It's the Environment, Stupid.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Controlling Nature

Just when we think we've got everything under control, nature has a funny way of doing its own thing. Breached levees are just one example. Genetically modified plants are another.

The NY Times reported yesterday that "Grass Created in Lab Is Found in the Wild."

"An unapproved type of genetically engineered grass has been found growing in the wild in what scientists say could be the first instance in the United States in which a biotechnology plant has established itself outside a farm."

Of course Monsanto is involved in the development of the round-up resistant grass (as is Scotts Miracle-Gro), designed for golf courses so that weeds can be sprayed without damaging greens and fairways. However, nature has taken its course with this grass, in a Percy Schmeiser-esque fashion.

"Two years ago, scientists at the E.P.A. laboratory in Corvallis, Ore., published a paper showing that pollen from a test plot of the grass had spread as far as 13 miles downwind, much farther than many had expected. That made it likely that genetically engineered grass would be found in the wild, though the scientists did not look for that.

In the new study, scientists sampled 20,400 plants up to three miles from the edge of an 11,000-acre zone surrounding the test plots. They found 9, or 0.04 percent, that were genetically engineered, the farthest being 2.4 miles from the control zone border.

The scientists said some of the plants had been created by seeds that had blown off the test plot and others by hybridization of wild grass with pollen from the genetically engineered grass. All were of the same species of grass being developed by Scotts and Monsanto...

Jim King, a spokesman for Scotts, said the company had already admitted that some grass was growing outside the test plots and that the company was working to eradicate it. In field tests, Mr. King said, a windstorm arose when the grass had been cut and was drying in the field, dispersing seeds."

In trying to conform nature to fit our needs, we might be making that much more uncontrollable.

0 Comments:

  • There have been studies and some attempts to create tsunami waves as a weapon. In World War II, the army in New Zealand trialled explosives in the area of today's Shakespear Regional Park to create small tsunamis, an attempt which failed.

    By Anonymous sildenafil, at 16:31  

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