Tag Archives: Transgenes

Biotech Firm to Close Doors, For Now

The Whig Standard, Canada
Ian Elliot       16.02.2010

A former Kingston high-tech darling has announced that it is shutting
down its Kingston operation for at least the next three months.

Performance Plants Inc., a biotech startup that was often seen as the
star of the city’s emerging knowledge-based sector, announced late
Friday that it was mothballing its Kingston operation for 13 weeks and
closing a research and development facility in New York State
permanently.

It cited economic reasons for the shutdown, saying that it continues
to produce scientific accomplishments but has had difficulty raising
enough money to bring those technologies to the market.

The company, which was housed in the former Norcom plant, is privately
held, not publicly traded, and said there was a limited amount of
private equity financing available in the market.

In Kingston, 29 employees are affected; the Waterloo, New York office
employed six staffers.

Company president and CEO Peter Matthewman said he hopes the company
can reopen in May with new financing.

Matthewman said a committee will be looking at alternate finance
options over the coming months and will make a recommendation to the
board of directors on which direction the company should proceed.

The company specialized in research in the area of genetically
modified crops
, treating them to increase yields, enhance frost
resistance and make them less susceptible to droughts.

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Get GM out of your food

Get Your Gen Mo Out of My Food Yo: Part I – The spoof’s in the genetically modified pudding

By Kenda Swartz Pepper | Published: February 3, 2010
It plays like a really really bad B movie, but that’s redundant.  Sadly this modern day version of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is painfully realistic.  The evil tomatoes while not as big as cars and while not overtly stalking the people of San Diego as they attempt to escape their certain pureed demise, are much more insidious – even invisible – to the consumer’s eye.  And despite the fact the general American public is being spoofed, there is nothing funny about Genetically Modified Foods.

What is a GMO?

A Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic makeup has been altered to serve another purpose.  One may also see the terms GE (Genetically Engineered) and Transgenic.  Take the gene of one species and put it into the gene of another.  The idea of genetic modification has been around for quite a long time. For thousands and thousands of years farmers have experimented to improve the quality of their crops through a process of selection and cross-breeding.  Even with nature, plants and animals selectively breed.  It’s nature’s way of assuring a strong gene pool.  It’s that whole survival of the fittest thing.  Today, the most prolific GMOs are crop plants developed in a laboratory not on a farm.  Whereas traditional breeding is between reproduction of likeorganisms, today’s bioengineers isolate genes from unlike organisms (including bacteria, viruses and animals) creating an unnatural sequence and a synthetic outcome that requires artificial assistance to reach its full potential.

Genetically Modified (GM) Foods have had their DNA changed through genetic engineering.  According to Jeffrey Smith, author of the #1 GMO bestseller Seeds of Deception, and Genetic Roulette, the four major GM crops are soy, corn, cotton and canola.  Smith states there are two major traits of GM foods:

about 80% are genetically engineered to not die when sprayed with herbicide and about 20% are genetically engineered to create their own pesticide.  A very small percentage of crops such as zucchini, crookneck squash and Hawaiian papaya are GE to resist disease.

According to WHO, all GM crops available on the international market today have been designed using one of three basic traits:

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Can biotechnology help meet the growing demand for food?

The Executive Summary of the IAASTD Synthesis Report states:

Biotechnology has always been on the cutting edge of change. Change is rapid, the domains involved are numerous, and there is a significant lack of transparent communication among actors. Hence assessment of modern biotechnology is lagging behind development; information can be anecdotal and contradictory, and uncertainty on benefits and harms is unavoidable. There is a wide range of perspectives on the environmental, human health and economic risks and benefits of modern biotechnology, many of which are as yet unknown.

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