Hawai’i and Genetic Engineering

My new post is up at Biofortified, discussing Hawai’is curious relationship with GE. Here’s a taste:

Hawai’i is a remote archipelago of islands with a declining sugar industry. The new expanses of open acreage are now being filled with GE crop trials, and controversy.

PRSV-Resistant Papaya
PRSV-Resistant Papaya

The University of Hawai’i produced the first GE Papaya resistant to Papaya Ringspot Virus, which grows there today (and even surrounds and protects organic plots of Papaya), and is currently investigating several other crops and their potential for improvement. Those efforts have been put in jeopardy recently as the council of the big island of Hawai’i banned the growing of GE taro and coffee with no allowance for continued academic research.

(…)

So if this was about helping Hawai’ian farmers defend themselves against Monsanto and worried coffee consumers, why was there no provision to allow University GE research on the big island of Hawai’i?

Read the rest here.

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Karl Haro von Mogel

Karl Haro von Mogel serves as BFI’s Director of Science and Media and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. He has a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from UW-Madison with a minor in Life Sciences Communication. He is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar researching citrus genetics at UC Riverside.