James and the Giant Corn Rotating Header Image

October 22nd, 2010:

“Without plants, we’d be in serious trouble.”

No time to talk about this in depth, but here’s a link to an interesting article by Zachary Russ talking about how and why of plant genome sequencing. It’s a good read covering a fair number of fundamentals. I particularly enjoyed this passage:

A small sidebar trumpets the development of “submergence tolerance rice,” expected to greatly increase crop yields in Bangladesh and rescue many of the world’s poor from malnutrition and worse. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that this rice was produced with precision breeding rather than genetic modification to avoid regulatory testing and public disapproval.

For all the advances in gene delivery and plant modification, these remarkable advances are being impeded by societal apprehension and regulatory hurdles. Indeed, in a recent article, researchers at Oregon State argued that onerous paperwork, excessive containment requirements, and legal liability were effectively strangling biofuel and agricultural GMO R&D.

Thanks to @idtdna for the pointer.