HOW DID WE END UP HERE?
The two corporations are now pitched in a heated battle for dominance, as Monsanto's once global hegemony over genetically engineered staple crops like soy and corn began to falter, in the following four ways:
Roundup resistance, which was bioengineered into food crops, began spreading to a number of other plants (weeds), rendering Roundup ineffective, or requiring much higher (and therefore much more toxic) quantities.
Insects began to develop resistance to Monsanto's Bt gene, which was engineered into their plants as a "natural" insecticide, conferring theoretical resistance to Bt-sensitive pests.
Research on glyphosate, the major active ingredient in Roundup, which has been used at the rate of 80,000 tons in the US in 2007 alone, began to accumulate, linking it to dozens of serious adverse health.
Glyphosate was found to contaminate our air, food and groundwater.
However, by engineering what amounts to Agent Orange-resistance into their "new and improved" crops the potential environmental and health fallout to exposed areas is nothing less than horrific.
Instead of learning from Monsanto's colossal mistakes (which happens when you play geneticist-as-God and use a broad spectrum poison to kill all but your "chosen" plants) Dow AgroScience's solution is to multiply the problem by a factor of three, creating the "first-ever, three-gene," herbicide-tolerant staple crops.
In a recent article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, researchers reviewed Dow Chemicals' own published research on 2,4 D resistant crops, and found it highly misleading and inaccurate.
In their recent article, we feel that Wright et al. (1) [Dow AgroSciences researcher] misrepresented the potential for 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)–resistant weeds in 2,4-D–resistant cropping systems and exaggerated the sustainability of their approach to addressing glyphosate-resistant weed problems in agriculture.
We were surprised that Wright et al. (1) stated that only "very few" 2,4-D–resistant weed species have evolved without quoting a specific number. We checked the database that they used to support this claim (2) and were alarmed to learn that, globally, 28 species across 16 plant families have already evolved resistance to the synthetic auxin herbicides, the mode of action to which 2,4-D belongs.Of these, 16 are known to be resistant to 2,4-D specifically (for comparison, 21 species are resistant to glyphosate globally). Furthermore, the claim that 2,4-D resistance is unlikely to evolve because of the complex and essential functions that auxin plays in plants is unsubstantiated.
DOW AND MONSANTO JOIN FORCES TO POISON AMERICA'S HEARTLAND