So everyone’s favourite punching bag, Monsanto, is up to some new fun.
Check out this quote from Grist, about how Monsanto’s coming up with an alternative to GMOs:
The new technology, called BioDirect, is a kind of temporary, spray-on defense mechanism for plants. It relies on a natural phenomenon called RNA interference that scientists can use to block crucial genes in, say, Roundup-resistant weeds or killer pests. MIT Technology Review’s Antonio Regalado took adeep dive into the new technology, and it sounds a bit like an Arnold Schwarzenegger character. No one has ever tried spraying RNA on thousands of acres of crops before, so it does raise some legitimate concerns.
Here’s how it works: All living things contain DNA, and that DNA carries the genetic information that cells need to make proteins. But it’s actually RNA, DNA’s less famous workhorse of a partner, that takes that genetic information out into the cell to get shit done. Viruses also use RNA, however, so cells have a kind of defense mechanism to detect viral RNA, memorize its contents, destroy it, and then hunts down its progeny to destroy them too.
It’s not practical for each of us to have our own gardens, BUT local food is looking more and more appealing.
I’m sure we’re not alone with this thinking.
What happens when GMO crops are then sprayed with this new magical mixture? What exactly is happening to our food?
Here’s how this process will work, according to the above article:
So if an orange grove in Florida is suddenly overrun with the insect that transmits greening disease (look it up — it’s destroying the orange industry), farmers could, in theory, just spray on some insect RNA BioDirect until the situation is under control and then go about their business — no pesticides or genetically engineered trees required.
Monsanto is going to have to spread its wings a little and diversify away from GMO fun as more and more of us try to avoid it at all costs. So perhaps this is their new line of business.
Only time will tell where this goes.
In the meantime we’re going to our parent’s house to pick some tomatoes.