Saving Florida's Oranges

Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Florida orange crop has been under attack by an incurable disease. New York Times reporter Amy Harmon looks at the pursuit of a genetically modified orange that will save the Florida crop. She wrote about it in her article "A Race to Save the Orange by Altering Its DNA," in the New York Times.


Amy Harmon

Comments [8]

Judy Zingher from Westchester County, NY

For John A: you are right to question. Sorry, I could not find. I should research rather than just hear-say before citing.

Aug. 01 2013 05:52 PM
erwin karl from ny, ny

I think your guest downplayed the extent to which GMO plants have "escaped to the wild." In addition to the alfalfa (only approved last year), wild populations of GMO canola are extensive in North Dakota, and 80 acres of GMO wheat were found in Oregon. GMO wheat has not been approved in the US but was tested by Monsanto in 2001. So-called 'superweeds' resistant to the herbicides Monsanto and other companies sell to go with their resistant seeds are also increasingly common. What will happen when new crops modified to be resistant to multiple herbicides escape? Given the way sexual reproduction works and the short life cycle of plants, can we predict how multiple genetic modifications in the same species will interact? Why are governments and consumers in Europe and Asia so concerned about GMO plants and crops while it has almost escaped notice in this country? Maybe we are more willing to accept the risk of an environmental catastrophe in exchange for cheap foods and bumper crops of profits for companies like Monsanto and Dupont....

Aug. 01 2013 02:10 PM
Leslie from New Jersey

I read the Times article and listened to this show. The question that remains for me is about the science. Florida farmers are trying to get me to believe that the science they use to support their genetic experiment to save the orange tree is reliable. In other words, the risks of future adverse effects of crop genetic manipulation is minimal. Are some of these farmers the same people who deny the science of climate change? What makes these different pathways of science so different in terms of reliability? Ninety eight percent of the world's climate scientists firmly believe in the fact of global warming and its causalities. I understand that forty percent of Americans doubt that science. Why should I now be told that genetic crop engineering is benign? I have read that Monstanto's poison genetic pill for soy plant pests is also killing honey bees. Maybe when 98% of crop genetic scientists agree, then perhaps I'll believe it.

Aug. 01 2013 02:09 PM
john A

"the biological control that successfully manages it where it originated could also be imported and used successfully here."
And what is that?
A link or two please Judy?

Aug. 01 2013 01:59 PM
William from Manhattan

Note to producers: Amy Harmon does seem very rah-rah about GMO; in fact, she sounds more like my colleagues in PR than in journalism. Perhaps you could reach out to some other journalist for a change?

The point that often gets lost in discussions of GMO is that it is a fundamentally different process than traditional hybridization. Here's a good definition of GMO: "Genetically engineered or GMO foods are not hybridized foods. They can contain genetic material from one organism (say a fish) that would never naturally be found in another organism (say a tomato)." To the best of my knowledge, these chimeras are not tested for potentially allergenic or toxic by-products (novel proteins etc) before they are released into the ecosystem.

Aug. 01 2013 01:58 PM
Judy Zingher from Westchester County, NY

For documentation of the claim that GE is not necessary to save Florida's orange crop, please refer to Michael Hansen, PhD, of Consumers Union. He testified before the NYS Assembly hearing on AB3525A, bill to label GMO foods sold in New York State. The hearing was held on July 30 at Lehman College in the Bronx and was well-attended.

Aug. 01 2013 01:46 PM
Judy Zingher from Westchester County, NY

This story was in the New York Times, but it is not true. The virus that afflicts oranges is an import, and the biological control that successfully manages it where it originated could also be imported and used successfully here.

This is just an attempt by purveyors of genetic modification to "justify" their destruction of the availability of biological stock to growers who want independence from patented stock.

Aug. 01 2013 01:10 PM
Joe from nearby

Save Florida oranges?!

I'm boycotting Florida oranges, until they repeal that Stand Your Ground law.

Aug. 01 2013 12:02 PM

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