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September 8th, 2010:

On the lack of GE for horticultural crops

I’m assuming most of the people who read this site also follow the posts going up on Biofortified, but in case you don’t, Kevin Folta has a great new post up on why so few horticultural crops (think fruits and vegetables) have commercial available genetically engineered varieties (at the moment the only two you have any chance of finding in the grocery store are virus resistant papayas and crook-necked squash). I found this part particularly maddening, but there’s a lot of other points he brings up that many people probably haven’t considered.

After all of the regulatory hurdles the product still may not be commercialized, mostly based on public perception. For instance, it cost nearly half a million dollars to build raspberry plants resistant to the Raspberry Bushy Dwarf Virus, a devastating disease.  While the plants work brilliantly, the industry suggested they not be commercialized due to public fears.

The other problems are from coordinated attacks by anti-GE groups.  In 2007, while ‘Honeysweet’ was in the process of deregulation, instructions on gmofreetrees.com provided details to cut-and-paste complaints into websites of federal agencies. Of the 1725 notes provided, 1708 were negative to ‘Honeysweet’ deregulation, but all followed the cut-and-paste format.

But don’t stop here, read the rest of the post!