Friday, August 24, 2012

Monsanto's GM Drought Tolerant Corn


DroughtGardTM maize will be the first commercially available transgenic (GM) drought tolerant crop if it's released in 2013 as planned. Hybrid seed sold under this trademark will combine a novel transgenic trait (based on the bacterial cspB gene) with the best of Monsanto's conventional breeding program.

The Union of Concerned Scientists threw their usual wet blanket on the development. I think their gloomy assessment of transgenic drought tolerance is pretty biased but they do make a few good points that the public should understand. Primarily, "drought tolerance" does not mean that these plants can be grown with little to no water.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Herbicide Resistant Johnsongrass: Coming soon to a farm near you!

Pioneer and K State are jointly releasing a set of new herbicide resistant sorghum varieties, which will incorporate resistance to ALS and FOP herbicides. Ironically, these non-genetically modified varieties invoke one of the classic bogeymen of anti-GM thinkers - herbicide resistant weeds.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Practical Agricultural Development

Among plant geneticists, breeders are always held up as the pragmatic experts who know what matters in the Real World. But not all fields perceive breeders this way...

Sustainable agriculture was a popular session topic at the tri-societies joint meeting in San Antonio. More specifically, many speakers took pleasure (rightly so) in pointing out the subtle complexities of local agricultural systems that many of us in breeding gloss over when trying to help.

Some highlights:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Genetic Engineering vs. Breeding


"Many administrators, private and public, have decided that the future of plant breeding lies in genomics, relying on claims that molecular genetics has revolutionized the time frame for product development. ‘Seldom has it been pointed out that it is going to take as long to breed a molecular engineering gene into a successful cultivar as it takes for a natural gene’- Goodman 2002

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