Monday, July 25, 2005

It's a Bird. It's a Plane...

The Guardian reported today on the findings of some researchers in England that have found a couple of "superweeds" supposedly produced by cross fertilization between wild plants and a form of GE oilseed rape (known in the States as Canola). The oilseed rape was designed to be resistant to glufosinate-ammonium herbicide, a trait that a distant relative, charlock, and two forms of wild turnip were tested for and found to possess.
What's upsetting people is the fact that this was stated as a very unlikely, if not impossible, event according to the government's environmental department researchers. While "superweeds" have been a problem in the Americas where GE soy, corn and canola are widely grown, this case is being treated as a surprise, despite other cases outlined by the Guardian where gene flow from oilseed rape to other wild plants has been seen.
UK-based artist Heath Bunting created a "Superweed Kit" back in 1999 (it's been exhibited in YOUgenics since the first installment) both as a way to raise concerns about this very situation and to imagine the use of this inevitability as a leverage device against the corporations who are racing to compete in the new economy without too much regard for the ramifications. In a classic form of conflict escalation (Cold War style), Bunting now has a rocket delivery system. Those that were critical of the project before should love this.

posted by ryan griffis  # 9:55 PM

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