Gnetically Modified Sorghum

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

Moderators: honeev, Leonid, amiradm, BioTeam

Post Reply
gmoafrica
Garter
Garter
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:48 pm

Gnetically Modified Sorghum

Post by gmoafrica » Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:14 am

I have never understood why Africans still harbor xenophobic tendencies towards genetically modified foods. To most Africans, benefits of genetically modified foods is exaggerated and not worth any consideration. What they don’t know is that Americans and Europeans, who apparently they loathe, readily eat these foods. They make billions of dollars from trade involving them. The elites in Africa, unfortunately, have not done much to educate the lay people about the potential benefits of genetically food. So, blind opposition to genetically modified food continues, to the detriment of the masses.

I am making this post because of some events that are currently unfolding in South Africa. There, Dr. Florence Wambugu, an icon of modern agricultural biotechnology, has received a grant of US$400 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop genetically modified sorghum. As a start, Dr. Wambugu would like to set up a state-of-the-art laboratory to research on GM sorghum, but the South African government has told her NO. To justify its actions, the government has expressed fears that genetically modified sorghum might contaminate indigenous sorghum varieties.

This sounds funny to me. Fears of cross-contamination, first of all, are unfounded. Secondly, if they really do exist, such must not be used to deny Dr. Wambugu a license to set up her lab. The lab has nothing to do with cross-contamination. Indeed, Dr. Wambugu’s lab can be used to prove that genetically modified sorghum poses no threat to conventional varieties.

Let’s also note that South Africa is an old hand on the issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Already, the country has a well-developed biosafety law, which has facilitated the commercialization of genetically modified cotton and corn. With genetically modified crops already being grown in South Africa, the last thing one should expect is unbearable pre-conditions for the introduction of genetically modified sorghum. James authors the blog Gmo Africa (http://www.gmoafrica.org).

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests