| September 5,
Biotechnology Helps Scottish Scientists Combat Dutch Elm
disease, which has destroyed more than 20 million trees across
Britain in the past 30 years, may have finally met its match.
Scientists at the University of Abertay in Dundee, Scotland,
have developed a variety of genetically modified English elm trees
that are resistant to the deadly fungus.
"This is an example of environmentally friendly
biotechnology," says Professor Kevan Gartland, the head of molecular
and life sciences at the university. "This work could help
damaged landscapes and ecosystems blighted by tree fungal diseases,
such as Dutch elm disease and chestnut blight, throughout the
that caused Dutch elm disease is carried by elm bark beetles that
breed under the tree's bark. The fungus quickly spreads
through the tree, preventing water and nutrients from reaching the
branches and leaves. Once this diseased stage takes hold, the
tree can die within weeks. So far, experiments to try to halt
the disease using traditional plant-breeding methods have
So far, all of the
genetically modified elms have been cultivated under strict
laboratory conditions and have not been released into the
environment. Concerns about field tests should be low. Prof.
Gartland says under normal conditions in Britain, the English elm
does not produce seeds, but reproduces itself by means of suckers
which emerge from the trees roots.
The project has been funded by the British Forestry
'Immune To Killer Disease'," The Times of London
||Chinese Farmers Benefit
from Insect-Resistant Cotton
In the summer of 1998, farmers in
Eastern China faced an outbreak of bollworm that threatened
their cotton crops. "There were so many bollworms that
we had to get rid of them by hand each day," says farmer Guo
last year, Guo and other farmers have been able to grow cotton
genetically enhanced to resist these pests. This cotton type has saved in
labor and reduced the need
for pesticides, as well
as cutting the risk of poisoning.
Guo says that he still uses
pesticides sometimes, but far less than before. "I feel
much more relaxed now about taking care of my cotton," he
"Farmers Laud GM Cotton,"
Secretary Supports Biotechnology
continue to promote and development the use of biotechnology
in farming in order to cut costs and improve the nutritional
value of foods, says Argentina Agriculture Secretary Marcelo
Regunage. He adds that the use of genetically modified
plants has a "clear and positive impact on the environment,"
since it reduces the amount of
chemicals used on the
"Biotechnology is the present and
future of agriculture in Argentina and the world," he says.
"Development in the new millennium is directly linked to
the development of biotechnology."
"Argentina Advocates Healthy GM
Offer Hope for Sustainable Farming
"Genetically engineered crops are
poised to give human society its biggest sustainability gain
in almost 100 years," say Dennis T. and Alex A. Avery of the
Hudson Institute in Indianapolis. They are referring to
a new genetically enhanced tomato that can remove salt from
the soil in which it grows.
This breakthrough, they say, will make the world's
irrigated lands permanently sustainable.
It will also salt-proof the food
production in such major irrigating countries as China, India
and Indonesia, as well as such poverty-ridden countries as
Iraq and Yemen.
"Opinion: Hope for Sustainable
Farming in Gene-Altered Crops," Christian Science Monitor