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New Genetically Modified Maize to Fight Newcastle Disease

Genetics as it applies to evolution, molecular biology, and medical aspects.

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New Genetically Modified Maize to Fight Newcastle Disease

Postby gmoafrica » Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:48 am

Sometimes ago, I found myself embroiled in a debate over whether genetically modified (GM) crops can help smallholder farmers improve their standards of living. I pitched that GM crops hold promise to smallholder farmers just the same way they do to commercial farmers. My opponents shot back that GM seeds are so expensive that only the well-heeled farmers can afford them. The debate stretched on and on, and ended without a consensus.

I still stand by my position that smallholder farmers, especially in developing countries, stand to gain immensely, from genetically modified crops.

Take the new genetically modified maize, developed by Mexican researchers, that is capable of tackling Newcastle disease, a major killer of poultry in developing countries.

According to Octavio Guerrero-Andrade of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV) in Guanajuto and his colleagues, chickens that ate this new genetically modified maize produced antibodies against the Newcastle disease virus.

Poultry farmers from developing countries stand to gain immensely from this maize variety. There is no denying that vaccines for Newcastle disease exist, but the problem is they are not usually available in small quantities. This makes them unaffordable by single families or villages. Additionally, they require refrigeration to maintain viability. In most developing countries, rural areas are not connected to electricity. Thus, refrigeration is a dream.

With the new genetically modified maize, farmers can conveniently manage Newcastle disease.

James Wachai on the web http://www.gmoafrica.org
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