa isnt going to fall apart without EXTREME changes in ag practices. If you read anytng about global ag production and populatio trends you would see quite clearly that we have to basically have another green revolution to feed all these mouths.

    being against GM foods is, in my eye, being pro-starvation.

  • Deniza Gertsberg


    Thank you for your comments. It sounds like you are looking for more “evidence” on why GMOs are not the best agricultural approach. There is something to be said about that–especially since biotech companies do not let any independent research to be performed on their products. “No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions regarding the technology,” commented the Editors of Scientific America. (see: Dr. Don Huber noted a similar problem when he stated, “[u]nfortunately, most researchers are forbidden to do work in the area. They don’t have access to isogenic lines (conventional and Roundup Ready plant lines that are otherwise genetically identical); the materials are denied to researchers.” (see

    Since not enough independent research is performed, no people, anywhere, should be subject to such experimentation.

    And GMOs are not necessary to feed the poor and the hungry. In fact, Tom Philpott reported recently that researchers led by the eminent Washington State University soil scientist John P. Reganold urged “organic farming, alternative livestock production (e.g., grass-fed), mixed crop and livestock systems, and perennial grains,” as the way to feed in the future. Similarly, earlier this year, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on food, Olivier De Schutter, stated that “[s]mall-scale farmers can double food production within 10 years in critical regions by using ecological methods.”

    Lastly, genetic modification of crops in developing nations represents issues of domination and control (patented seeds that farmers do not own), access (could farmers afford the annual purchase of GM seeds? will farmers have access to non GM seeds? will governments take measures to prevent cross-contamination?), forced change of agricultural practices (no seed saving allowed, requiring farmers to use specific herbicides and pesticide, creating monocultures, etc), plundering of natural resources (patenting plants unique to Africa) and most importantly, a hereto unseen dependence on a foreign corporation (farmers dependent on inputs, markets, and credit; dependency leads to fewer farmers, lower prices for farmers, jobless, indebtedness and loss of land).

    Case in point: a new report on farmer’s suicide in India shows that a quarter of a million Indian farmers have committed suicide in the last 16 years—an average of one suicide every 30 minutes because of crushing debt. ( “Like other cash crops in India, the cotton industry is increasingly dominated by foreign multinational corporations that tend to promote genetically modified cottonseed and often control the cost, quality and availability of agricultural inputs.”

    As far as climate change is concerned, we are going to have to agree to disagree on that point.


  • Alexis

    Deniza Gertsberg, did you look at any Scientific Journals on this topic?

    If so what are they, I would really like to look into them for my Genetics project

  • Justmeint

    I too am horrified that this experiment is taking place right under our noses and we are the test subjects! We have a right to know what it is we are consuming and I choose NOT to consume chemically manipulated foods. The very fact that The Gates foundation is involved makes me extremely wary. They want to vaccinate the entire world…… talk about population control!

  • Travis

    Good for Bill Gates. He’s standing for scientific growth in the face of bigotry and ignorance. Just as history shows, the greatest scientific breakthroughs are met with an abundance of popular contest.

  • Mason

    This is outrageous I cannot wait to bring these madmen to justice!

  • Don Mallicoat

    Um, how about helping to create a shift in Uganda to a more nutrient rich staple crop for the poor, instead of spending millions on a banana that among other things “provides more vitamin A”

  • Brianbrain

    Perhaps you need to look at all the “good work” with vaccinations,47500 polio vaccs in India 47500 with vaccine induced polio and that is only part of the4e story

  • Brianbrain
  • Brianbrain

    See the picture of what GMO food do to rats…

    Study Linking Genetically Modified Corn to Cancer Leads French Government
    to Call for Investigation

    Read the Daily Intel Hub News Brief:

    By Madison Ruppert

    September 20, 2012

    those who are familiar with genetically modified (GM) crops, also known as
    genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or genetically engineered (GE) crops, it
    probably isn’t all that surprising to learn that a study linked GM corn to

    This is especially true when one looks at the many dangers associated with the various GM crops
    as established by rigorous scientific research.

    Members of the French government stated on September 19, 2012 that they asked the National Agency for
    Health Safety (ANSES) to investigate the findings of the study which linked
    cancer in rats to genetically modified corn.

    The most exciting aspect of this is that, according to a joint statement
    issued by Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll, Ecology Minister Delphine
    Batho and Health and Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine, it could very
    well lead to a suspension of the use of GM corn in the European Union.

    Meanwhile, in the United States,
    an amendment blocked the ability for states to
    demand the labeling of GMOs and Monsanto actually threatened to sue the entire
    state of Vermont for pursuing GMO labeling initiatives.

  • Brianbrain

    You eat GMOs and I will watch you and I know who will last the longest.
    please go and investigate …

  • Brianbrain

    Perhaps you should wonder why the FSANZ shredded a report on the finding of a very dangerous virus in the GMOs…I will see if I can find the report and I will post it here …

  • Stavros

    Travis… you’re another sheeple who believes what you are told to believe without a thought of your own… do some research mate… GMO’s are another way to control the population by straight out killing, sterilization, or just slow nutritional starvation… time to get your head out of the sand, or your ass, do a little research, and then make an intelligent comment… don’t just blurt out what you’re told to by the MainsDream Media… they’re owned and controlled by the same people who have huge vested interests in Monsanto and the central banking systems and the vaccine manufacturers… the REAL criminals on this planet… reality check… there’s no money to be made from healthy people, ONLY sick and weakened people… they generate sick and weakened people by infecting the food chain with these GMO’s and by the poisons they put into the water supplies and by Stratospheric Aerosol Spraying of the planet… use Google for what it’s there for while we still can…

    Wakey, wakey… the dream’s over…


  • roialblue

    you have been consuming GMO since the agricultural revolution.

  • Charles Hamilton

    They would be better off providing purslane to grow and teach people how to improve their soils in order to grow nutrient rich bananas. Plants, like people, are what they eat. Too much focus on high tech and feeding plants instead of feeding soil. That would be good for all farmers and it aint rocket science. POn Purslane, it is high in Vit A and grows anywhere. Cheaper to teach people how to incorporate that into their diets as opposed to engaging in research that is potentially destructive.

  • Greg Zadeian

    Overwhelming evidence is that people are dying from GMO products and Yeah by all means use Google, cos everyone knows that whatever is on Google must be true. Please use critical thinking!