Did GMOs Save the Papaya?

The ringspot virus Joni Kamiya’s father runs a third-generation papaya farm located on Oahu’s North Shore. This is all the more reason to listen up when she touts the benefits of GMOs in the papaya – it’s one thing to hear the positives of GMOs from biotech company advocates, quite another from someone who benefits from them personally.

The papaya ringspot virus was prevalent for decades and managed for a long time by cutting down the infected trees or moving fields. Leaf hopper bugs spread the virus, and no pesticide could stop or control the disease.

Then, thanks to biotechnology, a new breed of tree came in to save papaya farms from extinction. The GMO solution saved crops by creating a plant that essentially was vaccinated with a weaker form of the virus. A farmer could now grow crops without having to cut down forests to escape the virus. We could once again plant in existing fields without fearing crop failure.

Then again, when the article starts with this statement, “More evidence is cropping up all the time to support the environmentally friendly nature of biotech seeds and crops,” you really need to wonder about the validity of the information, and the perspective of the author.  Why do we say that? Because 99%+ of all GMO crops in production today are herbicide-resistant,insecticide producing, or both, with only a tiny fraction of current GMOs actually using virus-resistant genes like the papaya.  And the GMO controversy rages on…

Read Joni’s article in its entirety: http://www.fb.org/newsroom/focus/231/

And Joni blogs regularly here: hawaiifarmersdaughter.com

Author: renezimbelman

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