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November 27, 2012
Alex Daley, The Daily Reckoning
Last month, a group of Australian scientists published a warning to the citizens of the country, and of the world, who collectively gobble up some $34 billion annually of its agricultural exports. The warning concerned the safety of a new type of wheat.
As Australia's number-one export, a $6-billion annual industry, and the most-consumed grain locally, wheat is of the utmost importance to the country. A serious safety risk from wheat - a mad wheat disease of sorts - would have disastrous effects for the country and for its customers.
Which is why the alarm bells are being rung over a new variety of wheat being ushered toward production by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia. In a sense, the crop is little different than the wide variety of modern genetically modified foods. A sequence of the plant's genes has been turned off to change the wheat's natural behavior a bit, to make it more commercially viable (hardier, higher yielding, slower decaying, etc.).
What's really different this time - and what has Professor Jack Heinemann of the University of Canterbury, NZ, and Associate Professor Judy Carman, a biochemist at Flinders University in Australia, holding press conferences to garner attention to the subject - is the technique employed to effectuate the genetic change. It doesn't modify the genes of the wheat plants in question; instead, a specialized gene blocker interferes with the natural action of the genes. Go to original article
Additional info can be found on this topic at: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_26673.cfm