Whole Foods Market's announcement about taking their first steps toward limiting genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) from their stores in America sounds far more hopeless and unrealistic today than it did a year ago, based on a report from a group of ecologists at the recent 95th meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) in Pittsburgh.
The gist: Despite assurances from the Agri-Business sector, scientists discovered GM yellow canola plants "growing in the middle of nowhere" North Dakota, in places far away from conventional and GM crops, that are resistant to herbicides made by Monsanto (glyphosate) and Bayer Crop Science (gluphosinate) and, in two cases, to both substances.
GM samples of the canola/rapeseed plant (Brassica napus) were found at almost half of the 288 sites scientists investigated along North Dakota roads. Of the roughly 140 sites and 406 plants collected in the state, 347 were genetically modified to resist either pesticide. And, two plant samples showed signs of stacked traits, meaning resistance to both pesticides.
Here's a sobering thought from a University of Arkansas scientist about the evolving genetic makeup of native plants, as told to Scientific American: This is a good model for the influence of agriculture on the evolution of native plants. We can imagine gene flow to native species. If we can imagine that happening, it probably happens.
Evidence for the establishment and persistence of genetically modified canola populations in the U.S (95th ESA Annual Meeting Abstract) August 6, 2010
Discover/80 Beats Blog August 6, 2010
Scientific American.com August 6, 2010
Nature News.com August 6, 2010