Life Sciences

Technology Solutions for our Future

November 18, 2014
| Presentations

Val Giddings spoke on a panel at the North Carolina Agriculture & Biotechnology Summit, discussing technological innovations being developed to meet the challenges in the production of food, feed and fiber for the 21st Century and a planet that will be home to 9 billion people.

Genetically modified crops will play an increasingly indispensable role in feeding the world’s growing population.

Most genetically modified crops in commercial production today have been improved either to resist insect pests without pesticide sprays, or to tolerate herbicides for superior weed control. European researchers recently reviewed the scientific literature on the impacts of biotech improved crops and found that weed control traits led to a 9 percent increase in yield over competing methods, and that insect resistant crops yielded a 25 percent increase. Read more »

Brave New Potato

November 17, 2014
| Blogs & Op-eds

On Friday, 7 November, the US Department of Agriculture cleared the path to commercialization for a “genetically modified” potato developed by J.R. Simplott.
This is big. This is very big.
It’s big for a host of reasons, but at the top of the list is one: French fries. The United States alone produces some 20 million pounds of potatoes each year, two thirds of which wind up in frozen products. Most of those are French fries. The American consumer eats 120lb of potatoes per year, on average. Global potato production is ~73 billion pounds/year (365 million tons). That’s a lot of spuds
- See more at: http://www.innovationfiles.org/brave-new-potato/#sthash.A8tfPmNM.dpuf

On November 7, the US Department of Agriculture cleared the path to commercialization for a “genetically modified” potato that will be more resistant to disease and insects than current varieties. This is big for a host of reasons, but at the top of the list is one: French fries. The United States alone produces some 20 million pounds of potatoes each year, two thirds of which wind up in frozen products. Most of those are French fries. The American consumer eats 120lb of potatoes per year, on average while global potato production is about 73 billion pounds/year.  This new variation will reduce pesticide use and crops lost to blight increasing efficiency, reducing environmental impact and producing better yields overall.

Demons Haunt Los Angeles

November 7, 2014
| Blogs & Op-eds

Los Angeles City Council voted in late October to draft an ordinance that would prohibit the sale or planting of genetically modified (GM) seeds and plants.  While the practical impact of this ignorant posturing would be nil, no GM crops are even grown in Los Angeles County, the symbolic impact of the political leaders of Los Angeles slamming the door on the technology that offers some of the best (if not the only) hope of producing improved drought tolerant crops, or rescuing California’s wine and citrus industries from exotic pests and diseases, is alarming to say the least.

Read the extended version here.

Colorado Voters Choose Food Affordability and Access

GMOs, Neonicotinoids, and Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic: The Fish & Wildlife Service Brings a “Whole Foods” Approach to Wildlife While Shooting Itself in Our Foot

October 21, 2014
| Blogs & Op-eds

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service quietly announced last summer they would ban the use of the most modern, safest, and most productive new pesticides and improved seeds in national wildlife refuges. This forces them to rely on agricultural techniques with more negative environmental impacts and undermines their conservation mission.  Why did they do this? They bought into special interest propaganda and failed to test their prejudices against data and experience. The wildlife they sacrifice on the alter of political correctness will not thank them. 

GMO Labeling is Unwarranted and Unnecessary

October 9, 2014
| Testimony and Filings

Val Giddings testified before the New Jersey Assembly’s State and Local Affairs Committee arguing that a proposed bill mandating labels for genetically modified foods is unnecessary and based on ideology and commercial interests not on safety or better informing consumers. GMO foods receive unprecedented testing and review from multiple government, non-governmental and international organizations making state labeling initiatives redundant and costly without providing any additional benefits to consumers.

Testimony in Opposition to Pennsylvania’s Mandatory GMO Labeling Bill

October 8, 2014
| Testimony and Filings

Giddings testified before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee in opposition to HB 1770, a bill which would mandate warning labels on foods derived from crops improved through biotechnology. Giddings argued GMO labeling is redundant and unnecessary due to the the global consensus on the safety of biotech improved seeds and the comprehensive reviews and oversight of GMO crops and foods that are already being undertaken by multiple federal agencies. He also noted that labeling legislation is driven by fear, ideology and commercial interests not on a concern for consumers or safety.

U.S. government funding laid the foundation for the development of 48 percent of all drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration and 65 percent of drugs that received priority review between 1988 and 2005.

Federal funding for biomedical research, much of it channeled through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), plays a vital role in supporting America’s life sciences innovation ecosystem. NIH devotes the vast majority of its budget to funding grants for basic biomedical research into the causes and treatment of human disease. The results of this research feed directly into the development of new drugs and devices to cure medical conditions. Read more »

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